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College Football: National Roundup

Associated Press
Today’s national roundup …
ATHENS, Ga. ó Time for the Southeastern Conference to start devouring its own, and see who survives at the end.
Fourth-ranked LSU faces No. 18 Georgia today for the first of what figure to be a series of elimination games within the league that has produced the last three national champions.
No wonder Bulldogs coach Mark Richt pulled a Rex Ryan, urging Bulldog fans to be at their loudest for this huge game between the hedges.
“I want to encourage all our fans to get jacked up and ready to go,” the low-key Richt said. “I want our students to become as crazed as always. I want them to make the pregame warmup an exciting time. Get in the stands as fast as you can because this is going to be a special game. It’s the kind of game everyone dreams about.”
This is actually the first in a series of playoff-like games that will narrow the field to two teams for the SEC championship game on Dec. 5. If past years are any indication, the winner in Atlanta that day will likely claim a spot in the BCS title game.
In reality, this game is probably more important for Georgia (3-1, 2-0 SEC) than it is for LSU (4-0, 2-0), since the Tigers have those other two blockbusters still looming on their schedule. If the Bulldogs can get past this one, they’d have a realistic shot at being undefeated in the conference going into that game formerly known as the Cocktail Party, the one down in Jacksonville against Tim Tebow and the Gators.
“We’re pretty jacked up about this one,” Richt said.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó The Auburn Tigers have conquered a few obstacles already this season. They’ve won four straight under a new coaching staff, embraced a revamped spread offense and won their first Southeastern Conference game.
Now it’s time to see how the Tigers (4-0, 1-0 SEC) handle their first road test and major venue when they travel to Tennessee (2-2, 0-1) today.
Tennessee is looking for its first conference win and trying to survive a month that also includes games against No. 18 Georgia, No. 3 Alabama and South Carolina.
Coach Lane Kiffin knows a win won’t come easy over Auburn, which is averaging 45 points and 526 yards per game and has the Football Bowl Subdivision’s third-ranked offense.

BERKELEY, Calif ó After all that went wrong for California in 2007, coach Jeff Tedford did take one valuable lesson from a season that started with so much promise only to end in bitter disappointment.
The best way to make sure one bad loss doesn’t send a season spiraling out of control is to work on the players’ psyche instead of devising better schemes.
Tedford will carry that lesson into today’s game against No. 7 Southern California (3-1, 1-1 Pac-10), when the 24th-ranked Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1) will try to bounce back from a 42-3 loss at Oregon.

MIAMI ó Losing by 38 points to Oklahoma two seasons ago still pains Miami. Losing last season’s national championship game on the Hurricanes’ home field still stings the Sooners.
Of course, all that will be completely irrelevant tonight.
When No. 8 Oklahoma (2-1) visits No. 17 Miami (2-1), it’ll be about far more than erasing lingering disappointment over past defeats. For the Sooners, it’s a chance to get ready for the looming Big 12 season and keep climbing the polls after a Week 1 loss. For the Hurricanes, it’s an opportunity to snap a five-game slide against top-10 teams that dates back to 2005.

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