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Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rivalries abundant as big weekend approaches

November 17, 2005

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Bowl Championship Series bids and conference titles will be on the line Saturday. As will bronze pigs, wooden buckets, various trophy cups and, of course, braggin' rights on rivalry weekend.

Alabama-Auburn and Ohio State-Michigan are the headline games, but don't try telling fans in Oregon, Washington, Northern California and South Carolina the biggest game of the week isn't being played in their state.

No. 8 Alabama and No. 11 Auburn meet for the 70th time at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but for the first time since 1995 both teams are ranked. The winner still can win the Southeastern Conference's Western Division and earn a spot in the league title game Dec. 3 if LSU loses one of its final two games.

No. 9 Ohio State and No. 17 Michigan will be in a similar situation when they go at it for the 102nd time at the Big House in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes can earn a share of the Big Ten crown with a victory, but if Penn State beats Michigan State later in the day, the Nittany Lions will get the conference's BCS bid.

The Wolverines need a victory and a Penn State loss to share the Big Ten title, and if that happens Michigan gets the BCS bid. Ohio State has won three of four against Big Blue since coach Jim Tressel took over.

"This is our biggest rivalry, and it's something you really can't explain," Michigan tight end Tim Massaquoi said. "I've tried to put it in words many times, but I really can't. This is a game you're on a mission to play."

In Oregon, the rivalry between the state's biggest schools is dubbed the Civil War. No. 10 Oregon is a big favorite at home against Oregon State. The Ducks hope finishing 10-1 can land them an at-large BCS bid. The Beavers would like to make sure that doesn't happen.

Farther north, Washington and Washington State will play for the Apple Cup, which has gone rotten this season. The Huskies and Cougars have one Pac-10 victory between them.

No. 7 Virginia Tech plays at Virginia with the Commonwealth Cup and the Hokies' BCS hopes at stake.

Steve Spurrier gets his first taste of the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry. The Gamecocks take a five-game winning streak into the game, but they have lost seven of the last eight meetings. Last season, in Lou Holtz's final game as South Carolina coach, an ugly brawl broke out between the teams.

Back in the Big Ten, Minnesota is at Iowa, where the winner takes home a bronze statue of a pig named Floyd of Rosedale. Over in Indiana, Purdue and IU play for the Old Oaken Bucket.

Stanford and California play the Big Game in Palo Alto, Calif., while on the other side of the country, Harvard is at Yale for The Game.

And North Carolina plays Duke - but its on the gridiron, not the hardwood, so nobody really cares.

Saturday

No. 16 Fresno State (plus 23) at No. 1 Southern California

Bulldogs bill themselves as giant killers - here you go ... USC 49-21.

Georgia Tech (plus 17 1â2) at No. 3 Miami

'Canes making a run at No. 1 - in next season's preseason poll ... MIAMI 33-14.

No. 4 LSU (minus 17) at Mississippi

LSU has won three straight vs. Rebels by total of seven points ... LSU 21-7.

No. 5 Penn State (minus 7) at Michigan State

Nittany Lions try to land first BCS bid ... PENN STATE 31-17.

Syracuse (plus 34 1â2) at No. 6 Notre Dame

Fighting Irish two wins away from huge BCS payday ... NOTRE DAME 51-17.

No. 7 Virginia Tech (minus 7) at Virginia

Hokies have won five of six against Cavs ... TECH 24-20.

No. 8 Alabama (plus 7) at No. 11 Auburn

Another SEC slugfest ... AUBURN 20-17.

No. 9 Ohio State (minus 3) at No. 17 Michigan

Jim Tressel - the anti-John Cooper ... OHIO STATE 31-24.

Oregon State (minus 13) at No. 10 Oregon

Beavers need win to become bowl eligible ... OREGON 42-32.

Kentucky (plus 27) at No. 14 Georgia

Bulldogs clinch SEC East with a win ... GEORGIA 48-17.

Clemson (minus 2) at No. 19 South Carolina

Gamecocks can win SEC East with win and Georgia loss ... SOUTH CAROLINA 21-20.

Oklahoma (plus 7) at No. 21 Texas Tech

Sooners quietly getting better ... OKLAHOMA 33-24.

No. 23 Boston College (minus 21â2) at Maryland

Terps need one more win for bowl eligibility ... MARYLAND 26-20.

UAB (plus 71â2 ) at No. 24 UTEP

Miners can clinch C-USA West ... UTEP 41-24.

Last week: 14-5 (straight); 8-10-1 (vs. points).

Season: 157-45 (straight); 103-86-6 (vs. points).

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