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.


If the Heisman presentation were this weekend...

If I were commish for one year.

Top 25 - by Ricky Sixx

MEDIA SCOPE - by Dave Hershorin
Keeping the networks on the ball.


October 12, 2002
NationalChamps.net owner Todd Helmick will be on several weekly radio shows this fall. Check out our Liner Notes for this week's broadcasts.
- KSOM out of Iowa every Thursday at 10:30 am ET (9:30am CST)..
- WKLC out of West Virginia on Friday (tape delay)
- Classy 99 out of Spokane: every Sunday 12:00 pm ET (9:00 am PDT)

Iowa at Michigan
Nebraska at Texas A&M
Iowa State at Texas
Notre Dame at Florida State

INSIDE99: (18-20-2 overall)
Louisville -14.5 over East Carolina
Iowa +3.5 over Michigan
Rutgers +16 over Syracuse
Miami FL -18.5 over West Virginia
Notre Dame +10 over Florida State

Ricky Sixx: (17-19 overall)
Miami FL -18.5 over West Virginia
Vanderbilt -8 over Connecticut
Colorado -6 over Texas Tech
Oregon +1 over Southern Cal
Boise State -16.5 over San Jose State
Texas A&M -5 over Nebraska
Virginia Tech -28.5 over Temple
Maryland -13 over Duke
Wisconsin -4 over Michigan State


Oklahoma junior free safety Brandon Everage

Arizona State

October 14, 2002
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson


) – Oklahoma junior free safety Brandon Everage (Granger, Texas) is this week's recipient of the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week Award for his performance in the Sooners' romp over Iowa State this past Saturday in Norman.

Everage had two interceptions, four passes broken up, one sack (9 yards), three tackles and one quarterback hurry in Oklahoma's 49-3 win. ISU quarterback Seneca Wallace came into the game averaging 257.3 yards with a completion percentage of 64.6. Everage keyed the effort that limited Wallace to a 4-of-22 outing with three interceptions. Wallace's completions amounted to just 43 yards. Wallace also rushed six times for minus-28 yards. Iowa State logged only 60 total yards, some 372.4 yards below its average. The Cyclones had only five first downs for the game and were 0-of-12 on third down.

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. Everage 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
• Oct. 21: Brandon Everage, Oklahoma


In case you have not been able to catch NationalChamps.net on the radio, here are some of the topics discussed. While these Liner Notes are not meant to be an in-depth breakdown of each game, they do offer some insight and tidbits for the short amount of air time allotted on the radio. If you are interested in having NationalChamps.net be a part of your sports talk show, please email: todd@nationalchamps.net


IOWA (7-1)
COACH: Kirk Ferentz

Iowa Visits Ann Arbor Seeking Inside Track To First Big Ten Crown In 13 Years
When was the last time Iowa beat Michigan? The answer: a 24-23 win at Ann Arbor on Oct. 20, 1990, the last time Iowa won the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes are averaging a conference-best 38.2 points per game behind running back Fred Russell and quarterback Brad Banks. Russell is third in the conference with 128.1 yards per game, and Banks has completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 1,575 yards with 15 touchdowns against four interceptions.

OLB Grant Steen -- Steen was all over the field and set a school record with three interceptions. Steen continually blunted Indiana drives and kept the Hoosiers from climbing back into the game. All three picks took place in the red zone.

The Hawkeyes continue to do what they are supposed to do. While it was not their most impressive game of the year, Iowa calmly took care of business against an Indiana team that appears to be significantly better than it was earlier in the year. Iowa did it in its usual style. The Hawkeyes broke out to a 17-0 lead and were never seriously threatened in a 24-8 victory on the road. Fred Russell scored on a two short TD runs in the first quarter and PK Nate Kaeding added a field goal to give the Hawkeyes the sizable early cushion.

For those that do not know, if Ohio State and Iowa win out the rest of their games and finish tied as Big Ten co-champions, Ohio State gets the BCS bid due to having a better OOC record. Michigan on the other hand holds their own destiny key by playing both Ohio State and Iowa. Win out and the Wolverines are smelling roses.

