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Thursday, 13 November 2008 13:45
NCAAF Headline News

 Friday, Nov. 14
No. 22 Cincinnati (7-2) at Louisville (5-4)
Line: Cincinnati by 3.5
Series Record: Cincinnati leads 26-20-1.
Last Meeting: 2007, Louisville 28-24.
What's at Stake
The surprising Bearcats can set up a showdown with co-Big East leader Pittsburgh next week if they can find a way to beat the Cardinals for only the second time in 11 tries. The Cardinals are hoping to collect themselves after a pair of embarrassing road performances at Syracuse and Pitt. Louisville needs a win to become bowl eligible, and the road gets no easier with West Virginia and surging Rutgers left on the schedule.
Key Matchup
seven seasons last week.
Players to watch
Cincinnati: QB Tony Pike (1,229 yards, 10 TDs), WR Dominick Goodman (54 receptions, 668 yards, 5 TDs), CB Mike Mickens (59 tackles, 3 INTs.)
Louisville: RB Victor Anderson (913 yards, 7 TDs), WR Doug Beaumont (42 receptions, 508 yards), LB Jon Dempsey (55 tackles).
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Louisville is 9-1 in its last 10 against the Bearcats and has won all three meetings since both clubs joined the Big East. ... Cincinnati turned the ball over four times in last year's 28-24 loss. ... The winner gets the Keg of Nails trophy. ... Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly's 18-5 record with the Bearcats is the best coaching record through 23 games in the program's history. ... Louisville is 2-2 against Top 25 teams under coach Steve Kragthorpe.
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Saturday, Nov. 15
No. 1 Alabama (10-0) vs. Mississippi State (3-6), 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Alabama by 20 1/2.
Series Record: Alabama leads 71-18-3.
Last Meeting: 2007, Mississippi St. 17-12.
What's at Stake
Alabama's No. 1 ranking and potentially its national title hopes, plus a little revenge as the Bulldogs have won the last two meetings. The Crimson Tide has already secured a spot in the SEC championship game. Mississippi State could get a huge morale-boosting win and some national attention in a difficult season.
Key Matchup
Alabama's ground game against a defense that ranks 11th in the SEC in stopping the run. Coffee has rushed for 1,020 yards already and is helped out by freshman Mark Ingram. Tailback Roy Upchurch is questionable for the game with a neck injury. But the Bulldogs are allowing 143 yards a game on the ground.
Players to watch
Mississippi State: RB Anthony Dixon is a 240-pound workhorse who has gained 647 yards. He'll face a defense that just got through coping with LSU's big tailback Charles Scott, but still leads the league in stopping the run.
Alabama: RB Coffee has been durable and productive. He is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has eight rushing touchdowns.
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Mississippi State has won three in a row against Alabama only twice, from 1912-14 and 1996-98. ... Alabama has not scored an offensive touchdown against the Bulldogs since the closing minutes of the 2004 game. ... This is the longest running series for the Tide, which has a 71-18-3 lead. The last time Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the regular season was 28 years ago, when Mississippi State toppled the Tide 6-3.
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No. 24 South Carolina (7-3) at No. 3 Florida (8-1), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
Line: Florida by 21.
Series Record: Florida leads 21-4-3.
Last Meeting: 2007, Florida 51-31.
What's at Stake
nched a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game against top-ranked Alabama, but need to win out to have a shot at making the BCS title game in Miami.
Key Matchup
South Carolina's defense vs. QB Tim Tebow. The Heisman Trophy winner set a school record with five rushing touchdowns against the Gamecocks last season. He finished with 120 yards on the ground to go along with 304 yards passing and two scores. Tebow has accounted for 10 touchdowns the last two weeks, but now faces the league's top-rated defense, which doesn't want to get embarrassed again.
Players to watch
South Carolina: LB Eric Norwood leads the SEC with seven sacks and ranks fifth with 10 1/2 tackles for loss. He could have his hands full spying on Tebow and chasing down RB/WR Percy Harvin.
