Play it forward: Week ahead in college football

Five things to watch this week in college football.

1. Oregon at Arizona State on a Thursday didn’t look like much of a game two months ago with the Sun Devils coming off a 6-7 season. First-year Coach Todd Graham, however, has Arizona State at 5-1 and ranked No. 24 in the coaches’ poll as his team looks to derail the Ducks’ national title hopes.

2. Can anyone stop Texas A&M; quarterback Johnny Manziel, who had 576 yards (395 passing, 181 rushing) and six touchdowns in the Aggies’ 59-57 win over Louisiana Tech? We’re about to find out, as Texas A&M; hosts Louisiana State in a matchup of the nation’s No. 6 offense versus the second-ranked defense.

3. Mid-October football can only mean…Stanford vs. California? Some of the fallout of conference-expansion schedule juggling includes having to move traditional games off traditional dates. This year’s Big Game is in Berkeley with a twist: Cal is coming off a win and Stanford is coming off a loss.


4. Attrition in the Southeastern Conference continues Saturday in Gainesville when one-loss South Carolina travels to undefeated Florida. The Gators took over the Gamecocks’ No. 3 spot in the Associated Press poll after South Carolina lost at LSU. Florida improved to 6-0 with a hard-fought win at Vanderbilt.

5. Kansas State at West Virginia might have been a battle of top-five Big 12 teams had the Mountaineers not stumbled badly Saturday at Texas Tech. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has thrown 25 touchdowns this year without being intercepted, but Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein could greatly enhance his Heisman Trophy chances by winning the head-to-head against Smith.