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College football: Play it forward

With must wins under their belts, Notre Dame's Weis and Michigan's Rodriguez now square off in Ann Arbor. USC travels to Ohio State for Act II, and Tennessee looks for revenge against visiting UCLA.

September 07, 2009|Chris Dufresne and Chris Dufresne

Five things to watch this week in college football:

1 Nice job, Charlie. Way to go, Rich. You can relax now . . . for 10 seconds. Notre Dame and Michigan, two high-profile programs under intense scrutiny, opened the season with must wins for beleaguered coaches Charlie Weis and Rich Rodriguez. This week, though, the pressure gets cranked back up when Notre Dame visits Michigan in Ann Arbor. Two years ago, Notre Dame lost in the Big House, 38-0.

2 USC and Ohio State meet in Columbus in Act II of a home-and-home series rivalry that will influence the race for the Bowl Championship Series national title. The Trojans humiliated the Buckeyes last year at the Coliseum, 35-3, and more than 105,000 fans will pack Ohio Stadium for the rematch. This Saturday night special was spared a major letdown when Ohio State managed to hold off Navy in its opener.

3 Purdue at Oregon. They'll be anxious at Autzen Stadium next Saturday as the Ducks try to recover from arguably the worst opening weekend in program history. The humiliation of Thursday night's 19-8 defeat at Boise State was compounded by tailback LeGarrette Blount's postgame punch of Boise player Byron Hout. Blount was suspended for the year and Oregon's season might be lost if it falls to 0-2.

4 Powder blue invades a sea of orange when UCLA travels to Knoxville to play Tennessee, coached by former USC assistant Lane Kiffin. Last year's shocking Labor Day loss at mediocre UCLA kick-started the chain reaction that ultimately led to Tennessee Coach Phil Fulmer's demise. The SEC doesn't take kindly to embarrassing defeats to lowly Pac-10 schools, so revenge will be in the Rocky Top air.

5 A watch-out warning has been issued to Brigham Young, which bolstered its BCS bowl cause with a 14-13 win over Oklahoma on Saturday. Now comes the tricky part, following that up with a victory in New Orleans against a Tulane team coming off a 2-10 year and a season-opening loss to Tulsa. We've seen this before: team beats ranked opponent, loses next week on road to supposedly "rank" opponent.

-- Chris Dufresne

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com; twitter.comDufresneLATimes

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