Longhorns Hope to Take a New Route

Game of the Week

UCLA vs Texas

Saturday, 12:30 p.m.


There's nothing in play here, except maybe the Heisman Trophy, the national championship and that age-old motivator: revenge.

Texas at UCLA is as good as it gets on Saturday.

UCLA's 66-3 victory last year in Austin, known as "Rout 66," ranked as the worst home defeat in Texas football history.

Texas defensive end Aaron Humphrey now says he was kidding when he was quoted as saying UCLA quarterback Cade McNown was a "dead man" in the rematch, but emotions will be running high.

The stakes: National title? UCLA rides a 10-game winning streak into the game and has reasonable expectations to reach the championship game in Tempe. With chief conference rival Arizona State having already lost, UCLA can make an early statement with a resounding opening-game victory.

The Heisman: Is UCLA quarterback Cade McNown versus Texas tailback Ricky Williams overrated?

Two years ago, in Knoxville, quarterbacks Peyton Manning of Tennessee and Danny Wuerffel of Florida squared off in a similar September showdown.

Manning was the favorite going in, yet all but lost the Heisman to Wuerffel that day with four first-half interceptions.

After the fabulous first-game exploits of Heisman candidates Tim Couch (Kentucky), Daunte Culpepper (Central Florida) and Williams, McNown lags behind in the race if only because his team has not yet played.

But victories will prove more important to McNown than statistics. Kentucky, Central Florida and Texas, remember, all had losing records last season, and only one man from a losing team, Notre Dame's Paul Hornung in 1956, has won the Heisman.

* The line: UCLA by 9.

Rating the TV Games


* * * * Don't leave the recliner

* * * The yardwork can wait

* * OK to flip to fishing show.

* For pro scouts only

* Rice (1-0) at Purdue (0-1), 9 a.m. ESPN

Well-grounded Rice attempted 69 passes last season, one more than Louisiana Tech quarterback Tim Rattay let go against Nebraska two weeks ago.

The line: Purdue by 9 1/2.

* Iowa State (0-1) at Iowa (1-0), 9 a.m. ESPN2

They're still calling this a rivalry, even though Iowa has won the last 15. Look out, though, Iowa may have a quarterback controversy brewing between Randy Reiners and Kyle McCann.

The line: Iowa by 28.

* Northern Illinois (0-1) at No. 5 Kansas State (1-0), 9:30 a.m. FSW2

Kansas State continues its march on defenseless nonconference foes while hoping no one with a national title vote is paying attention.

The line: Kansas State by 48 1/2.

* Mississippi State (1-0) at Memphis (0-1), 9:30 a.m., FSW

Don't miss the pregame catfish fry and Elvis look-alike contest as schools from border states tee it up in a summer swelter. Memphis ain't nothing but a hound dog, though, losing the last four to Mississippi State.

The line: Mississippi State by 11.

* * Miami (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1), 12:30 p.m., FSW

Miami's climb back to national prominence takes another step forward. Cincinnati? Too bad last week against Tulane.

The line: Miami by 14.

* * No. 15 Georgia (1-0) at South Carolina (1-0), 3 p.m., ESPN2

In a Southeastern Conference series dating to the Reconstruction, Georgia takes its chances with Quincy Carter, the first freshman quarterback to start in Athens since 1945.

The line: Georgia by 5.

* * No. 4 Nebraska (2-0) at California (1-0), 4 p.m., FSW

Houston? Cal didn't have a problem. Nebraska? Cal has a problem. Three of Nebraska's 11 defeats in the 1990s have come against Pac-10 schools, but no one outside the Cal huddle is expecting the Bears to make it No. 4.

The line: Nebraska by 23.

* * * No. 10 Notre Dame (1-0) at Michigan State (0-2), 5 p.m., Channel 7

Notre Dame greatly improved, yep, its Rose Bowl chances with this week's surge into the top 10 after the win over Michigan. Michigan State is in a state of hurt and could be 0-4 after next week's loss to Michigan.

The line: Notre Dame by 7.

* * * No. 14 Arizona State (0-1) at Brigham Young (0-1), 6 p.m., ESPN2

Arizona State gave up 42 points last week to Washington; BYU allowed 38 to Alabama. First team to make a tackle wins?

The line: Arizona State by 6 1/2.

5 Things to Look For

1. Marv Albert, is this the week for Prairie View? Yessssss! The Panthers' 78-game losing streak ends Saturday against Division II Howard Payne, particularly if only Payne shows up. Seriously, Prairie View played tough in a 24-13 defeat last week to Texas Southern and made sure to secure beatable Howard Payne on the schedule before Kansas State could.

2. Plenty of running room up the middle for Arizona State against Brigham Young. This, after news that Sun Devil center Grey Ruegamer helped a rancher friend in Montana castrate sheep during the off-season using his . . . teeth. The method is said to be less painful for the animal. No one would blame BYU's nose tackle if he's a no-show.

3. Toledo at Ohio State. Two story lines: Toledo's star quarterback Chris Wallace grew up in Springfield, not far from Columbus, and was a high school teammate of Ohio State receiver Dee Miller. Also, Toledo tailback Wasean Tait, who rushed for 1,905 yards in '95, is back after sitting out two seasons because of knee injuries.

4. John L. Smith doing charity work for the National Organization for Women. The first-year Louisville coach has formally apologized "to anyone within earshot of my postgame frustrations" for saying his team played "like a bunch of girls" in last weekend's 68-34 loss to Kentucky. Smith's postgame comments were televised live on the giant screen at new Papa John's Cardinals Stadium in Louisville, denying Smith the chance to say he was misquoted by reporters and actually said his team played "like a bunch of squirrels."

4. Kevin Faulk gasping for air on the sideline. After nearly turning pro in part because of the team's glut at running back, the Louisiana State tailback opens the season against Arkansas State as the only LSU tailback. Cecil "the Diesel" Collins, who gained 596 yards last year while averaging 8.3 yards a carry, was kicked off the team last spring. Rondell Mealey, who gained 664 yards in 1997, is injured.

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