Originally created 10/18/01

A bunch of the best are heavy favorites



One more prep course will be held for a bunch of Top 25 teams this weekend, as in one more nice, easy opponent before final exams commence next Saturday.

No. 2 Oklahoma (6-0) and No. 3 Nebraska (7-0) warm up for their national-title elimination game on Oct. 27 against a pair of mediocre Big 12 Conference foes. The Sooners are nearly six-touchdown favorites over Baylor, even with Jason White replacing Nate Hybl at quarterback, while the Cornhuskers are favored by almost four TDs against Texas Tech.

No. 4 UCLA (5-0) plays host to winless California, and the Bruins are 28-point picks as they prepare for a season-defining, three-game run against once-beaten Stanford and unbeatens Washington State (No. 19) and Oregon (No. 5).

Then there's No. 12 Maryland (6-0) at home against winless Duke before next week's visit to No. 21 Florida State in a pivotal Atlantic Coast Conference game. And No. 16 South Carolina (5-1) plays one-win Vanderbilt before a string of huge Southeastern Conference games - against No. 11 Tennessee, No. 7 Florida and No. 13 Clemson.

Other teams that should have little trouble before the heavy hitters show up include No. 17 Georgia (4-1), favored by 23 points over Kentucky (1-5) with Florida on deck; and Washington State (6-0), going against I-AA Montana State on Thursday before Pac-10 Conference home games against Oregon and UCLA.

Even though Georgia has to contend with Kentucky, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt has his mind on the Gators, knocked from the No. 1 ranking by Auburn last week and off this weekend.

"They have two weeks to get mad about it and two weeks to get well," Richt said. "We are going to be the first thing they see. I don't know if that's a good thing or not."

There are a few high-stakes games Saturday, such as No. 14 Colorado (5-1) at No. 9 Texas (5-1). The Buffaloes are trying to keep pace with Nebraska in the Big 12 North before the two meet on Nov. 23, while a second league loss for the Longhorns all but knocks them out of the Big 12 title race.

Also, Penn State (0-4) is at No. 22 Northwestern, with Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno trying for a fifth time to equal Bear Bryant's major college record of 323 wins.

The picks:

Baylor (plus 35) at No. 2 Oklahoma

Bears lost by 41 to Huskers last week ... OKLAHOMA, 49-7.

Texas Tech (plus 23 1/2 ) at No. 3 Nebraska

Beating K-State is one thing, beating Huskers another ... NEBRASKA, 42-14.

California (plus 28) at No. 4 UCLA

Bruins' RB Foster enhances Heisman chances ... UCLA, 42-17.

Stanford (plus 7 1/2 ) at No. 5 Oregon

Ducks swimming right along behind QB Harrington ... OREGON, 34-21.

Boise State (plus 14 1/2 ) at No. 8 Fresno State (Friday)

Bulldogs happy to be home after close call last week ... FRESNO STATE, 38-21.

No. 14 Colorado (plus 10) at No. 9 Texas

Buffs' defense can shake up 'Horns QB Simms ... COLORADO, 24-21.

No. 11 Tennessee (minus 1 1/2 ) at Alabama

Tide ready to end six-game losing streak vs. Vols ... ALABAMA, 24-20.

Duke (plus 25) at No. 12 Maryland

Terps looking for first seven-win season since 1985 ... MARYLAND, 41-14.

North Carolina (plus 7) at No. 13 Clemson

Can Heels' DE Peppers contain Tigers' QB Dantzler? ... CLEMSON, 31-28.

Arizona (plus 14) at No. 15 Washington

Wildcats have allowed 149 points in last three losses ... WASHINGTON, 45-20.

Vanderbilt (plus 16 1/2 ) at No. 16 South Carolina

Coach Holtz makes sure Gamecocks bounce back ... SOUTH CAROLINA, 31-10.

Kentucky (plus 23) at No. 17 Georgia

Dawgs thinking about Gators ... GEORGIA, 31-17.

Air Force (plus 12 1/2 ) at No. 18 BYU

Cougars looking to go 7-0 ... BYU, 34-14.

Montana State (no line) at No. 19 Washington State (Thursday)

Cougars looking to go 7-0 ... WASHINGTON STATE, 34-14.

Louisiana Tech (plus 13 1/2 ) at No. 20 Auburn

War Eagles soaring after upset of Gators ... AUBURN, 31-21.

No. 21 Florida State (minus 11 1/2 ) at Virginia

Better get 'Noles while you can ... VIRGINIA, 31-30.

Penn State (plus 11) at No. 22 Northwestern

Wildcats QB Kustok too elusive for winless Lions ... NORTHWESTERN, 31-17.

North Carolina State (plus 12) at No. 23 Georgia Tech

What happened to Tech's offense? ... NORTH CAROLINA STATE, 31-24.

No. 25 Toledo (minus 23) at Ball State

Rockets need big win to stay in Top 25 ... TOLEDO, 39-10.

Last week: 13-6 (straight); 7-11 (vs. points)

Season: 92-25 (straight); 58-55 (vs. points)



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