Yesterday's Winners

At least for a week, UCLA has upstaged Southern California. The Bruins' rout of Oklahoma should not be considered an upset because the Sooners appear in disarray, unable to protect the ball or get adequate play from their quarterback, Rhett Bomar. All week, UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell played down the significance of the game, but players acknowledged it was the type of showdown that could put UCLA on the national radar. It has done just that. . . . Kudos to Al Groh. The Virginia coach not only went for it on fourth down in the final moments against Syracuse, but he offered this afterward as the rationale: "Did you ever see 'Risky Business'? Sometimes you've just gotta say, 'What the heck.' " Mark this as the first and last day Groh's name is mentioned in the same sentence as the Tom Cruise movie.

Yesterday's Losers

All eyes in the Florida Gators' press box Saturday night, including for a while those of Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, were riveted to two television sets, one showing the Miami-Clemson triple-overtime game, the other showing the Notre Dame-Michigan State overtime shootout. The bigger loser, of course, was Notre Dame, which failed to ride the momentum of its opening two road victories. . . . Pittsburgh's first-year coach, Dave Wannstedt, fell on even harder times after his Panthers dropped to 0-3 for the first time in 21 years. They lost to a Nebraska team whose quarterback, Zac Taylor, threw for only 93 yards. . . . ESPN's "GameDay" crew passed on the Florida-Tennessee game and instead was in Chestnut Hill, Mass., for the Florida State- Boston College game All of the Florida fans wearing "Urbanator" T-shirts were left wondering why a matchup of top-six teams wasn't enough. Surely, it couldn't be that ESPN was broadcasting the BC game while CBS carried the Gators-Vols.

Spinning Ahead

You can't claim your luggage at Jacksonville (Fla.) International Airport without seeing the huge sign announcing that there are 76 days until the city hosts the first ACC title game on Dec. 3. Miami still has a good chance to play in the championship game after avoiding an 0-2 start in league play with Saturday's victory at Clemson. The Hurricanes won't play a difficult road game again until Nov. 5 at Virginia Tech, a matchup that should decide the Coastal Division. . . . As hard as it is to believe, Vanderbilt, which has not had a winning record since 1982, should be able to get to 5-0 with games against Richmond and Middle Tennessee State on tap. After that, though, the Commodores play four current top 10 teams in their final six games. . . . On a rare occasion, Notre Dame lost and Tyrone Willingham-coached Washington won on the same Saturday, which will give the Huskies hope that they can beat the Irish next week in what Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis has already deemed the Ty Bowl.

DAVE WANNSTEDT