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Play it forward: The week ahead in college football

Five things to watch this week include upstarts UCLA and Oregon State playing a Pac-12 game and Notre Dame taking on Michigan a week after beating Michigan State.

September 17, 2012|Chris Dufresne
  • Oregon State couldn't be stopped by Wisconsin, and now visit Los Angeles to take on the undefeated Bruins.
Oregon State couldn't be stopped by Wisconsin, and now visit Los Angeles… (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty…)

1. No one except maybe coaches Mike Riley and Jim Mora thought a must-see Pac-12 game Sept. 22 would be Oregon State at UCLA, schools that combined to go 9-17 last year. The Beavers and Bruins, though, are undefeated and have already posted huge wins against Big Ten powers Wisconsin and Nebraska.

2. Clemson at Florida State will live up to the preseason hype as the showdown between the Atlantic Coast Conference's top two teams. These schools, like Alabama and Louisiana State in the Southeastern Conference West, have separated themselves as the class of the conference following Coastal division favorite Virginia Tech's stunning loss at Pittsburgh.

3. One Michigan down, one to go. Notre Dame welcomes Michigan to South Bend a week after the Fighting Irish defeated Michigan State in East Lansing. It was Notre Dame's biggest moment of the Brian Kelly era and the Irish's first night road win over a top-10 team since defeating South Carolina in 1983.

4. Kansas State at Oklahoma used to be one of the biggest North versus South games in the Big 12's divisional format. Who can forget Kansas State's shocking title-game win in 2003? The Big 12 has been pared to 10 teams and has eliminated the conference title game. It almost makes the regular-season stakes even higher.

5. Arizona at Oregon is the Pac-12 game of the week, featuring two of the nation's most innovative spread-offense masterminds. First-year man Rich Rodriguez has the Wildcats at 3-0 with a win over Oklahoma State. Oregon (3-0) has yet to be tested — but this figures to be the night.

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