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Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2003

Wary of letdown, LSU should cruise

September 25, 2003

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LSU coach Nick Saban knows how little a big win can mean if it's not followed by another.

Saban's task this week is making sure his Tigers understand that heading into their game Saturday against winless Mississippi State.

After a 17-10 win against then-No. 7 Georgia vaulted LSU to seventh in the poll, Saban is guarding against a letdown.

"You can be relieved by the fact that you just won a big game so now you say, 'Hey we just won a big game so now we can relax and take it easy, and we don't have to work as hard to practice'" Saban said. "That happened after we beat Tennessee here three years ago. We got thumped the next week."

LSU isn't the only team trying to keep its focus following a monumental victory last week.

No. 10 Oregon, coming off a 31-27 victory against then-No. 3 Michigan, opens Pac-10 play against No. 21 Washington State.

The Ducks can ill afford to lose a home game in the conference if they want to make it to the Rose Bowl for the first time in nine years.

"We go back to the Pac-10 now," Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "This was a huge win, but we need to come out and stay fired up and continue to play well."

The picks:

No. 3 Southern Cal (minus 13) at California

Trojans open Pac-10 play on the road ... USC 34-17.

Northwestern (no line) at No. 4 Ohio State

Buckeyes look for 19th straight win ... OSU 27-13.

Connecticut (plus 23) at No. 5 Virginia Tech

Departing Big East team plays incoming one ... VIRGINIA TECH 34-14.

No. 6 Florida State (minus 301/2) at Duke

'Noles have final tuneup for Miami ... FLORIDA STATE 42-7.

No. 7 LSU (minus 13 1/2) at Mississippi State

Bulldogs still searching for their first win ... LSU 34-17.

South Carolina (plus 16) at No. 8 Tennessee

Vols are 11-0 in Knoxville against Gamecocks ... TENNESSEE 34-13.

No. 9 Arkansas (pick 'em) at Alabama

Razorbacks' run up the polls ends in Tuscaloosa ... ALABAMA 24-21.

No. 21 Washington State (plus 4) at No. 10 Oregon

Ducks avoid a letdown at home ... OREGON 24-21.

Indiana (plus 35) at No. 11 Michigan

Wolverines look to bounce back from loss at Oregon ... MICHIGAN 42-10.

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

Hawkeyes look for second 5-0 start since '86 ... IOWA 27-17.

Tulane (plus 29 1/2) at No. 14 Texas

The Longhorns have outscored the Green Wave 132-0 the last four meetings ... TEXAS 37-10.

No. 15 Nebraska (minus 9 1/2) at Southern Mississippi (today)

Huskers make first trip to Mississippi ... NEBRASKA 24-7.

No. 17 Pittsburgh (minus 1) at Texas A&M

Panthers try to bounce back from loss at Toledo ... PITTSBURGH 31-28.

Stanford (plus 13 1/2) at No. 18 Washington

Pac-10 opener for both teams ... WASHINGTON 27-17.

No. 19 TCU (minus 15) at Arizona, 10 p.m.

Wildcats outscored 166-30 over last three games ... TCU 34-10.

Iowa State (plus 6 1/2) at No. 20 Northern Illinois

Huskies aim for third win this season against BCS conference ... N. ILLINOIS 24-20.

Notre Dame (plus 10) at No. 22 Purdue

Irish in danger of dropping third straight to Big Ten ... PURDUE 24-7.

No. 23 Missouri (minus 10 1/2) at Kansas

Series tied at 51-51-9 ... MISSOURI 31-17.

No. 24 Minnesota (minus 3) at Penn State

Governor's Victory Bell on the line ... PENN STATE 20-17.

No. 25 Florida (minus 9) at Kentucky

Gators have won 16 straight against UK. ... FLORIDA 24-13.

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