In northern Washington, two ranked teams will have their sights set on southern California. Not the University of Southern California, but Pasadena, Calif., site of the Rose Bowl.
"We would love to go to the Rose Bowl," Oregon Coach Rich Brooks said of the 19th-ranked Ducks' Pac-10 clash Saturday in Seattle against No. 17 Washington. "Whether that's realistic or not, I don't know. But if we're going to have any chance, we have to win this football game."Oregon hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since the 1957 season. Washington's last visit capped the 1981 season.
"We know it's a big game for them," Washington linebacker Brett Collins said. "We know they've been talking about this game for a year. But it's a big game for us, too. We're going to have to be ready to play. It's another step toward the Rose Bowl, and it'll be a big challenge for us."
Washington is 4-1 overall and at 2-0 is the only Pac-10 team unbeaten in league play. Oregon is 4-1, 0-1, including a stunning 32-16 defeat of Brigham Young two weeks ago.
Elsewhere, Michigan (3-1), the nation's new No. 1 team, puts its ranking on the line at home against Big Ten rival Michigan State. The rest of Saturday's schedule has North Carolina State at No. 2 Virginia (5-0), Kansas at No. 3 Miami (3-1), Texas vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (5-0) at Dallas, No. 9 Florida (5-0) at No. 5 Tennessee (3-0-2), Vanderbilt at No. 6 Auburn (3-0-1), Missouri at No. 7 Nebraska (5-0) and Air Force at No. 8 Notre Dame (3-1).
Also, Purdue at No. 11 Illinois (3-1), No. 20 Texas A&M (4-1) at No. 12 Houston (4-0), Colorado State at No. 13 Brigham Young (4-1), Iowa State at No. 14 Colorado (4-1-1), No. 15 Clemson (5-1) at No. 18 Georgia Tech (4-0), No. 16 Southern Cal (4-1) at Stanford, No. 21 Arizona (4-1) at Oregon State, Ohio State at No. 22 Indiana (4-0), New Mexico at No. 23 Wyoming (6-0), No. 24 Mississippi (4-1) at Georgia and Wisconsin at No. 25 Iowa (3-1).
In last year's Washington-Oregon game, the Huskies' defense was the difference in a 20-14 victory, forcing seven turnovers - four interceptions of Bill Musgrave and three fumbles.
Like Oregon, Georgia Tech is trying to crack college football's upper echelon. The Yellow Jackets are in the rankings for the first time since 1984 and the Clemson game is crucial to their shot at an Atlantic Coast Conference title. Tech and Virginia are tied with 2-0 ACC records.
Oklahoma stil remembers Peter Gardere's touchdown pass in the last two minutes that gave Texas a 28-24 victory in last year's Red River border war. So does Texas.
"Psychologically, you feel better about going in against them knowing that last year you beat them," Texas coach David McWilliams said. "Most of the guys on this team have been in this game and know what kind of a game it will be.
"We are much better. We played and beat Oklahoma, and that has to help our confidence. "