Florida: The Gators hope to get RB Emmanuel Moody more involved. Moody missed three games with a high-ankle sprain but had 14 carries for 119 yards the last two weeks.
Figures
2001) and 0-1 with the Gamecocks (2006). His worst loss was 33-21 against Florida State in '93.
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No. 4 Texas (9-1) at Kansas (6-4), 12:30 p.m. (FSN)
Line: Texas by 14.
Series Record: Texas leads 6-2.
Last meeting: 2004, Texas 27-23.
What's at Stake
Texas must avoid an upset to stay in contention for the Big 12 South title and the national championship hunt. Colt McCoy's big game last week against Baylor may have taken the personal sting out of the loss to Texas Tech the week before, but another big game is needed to bolster his flagging Heisman Trophy stock. Kansas, which finishes the regular season next week against No. 12 Missouri, needs to win at least one of these last two to secure a decent bowl bid and avoid falling too much further from last year's 12-1 campaign.
Key Matchup
Texas DE Brian Orakpo and Kansas' freshmen tackles Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes. Hatch and Spikes have switched sides since conference play began but both have had their troubles. Orakpo did not play last week after hurting his knee against Texas Tech. But he was expected to return.
Players to Watch
Texas: QB Colt McCoy and WR/KR Jordan Shipley. McCoy bounced right back from the Texas Tech loss by throwing five touchdown passes in the victory over Baylor. Shipley has two returns for touchdowns and Kansas has been hurting in kick coverage.
eesing. A native of Austin who was ignored by the Longhorns, Reesing will be as motivated as he's been in any game of his career. But the undersized junior also had the worst game of his life last week in Kansas' loss at Nebraska.
Figures
Kansas has started the same 22 players on both offense and defense the past two games. ... The game is a sellout and the Jayhawks are on pace to set a stadium attendance record for the fourth consecutive year. ... The last time Texas visited Kansas, in 2004, the Longhorns rallied for a 27-23 and Kansas coach Mark Mangino had to apologize for remarks he made about officiating in a heated postgame news conference.
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Southern California (8-1) at Stanford (5-5) 7 p.m. (Versus)
Line: USC by 23.
Series Record: USC leads 58-25-3.
Last meeting: Stanford won 24-23.
What's at Stake
USC needs a win to keep its hopes alive for a berth in the BCS title game and at least a share of a seventh straight Pac-10 title. Stanford needs one win in its final two games to qualify for a bowl for the first time since 2001.
Key Matchup
Led by RB Toby Gerhart and an effective zone-blocking scheme, Stanford is second in the conference and 17th in the country with 207 yards rushing per game. Reaching that number against LB Rey Maualuga and the Trojans won't be easy. USC is third in the country with just 77.8 yards rushing per game allowed.
Players to watch
USC: WR Patrick Turner has eight TD catches among his 31 receptions this season. LBs Brian Cushing and Maualuga are the team's leading tacklers and the linchpins of the nation's stingiest defense.
Stanford: QB Tavita Pritchard made his first career start last year at USC, throwing a 10-yard TD pass to Mark Bradford in the final minute to give the 41-point underdog Cardinal the win. RB Anthony Kimble is coming off his third 100-yard game of the season and could be counted on heavily if Gerhart is slowed by a hamstring injury.
Facts and Figures
USC has allowed just one TD and 13 points over its last five games. ... Pete Carroll is 25-0 in November since taking over at USC in 2001. ... The Trojans have outscored the opposition 143-13 in the second half. ... The Cardinal are expecting their first sellout in three seasons at newly remodeled Stanford Stadium. ... Stanford opened the season 4-0 at home for first time since 1977, under coach Bill Walsh. ... The Cardinal are tied for first in the conference with 30 sacks.
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Indiana (3-7) vs. No. 7 Penn State (9-1), Noon (Big Ten Network)
Line: Penn State by 36.
Series Record: Penn State leads 11-0.
Last Meeting: 2007, Penn State, 36-31.
