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College football: Play it forward

Big matchups in Week 2 include Penn State at Alabama, Miami at Ohio State and Florida State at Oklahoma.

September 05, 2010|By Chris Dufresne

Five things to watch this week in college football:

1. Penn State Coach Joe Paterno easily notched career victory No. 395 with Saturday's 44-14 home victory over Youngstown State, but getting No. 396 this weekend is going to be a Bear because the Nittany Lions travel to Tuscaloosa to challenge No. 1 Alabama. Paterno was 0-4 against former Crimson Tide coach Bear Bryant and says this Alabama team compares favorably to the great squads of yesteryear.

2. No. 13 Miami visits No. 2 Ohio State in rematch of the 2002 season's BCS championship game in the Fiesta Bowl. The underdog Buckeyes shocked the Hurricanes in double overtime in what became an instant classic. Miami hasn't been the same since while Ohio State has returned to two BCS title games — losing both.

3. Florida State at Oklahoma is a rematch of the 2000 season's BCS championship game, in which the Sooners dethroned the defending national champions, 13-2, in the Orange Bowl. Things have changed, with Oklahoma's Bob Stoops now playing the role of venerable coach against rookie Jimbo Fisher, who took over for Bobby Bowden.

4. Michigan at Notre Dame. This is a key measuring-stick game for two of the most successful teams in college football history. Problem-plagued Rich Rodriguez got off to a good start with Saturday's opening 30-10 win against Connecticut at home, while Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly's debut ended with a hard-fought 23-12 win against Purdue.

5. Oregon, coming off a 72-0 opening victory against New Mexico, will be back to full strength for Saturday's key trip to Tennessee as star tailback LaMichael James returns from a one-game suspension. Kenjon Barner did OK in place of James, scoring five touchdowns and rushing for 147 yards for a Ducks offense that amassed a school-record 720 yards.

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