Each week NationalChamps.net will be picking several games to breakdown while predicting against the point spread. NationalChamps.net does not support sports betting and is in no way affiliated with online sports bet organizations including advertising clients. This is strictly for enjoyment purposes only.


Mid-Season BCS Bowl Predictions
Top 25 Reasoning
Virginia Tech Just Reloads

Keeping the networks on the ball.

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Florida State at Miami
Oklahoma vs. Texas


October 12, 2002
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Iowa State at Oklahoma
Nebraska at Oklahoma State
Iowa at Indiana
Notre Dame at Air Force
Texas at Kansas State

INSIDE99: (16-16-2 overall)
Maryland -2 over Georgia Tech
Northwestern +25.5 over Penn State
Washington +8 over Southern Cal
Nebraska -8 over Oklahoma State
Texas A&M -23 over Kansas
San Jose State +5 over Nevada

Ricky Sixx: (12-18 overall)
Iowa -13 over Indiana
Wisconsin +6.5 over Ohio State
Alabama -11 over Mississippi
Vanderbilt +25.5 over Georgia
Temple -3 over Connecticut
Louisiana State -7.5 over South Carolina


Louisiana State junior cornerback Corey Webster

Miami FL

October 14, 2002
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson


DALLAS (FWAA) – LSU junior cornerback Corey Webster (Vacherie, La.) is this week's recipient of the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week Award for his performance in the Tigers' 36-7 win over Florida this past Saturday in Gainesville.

Webster tied a school-record with three interceptions last Saturday. He is only the sixth player in Tiger history to have three interceptions in a game and the first since 1978. His first interception set up an LSU field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. He returned the second interception 45 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 LSU lead. His third pick came in the fourth quarter. He also added three tackles and three pass deflections in the game.

A three-person panel from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selects the winner of the weekly award.

The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club pick a National Defensive Player of the Week each Monday. Webster will be added to the Watch List for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy which will be presented on Dec. 9 in Charlotte, N.C., by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

2002 Bronko Nagurski Players of the Week
• Sept. 9: Maurice Sikes, Miami
• Sept. 16: Shane Walton, Notre Dame
• Sept. 23: Willie Pile, Virginia Tech
• Sept. 30: R.J. Jones, Missouri
• Oct. 7: Matt Grier, Mississippi
• Oct. 14: Corey Webster, LSU



COACH: Dan McCarney

Iowa State is off to its best start in 64 years and is in the top 10 for the first time ever - #9 AP Poll.

The trip to Oklahoma is the first of four road games in five weeks for the Cyclones, who also must play at Texas on Oct. 26, at Kansas State on Nov. 9 and at Colorado on Nov. 16.

RB Mike Wagner -- Back-to-back 100-yard rushing games has earned the 5-7 Wagner a chance to start against Oklahoma. Hiawatha Rutland, the starter for the first seven games, has been slowed by a sprained ankle.

QB Seneca Wallace's thrilling zig-zag 12-yard scoring run will be the play that most fans will remember from the win over Texas Tech. But bidding for equal time in coach Dan McCarney's memory banks was the game-clinching, 80-yard drive that ate almost nine minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.

Holding a Texas Tech team that had scored 48, 49 and 48 points in its previous three games to 17 underscored the progress Iowa State's defense is making, McCarney said.
Against Texas Tech - The two big plays helped the Cyclones pile up 228 yards rushing, a key factor in keeping Kingsbury and the potent Tech offense off the field. Iowa State frustrated a Texas Tech offense that averaged 48.3 points over its last three games. Kingsbury, who threw for more than 400 yards in each of his two previous games, had just 272.

COACH: Bob Stoops

Oklahoma held Texas to 53 yards rushing, with star TB Cedric Benson getting 54 on 22 carries. The Sooners shut down the Longhorns without needing to bring their defensive backs into the box to aid in run support. The Sooners are almost always good against a conventional offense with an immobile quarterback; things sometimes get dicey for OU when it faces a quarterback like Seneca Wallace who can improvise and make something out of nothing.

Stoops, who was a defensive back at Iowa when McCarney was an assistant coach on Hayden Fry's staff.

Oklahoma once again has a great set of linebackers with Lance Mitchell and Teddy Lehman. Harassed Chris Simms constantly last week.

TB Quentin Griffin picked up most of his 248 yards on sprint draw plays. He was named the Big 12 Player Of The Week while beating Texas 35-24.