What's at Stake
For Indiana, a respectable showing would lift spirits in Bloomington. Penn State is looking for a morale boost after last week's upset at Iowa. They can secure a trip to the Rose Bowl if they beat the Hoosiers this week and Michigan State on Nov. 22.
Key Matchup
There are mismatches all over the field given Indiana's rash of injuries, but Penn State's passing game versus the banged-up Indiana secondary might be one to watch. Indiana lists two redshirt freshmen as starting cornerbacks, and Penn State's spread HD offense is eager to get over its worst outing of the year.
Players to watch
Indiana: QB Kellen Lewis. A second-team all-Big Ten player last year, Lewis has been maligned of late by a high ankle sprain. When he's on the field, Lewis gives Indiana a different dimension because of his ability to run and throw. Both he and fellow QB Ben Chappell, who has a head injury, are expected to be available.
Penn State: QB Daryll Clark was distraught after his poor showing against Iowa. He could be on the run more after coach Joe Paterno held him back a little against the Hawkeyes in part out of concern that he might get banged up after a mild concussion against Ohio State in October.
Figures
shy of breaking the school record for career kick return yards held by Derin Graham (2,088). ... Paterno's 381 career wins are one ahead of Florida State's Bobby Bowden for most victories among major college coaches. ... Indiana last played at Beaver Stadium in 2003, losing 52-7.
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No. 8 Utah (10-0) at San Diego State (1-9), 8 p.m. (The Mtn.)
Line: Utah by 30.
Series Record: Utah leads 14-12-1.
Last Meeting: 2007, Utah 23-7.
What's at Stake
The Utes need to beat SDSU and then in-state rival BYU in order to remain undefeated and keep alive their chance of being a BCS duster for the second time in five seasons.
Key Matchup
Utah senior QB Brian Johnson against the SDSU defense, which has been hard-hit by injuries going back to a season-opening loss to Cal Poly. Johnson led the Utes to a comeback victory against TCU last week. Although SDSU is near the bottom of the rankings in most major defensive categories, it is 44th in pass defense, allowing 192.1 yards per game.
Players to watch
Utah: Johnson is a finalist for the Golden Arm Award, presented annually to the nation's top senior college quarterback by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. and Transamerica. He joins a field that includes Chase Daniel of Missouri, Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, Parker Wilson of Alabama and Pat White of West Virginia.
San Diego State: Despite missing nearly seven quarters with a slight shoulder separation, freshman QB Ryan Lindley is second in passing average and fourth in total offense in the Mountain West Conference.
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Utah can clinch at least a share of the Mountain West Conference title with a win. ... The Utes are 10-0 for just the second time in school history. The 2004 Utes finished 12-0. ... Dating to last year's Poinsettia Bowl victory in San Diego, Utah has won 11 straight games, tying it with Alabama for the second-longest winning streak in the country behind Texas Tech with 12. Utah has won 18 of its last 19 games. ... The Utes represent SDSU's highest-ranked visitor since No. 1 Miami played at what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium on Nov. 28, 1992.
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No. 9 Boise State (9-0) at Idaho (2-8) 5:07 p.m.
Line: Boise State by 34 1/2
Series Record: Boise State leads 19-17-1
Last meeting: 2007, Boise State 58-14.
What's at Stake
Boise State needs to win out to stay in the running for a second BCS berth in the past three seasons. Idaho wants to return competitive luster to the state's big football rivalry after losing nine straight.
Key Matchup
Boise State's high-flying offense, averaging 36 ppg, against an Idaho defense that has given up at least 30 points eight times.
Players to watch
Boise State: QB Kellen Moore is completing 70% of passes for 2,427 yards with 20 TDs, 6 INTs. RBs Ian Johnson (525 yards) and Jeremy Avery (381) keep the defense honest, and WR Jeremy Childs has 46 catches for 589 yards.
Idaho: QB Nathan Enderle has thrown for 1,688 yards with 17 TDs and 12 INTs. RB Deonte Jackson has gained 594 yards, while Princeton McCarty has 434 yards and a 7.0 avg. WR Eddie Williams has 54 catches for 687 yards.
