National Spotlight

September 14, 2012 

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PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Running back Johnathan Franklin #23 of the UCLA Bruins carries the ball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the Rose Bowl on September 8, 2012 in Pasadena, California. UCLA won 36-30. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

STEPHEN DUNN — Getty

  • Top 25 schedule No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m. No. 2 Southern Cal at No. 21 Stanford, 7:30 p.m. No. 3 LSU vs. Idaho, 8 p.m. No. 4 Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech, 3 p.m. No. 5 Florida State vs. Wake Forest, Noon No. 7 Georgia vs. Florida Atlantic, 7:30 p.m. No. 8 South Carolina vs. UAB, 7 p.m. No. 9 West Virginia vs. James Madison at Landover, Md., 4:30 p.m. No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 22 Notre Dame, 8 p.m. No. 11 Clemson vs. Furman, 3 p.m. No. 12 Ohio State vs. California, Noon No. 13 Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, Noon No. 14 Texas at Mississippi, 9:15 p.m. No. 15 Kansas State vs. North Texas, 7 p.m. No. 16 TCU vs. Kansas, Noon No. 17 Michigan vs. UMass, 3:30 p.m. No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee, 6 p.m. No. 19 Louisville vs. North Carolina, 3:30 p.m. No. 22 UCLA vs. Houston, 10:30 p.m. No. 24 Arizona vs. South Carolina State, 10:30 p.m. No. 25 BYU at Utah, 10 p.m.

Something clever about luck that I can’t think of right now.

Three to watch

1. No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State, 8 p.m. (WTVD)

Which is greater: the luck of the Irish or the curse of ACC expansion (see: Miami football)? Guess Notre Dame will find out soon enough. Stopping Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell is the Irish’s primary concern Saturday night.

2. No. 2 USC at No. 21 Stanford, 7:30 p.m. (WRAZ)

The “What’s your deal?” series keeps rolling on without coaches Jim Harbaugh or Pete Carroll. The Cardinal beat USC three consecutive times in the series but that was with Andrew Luck at quarterback.

3. No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

For the first time in five years, both SEC East teams are ranked heading into this game, which used to decide the division title and provided Steve Spurrier with ammo for “UT” jokes. Vols quarterback Tyler Bray has been great through two games with 643 passing yards and six touchdowns.


Inside the BCS

•  Louisiana-Monroe’s reward for knocking Arkansas out of the top 25? A trip to Auburn. The Warhawks beat then-No. 8 Arkansas 34-31 in overtime this past week and hope to find similar success against Auburn, which is reeling after an 0-2 start.

Since winning the BCS title with Cam Newton in 2010, the Tigers are 8-7 under Gene Chizik, who has predictably (given Alabama’s success during the same time) feeling some heat for the War Eagle’s post-Cam woes.

•  You have to feel for Purdue quarterback Robert Marve, who for the third time in his college career, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Purdue’s 20-17 loss to Notre Dame this past week.

Marve’s career actually began at Miami in 2007, before he transferred to Purdue and was granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA because of the repeated knee problems.

Marve said Tuesday he plans to return to the field this season despite the latest injury.


Number to know

7-5 Record of the six teams in the Big Ten’s beleaguered Leaders Division, including an 0-4 mark against BCS opponents.


Heisman watch

1) Matt Barkley, QB, USC vs. Stanford: Like his team, the senior quarterback had a strange game against Syracuse with only 187 passing yards, but he threw for six touchdowns and has 10 on the season.

2) Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA vs. Houston: All Franklin has done in the first two games is rush for 214 and 217 yards respectively, in a pair of wins for the Bruins. The senior leads the country with an incredible 10.5 yards per carry.

3) Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State vs. California: Urban Meyer’s spread offense, which launched the legend of Tim Tebow, agrees with Miller. In the first two games, Miller ran for 161 and 141 yards. He also threw for three touchdowns and rushed for four more.


Upset alert

Arizona State at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

It will be tough for Mizzou to reload after an emotional SEC debut, a disappointing 41-20 home loss to Georgia. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils are off to a 2-0 start under vagabond Todd Graham — on his third team in as many years — who has put up 108 points in the first two games.

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