04 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1996 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL V COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS Vols tangle with unbeaten 'Bama By RICHARD ROSENBLATT The Associated Press There's another knock on Tennessee than just its inability to beat Florida — the Volunteers can't beat Alabama in Knoxville. The Crimson Tide have won five in a row at Neyland Stadium, dating to 1986. And when the Vols won in '84, the score was 28-27. On Saturday, it's No. 7 Alabama and No. 6 Tennessee for the 79th time and the seventh when both teams are ranked in the Top 10. While the Vols (4-1) are out of the national title picture for now, the Crimson Tide (7-0) need a win to remain on course for an SEC title showdown against No. 1 Florida, followed by a Sugar Bowl berth. But getting past Peyton Manning & Co. won't be easy. While Alabama excels on defense, the Vols' offense could be mighty tough to stop. "I think he's very accurate, he's in total control of the offense and knows exactly what's happening," Alabama coach Gene Stallings said of Manning. "And he doesn't waste many plays." Led by Manning, who is 120-of- 180 for 1,691 yards and 10 TDs, the Vols are scoring 39.2 points per game and averaging 462.4 yards — 349.4 passing. For Alabama, Freddie Kitchens is 90-of-167 for 1,277 yards and seven TDs, and Dennis Riddle is the go-to guy with 535 yards and nine TDs. The Manning factor is the difference. ... No. 7 Alabama (plus 15) at No. 6 Tennessee. ... TENNESSEE 31-21. No. 2 Ohio State (minus 14) at No. 20 Iowa Two straight big upsets seems unlikely for Hawkeyes.... OHIO STATE 31-14. No. 14 Virginia (plus 16) at No. 3 Florida St. Payback time for Seminoles, left at the goal line In last year's 5-point loss to Cavs. ... FLORIDA STATE 31-10. No. 4 Arizona State (minus 14) at Stanford Believe it or not, Cardinal beat Sun Devils last season.... ARIZONA STATE 45-20. Kansas (plus 31H) at No. 5 Nebraska Huskers get a better grip on the ball this week. ... NEBRASKA 45-7. Texas (plus 10) at No. 8 Colorado Longhoms trying to avoid a fourth loss. ... COLORADO 35-21. No. 9 North Carolina (minus 21H) at Houston Rrst football game between schools — Tar Heels are 5-1 vs. Cougars In basketball. ... NORTH CAROLINA 27-10. Offense/ KUNo.9 in Big 12 FROM PAGE D1 Nebraska ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 Conference (sixth nationally) in total defense and fourth nationally in scoring defense. The Corn- huskers haven't allowed more than 19 points in any game this season and just 22 in their last four. "It's the best defense I have seen in the Big Eight/Big 12 since I've been here," Mason said. "They're awfully aggressive and they play awfully hard. They make things happen." Something the KU offense hasn't been able to do recently. The Jayhawks, who averaged 45 points a game in their first four outings, are ninth in the Big 12 in rushing offense and the same in total offense. And when the offense goes bad, everyone looks at the quarterback. Matt Johner has started every game this season, but was pulled (in favor of Ben Rutz) and then reinserted in the first half against Colorado. Mason was non-commital when asked if Johner would start against Nebraska. "I don't know ... maybe, maybe not," Mason said. "When you're like this, no one has a hold on the position." But the KU coach isn't about to put all the blame on Johner's shoulders. The Jayhawks have had equal trouble on the ground and through the air. "Our quarterback position would perform better if our supporting cast performed better," Mason said. "We are not well-honed right now. Because of that, we have a hard time building momentum. "In execution, there has been no common denominator," he added. "It's been one guy on one play and then one guy the next. But you can't let yourself get discouraged. It's a challenge. You keep marching along." But it'll be a tough march Saturday. The Jayhawks are a 31-point underdog to fall below the .500 mark (3-4) for the first time since the end of the 1993 season. The Jayhawks, like several other teams in the Big 12, need victories to be considered for a bowl game. Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas State are locks for the postseason, but there are six other tejpns with records of 4-3,3-3 or 3-4. No. 10 Michigan (minus 13) at Minnesota Wolverines just getting by these days. ... MICHIGAN 24-10. Illinois (plus 12%) at No. 11 Northwestern Wildcats don't need luck in this one. ... NORTHWESTERN 31-13. No. 25 Miami (plus 3) at No. 12 West Virginia Can the Hurricanes really lose three in a row? ...WEST VIRGINIA 24-19. Mississippi State (plus 19) at No. 13 LSU Could be a big day for Tigers' QB Herb Tyler. ... LSU 42-13. No. 15 Brlgham Young (minus 15%) at Texas Christian Speaking of big days, BYU's Steve Sarkisian is on another TD roll.... BRIGHAM YOUNG 4214. Oklahoma (plus 18) at No. 16 Kansas State Sooners looking for three-game winning streak.... KANSAS STATE 35-14. No. 17 Penn State (minus 14%) at Indiana Let Curtis Enis run, Joe. ... PENN STATE 2710. Tulsa (plus 12%) at No. 21 Utah Utes have won six straight after opening-season I6ss. ... UTAH 27-13. No. 23 Washington (minus 7) at Oregon Hot and cold Huskies go against well-rested Ducks.... OREGON 31-28. ACT NOW AND UP TO $25,000 CAN BE YOURS!! SPECIAL HOME IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM $ THE FHA/HUD TITLE 1 INSURANCE PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE TO HOMEOWNERS FOR ENERGY SAVING HOME IMPROVEMENT PRODUCTS. FUNDS AVAILABLE THROUGH APPROVED LENDERS, ALL PRODUCTS ARE FULLY INSTALLED BY LENDER APPROVED CONTRACTOR. Payments as Low as $50.00 month. 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