Facts and Figures
Idaho expects a sellout in the 17,000-seat Kibbie Dome, and is seeking its first win over Boise State since 1998 ... Idaho has lost 19 games in the past two seasons, while BSU has lost 16 games in the 2000s ... The Broncos' No. 9 ranking ties for its highest ever in regular season ... Boise State's .856 winning percentage this decade is highest in major college FB.
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Ohio State (8-2) at No. 24 Illinois (5-5), noon, ESPN
Line: Ohio State by 9 1/2.
Series record: Ohio State leads 60-30-4.
Last meeting: 2007, Illinois 28, Ohio State 21
What's at Stake
mpionships. With just five wins, Illinois is still a victory short of the six it needs to be at least eligible to play in a bowl game for the second straight year.
Key Matchup
Illinois' defense will be asked to contain Ohio State RB Beanie Wells and quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The Illini are giving up 351 yards a game, sixth in the Big Ten and have a bad habit of giving up big plays. Wells has 814 yards rushing - 116 a game. Pryor is only throwing for 107.6 yards a game, but makes them count. His nine completions in a 45-10 win last weekend over Northwestern included three TDs.
Players to watch
Illinois: Middle linebacker Brit Miller and quarterback Juice Williams. Miller leads the Big Ten with 110 tackles (11 a game) and is tied for seventh in sacks with six. Williams, the Big Ten's leading passer with 276.7 yards a game, led the Illini to a 28-21 upset of the Buckeyes last year.
Ohio State: The forecast Saturday for Champaign calls for cold, wind and a few snow flakes. If Illinois doesn't force the Buckeyes to look elsewhere, Wells could see a lot of the ball. He's averaging 116.3 yards a game and has six touchdowns.
Figures
Ohio State barely beat Illinois in its last trip to Champaign, in 2006, holding on 17-10. ... With a win, the Buckeyes could be one of three 6-1 teams in the Big Ten, along with Michigan State and Penn State. ... Illinois backup quarterback Eddie McGee could see time Saturday at receiver. The sophomore has played a few downs there the past couple of weeks. ... The Illini close the season at Northwestern on Nov. 22, while Ohio State will wrap up at home against Michigan that Saturday.
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Oklahoma State (8-2) at Colorado (5-5), 8:12 p.m. (ABC).
Line: Oklahoma State by 17.
Series Record: Colorado leads 26-17-1.
Last meeting: 2005, Colorado 34-0.
What's at Stake
The Cowboys will attempt to shake off a 56-20 rout at No. 2 Texas Tech. They're 6-14 in Boulder. Colorado is coming off a 28-24 win over Iowa State in which the team stopped the Cyclones near the goal line as time expired.
Key Matchup
Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson vs. Colorado secondary. Robinson will have plenty of support in the stands, having attended nearby Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo. He's thrown 20 touchdown passes this season and only six interceptions.
Players to watch
Oklahoma State: RB Kendall Hunter. He leads the Big 12 with a 133.2-yard average. Hunter had 161 against Texas, a team that was allowing just 48 yards.
Colorado: FS Ryan Walter. His play in a win over Iowa State was overshadowed by Cody Hawkins' four-touchdown performance in the second half. But Walters had a career-high 16 tackles and a sack.
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The Cowboys haven't visited Boulder since a 42-14 win on Oct. 9, 2004. ... Oklahoma State has scored 428 points through 10 games, the second-most in school history at this point in the season. The team had 477 points in 10 games in 1988. ... OSU WR Dez Bryant has 15 touchdown receptions and two more on punt returns. ... Buffaloes RB Darrell Scott made his first start last weekend, rushing for 87 yards. ... Colorado PK Jameson Davis is listed as day-to-day after straining his knee in the second half against Iowa State. ... The Buffaloes can become bowl-eligible with a win.
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No. 12 Missouri (8-2) at Iowa State (2-8), 4:30 p.m. (FSN)
Line: Missouri by 28
Series Record: Missouri leads 57-34-9
Last meeting: 2007, Missouri 42-28.
