Watching the Top 25

Originally Published: October 6, 2004
ESPN.com

How good is Showdown Saturday? Well, it features six conference games involving Top 25 teams, including one matchup of top 5 teams and one matchup of top 10 teams.

Take a look at what's in store for the 19 ranked teams playing this weekend, including detailed breakdowns of each matchup from Scouts, Inc.

Saturday, Oct. 9

No. 7 CALIFORNIA BEARS  at
No. 1 USC TROJANS
Los Angeles
3:30 p.m. ET - ABC
ABC regional map | Watch online
Pete Carroll's Trojans have had an extra week to prepare for Jeff Tedford's Bears. Think USC remembers last year's loss in Berkeley?
• Insider breakdown: Trojans defense will have final say
• Gilmore: Showcase for Pac-10's best teams and best QBs
• Feldman: Leinart 'miles ahead' of last year
• Cal is eager to prove itself ... again

No. 2 OKLAHOMA SOONERS  vs.
No. 5 TEXAS LONGHORNS
Dallas
Noon ET - ABC
Watch online
Is this the year that Cedric Benson and Mack Brown break through against OU? Or will Jason White and Bob Stoops continue to dominate the Horns?
• Insider breakdown: Will Peterson rise to the challenge?
• Maisel: Peterson living up to the hype
• Bayless: Mack Brown is OU's favorite coach
• Cedric Benson shows no fear -- on or off the field

No. 17 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS  at
No. 3 GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Athens, Ga.
3:30 p.m. ET - CBS
If the Vols' freshmen QBs struggled at home against Auburn, how will they fare between the hedges against David Pollack and the Dawgs' defense?
• Insider breakdown: Can Georgia expose Vols' inexperience?
• Davis may be the best player on the SEC's best defense

LOUISIANA TECH BULLDOGS  at
No. 6 AUBURN TIGERS
Auburn, Ala.
3:30 p.m. ET
Watch online
RB Ryan Moats and La. Tech's win over Fresno State are two reasons the Tigers need to concentrate on the Bulldogs instead of last week's result.
• Insider breakdown: Can the Bulldogs contain the ground game?

No. 8 FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES  at
SYRACUSE ORANGE
Syracuse, N.Y.
7 p.m. ET - ESPN2
With red-hot Virginia up next, this could be a trap game for the Seminoles and new QB Wyatt Sexton. However, this isn't the Orange of old.
• Insider breakdown: Can FSU's passing game produce big plays

No. 10 PURDUE BOILERMAKERS  at
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
State College, Pa.
4:30 p.m. ET - ESPN
Kyle Orton's crew is the nation's No. 2 scoring offense, averaging 47.2 points per game. The Nittany Lions are ranked 90th in scoring D. Uh oh.
• Insider breakdown: Can Penn State slow down Purdue's offense?
• There's no slowing down Purdue's Stubblefield

No. 24 LSU TIGERS  at
No. 12 FLORIDA GATORS
Gainesville, Fla.
7:45 p.m. ET - ESPN
The Gators handed LSU its only loss last season. If Chris Leak and Co. can do it again, the defending co-national champs would fall to 3-3.
• Insider breakdown: Gators will make most of advantage at QB

No. 13 MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS  at
No. 14 MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Noon ET - ESPN Classic
The Golden Gophers would like nothing more than to beat the Wolverines in the Big House -- especially after their 2003 collapse in the Metrodome.
• Insider breakdown: Michigan could turn it into a shootout

No. 16 WISCONSIN BADGERS  at
No. 15 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Columbus, Ohio
3:30 p.m. ET - ABC
ABC regional map | Watch online
Can the Buckeyes bounce back against the nation's top-ranked scoring defense and an offense rejuvenated by the return of Anthony Davis?
• Insider breakdown: Can Badgers silence Buckeye Nation?

No. 21 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS  at
COLORADO BUFFALOES
Boulder, Colo.
3:30 p.m. ET - ABC
ABC regional map | Watch online
The key to this Big 12 matchup is simple: Can the Buffaloes slow down Vernand Morency and the Cowboys' No. 4-ranked rushing offense?
• Insider breakdown: The Buffaloes will look to control the clock

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS  at
No. 23 MARYLAND TERRAPINS
College Park, Md.
3:30 p.m. ET - ABC
ABC regional map | Watch online
Will the return of RB P.J. Daniels help the Yellow Jackets end Maryland's 13-game winning streak at Byrd Stadium?
• Insider breakdown: Friedgen will have his Terrapins ready

No. 25 NC STATE WOLFPACK  at
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
Chapel Hill, N.C.
6:05 p.m. ET
While T.A. McLendon and the Wolfpack offense are on a roll, the Tar Heels are No. 103 in scoring defense, allowing 35.8 points a game.
• Insider breakdown: Can UNC make this game competitive?