Everyone is thinking BCS after the first poll of the season came out Monday. This weekend could make or break some teams’ chances of making it to the Fiesta Bowl with several huge games. The pressure is on.

Paul Wong
iowa State quarterback is desperate to redeem himself — and his Heisman Trophy chances — when the Cyclones travel to Texas on Saturday.

No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 11 Florida State, Noon, ABC: Florida State kicker Xavier Beitia was inconsolable after missing a game-winning field goal at Miami two weeks ago, leaving his coach Bobby Bowden distraught after what seemed like his millionth last-second loss to the Hurricanes.

Heading in to this huge nonconference matchup with powerhouse Notre Dame, Bowden is hoping that his team can put the Domers away early so that the “Luck of the Irish” won’t come into play late in the game. This will be a tough task for the inconsistent Seminoles, who often look shaky with quarterback Chris Rix at the helm and a very suspect run defense. Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham will bring a talented defense led by a dominating secondary into Tallahassee.

The one bright spot for Florida State is star running back Greg Jones, who has eight touchdowns on the year. It’s a safe bet that there are plenty of fans ready to see the mighty Irish fall. A raucous home crowd and a strong running attack should prove enough for Florida State to come away with a victory.

Florida State 24, Notre Dame 17

No. 15 Southern Cal. at No. 14 Oregon, 3:30 p.m., ABC: The Ducks came up lame last week in a stunning loss to Arizona State, ending their chance to make it to the Fiesta Bowl.

But Oregon will look to keep its Pac-10 Championship hopes alive this Saturday as they take on a talented Southern Cal. team, led by quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Sultan McCullough. Palmer threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 41-21 win over Washington, and will look to stay hot against a porous Oregon defense that gave up 536 yards through the air last week to the Sun Devils. And Oregon was supposed to be a top-10 football team.

The Trojans could let coach Pete Carroll take the snaps this weekend and still come out on top. Palmer and Southern Cal. will have another field day on the Ducks, who might want to consider recruiting some defensive backs.

Southern Cal. 48, Oregon 31

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 7 Texas, 3:30 p.m., ABC: Seneca who? That’s right folks, highly touted quarterback Seneca Wallace lost any chance at the Heisman Trophy last week in a horrific performance for Iowa State in an embarrassing loss to Oklahoma.

The Sooners abused Wallace, who was 4-of-22 for just 43 yards passing and threw three interceptions. That doesn’t bode well for the Cyclones, who will come into Austin to face a strong Texas defense.

The Longhorns’ offense is also running smoothly with oft-criticized quarterback Chris Simms at the helm and a talented receiving corps, in addition to running back Cedric Benson. Look for Mack Brown’s team to stir up quite a tornado against the Cyclones and send them packing in convincing fashion.

Texas 28, Iowa State 13

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