10/05/2006 12:00AM

A mixed bag of unders, overs, favorites and dogs


While checking out the new race and sports book at the Green Valley Ranch on Tuesday, Race Day Las Vegas radio host and DRF contributor Ralph Siraco said, "This is the best time of the year."

Even though we joked that the same thing is said during March Madness, Derby Week, the start of the football season, and at other times, there is no doubt this is a special weekend. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, five Grade 1 stakes will be run at Belmont Park, there is more great racing at Keeneland, and then there's a full slate of college football.

Here's a look at some college football games this Saturday while you're following everything else. I've come up with four totals and three sides.

Arizona at UCLA (o/u 39 1/2)

It appears the oddsmakers may have over-adjusted to the early-season success by under bettors, and there could be more value on the overs now. I'm thinking this is the case here, though I'm not crazy about pretty much relying on one team to get almost all the points to put this game over. Arizona hasn't done much on offense this year, averaging 12 points per game, but if the Wildcats can get at least that much here, the Bruins should be able to send this flying over the total as they're boasting a balanced attack with Ben Olsen throwing and Chris Markey running the ball. Olsen just needs to avoid the interceptions - he has thrown five this season - though in this case it wouldn't bother me to see one returned for a touchdown. It also wouldn't hurt if UCLA called off the dogs defensively in the late going as the Bruins have more important games the next two weeks vs. Oregon and Notre Dame.

PLAY: Over 39 1/2 points for 1 unit.P

Oklahoma vs. Texas (o/u 49)

I'm going to return to looking at the unders in marquee matchups here as the defenses should dominate. Oklahoma should rely on the running of Adrian Peterson - which will help run some clock as long as he doesn't rip off long runs - and Texas should also try to establish the run to take the pressure off still-maturing quarterback Colt McCoy. It also doesn't look like a blowout either way, so hopefully the only thing I'm worrying about late is the possibility of overtime.

PLAY: Under 49 points for 1 unit.

Michigan St. at Michigan (o/u 53)

Back to another over. Michigan State was accused of packing in the season last year after its loss to Michigan and the following week vs. Ohio State. The whispers have begun that the same thing is happening after the Spartans' collapse vs. Notre Dame and then a loss to a weak Illinois team last week as a 24-point favorite. Michigan State will certainly try to get up for this rivalry game and the offense should put up some points, but it's not likely the defense will have the heart to slow down Michigan's offense. This should match last year's 34-31 shootout with Michigan coming out on top and the game going over the total.

PLAY: Over 53 points for 1 unit.

Tennessee (-2 1/2) at Georgia

Georgia is 5-0 and ranked higher in the polls (No. 10 vs. Tennessee's No. 13 in the AP poll), but it's not surprising that oddsmakers have made the visiting Vols the favorite here. Georgia has struggled the past two weeks to get by Colorado and Mississippi and hasn't had consistent play from its revolving rotation of quarterbacks. It won't get easier for the Bulldogs against the Tennessee defense. The Vols' only loss was by 1 point to Florida and they should get back in the SEC title hunt here. This game also looks like a stone-cold under, but with the total at 37 I will take a pass.

PLAY: Tennessee for 1 unit.

New Mexico St. (pick) at Idaho

New Mexico State came through for me last week as the Aggies lost, 44-38, at UTEP as a 16 1/2-point underdog and nearly pulled the outright upset. Quarterback Chase Holbrook has the offense ranked No. 1 in the nation, averaging 535 yards per game, with 442 yards coming through the air, ranking it No. 1 in that category. Match that up with an Idaho defense that allows 421 yards per game and ranks 112th out of 119 Division 1 teams, and it's hard to see the Vandals slowing down Holbrook & Co. New Mexico State doesn't have a defense (ranked No. 79 in yards allowed) to match its offense, but Idaho has put up 27 or more points vs. only lowly Idaho State and Utah State.

PLAY: New Mexico St. for 1 unit.

Oregon (+5 1/2) at California

I'm going to stick with the other team I won with last week. Oregon went into Arizona State as a short underdog and dominated 48-13. California is also on a roll after its season-opening loss to Tennessee. Both offenses are balanced with the run and pass and have no weaknesses, but the difference is that the Ducks' pass defense has offered a little more resistance by allowing 145 yards per game through the air while the Golden Bears are allowing 227 yards per game. Cal's Daymeion Hughes is considered a lock-down corner, but the rest of the secondary hasn't picked up the slack and an offense like Oregon's can expose those weaknesses.

PLAY: Oregon for 1 unit.

Wyoming at New Mexico (o/u 43)

Wyoming is ranked 55th in total offense and New Mexico is 83rd. Granted, part of that is based on facing challenging out-of-conference schedules, but I don't think either team will be able to put it all together against the opposing defense. New Mexico is still struggling with backup quarterback Chris Nelson replacing Kole McKamey, and Wyoming's defense is ranked No. 12. Wyoming also hasn't found a true starting quarterback and will be hard-pressed to put up points.

PLAY: Under 43 points for 1 unit.

Last week: 3-3 for a net loss of 0.3 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). College season record: 16-10, including 13-6 on totals and 3-4 on sides, for a net profit of 5 units.