- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2007



That preseason prediction of a top-10 team in Athens isn’t looking so shabby now, is it? The Bulldogs are tied atop the bruising SEC East, have three straight home games before a season-ending visit to Georgia Tech and have a victory over Florida to their credit. Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford keyed that victory for 6-2 Georgia.


It’s accountability time in sunny Los Angeles, where one of the most feared teams to develop in recent years has been declawed twice in its own league. The Trojans’ loss at Oregon is understandable enough, but Pete Carroll’s bunch rarely has shown glimmers of being the team everyone thought it would be. Maybe next year will be better, but Troy will have to be satisfied with the Holiday Bowl or Sun Bowl in late December.


Croom-and-doom suddenly refers to the fear the Bulldogs strike into ranked home teams, not the job security of their coach. Sylvester Croom’s crew has knocked off Auburn and Kentucky on the road and better still is only one victory from bowl eligibility. Mississippi State is no league title contender, but poaching either Alabama or Arkansas could make 7-5 a distinct possibility.


1. Matt Ryan, Boston College: He engineered a comeback late in the fourth quarter at Virginia Tech to keep the Eagles unbeaten. So what if he was mediocre the rest of the game?

2. Dennis Dixon, Oregon: Multidimensional Ducks QB keeps rising with solid game after solid game.

3. Tim Tebow, Florida: Like everyone below him, his chances probably hinge as much on his team winning out as anything else.

4. Andre Woodson, Kentucky: He’s not going to win this thing, not after a home loss to Mississippi State. But he still might be the best player in the country.

5. Chase Daniel, Missouri: Workmanlike day against Iowa State keeps Tigers’ gunslinger in the mix.

6. Jamaal Charles, Texas: In such a crummy year, a 290-yard, three-touchdown day merits mention all by itself.



WISCONSIN (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) at No. 1 OHIO STATE (9-0, 5-0)

Noon, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Outlook: The unbeaten Buckeyes have navigated potential pitfalls against Michigan State and Penn State in recent weeks and return home for two games before a season-ending trip to the Big House. Ohio State has yielded nearly as many points the last two weeks (34) as it had in its first seven games (46). The Badgers have stitched together a pair of routs after consecutive losses last month but could be without injured tailback P.J. Hill this week. That does not bode well.

No. 14 TEXAS (7-2, 3-2 Big 12) at OKLAHOMA STATE (5-3, 3-1)

3:30 p.m., Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.

Outlook: An improbable comeback against Nebraska fueled by tailback Jamaal Charles kept the Longhorns in the Big 12 South race and delivered Mack Brown his 100th victory at Texas. Texas would be wise not to spot Mike Gundy’s Cowboys too big a lead this week; the Cowboys have scored at least 39 points in four of their last five games. Wide receiver Adarius Bowman (802 yards, six touchdowns) leads Oklahoma State’s balanced offense into a vital month that also includes meetings with Kansas and Oklahoma.

No. 3 LOUISIANA STATE (7-1, 3-1 SEC) at No. 17 ALABAMA (6-2, 4-1)

5 p.m., Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala., Chs. 9, 13

Outlook: Commence the Nick Saban stories. The former sideline czar in Baton Rouge is now working for a division rival, and this is the first of what probably will be at least a few meetings of a Saban Showdown. There can’t be too many hard feelings on the Bayou; Saban brought a share of a national title and bolted for an NFL job, not Alabama. Even better for the Tigers — they have superior talent and a shot at a national title. The Crimson Tide can’t say that — for now, anyway.

No. 9 MISSOURI (7-1, 3-1 Big 12) at COLORADO (5-4, 3-2)

6:30 p.m., Folsom Field, Boulder, Colo.

Outlook: With Kansas off to its first 8-0 start in 98 years, think of this as a Big 12 North knockout game. The much-improved Buffaloes have toppled both Oklahoma and Texas Tech this season and have lost to a pair of undefeated teams (Kansas and Arizona State), so it’s hard to argue with what Dan Hawkins has done this year. Alas, he must contend with Tigers quarterback and Heisman sleeper Chase Daniel, which will be no easy task.

No. 6 ARIZONA STATE (8-0, 5-0) at No. 4 OREGON (7-1, 4-1)

6:40 p.m., Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore., ESPN

Outlook: Well, one down for the Sun Devils, who rallied past California while erasing their third double-digit deficit at home this season. Coaching mercenary Dennis Erickson can ill-afford to allow that to happen this week against the Ducks, whose only loss was respectable enough (against California) and early enough (Sept. 29) not to hurt too much. The best part of this game: It will be nationally televised after nearly going to only a regional cable audience. Hooray, sanity.

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