This will be the first meeting between the teams since 1999 because of the Big 12's scheduling format. Nebraska is 35-0-1 against OSU since it last lost to the Cowboys in 1961. Make it 36-0-1

COACH: Frank Solich

The Huskers are winless in their last four games away from Memorial Stadium, with none of the decisions being close.

QB Jammal Lord -- Lord was cited for disturbing the peace early Sunday morning in an incident at his Lincoln apartment and spent several hours at a detoxification center because he appeared intoxicated. NU coach Frank Solich said the incident wouldn’t keep Lord from starting Saturday.

Against Missouri, QB Jammal Lord completed just 4 of 12 passes for 34 yards. He never appeared comfortable in the pocket, and he threw balls out of bounds on the run in an attempt to avoid sacks.

Nebraska gouged Missouri for 325 rushing yards, so the passing game wasn't as vital against the Tigers as it could be in upcoming games against Texas, Kansas State or Colorado. But the Husker OL and punishing running game is improving no doubt.

The coaching staff was generally pleased with the results that came from a shakeup on the defensive side of the ball. The Huskers had four new starters in the lineup for the McNeese State game.

True freshman I-back David Horne isn't wasting time making an impact. In two games since being taken out of his redshirt season, Horne has rushed for 169 yards.

COACH: Les Miles

OSU needs to get its offense cranked up again. The Cowboys averaged 39 points and 421 yards per game in their four non-conference games. In Big 12 games against Texas and Kansas State, OSU's offense has averaged 12.0 points and 229 yards. Much of the credit has to go to the opposing defenses, which each rank in the Top 15 nationally.

The Cowboys' 4-2-5 defensive alignment is designed to offset spread-the-field passing attacks. Kansas State averaged 22.4 yards per reception.

"We went into a hornets nest at Kansas State. They beat us in every phase of the game.'' -- OSU coach Les Miles, on the Cowboys' 44-9 loss at Manhattan.

When you play Nebraska, they're going to punch you in the snout and you better be ready to return fire. The Cowboys didn't do that in a 44-9 pounding by Kansas State. The Wildcats ran for 297 yards, with TB Darren Sproles getting 130 and QB Ell Roberson 96.



IOWA (6-1)
COACH: Kirk Ferentz

RB Fred Russell should have a field day against Indiana's shaky run defense. Unless the Hawkeyes are looking past the Hoosiers, this game should not be difficult.

The Hawkeyes are hitting on all cylinders. QB Brad Banks is not always going to hit a high percentage of his passes -- he was 8-of-19 against Michigan State -- but he also threw TD passes of 62 and 20 yards to WR C.J. Jones. The running game has been consistent from the start of the season and the Hawkeyes believe their offense is as good as anybody's in the conference.

This a tough and gritty unit that makes big plays on a regular basis. Look at safety Derek Pagel. He set the tone for the rout of Michigan State with a 62-yard interception return for a TD. Iowa's defense has been able to produce those kind of plays at key moments this year.

Iowa is rolling in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes improved to 3-0 in the conference for the first time in six years with a 28-point win over Michigan State. They also moved up to No. 15 in the Associated Press poll -- Iowa's highest ranking since Nov. 3, 1997.

The Hawkeyes' much maligned pass defense held Rogers to five catches for 78 yards and ended his NCAA record streak of 14 straight games with a TD catch. The defense also collected four sacks, forced two fumbles and picked off three passes as No. 17 Iowa beat Michigan State 44-16.

COACH: Gerry DiNardo

The Hoosiers have a two-game winning streak and have played much better than they did in the early part of the year.

QB Gibran Hamdan -- In addition to putting nice stats on the board, Hamdan has won the team's respect with his leadership.

OFFENSIVELY: The Hoosiers are exceeding expectations. In addition to the passing of Gibran Hamdan, WRs Glenn Johnson and Courtney Roby are starting to produce big plays.

There's little doubt that the Hoosiers are usually overmatched when their defensive unit takes the field. They lack strength at the point of attack and have a very difficult time against the run. As a result, coach Gerry DiNardo has been emphasizing field position. Ryan Hamre averaged 46.5 yards per punt on four kicks against Wisconsin, and that helped the defense tremendously.

The Hoosiers have stepped it up when they have had chances to score. That's the secret to their two-game winning steak that included a major 32-29 upset over Wisconsin last Saturday.


It's a showdown of two unbeaten teams, both at 6-0. Air Force whacked Brigham Young 52-9 last Saturday, and its high-powered offense, which ranks eighth nationally in scoring, will test the Irish's stern defense.

