Play It Forward: A peek at the week ahead in college football

Greg Bryant
Greg Bryant (1) and Notre Dame will take aim for the top of the college football rankings when they play No. 2 Florida State this week.
(Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

Five things to watch this week in college football:

1: Notre Dame at Florida State is this year’s best top-10 matchup not involving schools from the SEC West. The No. 5 Irish seem to be replaying the 2012 season as they survive one close game after another. Second-ranked Florida State keeps winning despite the never-ending swirl of controversy surrounding quarterback Jameis Winston.

2: Oregon hosts a key Pac-12 North game in Eugene against upstate, upstart Washington (5-1). How intense is the rivalry? Rick Neuheisel, immediately after being fired at Washington, got back at the school by donning an Oregon cap and having his photo snapped with Nike founder/Oregon booster Phil Knight.

3: Baylor, after an incredible 61-58 home victory over Texas Christian, faces a tricky Big 12 backwoods road game at West Virginia. The Mountaineers (4-2) rallied from 14 points down Saturday to defeat Texas Tech. West Virginia’s two defeats were to Alabama and Oklahoma.


4: Texas A&M returns to Alabama two years after the Aggies, led by Johnny Manziel, shocked the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Alabama overcame the defeat to win the national title. The Tide won a wild rematch last year and probably needs to hold home court Saturday to stay in the national playoff hunt.

5: Stanford plays Arizona State in a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 championship game at Sun Devil Stadium. Arizona State hopes this one turns out better. Neither team was picked to win its division this season, yet each controls its divisional destiny in the conference’s North and South.