Originally created 11/07/02

College football picks



There are still plenty of contenders for a national championship game. What about the Heisman Trophy?

While unbeatens Oklahoma, Miami and Ohio State will try to stay in the title chase Saturday, star players from each team can boost their chances to win college football's top individual prize.

All three teams are on the road, with running back Quentin Griffin leading No. 1 Oklahoma (8-0) against Texas A&M (5-4), quarterback Ken Dorsey and No. 2 Miami (8-0) taking on Tennessee (5-3), and freshman running back Maurice Clarett and No. 3 Ohio State (10-0) visiting Purdue (4-5).

Griffin, Oklahoma's smallest player at 5-foot-8, has made the biggest Heisman impact of late.

"He's gaining momentum and is really playing in a great way right now," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "And we'll need it the rest of the way."

Griffin has 487 of his 950 yards in the last three games - against Top 25 teams Texas, Iowa State and Colorado. Until last week's 27-11 win over Colorado, Griffin had caught at least one pass in 38 straight games.

The Aggies' run defense is formidable, allowing 117 yards per game. But Texas A&M has allowed 38 points per game in its last three losses.

Dorsey, despite a 34-1 record as a starter, has not lived up to his preseason hype. He has, though, come through every time the Hurricanes needed him.

In last week's ragged 42-17 win over Rutgers, Dorsey sparked a 28-point fourth quarter with two quick TD passes; against West Virginia he threw for a career-high 422 yards in a 40-23 win; and he engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to pull out a 28-27 victory over Florida State.

Dorsey, 16th nationally in pass efficiency, has completed 134 of 244 passes for 2,020 yards and 20 touchdowns. Teammate Willis McGahee, who has 1,034 yards rushing, also is a Heisman contender.

The Vols are looking to end Miami's school-record 30-game winning streak, and hope their running game of Jabari Davis and Cedric Houston can wear down the Hurricanes.

"Tennessee is big and physical in the offensive line and they have great running backs," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We're trying to get our run defense to be more physical."

Ohio State travels to West Lafayette, Ind., hoping Clarett is fully recovered from a left shoulder injury that kept him out of last week's game against Minnesota.

Clarett, who has missed two games and most of a third, still has 1,019 yards and averages 127.4 ypg (ninth nationally, just below McGahee).

Ohio State, though, has excelled on defense. The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in points allowed (12.8) and yards allowed (305.6).

Purdue, coming off a bye week, tops the league in offense at 449.3 yards per game.

The picks: No. 1 Oklahoma (minus 10) at Texas A&M

Sooners plan to stay on top ... OKLAHOMA, 28-17.

No. 2 Miami (minus 8 1/2 ) at Tennessee

'Canes better find their 'A' game ... MIAMI, 31-21.

No. 3 Ohio State (minus 6 1/2 ) at Purdue

Buckeyes shaky on the road ... PURDUE, 24-21.

Baylor (plus 40 1/2 ) at No. 4 Texas

'Horns win by as many as they want ... TEXAS, 49-0.

No. 15 Oregon (plus 5) at No. 5 Washington State

Ducks out to spoil Cougars' Rose Bowl run ... OREGON, 41-40.

Northwestern (plus 28) at No. 6 Iowa

Hawkeyes looking for second 10-win season - ever ... IOWA, 41-17.

Mississippi (plus 15) at No. 7 Georgia

'Dawgs must win to stay in control of SEC East ... GEORGIA, 34-21.

No. 8 Virginia Tech (minus 13) at Syracuse

Hokies should rebound from last week's loss ... VIRGINIA TECH, 31-20.

No. 9 Notre Dame (minus 28) at Navy

Irish out for 39th straight win over Middies ... NOTRE DAME, 31-0.

No. 10 USC (minus 16 1/2 ) at Stanford

Cardinal no match for Trojans' QB Palmer ... USC, 35-17.

Mississippi State (plus 21 1/2 ) at No. 11 Alabama

Is this Jackie Sherrill's final season with Bulldogs? ... ALABAMA, 34-7.

No. 21 Iowa State (plus 12) at No. 12 Kansas State

K-State has won last eight over Cyclones ... KANSAS STATE, 34-24.

No. 13 Michigan (minus 6 1/2 ) at Minnesota

Wolverines the better 7-2 team, barely ... MICHIGAN, 31-28.

No. 14 North Carolina State (plus 6) at Maryland

Watch out 'Pack, Terps riding six-game win streak ... MARYLAND, 28-24.

No. 16 LSU (minus 5) at Kentucky

Wildcats out to avenge last year's last-minute loss ... KENTUCKY, 31-27.

No. 17 Florida State (minus 6 1/2 ) at Georgia Tech

Without top RB Jones, 'Noles headed for another fall ... GEORGIA TECH, 27-21.

No. 18 Colorado (minus 4 1/2 ) at Missouri

Tigers bound to upset someone ... MISSOURI, 28-27.

Virginia (plus 15 1/2 ) at No. 19 Penn State

Lions out to avenge last year's last-game loss ... PENN STATE, 34-24.

No. 20 Bowling Green (minus 3 1/2 ) at Northern Illinois

MAC West crown - and Falcons' perfect season - on line ... NORTHERN ILLINOIS, 34-31.

Temple (plus 17 1/2 ) at No. 22 Pittsburgh

Pitt plays as Top 25 team for first time in 10 years ... PITTSBURGH, 31-17.

No. 23 Florida (minus 21) at Vanderbilt

Gators have 11-game winning streak vs. Commodores ... FLORIDA, 38-14.

California (plus 4 1/2 ) at No. 25 Arizona State

Sun Devils still have Pac-10 title hopes ... ARIZONA STATE, 35-28.

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Last week: 16-4 (straight); 11-9 (vs. points)

Season: 145-48 (straight); 96-86 (vs. points)