No. 12 Ohio State (5-2) at Minnesota (5-2)
Time: 9 a.m. Turf: Artificial. Line: Ohio State by 4.
Analysis: Minnesota’s longshot Big Ten title hopes rest with this game. The Golden Gophers, 2-2 in conference play, could have a Paul Bunyan-sized hangover from two weeks ago, when visiting Wisconsin turned a last-minute blocked punt into a touchdown and a 38-34 victory. Then there’s the matter of Ohio State linebackers A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel. The Buckeyes are among four Big Ten teams with one loss in conference play, joining Penn State, Wisconsin and Northwestern.
No. 4 Georgia (7-0) vs. No. 16 Florida (5-2) in Jacksonville, Fla.
Time: 12:30 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Florida by 4.
Analysis: Without injured quarterback D.J. Shockley (who has a sprained knee), Georgia might be as offensively challenged as … Florida. The Gators have averaged 12 points in meetings with Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana State. Increasingly, people in Florida are wondering whether classic dropback passer Chris Leak has the mobility needed to effectively run first-year coach Urban Meyer’s spread-option offense. Florida is two games behind Georgia in the SEC East.
Clemson (4-3) at Georgia Tech (4-2)
Time: 12:30 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Georgia Tech by 3.
Analysis: Each team needs two wins to become eligible for a bowl. Each has been inconsistent, especially at quarterback. Clemson’s Charlie Whitehurst has completed 67 percent of his passes (eight touchdowns, five intercepted). Georgia Tech’s Reggie Ball ranks 95th in passing efficiency. Eight of the last nine games between these Atlantic Coast Conference teams have been decided by five points or fewer.
Maryland (4-3) at No. 10 Florida State (6-1)
Time: 12:30 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Florida State by 16-½.
Analysis: The bad news for Maryland is that quarterback Sam Hollenbach (shoulder) might not play. The good news is that backup Joe Statham threw for 333 yards last season in Maryland’s 20-17 upset of Florida State. The Seminoles are getting solid production from freshmen, including receiver Gregg Carr and running back Antone Smith. Florida State leads the ACC Atlantic Division; No. 3 Virginia Tech leads the Coastal Division.
No. 25 Michigan (5-3) at No. 21 Northwestern (5-2)
Time: 4 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Michigan by 3.
Analysis: Michigan snapped Iowa’s 22-game home winning streak last Saturday in a typically tight finish. A week earlier, the Wolverines beat Penn State on the last play. Northwestern might have the Big Ten’s hottest offense, with a total of 134 points in three straight wins. For the first time since 1959, Northwestern has the higher ranking in this matchup. “People are stopping me on the street,” Wildcats coach Randy Walker said. “Most people would drive by me the last few years and give me the obscene gesture. Now they’re saying, ‘Hey, Coach, great win.’ ” Northwestern’s Brett Basanez shows the value of an experienced senior quarterback.
South Carolina (4-3) at No. 23 Tennessee (3-3)
Time: 4:45 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Tennessee by 14.
Analysis: Coaches Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee and Steve Spurrier, a former Florida coach, renew pleasantries but each team’s problems take precedent. Tennessee couldn’t muster a touchdown in a 6-3 loss to Alabama last Saturday. South Carolina’s wins are over Central Florida, Troy, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Although Fulmer has never lost to South Carolina, he is 2-7 against Spurrier. When Spurrier was at Florida and the Gators finished ahead of Tennessee in the SEC, the Volunteers had to settle for a trip to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Spurrier said, “You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.”
The Dallas Morning News and The Associated Press
|Today’s televised games|
|9 a.m.||Wisconsin at Illinois||ESPN|
|9 a.m.||North Carolina at Miami, Fla.||ESPN2|
|9:30 a.m.||Texas Tech at Baylor||FSN|
|12:30 p.m.||Washington State at USC||Ch. 4|
|12:30 p.m.||Georgia vs. Florida||Ch. 7|
|12:30 p.m.||Clemson at Georgia Tech||ESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||UCLA at Stanford||FSN|
|4 p.m.||Fresno State at Hawaii||Ch. 4|
|4 p.m.||Michigan at Northwestern||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Texas at Oklahoma State||TBS|
|4:45 p.m.||South Carolina at Tennessee||ESPN2|
|7 p.m., tape||Washington at Arizona State||FSN|
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