By Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star –
Game of the week
Stanford at Notre Dame
Both are having better seasons than projected, especially the Irish. This should be a bruising game with great trench play on both sides. Notre Dame may have two players who are the best at their positions in America: tight end Tyler Eifert and linebacker Manti T’eo. The Irish have kept opposing offenses out of the end zone in three straight games. No Andrew Luck for the Cardinal, but Josh Nunes threw for two touchdowns and rushed for three more against Arizona last week. Notre Dame is the only team in the country that hasn’t trailed in a game this season. Stanford owns a three-game winning streak in the series, but this is the first game in that stretch without Luck.Upset special
Louisiana Tech at Texas A&M
This may come down to whoever has the ball last. The teams rank 11th and 12th nationally in total offense, the Bulldogs averaging 523 yards per game and the Aggies 517. The Techsters average 53 points per game, third in college football and have put away Virginia and Illinois. Tech can start thinking perfect record and BCS bowl (Sugar?) if it pulls off this one.Others to watch
South Carolina at LSU
Two of the nation’s top defenses square off, but the Gamecocks have been much more productive on the offensive side. LSU’s offensive line is hurting and has to face a South Carolina front led by ends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor.
The loser all but falls out of the Big 12 race. Great players have risen to the occasion in this game over the last decade, guys like Jason White, Adrian Peterson, Derrick Johnson, Vince Young, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. Can a player like Texas defensive end Alex Okafor or Oklahoma wide receiver Trey Metoyer join the list?
USC at Washington
The Huskies’ Steve Sarkisian and USC’s Lane Kiffin were assistants in Heritage Hall for five years, and they’ve split their meetings as opposing Pac-12 head coaches. Washington’s offense is struggling, but Sarkisian said blame shouldn’t fall on quarterback Keith Price, who has struggled at times this season after setting record s last year. “We all need to get better,” Sarkisian said.On the horizon
BCS standings (Sunday)
Announcement on ESPN
South Carolina at Florida
If they played this week, it would be No. 3 vs. No. 4
Kansas State at West Virginia
Big 12 championship game?
LSU at Texas A&M
Recruiting rivals take battle to field
Saturday’s top 25 games
No. 1 Alabama at Missouri, 2:30 p.m.
No. 3 South Carolina at No. 9 LSU, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Florida at Vandy, 5 p.m.
No. 5 West Virginia at Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m.
No. 6 K-State at Iowa St., 11 a.m.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 Stanford, 2:30 p.m.
No. 8 Ohio St. at Indiana, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Oregon State at BYU, 2:30 p.m.
No. 11 USC at Washington, 6 p.m.
No. 12 Florida State vs. Boston College, 4:30 p.m.
No. 13 Oklahoma vs. No. 15 Texas, 11 a.m.
No. 18 Louisville at Pitt, 11 a.m.
No. 19 Mississippi State vs. Tennessee, 8 p.m.
No. 20 Rutgers vs. Syracuse, 11 a.m.
No. 21 Cincinnati vs. Fordham, 6 p.m.
No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 23 Louisiana Tech, 8:15 p.m.
No. 24 Boise St. vs. Fresno State, 2:30 p.m.
No. 25 Michigan vs. Illinois, 2:30 p.m.