Rivalries rule the day

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

For one week, at least, we'll suspend all the talk about the Bowl Championship Series and who's No. 1.

It's Rivalry Saturday in college football, and they don't come much better than the two at the top of this week's list.

Ohio State-Michigan has been THE bellwether game in the Big Ten for many years. And those who have been there will tell you there is no rivalry more fervent anywhere in America than Alabama-Auburn.

As for Clemson-South Carolina, last year's game-ending brawl seems to be on the backburner.

Instead, they're united in decrying the fact no TV network is airing their showdown.

Only in college football ...

On with this week's picks:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 9 Ohio State (-3) at No. 17 Michigan (Saturday, 1 p.m., ABC) -- This one decides the Big 10 champ -- again -- if Penn State loses at Michigan State. Both teams are playing their best football of the season right now, which should make for a dandy one in the Big House. RB Michael Hart's return gives Wolverines a big boost. But the Buckeyes' combination of a rock-ribbed defence and explosive attack will win the day. In an extremely tough call ...

Pick: OHIO STATE.

NEXT BEST THING

No. 8 Alabama (+7) at No. 11 Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS) -- The Crimson Tide saw its national title dreams die against LSU last week. Now the Red Elephants face their nastiest rival in the Iron Bowl. Auburn is still fired up about its stunning win at Georgia last week. The Tigers, who still have a shot at the SEC title, have won three straight over Alabama. Make it four in a row for Brandon Cox and Co.

Pick: AUBURN.

UPSET SPECIAL

Clemson (-1) at No. 19 South Carolina (Saturday, 7 p.m.) -- A wild brawl marred the finish of last year's game between these two bitter state foes. The Gamecocks' Steve Spurrier wasn't part of that one, but the 'Ol Ball Coach has instilled a winning type of spunk in his surprising team, which still has an outside shot to play for the SEC championship.

Pick: SOUTH CAROLINA.

BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK

Syracuse (+341/2) at Notre Dame (Saturday, 2:30 p.m., NBC) -- When's the last time the Orange were a five-touchdown underdog against anyone? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Easy pickings for the Irish, who are closing in on a BCS bowl.

Pick: NOTRE DAME.

QUICK PICKS

Saturday

No. 16 Fresno State (+24) over No. 1 USC

No. 3 Miami (-171/2) over Georgia Tech

No. 4 LSU (-161/2) over Mississippi

No. 5 Penn State (-7) over Michigan State

Virginia (+71/2) over No. 7 Virginia Tech

Oregon State (+131/2) over No. 10 Oregon

Kentucky (+27) over No. 14 Georgia

No. 19 South Carolina (+1) over Clemson

Oklahoma (+7) over No. 21 Texas Tech

No. 23 Boston College (-21/2) over Maryland

UAB (+8) over No. 24 Texas-El Paso

Last week -- 13-6 straight up; 8-10-1 ATS.

Season record -- 153-49 straight up; 96-101-5 ATS.

Best bet -- Penn State (3-8).

Upset special -- South Carolina (3-8).


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