Rea's Say: Pick Your Postseason Poison

Today's column analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of Ohio State's potential bowl opponents. Plus, we have several thoughts on the Michigan coaching situation along with the regular features: Random Thoughts, news from Around The Country and the Fearless Forecast.

Missouri? West Virginia? Southern California? Georgia? Pick your poison.

If you think Ohio State would beat any of those teams just by showing up, you haven't been paying attention.

The postseason scenarios for the Buckeyes are down to two possible destinations and four possible opponents. We know that OSU will either strap it up in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day or head to New Orleans for a second consecutive appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. That contest is set for Jan. 7.

Since Ohio State has no more regular-season games left to play, it can sit back, relax and watch Saturday as Missouri tries to avenge its only loss of the year. That will come in the Big 12 title game against Oklahoma. Kicking off just 15 minutes prior to that will be a matchup between West Virginia and Pittsburgh, a contest that nearly everyone has conceded to the Mountaineers.

Certainly by now, you know the ramifications but they bear repeating. If Missouri and West Virginia both win, they will move on to the national title game. Should either of them slip up on Saturday, it will open the door for Ohio State to skip over Pasadena and go directly to New Orleans.

If both the Tigers and Mountaineers manage to lose this weekend, that makes things a little more interesting. It could set up a national championship game featuring one-loss OSU and two-loss Georgia – even though the Bulldogs failed to win their division in the SEC and are not part of the conference championship game, being held between Tennessee and LSU. There are models out there offered by techno-geeks that believe Virginia Tech or LSU could jump Georgia in the standings with wins this weekend, but don't believe them. Those teams are too far back to make up the necessary ground on the Dawgs in just one week.

Therefore, let's take a look at the teams in contention to play Ohio State:

No. 1 MISSOURI (11-1)

The Tigers have had a truly magical season, winning 11 of 12 games with the only stumble a 41-31 loss to Oklahoma in mid-October. But for Mizzou's once-in-a-lifetime season to continue, it must break a five-game losing streak against the Sooners. In those five games, OU has outscored the Tigers by a 143-69 margin.
Strengths – 1. One of the nation's top QBs in Heisman Trophy candidate Chase Daniel (3,951 yards, 33 TDs, 70.5 percent completion rate) who operates the spread offense to perfection. 2. Supreme efficiency on third down. Because of Daniel's superlative season, the Tigers are the second-best team in the country when it comes to converting third downs (95 for 174, 54.6 percent). As a point of reference, Ohio State led the Big Ten at 47.7 percent. 3. A vastly underrated front seven on defense that ranks No. 25 nationally against the run.
Weaknesses – 1. Mizzou has struggled with its running game at times and tends to put too much responsibility on Daniel's shoulders. 2. The Tigers are susceptible to a big-time passing game – they allow an average of 265.8 yards per game through the air and that ranks 103rd in the nation. 3. The Tigers aren't very good on kick coverage. PK Jeff Wolfert averages only 58.6 yards on kickoffs – that's not even to the opponents' 10-yard line – while Mizzou is dead last in Division I-A in net punting.

No. 2 WEST VIRGINIA (10-1)

It seems that the Mountaineers fell off the radar screen after a 21-13 loss to South Florida in late September. What have they done since? Six straight victories by an average margin of 25.2 points. And while WVU has been criticized for a soft schedule, those last six victories have come at the expense of teams that are a combined 39-31 this season.
Strengths – 1. QB Patrick White is one of the top dual threats in college football with 2,642 yards and 26 TDs rushing and passing. He runs the spread option to perfection. 2. With White playing so well, the spotlight has shifted away from RB Steve Slaton (1,042 yards, 17 TDs). But opposing teams cannot afford to load up on White because Slaton can explode at any time. 3. A big, mobile offensive line that excels in the spread option – the Mountaineers are the No. 2 rushing team in the country and rank No. 8 in fewest sacks allowed.
Weaknesses – 1. A look at the defensive stats shows a vastly underrated unit that ranks among the nation's top 10 in scoring and total defense. But some opposing teams have found a way to move the ball through the air. 2. For all of White's talent, West Virginia would much rather rely on his legs than his arms. He can be ineffective at times when asked to stay in the pocket. 3. Depth. An injury to White led directly to the loss to USF, and the Mountain Men simply are not the same team without him. (See Oregon: Dennis Dixon.)