COACH: Lloyd Carr

The offense has been playing better each week, but head coach Lloyd Carr would still like to see this unit perform with more precision. The Wolverines are often unable to finish drives and their shoddy PK situation won't allow them any margin for error.

While he did not have a stellar statistical game against Purdue last week, Navarre hit big plays throughout the game, and his ability to spot the soft spots in the defense kept Michigan in control in this tough Big Ten game. Navarre takes an unfair beating from the UM fans.

Michigan beat the Boilermaker trap. In head coach Lloyd Carr's coaching tenure, he had twice come out on the short end in trips to West Lafayette. But that came to an end, thanks to Michigan's ability to strike quickly.

Michigan in a nutshell: Great defensive front with superior pass rushing skills especially on the outside with guys like Shante Orr and Dan Rumishek, an overrated secondary that has never proven anything, a QB who is solid but yet unspectacular as he can do more than just not lose the game, a RB situation with no depth where Perry fumbles at least once a game, I love this Braylon Edwards kid at receiver - an NFL to be talent - what was a major concern at WR to start the year has become a strength. The kicking game is as horrible as there has ever been.



COACH: Frank Solich

5-3 and the Huskers haven't even hit the difficult part of the schedule yet. Stating that Frank Solich needs to refocus his team may be easier said then done.

CB DeJuan Groce -- Leading the nation in punt returns hasn't taken away from Groce's status of being Nebraska's best defensive back.

Thunder Collins leaving the team didn't hurt anything that wasn't already hurting. He wasn't producing anyway. Amazing…last year's Big 12 rushing champion Dahrran Diedrick had 26 yards against Oklahoma State…whew.

The Huskers gave up 182 yards to Oklahoma State's Tatum Bell. Let's face it; the most disappointing aspect about Nebraska is that they are getting beat with their usual meat and potatoes…up front, not running, not defending the run.

The knock against Nebraska QB Jammal Lord coming into the season was that he was a below-average passer. He is a below average passer. Lord leads the Huskers in rushing (95.2 yards per game).

In Nebraska's offense, which features the run, the goal is for the quarterback to complete at least 55 percent of his passes. Lord has surpassed that mark just once in eight games, when he hit 12 of 18 passes for 151 yards against I-AA McNeese State.

TEXAS A&M (5-2)
COACH: R.C. Slocum

Nebraska must try to end a string of six straight losses away from home in what might be the toughest venue in the Big 12. Adding to Nebraska's headaches is a Texas A&M offense on a hot streak.

QB Dustin Long -- There's no doubt that the sophomore has had a dramatic impact on the offense, as the Aggies have moved up to second in passing offense in the Big 12. Long threw for a school-record 399 yards against Kansas, and he threw a conference-record seven touchdowns in a duel with Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury.

Big injury impact - Two defensive stars -- Ty Warren and "Candyman" Sammy Davis (a NationalChamps.net AA) -- are questionable for the Nebraska game. Warren sprained his ankle against Kansas, while Davis suffered a thigh bruise in the first quarter and did not play the rest of the game.

In the four games since Kevin Sumlin took over as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator, the Aggies have gone from having the nation's 106th-ranked offense to No. 38. If the first three games were banished from the record, Texas A&M would rank sixth nationally since head coach R.C. Slocum tabbed Sumlin to replace Dino Babers as the guy who calls the plays.



COACH: Dan McCarney

Hyped as a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, Wallace completed only four of 22 passes for 43 yards and was intercepted three times in a 49-3 loss at No. 2 Oklahoma last Saturday. Much of the talk afterward centered on how much damage that game did to his Heisman hopes.

The Cyclones' defense was on the field for just more than 42 of the 60 minutes against Oklahoma, which ran a whopping 90 plays.

McCarney said Oklahoma pressured Wallace with some blitz packages it had not shown before and the defensive backs kept the receivers covered. Iowa State couldn't run the ball, either. The Cyclones netted only 17 yards in 23 attempts.

The Cyclones head to Austin needing a clutch effort to wipe the bitter taste of a 49-3 loss to Oklahoma from their mouths. Both teams need a win to remain in their respective division races, although Iowa State actually could afford a loss more than Texas.

