09/05/2001 11:00PM

Fresno comes back to earth

Email

Most college football teams now have a game under their belts, and we have some actual results to compare when handicapping this weekend's games.

Fresno State at Wisconsin (-4)

I am impressed as anyone with Fresno State's upsets of Colorado and Oregon State, but the Bulldogs are in a bad spot here. They played Sunday night and have had a short week of practice and have to travel to Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin lost to Oregon, 31-28, but the Badgers got some good things out of the setback. Facing - and containing - Oregon's Joey Harrington will prepare them for Fresno State QB David Carr. In addition, Wisconsin's Jim Sorgi performed admirably in place of injured Brooks Bollinger.

PLAY: Wisconsin for 11 units (to win 10)

Northern Illinois at Illinois (-20)

I watched the game between Northern Illinois and South Florida last Thursday on satellite, and it wasn't pretty. It was South Florida's first game in Division I-A and NIU struggled to win, 20-17, as an 18-point favorite. Meanwhile, Illinois jumped out to a 38-7 halftime lead on Cal and went on to win 44-17 on the road. The Illini should do the same against NIU.

PLAY: Illinois for 11 units

Tennessee (-13) at Arkansas

The only reason to even consider playing Arkansas in this ESPN2 game is that the Razorbacks are at home. The home field, however, didn't keep UNLV from dominating most of the game in Arkansas's 14-10 season-opening win last Thursday. If the Rebels had not fallen apart, Arkansas would have lost 10-0 (or even worse if not for two UNLV missed field goals and poor play from QB Jason Thomas). Last week, Tennessee scored 33 against a Syracuse team that only allowed 13 to Georgia Tech in its season opener, so Tennessee should score a lot of points just as it did in beating Arkansas, 63-20, last year in Knoxville. Vols QB Casey Clausen threw five TDs in that game and will be looking to fatten his stats again. On the other side of the ball, Arkansas used four quarterbacks against UNLV, and it wasn't because the UNLV defense was so stellar.

PLAY: Tennessee for 11 units

Leans

Texas (-22) over North Carolina, USC (+3 1/2) over Kansas State, Nebraska (-13 1/2) over Notre Dame. North Carolina is 0-2 and now must travel to face a solid Texas team. USC is getting more than a field goal at home. Nebraska has two games under its belt and will be out to prove last year's near loss to the Irish was a fluke.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Record: 1-2 (minus 12 units).

Current bankroll: 988 units.