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Miami aim to make it ‘back’

It’s one of the most- asked questions by college football fans and news media members: Is (insert lagging program name here) “back?” – as in back to being one of the elite programs it once was.

This week, Blacksburg, Va., is the site of a possible “they’re back” game, as No. 9 Miami (2-0) faces No. 11 Virginia Tech (2-1).

The picks:

TODAY

No. 4 Mississippi (minus-3) at South Carolina: The Rebels have lost their past five Southeastern Conference openers. Ole Miss, 30-21.

Saturday

No. 1 Florida (minus-21) at Kentucky: The swine flu shouldn’t stop the Gators. Florida, 38-14.

UTEP (plus-36) at No. 2 Texas: Mack Brown is 17-0 vs. non-conference teams from Texas. Texas, 55-14.

Arkansas (plus-17) at No. 3 Alabama: Arkansas has a brutal defense. ’Bama, 38-17.

Iowa (plus-9˝) at No. 5 Penn St.: Iowa’s struggling offense meets a banged-up Penn St. ‘D.’ Penn St., 21-14.

No. 6 California (minus-5˝) at Oregon: The Bears have won four of five from the Ducks. Cal, 34-30.

No. 7 LSU (minus-13) at Mississippi St.: LSU has won nine in a row against the Bulldogs. LSU, 35-10.

No. 8 Boise St. (minus-17) at Bowling Green: The Broncos best be wary of the Falcons. Bowling Green, 38-30.

No. 9 Miami (minus-2˝) at No. 11 Va. Tech: Yes, Miami is back. Miami, 24-17.

Wash. St. (plus-45˝) at No. 12 USC: USC beat the Cougars, 69-0, last year. USC, 50-10.

Illinois (plus-14) at No. 13 Ohio St.: Juice Williams’ Illini beat No. 1 Ohio St. at the Shoe in ’07. Ohio St., 38-17.

Fresno St. (plus-16˝) at No. 14 Cincinnati: The Bearcats are catching up to the Buckeyes. Cincy, 45-24.

No. 15 TCU (plus-2˝) at Clemson: TCU’s turn to be MWC’s best chance to bust BCS. TCU, 28-21.

Grambling St. (no line) at No. 16 Okla. St.: The Tigers are defending SWAC champs. Okla. St., 60-14.

Texas Tech (plus-1) at No. 17 Houston: How about the first QB to 500 yards wins? Houston, 48-42.

South Florida (plus-14˝) at No. 18 Florida St.: Can the Bulls survive without injured QB Matt Grothe? Florida St., 31-14.

Colorado St. (plus-16) at No. 19 BYU: The Rams are a Mountain West dark horse. BYU, 35-27.

Southern Mississippi (plus-13˝) at No. 20 Kansas: The Golden Eagles always are up for a tough road trip. Kansas, 41-21.

Arizona St. (plus-11˝) at No. 21 Georgia: What’s up with the Bulldogs’ defense? Georgia, 35-27.

No. 22 UNC (plus-2˝) at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech could end up in a big ACC hole. UNC 28-24.

Indiana (plus-21) at No. 23 Michigan: Indiana is unbeaten, too. Michigan, 42-17.

No. 24 Washington (plus-7) at Stanford: The Huskies still are underdogs? Doggone right. Stanford, 24-14.

La.-Lafayette (plus-27˝) at No. 25 Nebraska: The Huskers are back – to pounding patsies. Nebraska, 49-14.

Last week: 20-2 (straight); 13-6-1 (vs. points).

Season: 56-8 (straight); 28-25-2 (vs. points).

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