No. 8 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (9-2)

With the best array of talent in college football, it is borderline inexcusable for the Trojans to have lost two games this season – especially the 24-23 loss to Stanford in early October. Over the last three games, however, USC has suddenly refocused and is playing as well as anyone in the country right now. A berth in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State would mark the first time those two traditional powerhouses have met in Pasadena since 1985.
Strengths – 1. Most teams are lucky if they have one star running back. A handful of teams have two. With Chauncey Washington (828 yards, 8 TDs), Joe McKnight (326 yards, 1 TD) and Stafon Johnson (496 yards, 5 TDs), USC has three. 2. The team's top three receivers present matchup problems for most opposing DBs. Patrick Turner is 6-5, Vidal Hazelton is 6-3 and our old friend Fred Davis goes 6-4, 250. That trio has combined for 139 catches for 1,824 yards and 13 TDs. 3. When QB John David Booty (1,900 yards, 19 TDs) was out of the lineup, the Trojans struggled. Now that he's back, the team looks more like the one everyone thought would run away with the national championship.
Weaknesses – 1. Davis has been Booty's go-to guy in a pinch, but the QB will lock in on his tight end and give safeties a shot at making the pick. 2. An embarrassment of riches on offense has not translated into a scoring juggernaut. The truth is that USC struggles against good defenses and has been held to 27 points or less five times. 3. As talented as they are, many of the Trojans sometimes appear disinterested and take plays off.

No. 4 GEORGIA (10-2)

The Bulldogs are in an envious position despite having no trophy to show for their 2007 season so far. They are the highest ranking two-loss team in the country because they lost early and then came on with a vengeance to win their last six games in a row, half of them against ranked teams. A two-loss team has never played in the BCS championship game, but in this wackiest of college football seasons, I have learned to never say never.
Strengths – 1. Freshman sensation Knowshon Moreno (1,273 yards, 12 TDs) has sparked the Georgia offense all season while senior Thomas Brown (706 yards, 9 TDs) provides the power. 2. Sophomore QB Matthew Stafford has stepped up his game this season, upping his yardage and completion rate while cutting down on interceptions. 3. More innovative play-calling after head coach Mark Richt finally delegated those duties to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
Weaknesses – 1. Stafford is still prone to sophomore mistakes, including locking on receivers and throwing into double and triple coverage. 2. Third-down efficiency. In UGA's two losses this season to South Carolina and Tennessee, it was a combined 10 for 32 on third downs. 3. The defense can be susceptible to misdirection plays; i.e. Florida receiver Percy Harvin gained 97 yards on reverses against the Dawgs.

LES IS MORE IN MICHIGAN

Michigan athletic director Bill Martin has interviewed two candidates for the head coaching job left vacant when Lloyd Carr decided to step down. Ron English, who served as Carr's defensive coordinator, visited with Martin on Monday while Tuesday was reserved for Mike DeBord, who was the offensive coordinator under Carr.

Neither of those guys is going to get the job. English has never had head coaching experience and I can't imagine U-M will turn the job over to a guy who has never run his own program at any level. And while DeBord does have head coaching experience, spending four years at Central Michigan from 2000-03, his offensive schemes the last couple of years haven't exactly set the college football world on its ear.

Martin has said that he expects upwards of 20 candidates to be interested in replacing Carr, but I'm here to tell you that the search has already narrowed to two – Kirk Ferentz of Iowa and Les Miles of LSU.

Ferentz is the favored candidate of university president Mary Sue Coleman, who hired him in Iowa City. But does anyone honestly believe that Coleman wields much power in this decision? It's the same kind of straw-grasping the media did this time last year when it thought Barry Alvarez had a chance to become head coach at Miami (Fla.) because university president Donna Shalala had hired him at Wisconsin.

Nevertheless, Ferentz is a viable candidate for Michigan. He is a native Michigander, born Aug. 1, 1955, in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. (Fans of the TV show "Home Improvement" could probably tell you it was set in Royal Oak.) Plus, although one Big Ten school rarely raids another for a head coach in one of the major sports, don't think Iowa would necessarily be sorry to see Ferentz go. He has that hefty contact that pays him $2.7 million annually and his Hawkeyes have gone only 19-18 overall and 11-13 in the Big Ten over the past three seasons.