What's at Stake
Missouri, with a win and a Kansas loss, will wrap up its second straight North division title and a spot in the Big 12 title game. Iowa State will try to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Key Matchup
rown 28 touchdowns. If Iowa State has any hopes of springing the upset, it will have to get big plays from its defensive backs.
Players to Watch
Missouri: Versatile sophomore WR Jeremy Maclin, who could have a field day against a porous Iowa State defense. He has 71 catches, is averaging seven yards per rushing attempt and is also Missouri's leading punt and kick returner.
Iowa State: WR Darius Darks. The true freshman has 37 catches, including a career-high eight grabs last week in a loss at Colorado.
Figures
Missouri has won seven straight in November dating back to 2006. ... The Tigers would become just the fifth team in school history with nine wins if they beat Iowa State. ... The Cyclones and Tigers will battle for the Telephone Trophy, a tribute to the 1959 matchup in which the teams discovered they could hear each other's conversations.
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No. 13 Georgia (8-2) at Auburn (4-5), 12:30 p.m.
Line: Georgia by 8.5
Series Record: Auburn leads 53-50-8.
Last Meeting: 2007, Georgia 45-20.
What's at Stake
Georgia could remain on track to reach 10 wins for the sixth time in coach Mark Richt's 10 seasons and improve its bowl standing. For Auburn, pride and a chance to become bowl eligible, avoid a losing regular season and snap a two-year losing streak against its top traditional out-of-state rival.
Key Matchup
Georgia's young, injury-riddled offensive line against a rested and apparently healthy Auburn defensive front. The Tigers sat out injured starters Sen'Derrick Marks, Antonio Coleman and Tez Doolittle against Tennessee Martin.
Players to watch
Georgia: WR A.J. Green, who at 6-4 has a big height advantage over Auburn cornerbacks Jerraud Powers (5-9) and Walt McFadden (6-0).
Auburn: QB Kodi Burns is a big threat to run, and Georgia's defense allowed Kentucky's Randall Cobb to rush for 82 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Figures
Both teams have winning records in this series as the visitor and the road team has won eight of the last 13 meetings. ... The Bulldogs are 19-7 in November under Mark Richt. ... Auburn's Ben Tate needs 90 yards to become the 13th Auburn player to reach 2,000 in his career. ... Since 1970, Auburn has had 24 100-yard rushing performances against Georgia but none since 2005.
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No. 16 BYU (9-1) at Air Force (8-2), 3:30 p.m. (CBS College Sports)
Line: BYU by 4 1/2.
Series Record: BYU leads 22-6.
Last meeting: 2007, BYU 31-6.
What's at Stake
First place is still up for grabs in the Mountain West. Utah is in the driver's seat after knocking off Air Force earlier in the year and then TCU. But the Cougars face the Utes on the road next weekend, and the Falcons close out the season against the Horned Frogs.
Key Matchup
BYU WR Austin Collie vs. Air Force's secondary. Collie has eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark in eight straight games.
Players to watch
BYU: TE Dennis Pitta. His pass-catching skills make it so opponents can't roll their coverage completely over to Collie. He's caught six touchdown passes this season.
Air Force: RB Asher Clark. The freshman rushed for a career-high 136 yards and two scores in last week's win over Colorado State.
Figures
Under coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is 32-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter. ... Cougars QB Max Hall has thrown a touchdown pass in 21 of 23 career games. ... BYU DL Jan Jorgensen has 22 1/2 career sacks. ... Collie is No. 2 on the Cougars' all-time receiving list, needing just 165 more yards to pass Eric Drage, who had 3,066 yards in his career. ... The Falcons haven't beaten a top-20 team at home since knocking off No. 20 Colorado State in 2000. Air Force is 14-61-4 against ranked foes. ... Falcons coach Troy Calhoun is 5-0 in November. ... This is the final home game for 18 Air Force seniors.
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p.m. (ABC)
Line: North Carolina by 3.
Series Record: North Carolina leads 36-31-1.
