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Top 25 in action

September 30, 2011

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Game of the week
No. 12 Florida 24, No. 3 Alabama 21
- The Tide get caught up in the muck of The Swamp, as the SEC starts to feed off itself.

No. 1 LSU vs. Kentucky
Teams last met in 2007, when the Tigers were also No. 1. Michael Ford is carrying the Tigers’ offense, averaging 5.8 yards per carry with six touchdowns. LSU is 2-2 as the nation’s top-ranked team under coach Les Miles.

Other Top 25 in action
No. 2 Oklahoma vs. Ball State

Oklahoma dropped to No. 2 last week despite its 38-28 win over Missouri. Assuming the Sooners don’t get caught looking ahead to their Red River Rivalry game with Texas next week, Ball State should make for a good tuneup.

No. 4 Boise State vs. Nevada
The Broncos are looking for payback after the WolfPack spoiled their perfect season last year with a 34-31 come-from-behind victory. It’s the 50th straight week Boise State has been ranked in the Top 25.

No. 6 Stanford vs. UCLA
The Cardinal have the top rushing defense in the nation, allowing 36 yards per game. They’ll be without leading tackler Shayne Skov, who suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago at Arizona. The Bruins’ pistol offense, which ranks second in rushing in the Pac-12 (214 yards per game), will give Stanford its toughest test.

No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Nebraska
The Cornhuskers’ first Big Ten game could have major BCS implications. Nebraska leads the conference in rushing offense (272.5 ypg), while Wisconsin is leading in scoring (48.5 points per game).

No. 10 South Carolina vs. Auburn
Stephen Garcia has not looked like the quarterback he was a year ago for the Gamecocks, completing less than 55 percent of his passes with seven interceptions. Auburn hasn’t lost to South Carolina since 1933.

No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Clemson
The Hokies have surrendered just five touchdowns this season, while the Tigers have scored five in each of their four games. This game will tell us a lot about Virginia Tech’s top-10 defense, as the Hokies have put those numbers up against non-BCS-level teams.

No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas
The Aggies get an early taste of SEC play when they host the Razorbacks. Both teams are coming off losses. Expect Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson to be sore after this one, with his underperforming offensive line and an A&M defense that leads the nation in sacks per game (4.7).

No. 15 Baylor at Kansas State
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has thrown 142 passes without an interception and leads the nation in efficiency rating (236.23). The Bears are averaging 1 minute, 53 seconds per scoring drive, including six of fewer than 60 seconds. The Wildcats, who are sixth in the nation in total defense, are likely to have their hands full.

No. 17 Texas at Iowa State
The Cyclones are seeking their first 4-0 start since 2000, and have a chance to be ranked for the first time in six years. Texas has looked promising after its 5-7 record of a year ago.

No. 19 Michigan vs. Minnesota
Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson has been a disappointment, completing just 49 percent of his passes and throwing six interceptions in his last three games. But the Gophers have struggled to pressure the passer, registering only one sack.

No. 20 TCU vs. SMU
The Mustangs rank No. 15 in the nation in passing offense, while the Horned Frogs are 87th in passing defense. Expect a big game from J.J. McDermott, who has thrown for 1,133 yards and four TDs since replacing opening day starter Kyle Padron.

No. 21 Georgia Tech at N.C. State
The Wolfpack are down to two healthy defensive tackles and face a Yellow Jacket offense that is averaging 53 points and 630.5 yards.

No. 22 West Virginia vs. Bowling Green
The Falcons already have surpassed their two wins of last season, but Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith has established career highs in passing yards in three straight games.

No. 24 Illinois vs. Northwestern
Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa returns after rupturing an Achilles’ in November. The Illini have a chance to open 5-0 for the first time since 1951. Illinois leads the Big Ten with 13 sacks, and has picked off six passes. Northwestern has won six of the last eight meetings, but Illinois won last season’s matchup at Wrigley Field, 48-27.

No. 25 Arizona State vs. Oregon State
Arizona State enters on a roll after snapping an 11-game losing streak to USC last week. Oregon State is hoping to avoid its first 0-4 start since 1996.

SETH LAKSO