There are sources who have indicated the job is Ferentz's if he wants it, but I still have a tough time believing Miles isn't the No. 1 choice.

He played under Bo Schembechler in the mid-1970s, cut his coaching teeth as a GA on Schembechler's staff in 1980-81 and returned in '87 to spend eight seasons in Ann Arbor as an offensive line coach. Miles loves Michigan and he has never shied away from admitting that becoming head coach of the Wolverines is his ultimate dream job.

The scenario for Miles getting to Ann Arbor was improved greatly when his LSU team lost to Arkansas last Saturday. Had the Tigers qualified for the national championship game, it was doubtful that Michigan would have waited until he became available in mid-January.

IMHO, Ferentz was always the No. 2 guy, a fall-back option if Miles and LSU went all the way. Now that the Tigers are out of the national championship picture, it seems to me that Miles will be named as Carr's successor – and it could happen as early as next week.

A SIMPLE BCS ARGUMENT

Next time someone from the SEC, Big 12 or Pac-10 begins an argument about how Ohio State may luck into the national championship games and how their teams are getting jobbed, bring up these simple facts:

1. LSU lost to Kentucky, which finished 7-5.
2. Oklahoma lost to Colorado, which finished 6-6.
3. Georgia lost to South Carolina, which finished 6-6.
4. Southern Cal lost to Stanford, which is currently 3-8.

Now mention the fact that the only losses suffered by Ohio State and West Virginia this season were to teams that finished 9-3 while Missouri's lone defeat was against a team that is 10-2.

End of argument.

SOME OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS

• If either Missouri or West Virginia loses this weekend, Ohio State moves up into the BCS title game, leaving the Rose Bowl is a slight conundrum. Officials in Pasadena would love to keep the Big Ten-Pac-10 matchup intact and select Illinois. But there's one catch – the Illini are sitting at No. 15 in the latest BCS standings, and a team needs to finish in the top 14 to earn a berth to a BCS bowl. That means Illinois will not only be cheering this weekend for Oklahoma and Pitt. It will also have a vested interest in Virginia Tech knocking off Boston College in the ACC championship match and LSU beating Tennessee in the SEC title game. BC was No. 11 in the latest BCS standings while the Volunteers were 14th.

• I have my Heisman Trophy ballot in hand now, and I have to make up my mind by next Wednesday. I have finally narrowed my list down to three – Tim Tebow of Florida, Chase Daniel of Missouri and Darren McFadden of Arkansas. I'm pretty sure which of those three I'm going to put in the No. 1 spot, but I can still be persuaded. What do you think?

• Just a note for whoever becomes the next Michigan head coach: No Ohio State running back ever eclipsed the 200-yard mark against the Wolverines before Chris Wells went for 222 on Nov. 17. And while a bit of rebuilding needs to be done in Ann Arbor, Wells will be back for another go-round in 2008.

• One of my favorite college football games to watch kicks off at 12 noon Eastern on Saturday. It is the 108th meeting between Army and Navy, and it doesn't matter what their records are – if you don't get goose bumps after watching the Cadets and Midshipmen march into M&T Bank Stadium, you'd better check your pulse. Scheduled to be honored during the game is 1958 Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins of Army and 1963 Heisman recipient Roger Staubach of Navy.

• So far, this is the oldest I've been.

AROUND THE COUNTRY

• For all of you out there who were ready to usher Jim Heacock out of town a couple of weeks ago, know that he is one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, symbolic of the top assistant coach in college football. The other four nominees are Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, West Virginia offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young. (Yes, that's the same Bill Young that was DC at Ohio State under John Cooper from 1988-95.)

• CBSSportsline.com has ranked all the Division I-A from top to bottom and here is how the Big Ten stacks up: OSU 3rd, Illinois 14th, Wisconsin 19th, Michigan 33rd, Penn State 35th, Michigan State 43rd, Indiana 44th, Purdue 48th, Northwestern 59th, Iowa 77th and Minnesota 118th.

• I know what you're thinking, so I decided to use the rankings to compare the conferences. The average ranking for the Big Ten was 44.8. The average rankings for other major conferences: 35.4 for the SEC, 46.0 for the Big East, 46.7 for the Big 12, 48.5 for both the ACC and the Pac-10.

