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Chris Dufresne's Play It Forward

Upsets have taken the edge off USC's game at Cal on Saturday . . . but UCLA at Stanford? Now you're talking.

September 28, 2009|Chris Dufresne

Five things to watch this week:

1 USC at California is no longer the game of the century, the season, the week or even, maybe, the day in the Bay Area. With all the early upsets, this would have been a top-five matchup with huge national-title implications. But Cal followed USC's horrific loss at Washington last week with a 39-point defeat at Oregon on Saturday.

2 Get well Tim, welcome back Sam? Injuries to the last two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks could play a key role in this year's national title race. Last year's winner Sam Bradford, out since suffering a shoulder sprain in the opener, is trying to get clearance to play at Miami this week, while Florida fans are hoping an open date will allow Tim Tebow's concussion to heal in time for Louisiana State on Oct. 10.

3 UCLA at Stanford was always something to get excited about . . . in volleyball. Suddenly, though, this week's football game at The Farm is a key game in the early Pac-10 race. UCLA, at 3-0 the conference's last remaining unbeaten team, finally opens league play while Stanford (3-1) has already posted league wins against Washington State and Washington.

4 Iowa, which needed to block two last-second field-goal tries to avoid a season-opening home loss to Northern Iowa, is 4-0 after Saturday's victory at Penn State but will need to keep its focus this week against Arkansas State. After that, the Hawkeyes play host to Michigan before trips to Wisconsin and Michigan State.

5Houston's exciting late-night home win against Texas Tech sent Cougars fans pouring onto the field to celebrate the upset. Wait, it wasn't an upset, Houston was the ranked team, but it did push the Cougars to 2-0 against the Big 12 this year and kept alive the team's bid for a major bowl.

-- Chris Dufresne

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/dufresnelatimes

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