11/21/2001 12:00AM

Nebraska-Colorado rivalry is all Huskers this year


LAS VEGAS - Rivalry Weekend II is well under way with two games already played on Thursday, but the focus Friday is mainly on Nebraska's bid for the national championship in a key battle with Colorado.

Nebraska (-10) at Colorado

It used to be that Thanksgiving weekend featured the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, but then the Big 8 grew into the Big 12, and Nebraska and Colorado have finished their conference schedules against each other the last five years. It's been a great series. Nebraska has won all five games, but by only a combined 15 points.

So, Colorado is 4-1 against the spread in that span, and it appears a lot of bettors like the dog to cover again as this line has moved to 9 1/2 at some books.

But I say Colorado is overmatched this time. Nebraska QB Eric Crouch's Heisman quest is based on his ability to run the ball, but look for him to throw it more here against a suspect Colorado secondary, especially with the Buffaloes focused on trying to stop the run.

I also like the way Nebraska is approaching the game. The Cornhusker starters have been working hard in practice to prepare for a hard-hitting battle and for the high altitude. They're not resting on their laurels because they know how big this game is.

Play: Nebraska for 11 units.

Arkansas at LSU (-9 1/2)

Both teams struggled early in the season, but now the winner stays alive for a chance to win the SEC West.

The game is a contrast of styles. Arkansas moves the ball on the ground while LSU has been airing it out.

Arkansas, led by Cedric Cobbs's 101 yards, ran for 329 against Mississippi State last week, while LSU's Rohan Davey has completed 61-of-81 passes for 846 yards his last two games. Davey's favorite target, Josh Reed, set SEC records with 19 catches and 293 yards against Alabama three weeks ago. Arkansas has played well against the pass, but Davey will be able to spread the ball around if the defense concentrates too much on Reed.

Arkansas has won six games in a row, but all but one of those (the seven-overtime thriller at Mississippi) was at home. LSU is a tough place to play.

The play: LSU for 11 units.

Arizona (+7 1/2) at Arizona St.

I'm not much of a trend player, but the visitor in this series is 8-1 against the spread over the last nine years. The fact that we're getting more than a touchdown with Arizona is a bonus.

Arizona State QB Jeff Krohn is listed as questionable again. Expect him to play, but three times this season he hasn't played complete game. The lack of continuity at QB also will help Arizona. Both teams have losing records, but ASU can become bowl-eligible with wins here and next week at UCLA. Arizona's bowl game is right here, and thus should do enough to stay within a TD.

The play: Arizona for 11 units.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll entering last week: 981 units.

Last week: 3-1 for net profit of 19 units.

Current bankroll: 1,000 units.