12/06/2001 1:00AM

Vols can tame Tigers and take SEC crown


The college football regular season is down to two games on Saturday, and there is a lot of interest in both.

The Brigham Young-Hawaii game would usually be ignored at any other time in any other year, but with BYU undefeated and angry over not being included in the Bowl Championship Series, it will be watched very closely.

The SEC championship game was always expected to be a key game, because it was assumed Florida would be using it as a stepping-stone to the Rose Bowl. Tennessee changed that with a 34-32 upset last Saturday in Gainesville as an 18-point underdog. Will Tennessee capitalize on its opportunity, or will LSU pull the upset and confuse matters further?

Tennessee (-6 1/2) vs. LSU

Tennessee has had the garden trip on its way to the Rose Bowl. The Volunteers lost 26-24 to Georgia on Oct. 6 a week after beating LSU 26-18 in their first meeting, and they have been sitting off the pace while the front-runners battled on the lead.

One by one, all but Miami-Fla. faded down the stretch, and now Tennessee is one win from playing for the national title. Both Tennessee and LSU are playing better than in that earlier meeting, but the Vols prevailed in that game without their top receiver, Dante Stallworth. LSU has a potent offense, but if Tennessee's defense could contain the Florida attack, it should fare well against LSU. LSU got whipped 44-15 by Florida earlier this year. All signs point to Rocky Top.

Play: Tennessee for 11 units.

BYU at Hawaii (+3)

I made a bet on this game to go over 71 when the line went up Monday, but as of Thursday morning it was at 73 1/2 and 74 around town and likely to go higher, so I can no longer recommend that as a play. I still like Hawaii getting 3 points at home. BYU has had a lot of distractions over the BCS controversy, and I don't see how it won't affect its preparation.

These teams both know how to put the ball in the end zone, with BYU averaging 47 points a game and Hawaii averaging 37. And they're both soft on defense. BYU has allowed more than 30 points six times while Hawaii has been lit up four times (although it won all four of those shootouts).

This game should be similar to Hawaii's 38-34 upset of Fresno St. Again, I'm looking for the home field to make the difference. And I'm hoping Hawaii has the ball last.

Play: Hawaii for 11 units.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Bankroll entering last week: 976 units.

Last week: 1-2 for loss of 12 units.

Current bankroll: 964 units.