Originally created 11/04/99

College notes: A weekend to settle a few scores



The time to settle the score has arrived for No. 8 Mississippi State, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 20 Ohio State, No. 24 Notre Dame and unranked Virginia.

All five lost heartbreakers the last time they played this weekend's opponents.

Taking it from the top:

-- The Bulldogs (7-0), off to the best start in school history, play host to Kentucky (5-3) on Thursday night, a year after missing a 2-point conversion and losing to the Wildcats 37-35.

-- Nebraska (7-1) gets another shot at No. 21 Texas A&M (6-2) on Saturday in Lincoln. The Aggies ended the Cornhuskers' 19-game winning streak with a 28-21 shocker in College Station last season.

-- The Buckeyes took the biggest hit of '98, when Michigan State came to Columbus and ruined a perfect season with a 28-24 upset of the nation's No. 1 team. No. 20 Ohio State (6-3) visits No. 19 Michigan State (6-2) on Saturday looking to avenge the loss.

"Some guys will tell you that it doesn't matter, but, of course, it does," Ohio State's Jonathan Wells said. "If you were on this team last year, you've been waiting for this game."

Adds linebacker Na'il Diggs: "There's definitely a big chip on my shoulder."

-- Virginia (4-4) plays host to No. 7 Georgia Tech (6-1) a year after it blew a 21-point lead and lost 41-38 to the Yellow Jackets.

"The way we came back to win that game brought a lot of character to our team," Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton said. "To that point, we had not beaten anybody we weren't supposed to beat. That game did it for us. After that game, we believed we could win each game we went into."

-- The Fighting Irish (5-3) will attempt to knock off No. 4 Tennessee (6-1). The last time the teams played -- in '91 in South Bend -- the Vols pulled off the greatest comeback in school history, rallying from a 24-point deficit to win 35-34.

The picks:

Minnesota (plus 14) at No. 2 Penn State
Nittany Lions' defense turning ferocious in final weeks. ... PENN STATE, 31-10.

No. 3 Virginia Tech (minus 19) at West Virginia
Hokies have hard time in Morgantown, but QB Michael Vick remains calm. ... VIRGINIA TECH, 35-24.

No. 24 Notre Dame (plus 9 1/2 ) at No. 4 Tennessee
Vols trying to stay in national title chase; Irish trying to stay in bowl race. ... TENNESSEE, 41-24.

Vanderbilt (plus 29 1/2 ) at No. 5 Florida
Commodores 0-11-1 in last 12 games at The Swamp. ... FLORIDA, 38-13.

Colorado (plus 16) at No. 6 Kansas State
Can K-State handle Buffs' QB Mike Moschetti? KANSAS STATE, 31-24.

No. 7 Georgia Tech (minus 6 1/2 ) at Virginia
Nation's top passer, Tech's Joe Hamilton, vs. top rusher, Cavs' Thomas Jones. ... GEORGIA TECH, 33-24.

Kentucky (plus 7) at No. 8 Mississippi State (Thursday)
Bulldogs remember last year's tough loss to Wildcats. ... MISSISSIPPI STATE, 28-24.

No. 21 Texas A&M (plus 13 1/2 ) at No. 9 Nebraska
Aggies going for two straight over Huskers. ... TEXAS A&M, 27-24.

No. 10 Wisconsin (plus 1 1/2 ) at No. 17 Purdue
Heisman hype game: Badgers' Ron Dayne vs. Boilermakers' Drew Brees. ... WISCONSIN, 31-28.

No. 11 Texas (minus 7 1/2 ) at Oklahoma State
Watch out 'Horns, Cowboys set to spring upset one of these days. ... OKLAHOMA STATE, 24-21.

LSU (no line) at No. 12 Alabama
RB Shaun Alexander poised to become Tide's career rushing leader. ... ALABAMA, 35-13.

No. 13 Marshall (minus 34) at Kent
Bunch of injuries won't slow Thundering Herd. ... MARSHALL, 49-10.

No. 15 BYU (minus 6 1/2 ) at San Diego State
Cougars QB Kevin Feterik on a roll. ... BYU, 34-24.

Northwestern (plus 25) at No. 16 Michigan
Wolverines need this one. ... MICHIGAN, 41-21.

No. 18 East Carolina (minus 12) at Alabama-Birmingham
Pirates sailing under direction of QB David Garrard. ... EAST CAROLINA, 31-16.

No. 20 Ohio State (plus 5 1/2 ) at No. 19 Michigan State
Buckeyes out to hand Spartans their third straight loss. ... MICHIGAN STATE, 31-27.

No. 22 Miami (minus 8) at Pittsburgh
Bombs away -- Pitt QB David Priestley vs. 'Canes QB Kenny Kelly. ... MIAMI, 31-21.

Arkansas (minus 1) at No. 23 Mississippi
Rebels haven't forgotten last year's 34-0 loss to Hogs. ... MISSISSIPPI, 31-30.

No. 25 Southern Mississippi (minus 6 1/2 ) at Memphis
Golden Eagles look to stay unbeaten in C-USA. ... SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI, 34-20.

-- -- --

Last week: 17-3 (straight up); 12-6 (vs. points)

Season: 137-33 (straight up); 88-75-1 (vs. points)