Last Meeting: 2007, North Carolina 16-13.
What's at Stake
First place in each Atlantic Coast Conference division. North Carolina is tied atop the Coastal, and although Maryland is a half-game out of the lead in the Atlantic, the Terrapins will earn a spot in the ACC title game if they wins their final three games.
Key Matchup
North Carolina RBs Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston vs. Maryland's defense. Draughn ran for 90 yards and Houston had 74 last week in a 28-7 win over Georgia Tech. They will be facing a unit that yielded 253 yards rushing to freshman Darren Evans in a 23-13 loss to Virginia Tech.
Players to watch
North Carolina: Strong safety Trimane Goddard is tied for the national lead with six interceptions in nine games. He has one of the Tar Heels' school-record four INT returns for touchdowns this season.
Maryland: QB Chris Turner has an excellent 155.07 quarterback rating in his last five games against ranked opponents and has led the Terrapins to victory in each of those games, including three this season.
Figures
Maryland and North Carolina are among only six teams in the nation to have beaten three ranked teams. ... North Carolina has a plus-16 turnover margin in its seven wins and is minus-5 in its two defeats. ... Maryland is 5-0 at home ... The Tar Heels are seeking their first eight-win season since 2001; their two losses have come by a combined six points. ... Terps punter Travis Baltz leads the ACC with a 43.2-yard average.
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Troy (6-3) at No. 19 LSU (6-3), 8 p.m.
Line: LSU by 18 1/2.
Series Record: LSU leads 1-0.
Last Meeting: 2004, LSU 24-20.
What's at Stake
For LSU, pride is at stake, as the Tigers' only losses this season have been to ranked Southeastern Conference teams. Troy could improve its bowl credentials, which would be important if the Trojans fail to win the Sun Belt Conference's automatic bid to the New Orleans Bowl and instead must rely on an at-large bid.
Key Matchup
Troy's defense against a powerful LSU running game that averages nearly 188 yards per game.
Players to watch
LSU: RB Charles Scott looks to go over 1,000 yards rushing for the season.
Troy: QB Levi Brown was 30-for-46 for 298 yards and 2 TD last weekend in a 17-7 victory over Western Kentucky.
Figures
The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 6, but was postponed after Hurricane Gustav damaged much of Baton Rouge, including Tiger Stadium, six days before the game. ... Troy is 1-14 against ranked opponents since joining the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision in 2001. ... LSU has won 24 straight non-conference games in Tiger Stadium ... LSU is 32-0 all time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference.
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Boston College (6-3) at No. 20 Florida State (7-2), 8 p.m. (ABC)
Line: Florida State by 7.
Series Record: Florida State leads 4-2.
Last Meeting: 2007, Florida State 27-17.
What's at Stake
Florida State has to keep winning and hope someone can knock off Wake Forest to win a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game Dec. 6 in Tampa. Both teams are 4-2 in league play, but the Demon Deacons won 12-3 at Tallahassee in September. The Seminoles controlled their own destiny for a week before losing Nov. 1 at Georgia Tech.
Boston College has already dropped three games in the conference, but can assure itself of another winning season with a win Saturday. The Eagles, who shut out Notre Dame 17-0 last Saturday, took a 24-19 victory in their last visit to Tallahassee.
Key Matchup
that is averaging 205 yards an outing.
Players to watch
Boston College: Senior receiver Brandon Robinson caught 7 passes for 163 yards last year against Florida State's suspect secondary, which has given up too many big plays and made too few interceptions (four). Robinson is back and leads the Eagles with 470 yards receiving and three TDs. Freshman running back Montel Harris leads BC in rushing with 531 yards and averages 5.5 yards a carry.
Florida State: Defensive end Everette Brown leads the ACC with nine sacks, including six in the last two games. Freshman tailback Jermaine Thomas has run for 437 yards and averages 8.4 yards a try, prompting coach Bobby Bowden this week to compare the true freshman to Minnesota Vikings' star Adrian Peterson, widely considered one of the NFL's top backs.
