Coaching rates Ohio State over Texas

Sep 6, 2005 5:24 AM

Isn’t college football great?

Just watching the games on television almost makes you feel like it’s no longer 106 degrees outside, the leaves are turning to orange, autumn is in the air and the holiday season is just around the corner.

I might even exhume my UCLA sweatshirt from the depths of the closet.

Even though we’ve only just begun the college season, there have been plenty of excitement and key match-ups.

We had some nice wins last week (Navy, Colorado State and UCLA) but also some tough losses (Syracuse and Miami-Ohio).

As we see how teams perform, we should be able to better evaluate upcoming match-ups. So, let’s take a shot with a few nice games this week.

Temple +34 at Wisconsin: Temple’s performance last week at Arizona State is an indication of why the Owls were dumped from the Big East conference. Their defense was virtually helpless against a Sun Devils attack that racked up 300 yards on the ground and 259 yards through the air en route to a 63-16 laugher. With Wisconsin’s prolific rushing attack, expect more of the same this week at Camp Randall Stadium. WISCONSIN

Colo St +12½ at Minnesota: Colorado State must travel to the Metrodome in Minneapolis after a very tough loss to hated rival Colorado last weekend. Even though the Rams have a good record as a road underdog (8-4 ATS), they have covered only twice in seven tries in the week following the Colorado game. Minnesota should be able to control the game with a solid running attack led by Laurence Maroney, who rushed for 203 yards last week against Tulsa. He will be even faster on the turf in the Metrodome — not good news for a rather pedestrian Rams defense. MINNESOTA

Hawaii +30½ at Mich St: This game should underscore how bad Hawaii really is. They were mostly defenseless against a mildly interested USC squad last week, and now must travel to the mainland, then across the U.S. to a Spartans squad waiting to avenge last year’s bad beat loss. Last season, even when Hawaii had its top quarterback (Timmy Chang) and top six receivers, they lost by an average margin of 40 points when traveling to the mainland. Michigan State could have the number covered by halftime. MICH ST.

So Miss +12 at Alabama: Southern Miss wasn’t able to open the season last week because of the storm, while Alabama shut down a fair Middle Tennessee team, which could contend for the Sun Belt title. Alabama’s strength once again is defense and will make it difficult on the Golden Eagles. The Tide won the last two meetings by smothering Southern Miss, 17-3 and 27-3. The results should be the same this weekend. ALABAMA.

Rice +24 at UCLA: The Bruins are coming off a convincing win over San Diego State, 44-21. In that contest, UCLA rushed for nearly 200 yards with a talented backfield led by Maurice Drew. Quarterback Drew Olson was solid but not spectacular. But the Aztecs outgained UCLA, 402 yards to 349. Rice will run its crazy triple option offense and should rack up the rushing yards. Stopping the run has been a weakness for UCLA, and that should be enough to keep the score relatively close. RICE

Texas +1 at Ohio St: This is the biggest game of the season so far and will have far-reaching BCS repercussions. The Longhorns have perhaps their best team in years and should contend for the Big 12 title, especially with Oklahoma in a rebuilding mode. Ohio State also has one of its better squads, especially on defense. But the most important edge for the Buckeyes is its coach, Jim Tressel, who in five years has led OSU to victory in virtually all of its big games (bowls, Michigan, national championship). Mack Brown, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to get over the top (five straight losses to Oklahoma), and he’s in deep here. Throw in a rare Saturday night game in Columbus and you have the Buckeyes getting a leg up on the national title chase. OHIO ST.

Last week: 3-4

Season: 3-4