Today's key games

College Football

September 11, 2004|By Orlando Sentinel

No. 8 Michigan at Notre Dame

About Michigan: Expect true freshman QB Chad Henne to make his second start in place of Matt Gutierrez (shoulder), who still could play. The Wolverines have the nation's best corps of receivers, headed by Braylon Edwards.

About Notre Dame: The Irish looked bad on offense in losing to BYU last week, and they must discover a running attack. QB Brady Quinn has some talent, but he's not good enough to win games by himself. The defense has potential, but the secondary is in trouble today.

The buzz: Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham's seat is scorching after that loss to BYU. A home loss today? Yikes.

The pick: Michigan, 24-14.

No. 3 Georgia at South Carolina

About Georgia: If the Bulldogs can shut down the run, this could get ugly. The linebackers need to be especially active. QB David Greene will be throwing against a secondary with two new corners. Freshman TB Danny Ware looks to be a star.

About South Carolina: It's all about the running game for the Gamecocks. When motivated, TB Demetris Summers is a stud. QB Dondrial Pinkins can run, but every throw he makes is an adventure. DEs George Gause and Moe Thompson must get pressure on Greene.

The buzz: The Bulldogs should roll. But a fired-up crowd and an underrated Gamecocks defense could make it interesting.

The pick: Georgia, 23-17.

Georgia Tech at No. 20 Clemson

About Georgia Tech: The Jackets need TB P.J. Daniels to come up big because sophomore QB Reggie Ball hasn't shown he can do enough in the passing game to overcome a bad day on the ground. The defense should be one of the best in the ACC, thanks to FS James Butler and E Eric Henderson. Controlling Clemson's passing game is of the utmost importance.

About Clemson: Junior Charlie Whitehurst is the best quarterback in the ACC, and WRs Kelvin Grant, Chansi Stuckey and Airese Currie are solid targets. Whitehurst needs help from his running game. The run defense is questionable.

The buzz: This one comes down to who has the best game between Daniels and Whitehurst.

The pick: Clemson, 27-17.

No. 7 Texas at Arkansas

About Texas: The Longhorns crushed North Texas last week behind an overwhelming running attack, keyed by TB Cedric Benson. The passing game is a question, though. QB Vincent Young is athletic but erratic as a passer. The defense looks to have all the components.

About Arkansas: The Hogs unveiled a lethal passing attack last week in mauling New Mexico State, but they need to run the ball to win this one. QB Matt Jones is a dual threat, but he needs help from TB DeCori Birmingham.

The buzz: These teams won by a combined 115 points last week.

The pick: Texas, 27-21.

Mississippi at Alabama

About Mississippi: The Rebels must find a way to run the ball. There's a good line, but the backs are iffy. QB Micheal Spurlock is under the gun to produce. An iffy front six (the Rebels use a 4-2-5 defensive set) will be tested tonight. Jonathan Nichols is a big-time kicker.

About Alabama: The Tide hopes senior TB Ray Hudson can adequately replace Shaud Williams. QB Brodie Croyle is looking for a go-to receiver. If what appears to be a solid defense can stuff the run tonight, the Tide should cruise.

The buzz: This is the 21st meeting between the teams in Tuscaloosa, and Alabama has won 19 of the previous 20.

The pick: Alabama, 24-10.

- Orlando Sentinel

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