• We've all had a pretty good laugh at Michigan's expense due to the Wolverines' season-opening loss to I-AA Appalachian State. But U-M probably had no idea how big of a favor they were doing for the Mountaineers when they lost that 34-32 game in early September. According to the school, Appalachian State expects an increase of 20 to 25 percent in freshman applications for 2008-09, much of it due to the publicity received for the school's win over Michigan.

• Heading into the final week of the regular season, there are 71 bowl-eligible teams for a possible 64 berths. Sixteen other squads were one victory away from achieving the necessary six wins to be considered for bowl invitations.

• Chadron State beat Abilene Christian 76-73 in three overtimes last weekend in a Division II playoff game. The teams combined for the most points ever scored in an NCAA game, marking the third time in five weeks that record has been broken. Chadron trailed by 29 points in the fourth quarter, rallied to tie and won in the third overtime.

• In case you missed it, Purdue head coach Joe Tiller kicked wide receiver Selwyn Lymon off the team Nov. 20 just two days after he was arrested on drunken driving and resisting arrest charges. This was Lymon's second run-in with the law this year. Prosecutors filed drunken driving and other charges against him in September following a March 20 fight outside a West Lafayette nightclub during which he was stabbed in the chest. Lymon, who was recruited by Ohio State before signing with Purdue in 2005, caught 40 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns for the Boilermakers this season.

• Illinois head coach Ron Zook has parlayed his team's success into a free trip to Hawaii in January. Zook will be one of the coaches in the 63rd annual Hula Bowl, set for Jan. 12 in Honolulu.

• Our neighbors to the north will likely be happy to see November end. First, the Wolverines got rolled in their last two games of the regular season, marking the first time that has happened since 1979. Then the head coach "retires." Now, the university is being sued after handicap access to the Big House. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice asked to join a paralyzed veterans' group in its lawsuit demanding more wheelchair-accessible seating at Michigan Stadium. The department wants to join a federal lawsuit filed by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America claiming the current stadium design is inaccessible and the current three-year, $226 million renovation plan will neither fix the problem nor bring the facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

• As if anyone really cares, we're finally going to find out how much money Joe Paterno makes. The salaries of Paterno and Penn State's top administrators must be disclosed by the state retirement system, the state Supreme Court ruled Nov. 20 in a 4-2 vote. The decision said the Commonwealth Court, which had ordered the disclosure, properly balanced the public's interest in knowing details about retirement system finances against the effects disclosure might have on reputations and personal security. The case was the result of a 2002 request by the Harrisburg Patriot-News that sought the salaries of Paterno and three other Penn State officials from the State Employees Retirement System.

• Happy 111th birthday to the huddle. On Nov 26, 1896, during a 7-6 victory over Michigan, University of Chicago head coach Amos Alonzo Stagg told his team to call its plays about 10 yards behind instead of at the line of scrimmage. He instructed the Maroons to put their arms over each others' shoulders and "huddle up" because of the noise inside the Chicago Coliseum. Most football historians credit the modern-day huddle to that game.

• Last Friday marked the 39th anniversary of a 29-29 tie between Harvard and Yale, a contest that is still remembered in the Ivy League as "The Game Of All The Games." Harvard came back from a 29-13 deficit in the final 42 seconds to achieve the tie on Nov. 23, 1968. Harvard's student newspaper, The Crimson, headlines its story, "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29." One of the note participants in the game was Harvard lineman and future Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones.

• Also occurring over the past couple of weeks in college football history: On Nov. 22, 2003, Utah scored a 3-0 victory over BYU to end the Cougars' NCAA-record streak of 361 consecutive games without being shut out; on Nov. 21, 1925, Indiana and Purdue meet for the first time with the Old Oaken Bucket trophy on the line. The game winds up in a 0-0 tie and the schools share the trophy six months each for the next year; on Nov. 28, 1961, New Mexico State got an NCAA-record-tying six two-point conversions from halfback Jim "Preacher" Pilot (all on running plays) during a 54-8 victory over Hardin Simmons and its head coach Sammy Baugh; and on Nov. 30, 1905, Chicago scored a safety to score a 2-0 victory over Michigan and end the Wolverines' Big Ten-record streak of unbeaten games at 56.

