Play it forward: The week ahead in college football

Five things to watch this week in college football.

1: Off to its best start since 2002, Notre Dame (7-0) heads to Oklahoma in search of a signature victory that can keep the Fighting Irish in national title contention. Notre Dame has dominated Oklahoma historically, losing only once in nine meetings. The one-loss Sooners appear to have recovered from their home loss to Kansas State.

2: Texas Tech (6-1) at Kansas State (7-0) probably was not a game anyone had circled on the calendar in the preseason, yet it has blossomed into one of the better games on Oct. 27. Texas Tech’s only loss was in Lubbock to Oklahoma, and Kansas State firmly positioned itself in the national title race with Saturday’s dominating win at West Virginia.

3: Florida (7-0) and Georgia (6-1) meet again in Jacksonville for what used to be known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” The rivalry has tried to tone down some of its extracurricular outrageousness, but there is no dampening the importance of this key matchup in the SEC East Division.


4: Mississippi State has quietly opened the season 7-0, mostly because the Bulldogs played a weak nonconference schedule and defeated three SEC teams — Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee — that are a combined 0-14 in conference play. The world will discover how good Mississippi State really is this weekend when it visits No. 1 Alabama.

5: Ohio State (8-0) at Penn State (5-2) is billed as “The Probation Bowl” because both schools are in the midst of sanctions that prohibit them this season from postseason play. It’s too bad because they happen to be the only undefeated teams left in the Leaders Division and maybe the best two teams left in the Big Ten.

—Chris Dufresne