The last time Penn State played Miami, it was for the national championship in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. Saturday's rematch at the Orange Bowl won't determine who's No. 1, but it will have a major impact on the title picture.
Miami is 4-0 and ranked No. 2, while Penn State is 5-1 and No. 9.If the Hurricanes win, they should remain undefeated until their Nov. 16 showdown with top-ranked Florida State. A loss won't eliminate the Hurricanes from the championship chase, but it would make them a longshot to win their fourth title since 1983.
If Penn State loses, it would probably ruin any title hopes for the Nittany Lions. No team has ever won the national championship with two losses, and there's no reason to believe the trend won't continue this season.
The last two Penn State-Miami games have featured an upset of the nation's No. 1 team.
In the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, No. 2 Penn State intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde five times and beat No. 1 Miami 14-10. In 1981, Jim Kelly led unranked Miami to a 17-14 victory over No. 1 Penn State.
Miami enters this year's game as a 10-point favorite.
The Hurricanes have routed their first four opponents, while the Nittany Lions have struggled since beating Cincinnati 81-0 in their second game. In the last four weeks, Penn State has lost to Southern Cal, defeated BYU and played poorly in victories over Boston College and Temple.
One of Penn State's problems is penalties. The Lions have been penalized 50 times for 430 yards in six games, close to their total for all last season.
"We're shooting ourselves in the foot every week," said Penn State linebacker Mark D'Onofrio. "We practice well, but we seem to be putting too much pressure on ourselves."
Miami has yet to be tested. The Hurricanes are averaging 36 points and 510 yards per game while holding the opposition to 6.5 points and 281 yards.
Miami also has won 40 straight games at the Orange Bowl, the second-longest home winning streak in NCAA history. Penn State will be victim No. 41. . . . MIAMI 31-14.
Other top 25 games:
Virginia Tech (plus 271/2) vs. No. 1 Florida St. at Orlandoz: Seminoles off to first 5-0 start since 1979. . . . FLORIDA ST. 42-14.
Toledo (no line) at No. 3 Washington: Huskies are No. 1 against the rush. . . . WASHINGTON 58-10.
No. 4 Tennessee (plus 41/2) at No. 10 Florida: Vols have lost last two games in Gainesville. . . . FLORIDA 28-24.
No. 5 Michigan (minus 251/2) at Michigan St.: Michigan State is 0-4 for first time since 1982. . . . MICHIGAN 42-14.
No. 6 Oklahoma (minus 51/2) vs. Texas at Dallas: Longhorns win third straight over Sooners. . . . TEXAS 24-23.
No. 12 Pittsburgh (plus 14) at No. 7 Notre Dame: Irish hand Panthers their first loss. . . . NOTRE DAME 28-24.
Rice (plus 201/2) at No. 8 Baylor: Baylor's J.J. Joe is nation's leading passer. . . . BAYLOR 48-7.
No. 11 Ohio St. (plus 3) at No. 20 Illinois: Buckeyes haven't beaten Illini since 1987. . . . ILLINOIS 34-27.
Oregon (plus 10) at No. 13 California: Cal seeking first 5-0 start in 30 years. . . . CALIFORNIA 34-21.
No. 14 Nebraska (minus 271/2) at Oklahoma St.: Cowboys haven't beaten Cornhuskers since 1961. . . . NEBRASKA 44-10.
East Carolina (plus 13) at No. 15 Syracuse: Orangemen barely avoid an upset. . . . SYRACUSE 27-24.
No. 17 Iowa (minus 191/2) at Wisconsin: Hayden Fry is 11-0-1 vs. Wisconsin. . . . IOWA 38-21.
Virginia (plus 10) at No. 18 Clemson: Tigers have won 11 in a row at Death Valley. . . . CLEMSON 20-17.
Tulane (plus 31) at No. 19 Alabama: Tulane is winless. . . . ALABAMA 52-17.
No. 22 Georgia (plus 11/2) at No. 23 Mississippi: Rebels win a defensive duel. . . . MISSISSIPPI 14-10.
No. 24 Auburn (minus 181/2) at Vanderbilt: Tigers break two-game losing streak. . . . AUBURN 35-14.
Missouri (plus 18) at No. 25 Colorado: Missouri avenges last year's fifth-down loss. . . . MISSOURI 28-24.