Play it forward: Week ahead in college football

Notre Dame heads west to play USC with a chance to play in the BCS title game, and Florida and Georgia need wins to keep their hopes alive.

Five things to watch this week in college football.

1. Notre Dame is No.1 in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 1993 and is headed west to USC for a trip that could clinch for the Irish a Bowl Championship Series title-game berth. USC is reeling after its loss to UCLA and may have to face Notre Dame without senior quarterback Matt Barkley. Other than that, there is little drama brewing.

2. Michigan at Ohio State is a relative sidebar in the larger BCS sense because undefeated Ohio State isn't eligible for the postseason this season. But you know it would make Michigan's day and season to win in Columbus and deny the Buckeyes a possible shot at the Associated Press national title.

3. Florida at Florida State has suddenly become a game of national title importance. If USC puts a first loss on Notre Dame next weekend at the Coliseum, it means Florida, even with that primordial ooze offense, could possibly get into the BCS title game with a win in Tallahassee.

4. Georgia has clinched a Southeastern Conference title-game berth on Dec. 1 but must beat Georgia Tech in Athens on Saturday if it wants to play for a national title-game berth. Georgia Tech has won three straight games after a 3-5 start while scoring 110 points in its last two victories.

5. How crazy is this? Stanford is two wins over UCLA from going to the Rose Bowl. UCLA, on the other hand, may be better off losing to Stanford next week at the Rose Bowl in order to play Stanford a second time Nov. 30 rather than Oregon for the first time.

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