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The first meeting between the schools was in 1957 when the Eagles got their first win in Alumni Stadium with a 20-7 victory before 10,000 fans. ... Florida State knocked off the Eagles last year in Boston when they were undefeated and ranked second nationally ... The Seminoles have started slowly the last four games, falling behind by 10 points in three games they came back to win and by 14 in a loss at Georgia Tech ... six ACC schools still have chances to be in the league title game next month in Tampa ... Florida State coach Bobby Bowden's 380 victories are one fewer than all-time career leader Joe Paterno of Penn State has.
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California (6-3) at No. 23 Oregon State (6-3), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Line: Oregon State by 3.
Series Record: California leads 33-27.
Last Meeting: 2007, Oregon State 31-28.
What's at Stake
Oregon State and USC have just one loss each in the Pac-10, and the Beavers can reach the Rose Bowl if they win out. Oregon State defeated the then-No. 1 Trojans 27-21 on Sept. 25, which could give them the edge in the league standings at season's end. The Beavers have not been to the Rose Bowl since 1965.
Key Matchup
Oregon State's diminutive freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers against California's improving defense. Rodgers leads the Pac-10 and ranks 10th in the nation with an average of 121 yards rushing. A three-time conference player of the week, Rodgers is on pace to become the first freshman to top the league in rushing.
Players to Watch
California: Quarterback Kevin Riley is an Oregon native. Last season against the Beavers, He drove Cal well within field-goal range in the final minute, but made an ill-advised attempt to run the ball with no time-outs, which allowed the clock to run out before the Bears could get their kicking team on the field.
Oregon State: Brothers Jacquizz and James Rodgers have racked up 2,109 offensive yards for Oregon State - 51 percent of the team's total 3,827 yards.
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Oregon State pops into the rankings for the first time this season as the Rose Bowl buzz around the team grows. After California, the Beavers visit Arizona before returning home to host rival Oregon in the annual Civil War game. ... After the visit to Corvallis, California returns home for its final two games of the season against Stanford and Washington. ... The Beavers have not lost at home this season. ... Oregon State's defense has allowed just one touchdown in the last two games. ... Cal coach Jeff Teford played quarterback for Oregon State coach Mike Riley in 1988, when Riley was coach of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
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No. 25 Tulsa (8-1) at Houston (5-4), 7 p.m. (CBS College Sports)
Line: Tulsa by 6.
Series Record: Houston leads 17-16.
Last Meeting: 2007, Tulsa 56-7.
What's at Stake
Tulsa is coming off a bye after its first loss. The Golden Hurricane lead the Conference USA West Division at 5-0, but Houston is just one game behind at 4-1. Tulsa won the West in 2005 and 2007 and Houston took it in 2006.
Key Matchup
t a few stops could win. Tulsa leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense (593 yards per game) and scoring (52 points per game). Houston quarterback Case Keenum is second in passing yards per game (376.89), and the Cougars are second in passing offense (392.7) and fourth in total offense (547.33).
Players to Watch
Tulsa: Tulsa's David Johnson leads the FBS in passing efficiency with a 198.2 rating. Receiver Brennan Marion is averaging more than 98 yards per game.
Houston: Keenum had 384 yards passing in last week's win over Tulane for his school-record 10th straight 300-yard passing game. Bryce Beall set a school record for a freshman with 176 rushing yards, and he scored three touchdowns.
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Tulsa returns to the rankings this week after dropping out following a 30-23 loss at Arkansas. ... The Golden Hurricane have gained more than 500 yards in eight of the past nine games. ... Tulsa scored each of its three touchdowns against Arkansas on drives of less than two minutes. They have scored 35 times this season on drives that were less than two minutes. ... Houston is 14-3 against West Division opponents since the C-USA realigned to create divisions in 2005. ... The Cougars had a season-high 687 total yards against Tulane last week for their third 600-yard game of the season. ... Houston was 12-of-15 on third downs in that game. ... Keenum has thrown a touchdown pass in 12 straight games and has 53 for his career.
 

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