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Saturday, October 11, 2008
What to Watch: Week 7 primer


Posted by ESPN.com 

 

How Texas and Oklahoma handle the emotional cauldron that is the Red River Rivalry. Saturday's game appears to be one of the most intriguing matchups in the storied series in years. Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford are legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates. The battle between Texas' defensive front and Oklahoma's collection of hugely talented offensive linemen is dotted with future NFL standouts on both sides. Bob Stoops and Mack Brown are both headed for the College Football Hall of Fame one day. But I'm most interested in watching how these two teams -- both potential national title contenders -- overcome the challenges presented by their biggest rival on the Big 12's biggest annual stage. And the fried Twinkies and Fletcher's Corny Dogs are a bonus. -- Tim Griffin 

Waking the beast within: Brandon Spikes has already warned everybody that talking trash to Tim Tebow before a big game is akin to making the beast that much angrier. Look for Tebow to be a beast in this game and not hold back. It's obvious he hasn't looked to run quite as much this season. That all changes Saturday night in the Swamp. Not only will he look to run, but he'll look to run over somebody early to set the tone. The Tim Tebow that won the 2007 Heisman Trophy isn't a pocket passer. He's a modern-day, 240-pound single-wing tailback. -- Chris Low 

Has Jimmy Clausen improved? Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen will face his toughest secondary yet, and everyone will finally get to see how much he's improved this season. He hasn't thrown an interception in the past two games, but the Tar Heels lead the nation in picks with 12. -- Graham Watson 

Offensive play calling at Camp Randall. Penn State fans hope the Lions offense went conservative in last week's unstylish win at Purdue and will open things up again against Wisconsin. Galen Hall and Jay Paterno likely will expand the playbook, particularly with top wideout Jordan Norwood back, but quarterback Daryll Clark must continue to play smart on the road. Wisconsin reserve running back John Clay has provided a lift in each of the team's last two losses. Clay has to touch the ball more for the Badgers to have a chance at an upset. -- Adam Rittenberg 

Is a true freshman the best running back in the Pac-10? It might be premature to hail Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers as such but he presently leads the Pac-10 with 110 yards rushing per game, which also ranks 14th in the nation. On Saturday, he faces a Washington State run defense that yields 241 yards rushing per game. If Rodgers hangs up huge numbers to pair with his red-letter performance against USC, he'll become a front-runner to earn First-Team All-Pac-10 honors. -- Ted Miller 

How healthy is the West Virginia quarterback Pat White? After leaving the last two games early, first with a bruised thumb and then after getting hit in the helmet? The Mountaineers say he's fine and will play against Syracuse. The Orange defense might make him feel a lot better. He had 247 rushing yards on just 15 carries the last time Syracuse came to Morgantown and 237 total yards last year in the Carrier Dome. -- Brian Bennett 

Miami's defense. The Hurricanes have been struggling lately, and first-year coordinator Bill Young took the blame for it in his first public comments to the media. The Hurricanes have the ability to beat UCF, but will have to play smart football in an emotional game between players who are all-too familiar with each other. -- Heather Dinich