No. 11 Oregon at No. 16 California, 5 p.m. today, Ch. 15
All three games that have featured a Jeff Tedford-coached Cal team against Oregon have been crazy, down-to-the-wire affairs. The Ducks have won two of the three.
In 2003, Cal was leading 10-7 in the fourth quarter when the stadium lights went out with 14:40 remaining. A 23-minute break seemed to suck the momentum out of the Bears, who were flat the rest of the way and lost 21-17.
In 2004, Oregon had Cal on the ropes in the fourth quarter, driving toward a potential winning field goal. However, Ducks wide receiver Keith Allen dropped a fourth-down pass at the Bears 25-yard line with 1:49 left and Cal survived 28-27.
Last season, the Bears appeared ready to answer Oregon’s overtime touchdown when quarterback Joe Ayoob threw a ball way over the head of tight end David Gray, standing alone at the 12-yard line. Oregon held off Cal 27-20.
Today's winner becomes the No. 1 contender for USC's Pac-10 throne.
OTHER KEY GAMES
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 9 LSU, 12:30 p.m. Ch. 5: f=Interstate-Light s=8 l=9 No team in the nation, not even Florida’s SEC brethren, has a tougher schedule than the Gators — not even close.
Of the nation’s 10 highest-ranked teams and the five remaining unbeatens, Florida is the only one scheduled to play back-to-back top-10 foes.
Worse yet, the Gators are the only team in the Southeastern Conference without a field goal, and that statistic looms bigger and bigger as Florida heads into a three-game stretch against LSU, No. 2 Auburn and No. 10 Georgia.
All three of those games are expected to be close, so three points here or there could decide the outcome — and Florida’s run at a national title.
No. 7 Texas vs. No. 14 Oklahoma at Dallas, 12:30 p.m., Ch. 15: Tradition is an overused word in college football. But the Longhorns vs. the Sooners in the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl, with half the stadium in burnt orange and half in crimson? That’s another matter.
Colt McCoy will become the first redshirt freshman quarterback to start versus the Sooners since Major Applewhite led Texas to a 34-3 win in 1998, the game which was known for Ricky Williams’ tribute to the ailing legend Doak Walker.
McCoy’s teammates believe to a man that he is more than prepared for the media/fan frenzy that surrounds the annual hatefest of Red River rivals.
Enjoy this while it lasts. By the end of the decade, the plan is to move the Red River Rivalry and the postseason Cotton Bowl to the Cowboys’ new stadium.
No. 10 Georgia vs. No. 13 Tennessee, 4:45 p.m., ESPN:
Joe Tereshinski has gone from Georgia’s injured quarterback to Georgia’s starting quarterback, barring any setbacks.
That’s right, the senior who polarized the Georgia community — not for anything other than his perceived lack of athletic abilities — will be back tonight against Tennessee.
Tereshinski’s teammates hope he's ready after Georgia survived close calls against Colorado and Ole Miss without the senior, who went down with an ankle injury early in a Week 2 victory at South Carolina.
It’s all on the line this weekend for Georgia. The winner of this game has gone on to play for the SEC championship in each of the past four years.
OTHER PAC-10 GAMES
No. 3 Southern Cal vs. Washington, 12:30 p.m., FSN Arizona:
USC is getting awfully thin at receiver. Senior Chris McFoy is out for at least a month because of two chipped bones in his shoulder, and Dwayne Jarrett remains questionable because of a sprained left shoulder.
Jarrett suited up for the fist time since he injured his shoulder, but he left practice early Wednesday and did not participate in scrimmages. He caught a few passes but rarely raised his hands above his head. Trojans coach Pete Carroll said Jarrett likely will be a game-time decision.
Oregon State at Washington State, 4 p.m.:
If there is a Twilight Zone for Washington State, it is Reser Stadium. The Cougars haven’t won in Corvallis since the 1996 season.
Last year, the Cougars went into Corvallis 3-0 and led 30-16 at halftime. But the Beavers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to win 44-33. Then the Cougars went on to lose their next six games. Washington State looked strong in taking USC to the wire last week. Can they contend for a top-tier bowl?
Stanford at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Ch. 12:
No need for Charlie Weis to tap into his inner Lou Holtz, describe Stanford in USC terms or throw out praise that no one believes.
When you face one of the worst teams in America, as Notre Dame will in Stanford, it pays to be kind, at least in public. After all, they have to play these guys again next year.
Mostly, Weis focuses on the ways he will keep his Irish, who happen to be 32-point favorites, in the right frame of mind to face an 0-5 opponent that has been outscored 67-10 in its last two games.
Northern Arizona at Montana, 12:05 p.m.: f=Interstate-Light s=8 l=9 Montana has won at least a share of the Big Sky Conference title in each of the past eight seasons. NAU has never beaten the Grizzlies under coach Jerome Souers. This doesn't look to be that breakthrough game.
No. 1 Ohio State vs. Bowling Green, 12:30 p.m.
No. 2 Auburn vs. Arkansas, 9 a.m.
No. 3 Southern Cal vs. Washington, 12:30 p.m.
No. 4 West Virginia at Mississippi State, 11:30 a.m.
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 9 LSU, 12:30 p.m.
No. 6 Michigan vs. Michigan State, 1:30 p.m.
No. 7 Texas vs. No. 14 Okla. at Dallas, 12:30 p.m.
No. 10 Georgia vs. No. 13 Tennessee, 4:45 p.m.
No. 11 Oregon at No. 16 California, 5 p.m.
No. 12 Notre Dame vs. Stanford, 11:30 a.m.
No. 15 Clemson at Wake Forest, 9 a.m.
No. 18 Georgia Tech vs. Maryland, 12:30 p.m.
No. 19 Iowa vs. Purdue, 9 a.m.
No. 20 Boise State vs. Louisiana Tech, 5 p.m.
No. 22 Nebraska at Iowa State, 5 p.m.
No. 23 Missouri at Texas Tech, 4 p.m.