Play it forward: The week ahead in college football

Five things to watch this week in college football:

1: USC fans thinking Steve Sarkisian should be their next coach will be watching as Sark leads Washington into a Friday night game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Washington is 6-3 and has rebounded from three straight losses with crushing defeats over California and Colorado.

2: Oklahoma State at Texas offers the latest chance for Mack Brown to trip up the experts who insist he's going to be fired. Texas is actually undefeated in the Big 12 as Brown's Longhorns continue to pull out hair-raising victories. The latest was a 47-40 overtime win at West Virginia.

3: Utah may be the best 1-5 team the Pac-12 has ever known as it heads west to face an angry Oregon team coming off a painful defeat. It's funny how Utah beat Stanford but Oregon could not. Oregon fans have to be worried about star quarterback Marcus Mariota, who seemed to aggravate a nagging knee injury in the Stanford loss.

4: The good news is one team has to win when Cal travels to Colorado in a game matching the worst team in the Pac-12 North versus the worst of the Pac-12 South. Cal is 0-7 in league and 1-9 overall while Colorado is 0-6 and 3-6. Loser has to sweep out the Pac-12 basement.

5: Stanford at USC pits two programs desperately trying to play like USC of the 1970s. The Cardinal has overtaken the Trojans as the Pac-12's premiere power program. USC is 4-1 and suddenly dangerous under interim Coach Ed Orgeron, who might get the "interim" tag removed if he beats Stanford.

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