Play it forward: Week ahead in college football

Stanford travels to Oregon, and USC and UCLA meet at the Rose Bowl to determine Pac-12 title finalists. Kansas State faces a trap game at Baylor.

November 11, 2012
  • Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is 47 of 57 passing for 681 yards and 10 touchdowns with no interceptions over the past two games.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is 47 of 57 passing for 681 yards and 10… (Jose Carlos Fajardo / MCT )

Five things to watch this week in college football.

1. Stanford at Oregon is the game of significance on a pre-holiday weekend schedule in which a lot of teams are playing turkeys. Stanford's bruising style presents an interesting challenge for a fast-paced Oregon team that is battling significant injuries on defense.

2. Just as important as the USC-UCLA rivalry's being relevant again is the fact the game is being played at noon instead of at night. USC has lost only once in the series since 1998, that classic 13-9 upset of 2006, but UCLA enters this week looking nothing like the team that was embarrassed last year at the Coliseum.

3. Kansas State, which got so close to the first Bowl Championship Series title in 1998, is two wins from clinching a berth in this year's game. The Wildcats' game at Baylor (4-5) is dangerous only because it could be a trap two weeks before Kansas State closes the season at home against Texas.

4. Alabama's BCS computer numbers could take a big hit the next two weeks. Western Carolina is 0-8 in the subdivision Southern Conference, and Auburn is 0-7 in the Southeastern. What choice does Alabama have other than to win both games convincingly?

5. Notre Dame is 10-0 with only weak Wake Forest standing in the way of the Irish being undefeated for their Nov. 24 game against USC in the Coliseum. Notre Dame is boxed out of the national title picture at the moment but is all but assured a BCS bowl berth.

— Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times Articles