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College Football: Top 25 preview

Associated Press
The Top 25 roundup …Notre Dame’s visit to USC this Saturday may stir up the familiar passion that accompanies this eight-decade-old rivalry, but for the most part it’s just hollow blubbering, for nostalgia’s sake.
Right now, one of them has become a Happy Meal for the other.
The Trojans gobbled up the Fighting Irish, 38-0, last year, and the four-touchdown spread by which the experts see them winning this year seems low.
USC-Notre Dame used to be a very attractive couple, but Our Lady really let herself go. Since Pete Carroll arrived at USC in 2002 and lost that first game to the Irish, Troy has won six in a row by margins of 31, 31, 31, 3, 20 and 38.
Once you could count on this game drawing the attention of a nation. Those scores draw the attention of fruit flies.
The bullying may seem like a fabulous turn of events for Trojan Nation, but before the band strikes up another rousing three hours of “Conquest” Saturday, just remember that it does USC no special good to keep hammering the Soft Serve from South Bend.
The Trojans’ problem with the Bowl Championship Series is strength of schedule. Voters have had trouble putting 9-1 USC into the BCS championship picture because the Trojans don’t have an impressive win over someone really good since they smoked Ohio State.”It’s unique,” Carroll said earlier this week. “Rivalries don’t usually cross this much distance. It’s a classic, the Midwest team playing on the West Coast, then we take it back there.”
Yup, and how sad for college football when this game not only means nothing in the national picture, but also presents little in the way of suspense for their faithful.
No. 1 Alabama (11-0) vs. Auburn (5-6)Alabama’s perfect season, No. 1 ranking and status as national title front-runner. The Crimson Tide want to keep all that intact heading into the SEC championship game against Florida. Auburn hopes to extend its six-year Iron Bowl winning streak, become eligible for a bowl game and perhaps end questions about coach Tommy Tuberville’s job security.
No. 3 Oklahoma (10-1) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-2)Oklahoma State is chasing the first 11-win season in school history and can spoil Oklahoma’s national championship hopes, just like in 2001, with a win in the Bedlam rivalry. Oklahoma State has outscored Oklahoma 142-131 in the last five games in Stillwater, including victories in 1998 and 2002.
Baylor (4-7) at No. 7 Texas Tech (10-1)Texas Tech must win to remain in the hunt for its first Big 12 South title and a possible BCS bowl berth.
Kansas (6-5) vs. No. 12 Missouri (9-2)Win would give Jayhawks at least seven wins in consecutive seasons for first time since 1960-61. Missouri begins two-week run in Kansas City with the regular-season finale serving as tuneup for second straight Big 12 championship game appearance on Dec. 6.
No. 18 Georgia Tech (8-3) at No. 13 Georgia (9-2)State pride and potentially better bowl bids are on the line for both teams.
Syracuse (3-8) at No. 16 Cincinnati (9-2)Cincinnati won the Big East and its BCS bowl berth when Pitt beat West Virginia on Friday afternoon. Syracuse will be playing its final game under coach Greg Robinson, who has been fired.
Maryland (7-4) at No. 20 Boston College (8-3)Boston College will win the ACC’s Atlantic Division and a second straight trip to the conference title game with a victory. Maryland can share the Coastal Division title with a win, though Florida State would get the championship game berth because of last week’s 37-3 victory over the Terrapins. Maryland is hoping to improve its bowl position.
No. 19 Oregon (8-3) at No. 17 Oregon State (8-3)
A win for Oregon State sends the Beavers to the Rose Bowl, where they will face Penn State, a team that beat them 45-14 earlier this season. If Oregon wins ó and USC loses to UCLA on Dec. 6 ó there would be a three-way tie at the top of the conference.

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