Play it forward: The week ahead in college football

Gus Malzahn, Quan Bray
Auburn’s Quan Bray, left, celebrates with Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn after scoring on a kick return during a Sept. 6 win over San Jose State.
(Butch Dill / Associated Press)

1. Auburn at Kansas State is an odd, but interesting, Thursday night pairing pitting a top-shelf Southeastern Conference team against venerable Big 12 Coach Bill Snyder’s Wildcats. Auburn has defeated Arkansas and San Jose State while Kansas State is 2-0 after wins over Stephen F. Austin and Iowa State.

2. Clemson gets a do-over against top-ranked Florida State this week when the Tigers travel to Tallahassee for a key Atlantic Coast Conference battle. Last year, Clemson flopped on the big stage when it suffered a 51-14 home loss to Florida State.

3. Subplot to what should be Oregon’s easy Pac-12 opener at Washington State. Last year, in the Ducks’ 62-38 win in Eugene, Cougars Coach Mike Leach refused to run out the clock as losing quarterback Connor Halliday finished a Football Bowl Subdivision-record 89 passes.

4. Florida at Alabama offers an early glimpse as to whether the East division has any chance of challenging the West in the SEC this year. East favorites South Carolina and Georgia have already suffered losses and Florida needed triple overtime Saturday to escape Kentucky.


5. Miami visits Nebraska in a throwback game that stirs memories of classic Orange Bowl meetings between venerable college football icons. In the 1984 game, Miami won the national title, 31-30, when Nebraska failed on the final two-point conversion.

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