UCLA at USC
Run, Reggie, Run: USC tailback LenDale White has a banged-up left shoulder, and his availability will be determined at game time. That's bad news for UCLA. White's absence means more carries for Reggie Bush, the Heisman Trophy favorite who enhances his highlight reel seemingly every time he touches the ball. Bush had a Pacific-10 Conference record 513 all-purpose yards against a solid Fresno State defense Nov. 19. Today, in his final game before the Heisman is awarded, Bush will face a UCLA rushing defense that ranks 115th nationally.
The Forgotten QB: There is another quarterback in Los Angeles that isn't half bad. While USC's Matt Leinart has had a great season, UCLA's Drew Olson might have had an even better year. Olson has completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,909 yards and 30 touchdowns. He has thrown only three interceptions. In his last game, Olson was nearly perfect, completing 22 of 27 passes for 510 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-35 victory against Arizona State on Nov. 12. Olson should put plenty of points on the scoreboard today.
Leinart's Last Dance: Matt Leinart has done a lot of things in his career as USC quarterback. He has won back-to-back national titles and a Heisman Trophy. He has befriended plenty of celebrities and been a prime component for one of the greatest offenses college football has ever seen. One thing he has never done is lose at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Today is his final home game before Leinart leaves USC and his ballroom dancing class behind for a career in the NFL.
Texas vs. Colorado
Do They Belong? Many Colorado fans seem to doubt the Buffaloes have a chance in this one. The school returned 5,000 of its 8,500 game tickets. Colorado has lost two straight games, including last week's 30-3 home loss to Nebraska. Yet the Buffaloes were the only team in the laughable Big 12 North Division to finish with a winning conference record, 5-3. The Buffaloes will face a Texas team that already pounded them, 42-17, earlier this season. It's difficult to make a strong case as to why Colorado can pull off the upset.
Horns Flashback: Championship Saturday brings up sour memories for Longhorns Coach Mack Brown, who has never won a conference championship. That includes Brown's days at Appalachian State, Tulane, North Carolina and Texas. Longhorn fans can't forget 1999, when Texas lost in the Big 12 title game to a Nebraska team that the Longhorns already had beaten earlier that season. And they can't forget 2001, when the Longhorns were a victory away from the national title game but lost to Colorado in the conference championship even though they had thumped the Buffaloes earlier in the season.
Last Chance for Vince: Texas quarterback Vince Young has had a fantastic season, accounting for a school-record 31 touchdowns and providing leadership that helped the Longhorns win at Ohio State. The junior was at the top of the list of Heisman Trophy favorites until two weeks ago. On Nov. 19, Southern California's Reggie Bush had 513 all-purpose yards against Fresno State. The next week, Young had two turnovers in Texas's lackluster 40-29 win at Texas A&M. Earlier this year, Young had a stellar game against Colorado, completing 25 of 29 passes, and needs another today.
Louisiana State vs. Georgia
Bulldogs Home Game: This is supposed to be a neutral game, but how can it be when Georgia only has to make the short trip to Atlanta to play in the Georgia Dome? Almost two-thirds of the crowd will be partial to the Bulldogs. "It's a Georgia home game, just like it was the last time we played them there," LSU offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth said. Georgia will play the SEC title game in the Georgia Dome for the third time in four years. In 2002, the Bulldogs routed Arkansas, 30-3. In 2003, LSU beat them handily, 34-13, en route to a share of the national title.
Scoreboard Watching: The Texas rout, er, game will be long over by the time the SEC title game kicks off at 6 p.m., and Southern California could be trouncing UCLA by the time LSU and Georgia first snap the ball tonight. If Texas and USC both cruise, a likely scenario, it will take away much of the drama from this game. Sure, the winner earns a berth in the Sugar Bowl and an SEC championship. But LSU will have enough information by kickoff to know whether it still has a chance at the national title or whether a BCS game against West Virginia looms.
First One to 10 Wins: We feel for D.J. Shockley and JaMarcus Russell, the two quarterbacks in this game. Georgia's Shockley will have to move the ball against an LSU defense that ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense. LSU's Russell will have to generate offense against a Georgia defense that ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense. Three times this season, Georgia held opponents to 10 points or less. And LSU held opponents to 10 points or fewer five times this year. Good luck to both.
-- Eric Prisbell