Iowa State needs more punch from the running game, especially in bigger games in order to take more pressure of the passing game. RBs Michael Wagner and Hiawatha Rutland have looked descent against some of the lower ranked opponents they have beaten, but that won't float the rest of the way out.

TEXAS (6-1)
COACH: Mack Brown

The Longhorns are 3-0 in the series, with the last meeting, in 1999, going down to the final second.

The Longhorns are working to try to add some punch back into the running game. Oklahoma and Kansas State, two of the better teams in the country when it comes to stopping the run, had success in slowing Texas tailback Cedric Benson.

NationalChamps.net Preseason AA DE Cory Redding has played some outstanding football for the Longhorns, but Texas coach Mack Brown said Redding might have been at his best against Kansas State. Keep an eye on Redding this Saturday as he attempts to contain Wallace.

Texas received some preparation last week for ISU. The Longhorns kept Kansas State's Ell Roberson under control in last week's 17-14 win in Manhattan. Roberson rushed 26 times and netted just 23 yards. He threw 18 passes and completed seven for 102 yards.


The four previous meetings between these teams have all been decided by a touchdown or less, with FSU winning three of them while none have been in Tallahassee.

COACH: Bobby Bowden

QB Chris Rix -- He's thrown for less than 200 yards combined in his last two starts, yet graded out the highest of the season according to coaches. That's because FSU has switched over to a running game philosophy with big TB Greg Jones.

TB Greg Jones -- If not for Florida State's two losses, he might be more of a Heisman Trophy candidate. The junior is on pace to shatter every one of the school's single-season rushing records.

The Seminoles don't expect Notre Dame to play with the same defensive philosophy as Miami, which dared the Seminoles to run. They are counting on seeing blitzes and more crowding along the line of scrimmage, and that puts more of the game in QB Chris Rix's hands. The Seminoles have pedestrian passing numbers and have lacked big plays all season. Still, the Seminoles are one of just eight Division I-A teams to be averaging over 200 yards in rushing (230.7) and passing (205.7).

While the intensity and effort was better, Florida State still yielded more than 400 yards against Miami and that should have the Irish excited. Notre Dame doesn't have the deep threat-passing game, but has a physical offensive line and capable talent at skill positions. The Seminoles' pass defense, which is now 110 out of 117 Division I-A teams, figures to get quickly tested.

COACH: Tyrone Willingham

Notre Dame WR Arnaz Battle -- Battle is coming off two huge games and is making it clear his move from quarterback to receiver was a good one. After a career-high 10 catches for 101 yards against Pittsburgh, Battle had eight catches for 112 yards against Air Force. He was the only Irish player to catch a pass.

The Irish offense -- in particular the offensive line -- had a big day against the smaller Falcons. It's going to be harder this Saturday to open holes for Ryan Grant, but Notre Dame has met all challenges so far. Considering how poorly FSU's secondary has played at times this season, this might be the game that Carlyle Holiday has to win with his arm.

The Irish better be ready for a strong offensive line that run blocks much better than recent FSU lines. On the flip side, FSU quarterback Chris Rix better be careful against a secondary that thrives on making the big play. Notre Dame ranks in the top 10 nationally in four categories, including third in scoring defense at 12 points per game.

BOTTOM LINE: If the game were in South Bend, I would take Notre Dame, if the game were in Tallahassee I would take Florida State. But I don't see how the point spread for this one has swelled into double-digits (10). This game always boils down to a less than 7-point difference. Whenever you play great defense you always have a chance to win, and the Irish do that. Strategically, the individual match ups favor FSU. Four big keys to this game:

1) The FSU powerful OL and how well they handle a superb Irish defense.
2) Can the Irish score more offensive points than what they have been? 10-14 offensive points won't win this football game.
3) Which FSU team shows up for the home crowd? We already know the Irish are consistent.
4) The Irish will not let Greg Jones beat them like Miami did, how well ND covers the big and tall receivers for FSU (where they have had trouble in the early season) will be crucial.



(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