• Quote of the week: ESPN college football commentator Rece Davis channeling the rap group Bloodhound Gang while announcing the dismissal of the head coach at Duke: "Ted Roof. Ted Roof. Ted Roof has been fired."

FEARLESS FORECAST

Turkey, mashed potatoes and homemade noodles evidently agree with the forecast. The crystal ball finally cleared for a 14-3 week that included calling Missouri over Kansas, Tennessee over Kentucky and Arkansas over LSU. That record upped the SU ledger back above 75 percent to 237-76 for the year.

Against the spread, we had a pretty good week at 10-6-1, pushing us to 136-145-6 for the season.

The 2007 regular season closes this week with a couple of games that will directly impact who plays in the BCS National Championship Game while other teams are simply trying to improve their bowl status. Let's see how the crystal ball foretells this week's games.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

No. 9 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Missouri: With all due respect to the SEC, I think this will be the best game of the weekend. The Big 12 Championship Game in San Antonio will feature a pair of teams that should be at the peak of their games. The Sooners own the only victory over the Tigers this season, a 41-31 win in Norman that was marked by several Mizzou mistakes. Since that game, however, the Tigers haven't lost and QB Chase Daniel has made himself a Heisman candidate by throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 33 TDs. On the other side, OU has a pretty fair quarterback in redshirt freshman Sam Bradford (2,670 yards, 32 TDs), who directs the No. 3 scoring offense in the country. Intangibles will play a role in this game – it is extremely difficult to beat any team twice in one season, but it is equally difficult for a team to repeat the kind of emotional high Missouri had last week for its win over Kansas. In the end, I can't imagine this being anything but entertaining and going right down to the wire … Oklahoma 37, Missouri 33. (8 p.m. EST, ABC)

Pittsburgh at No. 2 West Virginia: Before you pooh-pooh the Panthers' chances, you might want to know that they still hold a rather lopsided 59-37-3 advantage in the series known as "The Backyard Brawl." But that's about the only thing Pitt has going for it. The Mountaineers have won four of the last five in the series, including 45-27 last season when QB Pat White went off for 220 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 204 yards and two more scores through the air. The cold, hard truth is that the Panthers simply have no answer for White on defense. When you add in the fact that Pitt has had trouble scoring all season – 23.7 points per game, 90th nationally in scoring offense – there doesn't seem much in the way between the Mountain Men and a Jan. 7 date in New Orleans … West Virginia 38, Pittsburgh 24. (7:45 p.m. EST, ESPN)

No. 6 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Boston College: If it wasn't for that improbable comeback by the Eagles the first time these two teams played, the Hokies would be in the national championship picture. Now these two are angling for the ACC championship in the title game played in Jacksonville. Neither team is the same from the one that showed up in Blacksburg on that rainy October night. Tech has regrouped to win its last four games by an average margin of three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been grounded – going just 2-2 since their win over the Hokies. The problem the last time for Boston College was a poor offensive effort until QB Matt Ryan singlehandedly rallied his team from behind in the fourth quarter. If this turns out to be another defensive battle, the Hokies will come out on top this time … Virginia Tech 20, Boston College 17. (1 p.m. EST, ABC)

No. 14 Tennessee vs. No. 5 LSU: The Volunteers come into the SEC championship game in Atlanta elated while the Tigers are deflated. Tennessee lost two of its first three games this season and Phil Fulmer had one foot out the door. Then came wins in eight of their last nine games, and suddenly the Vols have a conference title within their grasp. Meanwhile, LSU has become only the fourth team in NCAA history to lose twice as the No. 1-ranked team in the same season. The Bayou Bengals are also having trouble regaining their focus as head coach Les Miles is the top candidate to replace Lloyd Carr at Michigan and defensive coordinator Bo Pelini tops the list of possible replacements for Bill Callahan at Nebraska. This game sets up perfectly for Tennessee. The Vols lead the overall series by a 20-6-3 margin and they have revenge on their minds after an upset loss to LSU in the 2001 conference title game. Somehow, though, I think the Tigers sack up and send Miles out with a win … LSU 47, Tennessee 45 (2 OT). (4 p.m. EST, CBS)

