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Play it forward: The week ahead in college football

Alabama is at Texas A&M in a matchup of defending BCS champion vs. reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

September 08, 2013|By Chris Dufresne
  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) evades the tackle attempt of Alabama defensive back Deion Belue (13) during their game last season.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) evades the tackle attempt… (Dave Martin / Associated…)

Five things to watch this week in college football.

1. Alabama at Texas A&M is what makes college football different from other sports. It is an early high-stakes game dripping with drama. Texas A&M is the only team last year to defeat Alabama, which still won the Bowl Championship Series title. As coach of Louisiana State and Alabama, Nick Saban is 15-2 against teams that beat him in previous meetings.

2. Tennessee travels cross-country to play Oregon in a game that will test a middle-of-the-road Southeastern Conference team against an elite Pac-12 squad. Oregon hasn't missed a beat so far under first year Coach Mark Helfrich, outscoring its first two opponents, 125-13.

3. Ohio State at California took on more intrigue because of Saturday's knee injury to star quarterback Braxton Miller. Buckeyes' Coach Urban Meyer said there's a chance Miller could play against the Bears. If not, senior Kenny Guiton is a very capable backup.

4. Mississippi at Texas features a ranked team but it's not the one you think. Texas fell out of the Associated Press poll after Saturday's disastrous loss at Brigham Young while Ole Miss moved to No. 25. Texas is still favored, though, and scored 66 on Ole Miss last year in Oxford.

5. Arizona State, after a breezy opener against Sacramento State, hosts Wisconsin to start a schedule stretch that follows with Stanford, USC and Notre Dame. Arizona State (1-0) and Wisconsin (2-0) are pitching shutouts so far, outscoring three opponents: 148-0.

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