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November 26, 2008

Five to Watch: Bedlam for the BCS

Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and Oregon State go into their in-state rivalry games with their seasons on the line, and their games highlight the TV games Saturday.

The premier game appears to be the Bedlam Series. Oklahoma has the upper hand in this rivalry the Sooners lead the series 78-17-7 but Oklahoma State rarely brings a team this good into the game. The Cowboys haven't faced Oklahoma with a nine-win team since 1984.

All times Eastern.


When: 3:30 p.m.
Broadcasters: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Gary Danielson analyst
Line: Alabama by 14.5
Why you should watch: Auburn has won six in a row in the series, second only to Alabama's nine wins in a row from 1973-81. Auburn hasn't beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision (i.e., Division I-A) team since September, and its beleaguered offense will struggle against a tough Tide defense. Auburn must win to go to a bowl; Alabama must win to keep its national title hopes alive.


When: 3:30 p.m.
TV: ABC regional/ESPN2
Broadcasters: Brad Nessler play-by-play, Bob Griese and Paul Maguire analysts
Line: Florida by 15
Why you should watch: For the second time in three seasons, Florida's national championship hopes make a stop in Tallahassee before the SEC Championship Game. The Gators beat the Seminoles 21-14 in 2006 before winning the national title, and the Gators must win this game to keep their national title hopes alive this season. Florida State's much-improved offensive line is looking forward to playing a hobbled Florida defensive line.


When: 3:30 p.m.
TV: ABC regional/ESPN2
Broadcasters: Pam Ward play-by-play, Ray Bentley analyst
Line: Boston College by 6.5
Why you should watch: This game will settle the ACC Atlantic Division. Honest. A Boston College win puts the Eagles back into the conference title game, and a Maryland win sends Florida State to Tampa, Fla., to play for the crown. One trend works in Maryland's and Florida State's favor: Boston College re-entered the rankings this week at No. 21. The Terrapins are 4-0 against ranked teams. Boston College will be without starting quarterback Chris Crane (broken collarbone), but the Eagles have been riding their defense all season. BC has held each of its past four opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards.


When: 7 p.m.
TV: Versus
Broadcasters: Tim Everett play-by-play, Glenn Parker analyst
Line: Oregon State by 3
Why you should watch: The home team won the Civil War every season from 1997-2006, but Oregon State broke serve by winning 38-31 last season in Eugene. The Beavers haven't had a three-game winning streak in the series since winning eight in a row from 1964-71. A win in this one and Oregon State heads to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1984 season. Oregon State freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Since losing to USC on Oct. 4, Oregon is averaging 269.2 yards and 3.4 touchdowns per game on the ground and it's worth noting those numbers weren't padded by playing the Washington schools during that span.


When: 8 p.m.
Broadcasters: Brent Musburger play-by-play, Kirk Herbstreit analyst
Line: Oklahoma by 7.5
Why you should watch: So Texas Tech's game against Oklahoma was a dud. Maybe this one will be a little better. As with every other Big 12 South game this season, this game won't lack for offensive firepower. Oklahoma State has to run effectively to have a chance, putting the onus on Cowboys running back Kendall Hunter to produce. The Sooners have won five in a row in the series. The last time the Cowboys won was in Stillwater in 2002, when Oklahoma was 10-1 and ranked fourth in the BCS standings. This OU team is 10-1 and ranked third in the BCS.

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.

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