UCLA at No. 8 USC: Remember last season when the Trojans were marching to the national championship game and lost to the Bruins? So does Pete Carroll and he is determined not to let UCLA ruin his team's sixth straight Pac-10 championship. This year's Uclans have developed a serious case of schizophrenia – losses to Notre Dame and Washington State and victories over BYU and Oregon. They will probably get injured QB Ben Olson back for this game, but he will need to knock the rust off in a hurry. Southern Cal has won 37 of their last 38 games at the Coliseum, including four in a row over UCLA by an average margin of 27.3 points. That doesn't bode well for a team that struggles on offense – even during last week's 16-0 win over Oregon, the Bruins made only 10 first downs and barely scraped up 220 yards of total offense. That kind of effort just won't get it done this week … USC 27, UCLA 14. (4:30 p.m. EST, ABC)

Washington at No. 11 Hawaii: While the Huskies are simply playing out the string on a fourth straight losing season, the Warriors are trying to make enough of a statement to reach their first-ever BCS game. They have already clinched their first outright WAC championship and still have QB Colt Brennan (3,732 yards, 33 TDs) smashing NCAA career passing records. But as the only remaining undefeated team at the I-A level, Hawaii still believes it has plenty more to prove. It can begin by vanquishing a Pac-10 opponent that features a pretty good quarterback of its own – Jake Locker, who has 2,830 yards and 26 TDs combined running and passing. Unfortunately for Locker, his supporting cast is not even close to what Brennan brings to the table. The Warriors should put the finishing touches on their undefeated season and then wait for their really big test in January … Hawaii 45, Washington 24. (11:30 p.m. EST, ESPN2)

Arizona at No. 13 Arizona State: The Sun Devils have apparently run out of gas. After winning their first eight games, they have dropped two of their last three with the only win a 24-20 tongue-dragger over UCLA. Meanwhile, the Wildcats come into the Territorial Cup game riding a three-game winning streak and fresh from a 16-day layoff. They still need a victory to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 1998, though, and getting against ASU in Tempe won't be easy. The Sun Devils have won two straight and six of the last eight in the series – and Arizona hasn't had a four-game win streak since 2000. Still, it's not out of the question to think there's an upset brewing here. And since this is our last chance of the regular season, here is that Upset Special you've been waiting for … Arizona 28, Arizona State 24. (8 p.m. EST, ESPN2)

Oregon State at No. 18 Oregon: Look up the term "nosedive" in the dictionary and chances are good you will see a picture of the Oregon team accompanying the definition. It is almost unfathomable how any team at this level could rely so much on one player, but the Ducks have completely collapsed since QB Dennis Dixon was sidelined with a knee injury. Now Oregon is down to its third-string quarterback, redshirt freshman Cody Kempt, who takes over for an ineffective Brady Leaf, who was injured last week against UCLA. Even with Dixon in the lineup, the Quack Attack was going to have problems in the 111th renewal of the game they call The Civil War. The Beavers prevailed last season by a 30-28 score, and have won six of their last seven games this season. But if history counts for anything, Oregon has a shot. The home team has won throughout the past decade, and the Ducks haven't lost back-to-back games to their instate rival in more than 30 years. I think Oregon finds a way to get it done … Oregon 24, Oregon State 21. (4:30 p.m. EST, ESPN2)

No. 21 BYU at San Diego State: The Cougars expect a victory lap this weekend as they travel to Qualcomm to take on the 4-7 Aztecs. BYU has already clinched the Mountain West championship, but can become the first team in league history to finish undefeated in conference play in back-to-back seasons. That goal seems within easy reach since SDSU allows a league-worst 494.5 yards and 33.2 points per game and has given up 1,364 yards and 100 points in its last two losses. Meanwhile, the Cougars average a MWC-best 29.6 points per game. Perhaps the only suspense for BYU will come between now and a bowl game to see if some higher-profile school can lure away head coach Bronco Mendenhall … BYU 41, San Diego State 14. (6:30 p.m. EST, The Mtn)

AGAINST THE SPREAD

I see only three favorites worth taking this week, so give me Oklahoma (-3) vs. Missouri, Washington at Hawaii (-10) and BYU (-15) at San Diego State. Also, the Oregon State-Oregon game is a pick 'em and I've got the Ducks in that one.

I'll take the points in these: Pittsburgh (+28½) at West Virginia; Virginia Tech vs. Boston College (+5); Tennessee (+7½) vs. LSU; UCLA (+20½) at USC; and Arizona (+7) at Arizona State.


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