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Now it gets really interesting.
In State College, Pa., and Chapel Hill, N.C., next weekend four teams with perfect records square off in what boils down to national title elimination games.
One game, with Big Ten title and Rose Bowl implications, matches No. 4 Michigan (8-0) against No. 2 Penn State (7-0). The other, with the ACC title and an Orange Bowl berth on the line, has No. 3 Florida State (8-0) at No. 5 North Carolina (8-0).
Winners move to the next stage--completing a perfect season and remaining in national title contention.
After Saturday's games, six major teams remained unbeaten as No. 16 Washington State (7-1) lost for the first time, 44-31 to No. 15 Arizona State (6-2).
The Cougars' loss means No. 6 Washington (7-1), a 27-0 winner over Southern California, has control of the Pac-10 race and goes to the Rose Bowl if it wins the rest of the way--against Oregon, UCLA and Washington State.
Meanwhile, No. 1 Nebraska (8-0) increased its lead in the AP poll with a 69-7 win over Oklahoma--the worst defeat in Sooners' history. The Huskers are heavy favorites to win the Big 12 and play in the Orange Bowl--the bowl alliance's top game--on Jan. 2.
The Southeastern Conference underwent a power shift Saturday as No. 9 Georgia (7-1, 5-1) upset No. 13 Florida 37-13 and No. 19 Mississippi State surprised No. 17 Auburn 20-0. The results gave No. 8 Tennessee (6-1, 4-1) and No. 19 Mississippi State (6-2, 3-2) the inside tracks to winning the East and West divisions, respectively, while knocking the Gators (6-2, 4-2) out of contention.
No. 1 Nebraska 69, Oklahoma 7
At Lincoln, Neb., Ahman Green and Joel Mackovica each topped 100 yards rushing--Mackovica had three TDs--and Scott Frost ran for one score and threw for another as Tom Osborne reached 250 wins quicker than any other coach.
Last season, the Huskers beat the Sooners 73-21, which at the time was the worst loss in Oklahoma football history.
No. 2 Penn State 30, Northwestern 27
At Evanston, Ill., Curtis Enis ran for 153 yards and a TD and Anthony Cleary had two short TDs for the Lions, who allowed two late scores before sealing the win by recovering an onside kick.
"We just lost our poise a little bit at the end and that's about it," said Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, who won his 400th game--296 as the head coach--since arriving at Happy Valley in 1950.
Penn State extended the longest winning streak in Division I-A to 13 games.
No. 3 Florida State 48, N.C. State 35
At Tallahassee, Fla., Thad Busby threw for five TDs and a career-best 463 yards to offset five TD catches by the Wolfpack's Torry Holt.
Freshman tailback Travis Minor added three TDs Florida State had 517 yards, while allowing 448 yard and 28 first downs.
No. 4 Michigan 24, Minnesota 3
At Ann Arbor, Mich., Woodson scored on a 33-yard reverse and Michigan held Minnesota to 102 total yards--and no second-half points. Michigan has not allowed a second-half TD or a fourth-quarter point.
No. 9 Georgia 37, No. 13 Florida 17
At Jacksonville, Fla., Robert Edwards tied a school record with four TDs as the Bulldogs ended seven years of frustration against the Gators.
"Georgia's better than us, that's all you can say," Spurrier said.
No. 7 Ohio State 37, Michigan State 13
At East Lansing, Mich., Gary Berry returned an interception 45 yards for a score, then picked up a blocked field goal and scored from a yard out to lead the Buckeyes (8-1) over the Spartans (5-3).
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