Five things to watch this week in college football.

1. Rise and shine. It's always better when Texas playing Oklahoma in the annual Texas State Fair game at the Cotton Bowl is a top-five matchup with national-title implications. We'll have to settle this year for two one-loss ranked teams trying to keep faint hopes alive.

2. Only a few hours ago West Virginia at Texas Tech would have been the nation's No.1 offense going against the top-ranked defense. But Texas Tech messed up everything by falling to No. 2 after allowing 41 points in its loss to Oklahoma. Then again, with West Virginia on the schedule, it was only a matter of time.

3. Top-ranked Alabama probably doesn't need help rolling through the season but gets a little more next week at Missouri knowing Tigers quarterback James Franklin will miss the game with a knee injury. Alabama has already played Michigan without leading rusher tailback Fitz Toussaint (suspended) and Arkansas without quarterback Tyler Wilson (injury).

4. The last thing Louisiana State's No. 76 offense needed was ferocious South Carolina coming to Baton Rouge. LSU's No. 3 defense must try to keep this game in the single digits. The Tigers have held all opponents to 14 points or fewer except subdivision powerhouse Towson, which scored 22.

5. The questions about whether Notre Dame is for real were pretty much answered in Saturday's 41-3 win over Miami in Chicago. Notre Dame will get another test when one-loss Stanford visits South Bend. The Andrew Luck-less Cardinal stayed in the top 25 with an emotional, overtime victory against Arizona.

(c)2012 Los Angeles Times

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