COACH: Tyrone Willingham

Notre Dame WR Arnaz Battle -- Battle, a converted quarterback, caught 10 passes for 101 yards in the win over Pittsburgh, almost doubling his season receiving statistics.

Pitt challenged Irish quarterback Carlyle Holiday to throw by committing eight defenders to the run and sending pressure into the pocket. Holiday could only muster 145 passing yards. It wouldn't be surprising to see Air Force and future opponents completely sell out to stop the run like Pittsburgh did.

The Irish are third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 11.7 points per game. In Saturday's 14-6 win over Pittsburgh, the Irish again created turnovers that were critical.

Someday, Notre Dame won't be able win with defense alone. That day might come Saturday when the Irish play at Air Force. Notre Dame's offense has scored 10 touchdowns, five less than Air Force quarterback Chance Harridge has scored alone.

Pitt controlled the line of scrimmage and limited the Irish to only 40 yards on 31 carries -- an average of 1.3 yards per attempt. With Air Force coming up and Florida State just around the corner, how long can offensively challenged Notre Dame continue its incredible high-wire act? The struggling running game needs to get in gear in a hurry.

COACH: Fisher DeBerry

Some of the greatest moments in Falcons history have come at the Irish expense, usually in off seasons for Notre Dame. A victory here will quiet the Falcons' doubters for good.

QB Chance Harridge -- He's had back-to-back four-TD weeks as he zooms in on MWC offensive player of the year honors. Coach Fisher DeBerry is not happy, however, with his mouthy style on the field.

The Falcons are deep in halfbacks and fullbacks, and any one of them can join Harridge in gaining big chunks of yardage. MWC teams are accustomed to retooling for the option, but Notre Dame is not.

Rest of opponents on Falcon schedule have combined record of 9-22. They will run the table.
Air Force, the nation's top rushing team, had 463 yards - 386 rushing - and used its ball-control offense to keep BYU's high-scoring offense off the field.



TEXAS (5-1)
COACH: Mack Brown

After losing to Oklahoma in 2001, Texas won its next three games by a combined 121-40. Those three wins came over Oklahoma State, Colorado and Missouri. This season, the Longhorns' don't have the luxury.

One of the keys to Oklahoma's victory was its ability to keep talented Texas receivers Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas under control.

Texas' inability to sustain drives on offense led to some of the Longhorns' defensive troubles against OU. Texas gave up 397 yards, including 248 to tailback Quentin Griffin. He had 102 of his yards in the final quarter against what Brown called a fatigued Texas defense.

Like last year, Texas has a legit shot at running the table and getting back to the Big 12 title game. As mentioned, the schedule will be much more difficult starting this weekend with Kansas State…it ain’t gonna happen this year. The Horns would have to hope for a Nebraska type BCS situation where they literally don’t play their way in to a BCS bid.

COACH: Bill Snyder

Kansas State juggled its secondary for the Oklahoma State game, with freshman Jesse Tetuan earning his first start at safety and James Dunnagin his first start at cornerback. The Wildcats had allowed Colorado four plays that yielded 291 yards in the Oct. 5 loss in Boulder.

Ell Roberson won the starting quarterback job with his legs. He's holding onto it with his throwing arm. Roberson won the starting job from Dunn in the Wildcats' 27-20 win over then-No. 11 Southern California three weeks ago. I felt this was a huge key for KSU back in the preseason.

Keep an eye on young, Darren Sproles, one of the NationalChamps.net new kids to watch for 2001 back in July. He rushed for 130 yards on 18 carries for Kansas State (5-1, 1-1 Big 12), including a juking, twisting 38-yard TD run in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.

Kansas State has an edge when trying to handicap the race for the Big 12 Conference North Division title. The three games that shape up as the toughest of the Wildcats' remaining six are at home -- this week against Texas, Nov. 9 against Iowa State and Nov. 16 against Missouri.



(Aug. 24)
Week 1
(Aug. 31)
Week 2
(Sept. 7)
Week 3 (Sept. 14)
Week 4 (Sept. 21)
Week 5 (Sept. 28)
Week 6 (Oct. 5)
Week 7 (Oct. 12)
Week 8 (Oct. 19)
Week 9 (Oct. 26)
Week 10 (Nov. 2)
Week 11 (Nov. 9)
Week 12 (Nov. 16)
Week 13 (Nov. 23)
Week 14 (Nov. 30)
Week 15 (Dec. 7)

Editor: David Hershorin