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State Rivals Clash In Florida, Michigan

Florida State travels to Miami; Michigan hosts Michigan State

by Dave Congrove
October 4, 2010

The college football week kicks off Tuesday with a big Sun Belt battle featuring Troy at MTSU. In all, 55 games fill a schedule that features only three pairings of schools that are among the top 25 teams in this week's Congrove Computer Rankings - No. 12 LSU at No. 9 Florida; No. 25 Florida State at No. 17 Miami (Fla.), and No. 21 Michigan State at No. 24 Michigan.

Other top battles include Alabama at South Carolina and USC at Stanford.

Dwight Dasher returns at QB for Middle Tennessee in Tuesday night's home game against Troy. Dasher has served a 4-game suspension for receiving an improper benefit in the form of a $1,500 loan to play poker. A year ago, Dasher ran for 1,391 yards and 13 TD's, and passed for 2,789 with 23 TD's. The Blue Raiders are a 4.99-point computer pick over the Trojans which have won or shared the last four Sun Belt titles.

On Saturday, LSU invades "The Swamp" as an 11.84-point underdog to hand the Gators a second straight defeat. The Tigers last won in Gainesville in 2004 and trail in the series 30-23-3.

The computer doesn't believe Florida State will make a third consecutive successful trip to Miami. The 'Noles won 41-39 in 2008 and 13-10 in 2006, but the computer likes Miami by 8.16 to improve its series lead to 32-23. Though it's still early in the conference schedule, these are two of just four teams that haven't lost an ACC game (Maryland and Virginia Tech are the others).

Michigan is a 2.57-point home favorite over Michigan State. It was the Spartans' 26-20 overtime win a year ago that started the Wolverines on a 7-game losing streak to FBS schools. Michigan had won six straight in the series, but has now lost two in-a-row. The Wolverines lead the series 67-30-5.

Of the 10 teams that are idle this week, three are among the 25 highest ranked teams in the CCR Top 120 - No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 14 Iowa and No. 20 Texas.

MUST-SEE
Thursday
Nebraska at Kansas State - The computer's preseason forecast had Kansas State starting 1-3, but the Wildcats are 4-0 instead. Now they host Nebraska with a chance to improve to 2-0 in the Big 12 North Division race. The computer favors the Cornhuskers by a commanding 14.82 points.

Saturday
Alabama at South Carolina - Florida's loss at Alabama helped other teams in the east division stay in the race. The Gamecocks are one of three teams in the division with a single conference loss. Kentucky and Tennessee have already lost twice and Georgia has taken it on the chin 3 times. The computer likes the Crimson Tide by 14.58 points.

USC at Stanford - Newer PAC-10 head coaches are having profound success against USC. Washington's Steve Sarkisian is 2-0 against the Trojans; Oregon's Chip Kelly is 1-0, and now Stanford's Jim Harbaugh is an 11.68-point computer pick to improve to 3-1 against the Trojans with a victory this week.

WORTH WATCHING:
Saturday
Clemson at North Carolina - The loser will fall to 0-2 in the ACC. These teams were the computer's preseason favorites to meet in the ACC title game. The Tar Heels are favored by 8.61 points to pocket their first win over Clemson since 2001. The Tigers have won 5 of the last 6 meetings and lead the overall series 33-19-1.

Baylor vs. Texas Tech (at Dallas) - A Baylor victory would push the Bears to 5-1 and one step closer to their first bowl appearance since 1994. The Red Raiders, however, are the computer's choice by 8.45 points. Texas Tech is coming off a surprising 52-38 loss at Iowa State.

Arkansas at Texas A&M - Last year's meeting in Arlington was the first time these teams played since Arkansas left the now-defunct Southwestern Conference after the 1991 season. The Razorbacks rolled to a 47-19 win last year and are favored by 7.71 points to win again.

Tennessee at Georgia - Will the Vols get their first SEC win under Derek Dooley? Will Georgia fall to 0-4 in the SEC? The computer likes the 'Dawgs by 11.01, but it's 2-3 in picking the winner of Georgia games thus far (it is 5-0 with Tennessee games).

Indiana at Ohio State - Indiana QB Ben Chappell could keep this game interesting, as Michigan learned last week. Against the Wolverines, Chappell was 45-of-64 for 480 yards and 3 touchdowns in the heartbreaking 42-35 home loss. The computer likes the Buckeyes by 31.37 points, but I'll be surprised if Ohio State wins by more than 20.

UNDEFEATED TEAMS:
18 schools enter the week with unblemished records, and at least 2 will lose this week as 4 of those teams face each other - Nebraska at Kansas State, and Michigan State at Michigan. Conversely, Oklahoma is guaranteed not to lose as the Sooners are idle this week.

STILL WINLESS:
6 teams remain winless - Akron, Eastern Michigan, FIU, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Western Kentucky - but two are guaranteed to win this week as FIU hosts Western Kentucky and New Mexico visits New Mexico State.

FBS vs. FCS:
There are no games this week between FBS and FCS schools.

FBS teams went 2-1 vs. FCS schools last week as San Jose State lost 14-13 at home to Cal-Davis. FBS schools are now 74-7 (.914) in such games this season. Since 2003, FBS teams are 538-49 (.917) vs. FCS teams.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16
10/2: Cal-Davis 14, San Jose State 13

This year, 85 FBS teams play a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools play two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.

STREAKS:
Alabama has 19 straight wins overall and 29 straight regular season wins. (Next: at South Carolina this Saturday).

Boise State has streaks of 18 overall wins, 29 regular season wins, 27 home wins, 57 regular season home wins, and 42 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (36-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 6-1 in their last seven matches against BCS conference schools. (Next: vs. Toledo this Saturday).

Ohio State has won 11 straight. (Next: vs. Indiana this Saturday).

Oklahoma has 33 straight home victories. (Next: vs. Iowa State on 10/16).

Utah has 20 straight home wins. (Next: at Iowa State this Saturday).

Western Kentucky has lost 24 straight overall and 29 straight to FBS teams. (Next: at FIU this Saturday).

Eastern Michigan has lost 17 straight overall. (Next: at Vanderbilt this Saturday).

New Mexico State has lost 11 straight overall. (Next: vs. New Mexico this Saturday).

Washington State has lost 13 straight to FBS schools. (Next: vs. Oregon this Saturday).