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A monster of a Saturday

No. 17 Florida State at No. 10 Oklahoma, 3:30, Ch. 28

It's a rematch of the national title game in the 2000 season, with Sooners coach Bob Stoops going up against his brother, FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. Which traditional power will establish itself as a top contender?

No. 12 Miami at No. 2 Ohio State, 3:30, ESPN

It's a rematch of the controversial national title game in the 2002 season, when Ohio State benefited from a late pass-interference call in overtime. Much like the FSU-Oklahoma game, it's a chance for the ACC to show it should have a say in the national title race this season, rather than just a bunch of ranked teams.

No. 18 Penn State at No. 1 Alabama, 7, ESPN

Another huge interconference showdown. Joe Paterno vs. Nick Saban, and the injury status of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram only adds to the intrigue as the Crimson Tide gets its toughest nonconference challenge of the season.

But wait, there's more

There are at least a half-dozen other potentially big games, including USF's long-awaited first shot at the Gators in Gainesville. It's hard to imagine Michigan and Notre Dame meeting as unranked teams, but the Wolverines and coach Rich Rodriguez can sneak back into the polls and national relevance with a win in South Bend, Ind. Oregon goes to Knoxville to play Tennessee, and USC gets a home test from Virginia. That doesn't even get to BCS conference pairings such as Georgia Tech-Kansas, Colorado-California, Iowa-Iowa State and Syracuse-Washington. And if you just like the state of Florida, two non-BCS state teams get a chance for big wins at home, as UCF plays host to North Carolina State, and Florida International tries to knock off Rutgers. Technically, Florida Atlantic is playing host to Michigan State, but it's doing so in Detroit. Don't ask.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Quarterback comparison

Jacory Harris and Terrelle Pryor were introduced a couple of years ago by a mutual friend on a phone call, and the two quarterbacks quickly becoming confidants.

Their favorite discussion topic?

"Anything but football," Harris said.

There's no way that would be possible this week.

Potentially Heisman-contending quarterbacks — and more important, potentially championship-contending teams — meet today in Columbus, Ohio. Harris leads No. 12 Miami (1-0) into a stadium filled with 105,000 or so fans, most of whom who will be there to root on Pryor and No. 2 Ohio State (1-0).

It took a long time, but Harris and Pryor will finally have their paths collide on the field.

"We talked earlier this week," Pryor said. "We just said, 'Stay injury-free, have a good game and let's make this game go down in history.' "

Comparisons of the starting quarterbacks are inevitable this week, considering they've been made for years anyway.

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Pryor is 2 inches taller and 40 pounds heavier, yet there's plenty of statistical similarities. Both have played 27 games. Pryor has combined to run and pass for 5,079 yards and 46 touchdowns, while Harris, more of a thrower and not so much of a runner, has 4,636 yards and 42 touchdowns.

They share this in common, too: Both are ardent followers of LeBron James, the longtime Buckeyes fan and new Miami Heat star.

"I told him I owe him a show," said Pryor, who's urging Ohio State fans not to boo James — who snubbed Cleveland to join Miami this summer — if he shows up today.

Big talk, Boise

Boise State likes the impression that no one wants to schedule it because of its giant-killer reputation. But maybe it also has something to do with the price tag. Nebraska tried to schedule a game with Boise in Lincoln or a two games in Lincoln and one in Boise series, but the Broncos wanted $1 million to play in Lincoln, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

By the numbers

3 Big 12 running backs who ran for 200 or more yards Saturday — Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter, Kansas State's Daniel Thomas and Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray — only the fifth time in league history three have hit the mark on the same day.

6 SEC schools that have won the league title since 1977: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee.

0-4 Penn State coach Joe Paterno's record against former Alabama coach Bear Bryant, and Paterno says the Crimson Tide team that the Nittany Lions visit today compares favorably to the great squads of yesteryear.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

For a college football fan, Saturdays in September don't get much better than today. ESPN has dubbed this "Monster Saturday," and that might be an understatement. From noon until late tonight, there's a steady parade of top-tier nonconference showdowns. There are four games involving ranked teams against each other, and that's just the start.



A look at this week's college football scene. For more, check out colleges.tampabay.com.

A monster of a Saturday 09/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 9:54pm]
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