Today's key national games

College Football

September 17, 2005|By Los Angeles Times

No. 21 Oklahoma (1-1) at UCLA (2-0)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Line: UCLA by 6 1/2

Oklahoma update: Of the Sooners' 494 yards of offense, 324 have come on the ground.

UCLA update: The Bruins have put together two complete games and are riding higher than they have at this point in a season since they opened with wins against Colorado State and Oklahoma State in 2002.

Story line: Can Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar, who completed five passes last week, mount any semblance of a passing attack against a Bruins defense stacked to stop the run?

The pick: UCLA. The Bruins get their first statement victory of the Karl Dorrell era to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2001.

Michigan State (2-0) at No. 10 N. Dame (2-0)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

TV: Chs. 11, 4

Line: Notre Dame by 6 1/2

Michigan State update: The Spartans feature a prolific offense that averaged 592 yards of offense in routs of Kent State and Hawaii. Junior quarterback Drew Stanton has completed 78 percent of his passes.

Notre Dame update: Sophomore running back Darius Walker has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the Fighting Irish's victories. Linebacker Brandon Hoyte has been the cornerstone of the defense, making 21 tackles, breaking up a pass and forcing a fumble.

Story line: Notre Dame's resurgence is put to the test by a team that has won six of the past eight games in the series.

The pick: Notre Dame. Charlie Weis accomplishes something Knute Rockne and Lou Holtz couldn't by winning his first home game as Irish coach.

No. 23 Fresno St. (1-0) at Oregon (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: TBS

Line: Oregon by 2 1/2

Fresno State update: The Bulldogs' 55-17 victory over Weber State last week was their seventh consecutive win. Fresno State scored two touchdowns on punt returns to supplement running back Wendell Mathis' three-touchdown game.

Oregon update: The Ducks have posted easy victories over Houston and Montana, but it's never a good sign when you have to kick six field goals against Montana. Terrence Whitehead, a 1,000-yard rusher in 2004, has only 67 yards in two games.

Story line: USC should TiVo this one. Both teams are potential stumbling blocks on the Trojans' quest for another national title.

The pick: Fresno State. The Bulldogs notch their 11th victory over a team from a BCS conference since 2001.

No. 8 Fla. State (2-0) at No. 17 BC (2-0)

Time: 7:45 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Line: Florida State by 1

Florida State update: The Seminoles have 11 sacks in two games, including nine in their season-opening victory over Miami. Florida State's defense did not allow a touchdown last week against The Citadel. Freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford appears to be an upgrade over predecessor Chris Rix.

Boston College update: The Eagles attained their highest national ranking of the Tom O'Brien era with victories over Brigham Young and Army. Quinton Ross has completed 76 percent of his passes. Brian Toal rushed for two touchdowns and made three tackles against Army.

Story line: Boston College has not defeated a Top 25 team at home since 1994.

The pick: Florida State. The Eagles wonder why they endured so much turmoil to join the ACC.

No. 5 Tennessee (1-0) at No. 6 Florida (2-0)

Time: 8 p.m.

TV: Chs. 13, 9.

Line: Florida by 6

Tennessee update: Rick Clausen, whose brother Casey starred for the Volunteers from 2000 to 2003, is expected to make his first start of the season after replacing Erik Ainge during Tennessee's opener against Alabama-Birmingham. Senior Gerald Riggs Jr. rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries in that game.

Florida update: Chris Leak, whose brother C.J. played for Tennessee from 2002 to 2004, has completed 69 percent of his passes for 539 yards and five touchdowns in wins over Wyoming and Louisiana Tech. The Gators have fumbled six times, though they've only lost one.

Story line: Which younger brother makes the better quarterback?

The pick: Florida. The Gators, losers of three of the past four in the series, reverse the trend.

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