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Expect fall(out) from grace to continue

Nov 5, 2002 7:42 AM

   The pressure of jockeying for BCS position seemingly caught up with half the field of hopefuls last week when four teams fell from the ranks of the undefeated.

   The question, this week, is how they respond after suffering what must have been monumental disappointment. Let’s take a look.

   NC State at Maryland -4½: This is a tough spot for the Wolfpack. To lose in the waning moments last week to Georgia Tech, then to travel and face a streaking Terrapin squad is a tall order. Perhaps too tall, as Maryland should continue it’s winning ways and make it two straight losses for NC State. Maryland

   Miami-Florida -9 at Tennessee: Miami had to come from behind the last two weeks to beat Big East powerhouses West Virginia and Rutgers. In fact, the Hurricane needed to whip up 28 fourth quarter points to blow away the Scarlet Knights last week. Tennessee has been a disappointment, but Coach Philip Fulmer redeems the Vols with an upset win to topple Miami from the BCS parade. Tennessee

   Clemson -9½ at North Carolina: How bad can the Tar Heels be? Last week, after scoring against Maryland they gave up 59 straight points. Moreover, they are a horrid 0-5 straight up and ATS at home this season. As lackluster as the Tigers have been, they’ll shine in sending UNC to it sixth loss at home while covering the number. Clemson

   Michigan State and Indiana -3: The Spartans are this season’s biggest bust. The team appears poorly coached and the players have no desire to compete. That’s a bad combination, even against a mediocre Indiana squad, whose only home loss came to Iowa. Indiana may not be talented, but they play with exuberance, which will be enough to win this one by two TDs or more. Indiana

   Kansas at Nebraska -34: Even though the Lincoln boosters are calling for Frank Solich’s head, the Cornhuskers played fairly well against a more-talented Longhorn team. They’ll relieve themselves of a season’s worth of frustrations against the hapless Jayhawks. In fact, the Huskers could have the number covered by halftime. Nebraska

   Baylor at Texas -40: Every conference has a punching bag — it’s Baylor in the Big 12. Texas tunes up for a big game with Texas Tech by running its offense against a miserable Baylor defense. Texas has won the last three meetings by an average 45 points; the carnage will continue. Texas

   Oklahoma -10 at Texas A&M: Suddenly, the Aggies’ vaunted defense has sprung a leak. Oddly enough, they started giving up points in bunches at about the same time the offense began scoring. But that’s the story of R.C. Slocum’s life: one step forward, two steps back. The Sooners do a two-step of their own at College Station. Oklahoma

   Other college games:

   USC: -15 over Stanford.

   Washington State: -6 over Oregon.

   UCLA: -10 over Arizona.

   Last week: 5-2