UT vs. USC in Rose Bowl?

Three experts at collegefootballnews.com pick Southeastern Conference teams to play for the NCAA title this year, and one of them thinks it will be Tennessee.

In a website piece called ''The BCS Matchups Will Be ...'' collegefootball news.com's Pete Fiutak, Richard Cirminiello and Matthew Zemek predict the matchups for the 2005-06 BCS games -- Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.

The Rose will be for the national title, and all three experts pick defending national champ Southern Cal to serve as the host team. Then things get interesting. Fiutak tabs SEC West power Louisiana State as the likely opponent. Cirminiello tabs Florida of the SEC East. Zemek picks Tennessee.

Here's how Zemek explains his selection of the Vols:

''Yes, Brent Schaeffer--and all his devastating speed--is no longer a Tennessee Vol. But there's this Erik Ainge kid who did all right in his freshman year last season. He'll be up to the task in an SEC where all of UT's competitors, in both divisions, have major liabilities: Georgia lacks David Greene; Florida faces all the uncertainties that go with a coaching transition; South Carolina and Steve Spurrier lack a proven quarterback; LSU lacks a big-time coach (as of now); and Auburn lacks last year's primo talent on the offensive side of the ball. If Tennessee can escape Gainesville in September with a win, watch out.''

Whereas Zemek picks UT to play for the national title, neither Fiutak nor Cirminiello projects the Vols to qualify for a BCS bowl.

The Orange Bowl predictions are Miami vs. Louisville (Fiutak and Cirminiello), Virginia Tech vs. Louisville (Zemek). The Sugar Bowl projections are Ohio State vs. Purdue (Fiutak), Texas vs. Virginia Tech (Cirminiello), Texas vs. Iowa (Zemek). The Fiesta Bowl picks are Oklahoma vs. California (Fiutak), Oklahoma vs. Purdue (Cirminiello), Oklahoma vs. Michigan (Zemek).


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