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Gators were so good, we’ll take them again

Nov 13, 2001 9:10 AM

Some interesting betting propositions are on this week’s college football card.

Saturday, Nov. 17:
Florida State at Florida: It wasn’t too long ago that this game would have carried national implications. Not so this year. The Seminoles have already lost three times and are a long way from their accustomed high national ranking.

The Gators, on the other hand, continue to pursue a BCS bowl appearance, while flashing the most sophisticated passing attack in college football. We made them our best bet of last week and they responded with a 54-17 thrashing of South Carolina, scoring on their first nine possessions.

Florida is our best bet again this week. And you don’t have to worry about Steve Spurrier showing mercy to an outmanned opponent. Last Saturday, when holding a 30-point lead in the game’s closing moments, he ordered a pass to boost the margin. There are no kneeldowns in the Florida play book. Take Florida (—15).

Syracuse at Miami: This game will probably settle the Big East championship and land a berth in a BCS bowl. The Hurricanes were lucky to escape from Boston College last Saturday with an 18-7 win even though BC star running back William Green did not play due to an infraction of team rules.

Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey threw four interceptions and the overall result did nothing to enhance the Hurricanes standing in the polls and BCS computers. Must expect sharp improvement playing at home. Syracuse is a good team — one of the surprises of the season — and the Orangemen will not lie down and play dead. But the Hurricanes have superior talent. Take Miami (—20).

Michigan at Wisconsin: Except four a couple of weird plays, the Wolverines (7-2) would be unbeaten and challenging for the highest national honors. A blocked field-goal attempt returned for a touchdown beat them at Washington after they had outplayed the Huskies. A victory  keeps Michigan  ahead of Illinois in the race for the Big Ten title. Take Michigan (—6).

UCLA at USC: It would be quite a feather in the cap of first-year USC coach Pete Carroll if he could win this one. Not only would it be a satisfying triumph over one of the Trojans’ two great rivals ”” the other is Notre Dame ”” it would boost USC to a 6-5 mark and bowl eligibility.  Take USC (+4½).

Duke at N. Carolina: This would be a great game if the sport was basketball. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, it’s not. There’s no good reason to ignore soft pickings like this. Take North Carolina (—27).

California at Stanford: Another mismatch. The Golden Bears (0-9) ooze incompetence at every pore while Stanford is one of the better teams in the nation. Stanford and North Carolina might make a nice parlay. Take Stanford (-24). Navy at Notre Dame: The Navy gridiron program has reached its nadir. The Midshipmen are 0-8, the head coach has been dismissed, and the team is being coached by an assistant on an interim basis. To make matters worse, this week Navy faces a team against which its record is 9-64-1 and hasn’t defeated since 1963.

That’s a series losing streak of 37 games. Over the past four years, the average Irish victory margin over Navy has been 23 points. Take Navy (+27½).