A look ahead to a weekend of big-time college football

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) dives into the end zone for a fourth-quarter touchdown against Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, October 6, 2012. South Carolina defeated Georgia, 35-7. Photo by Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT.

Chris Ginley

Showdown in Tiger Town

Another week brings another Top 10 matchup in the SEC. The No. 3 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 SEC) travel to arguably the toughest place to play in college football, LSU’s Tiger Stadium, otherwise known as “Death Valley,” to face off against the No. 9 LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC).

The Gamecocks continue through a merciless SEC schedule, facing a team ranked in the top 10 for the second week in a row. The Gamecocks are going through a stretch where they could potentially face three top-10 opponents in a row (Then No. 5 Georgia last week, No. 9 LSU this week and No. 4 Florida next week).

Can South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw continue his three-game streak of having at least 140 yards passing and throwing two touchdowns a game against an LSU defense that is averaging 12.8 points allowed a game? Can LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger bounce back from probably his worst game all season against Florida, where he was 11 for 25 in passing attempts, throwing for 158 yards and zero touchdowns and one interception?

South Carolina will be trying to beat LSU for the first time since Oct. 1, 1994, when the Gamecocks beat the Tigers 18-17 in Baton Rouge.

Stanford vs. Notre Dame

This Stanford senior class has beaten Notre Dame three straight years. Saturday in South Bend, Ind., the team will try to make it four in a row. Stanford is led by quarterback Josh Nunes, who has incredibly large shoes to fill, replacing Andrew Luck.

Nunes has thrown for 1145 yards and eight touchdowns so far this season. Nunes and the rest of the Stanford offense will have one of its toughest tests of the season, facing a Notre Dame defense that is averaging 7.8 points allowed a game.

The Notre Dame defense is led by team captain and Heisman Trophy Candidate Manti Te’o. Te’o will be going for his second straight multi-tackle game. He had 10 tackles in last week’s 41-3 thrashing of the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, eight of which were solo.

Stanford’s “Achilles heel,” is its defense. The Stanford defense is allowing 21.8 points per game.

If Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson can continue his improvement against the Cardinals and the Notre Dame defense continues its dominance, Notre Dame will be sitting pretty at 6-0 and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way, facing only two ranked teams the rest of the season.

Red River Shootout

The Big 12 Conference race continues to be one of the most interesting battles this season. That race might get a little clearer Saturday, when one of the best and biggest rivalry games will take place.

The No. 15 Texas Longhorns (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) will square off against the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners (3-1, 1-1 Big 12) in the “Red River Rivalry.” Texas will try to bounce back after last week’s wild 48-45 loss to West Virginia.

Texas is led by quarterback David Ash, who has thrown for 1276 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, with only one interception. Texas running back Joe Bergeron will try to repeat his season-high four touchdown performance against West Virginia.

Oklahoma is led by quarterback Landry Jones, who has thrown for 1032 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Against Texas, Jones will be going for his third straight game of completing at least 25 passes and throwing for at least 250 yards and throwing for a touchdown.

The Sooners will be going for their third straight win in the “Red River Rivalry” on Saturday in Dallas.

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected].