at No. 21 Texas Tech (8-2)
Time: 9 a.m. Turf: Artificial. Line: Texas Tech by 7-½.
Analysis: The winner has an excellent chance of representing the Big 12 Conference in the Cotton Bowl. Texas Tech seemed to have the inside track until becoming the first Big 12 victim of Oklahoma State. The good news for Tech is that the team is 6-0 at Jones SBC Stadium and has been held under 56 points once. The bad news? Coach Mike Leach is 0-5 against former boss Bob Stoops, and the Raiders have been outscored 201-79 in those games.
No. 7 Virginia Tech (8-1) at Virginia (6-3)
Time: 9 a.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Virginia Tech by 7.
Analysis: The schedule gave Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick two weeks to think about the worst performance of his career, a six-turnover nightmare against Miami. The Hokies need a focused Vick to have a chance at an at-large Bowl Championship Series berth. Virginia has won three of its last four games and might get captain Tony Franklin back from a suspension.
No. 9 Ohio State (8-2)
at No. 17 Michigan (7-3)
Time: 10 a.m. Turf: Artificial. Line: Ohio State by 3.
Analysis: If both teams had played as well early this season as they have lately, this game might actually justify the hype. Ohio State has won five in a row, and Michigan has four consecutive victories. The winner could get the Big Ten’s BCS berth if Penn State loses. Ohio State has outscored its last four opponents 207-74 and will clinch at least a share of the conference title with a win. Playmaker Steve Breaston has become more involved for Michigan.
No. 8 Alabama (9-1) at No. 11 Auburn (8-2)
Time: 12:30 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Auburn by 7.
Analysis: A week ago, Alabama was working on an unbeaten season and hoping for a Texas or USC loss. Today, the Crimson Tide is a seven-point underdog to its main rival. Alabama’s loss to Louisiana State underscored the importance of J.B. Closner (broken leg) to the offensive line. Auburn, tied for first in the Southeastern Conference West, is converting 50.8 percent of its third downs.
No. 5 Penn State (9-1)
at Michigan State (5-5)
Time: 1 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Penn State by 7-½.
Analysis: If Penn State wins this game, it gets something called the Land-Grant Trophy — plus at least a tie for the Big Ten title and an automatic BCS berth. The Nittany Lions have rebounded from two consecutive losing seasons. Coach Joe Paterno has a 352-117-3 record in his 40-year career. Michigan State has won one game since a 4-0 start, and Spartans coach John L. Smith sounds defensive. Smith is 18-17 at Michigan State roughly halfway through a six-year contract.
Georgia Tech (6-3) at No. 3 Miami (8-1)
Time: 4:45 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: Miami by 17-½.
Analysis: Georgia Tech gave coach Chan Gailey a five-year extension, then athletic director Dave Braine said the Yellow Jackets can’t win nine or 10 games a season “consistently.” So much for setting standards. Miami has higher aspirations. But the Hurricanes might be distracted trying to imagine scenarios that include ways to sneak into the BCS national-championship game — the Jan. 4 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
No. 16 Fresno State (8-1)
at No. 1 USC (10-0)
Time: 7:15 p.m. Turf: Grass. Line: USC by 23.
Analysis: Although Fresno State is the master of the shocking upset, the Bulldogs might be facing a team with too much talent and too much to lose. Fresno State’s loss was to Oregon, which USC demolished 45-13. For the Bulldogs to have a chance, senior quarterback Paul Pinegar has to keep USC’s offense off the field. The Trojans, featuring 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and 2005 Heisman major contender Reggie Bush, end their regular season with a Dec. 3 home game against No. 12 UCLA.
The Dallas Morning News and The Associated Press
|Today’s televised games|
|9 a.m.||Minnesota at Iowa||ESPN2|
|9 a.m.||Oklahoma at Texas Tech||FSN|
|10 a.m.||Ohio State at Michigan||ESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Syracuse at Notre Dame||Ch. 5|
|12:15 p.m.||Washington State at Washington||FSN|
|12:30 p.m.||Alabama at Auburn||Ch. 7|
|1 p.m.||Penn State at Michigan State||ESPN|
|3:45 p.m.||Oregon State at Oregon||FSN|
|4 p.m.||California at Stanford||Ch. 4|
|4:45 p.m.||Georgia Tech at Miami||ESPN|
|4:45 p.m.||Louisiana State at Mississippi||ESPN2|
|7:15 p.m.||Fresno State at USC||FSN|
|***Must see **Worth watching *Only if you’re bored|