Play it forward: Week ahead in college football

Five things to watch this week in college football.

1. Louisiana State had better hope after Saturday night’s lethargic home win over sub-division Towson that it was just caught looking ahead to next weekend’s huge Southeastern Conference showdown at No. 10 Florida. That now makes two straight bumpy outings for LSU, which dropped in the polls after a 12-10 win at Auburn.

2. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns against Baylor, should get a much stiffer test when the Mountaineers make their Big 12 Conference road debut in Austin. Texas is alleged to have the league’s top defense, although you wouldn’t know it watching Saturday’s wild 41-36 win at Oklahoma State.

3. Miami at Notre Dame circa 2012 didn’t look like a circle-your-calendar a few weeks back after Miami limped home from Kansas State following a 52-13 beat-down. The Hurricanes, though, have rallied to 4-1 after Saturday’s win over North Carolina State in which quarterback Stephen Morris threw for an ACC-record 566 yards.

4. The Big Ten’s nightmare rolls on as its only team in the AP top 20, No. 12 Ohio State, is ineligible for postseason play because of a one-year bowl ban. No. 21 Nebraska (eligible) can solve some problems if it can defeat Ohio State this week in Columbus.

5. Washington, fresh off its upset victory over Stanford, should be well rested and pumped up as it heads to No. 2 Oregon. Washington first-year defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is already proving to be an invaluable hire, but he’ll really have to earn salary this week against one of the nation’s top offenses.

— Chris Dufresne