Originally written on Beyond the Combine  |  Last updated 11/19/14
There’s more than a place in this year’s BCS Championship on the line at the LA Coliseum this weekend. This is rivalry weekend. There’s pride on the line. Make no mistake about it, USC would love nothing more than to upset bitter rivals Notre Dame on Saturday night and knock the Fighting Irish out of the championship picture, a victory that would not just make up for a disappointing season, but also might save head coach Lane Kiffin’s job. Kiffin and his players came into the season as the No. 1 team in the country with Heisman favorite Matt Barkley at quarterback, while the Irish were unranked. Ironically, it’s the Irish who are now No. 1 and feature one of the Heisman frontrunners in linebacker Manti T’eo, while the Trojans have slipped out of the top-25. USC (7-4) will also have to do without Barkley for Saturday’s game after the senior injured his shoulder in last weekend’s loss to crosstown rivals UCLA. The Irish, meanwhile, are 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and are back at the pinnacle of college football for the first time in 19 years. The big question for them, however, is how they will handle the pressure of being top dogs, something that hasn’t worked out well for the No. 1 team recently, with Alabama and Kansas State falling on two consecutive Saturdays. The good news for the Irish is that in the 14 years of the BCS, 12 of the teams ranked No. 1 in the penultimate weekend of the season have gone on to play in the national championship game. The Irish will go into Saturday’s primetime showdown as favorites to knock off a USC team that has failed to show up for big games this season, but considering the nature of this rivalry — arguably the biggest in all of college football — an upset by the Trojans is still a strong possibility, and if that happens the BCS picture could be thrown into mayhem heading into the final week of the season. In other big matchups this weekend, No. 2 Alabama (10-1) and No. 3 Georgia (10-1) will try to get past rivals Auburn (3-8) and Georgia Tech (6-5), respectively. Both are heavy favorites to win and if they do it will set up a SEC Championship showdown between the two next weekend, with the winner of that game likely advancing to the BCS Championship. One of the most interesting games of the weekend is No. 4 Florida (10-1) at No. 10 Florida State (10-1), with the winner retaining an outside shot at a place in the national championship, providing USC beats Notre Dame. The Gators have barely won at times this season, but have perhaps the best resume of any national contender, and a win on Saturday would leave them with victories over four of the current top-12. The Seminoles, meanwhile, have dominated weaker opposition in the ACC and will be looking for a marquee win over a top-four team to boost their status in the computer and human polls and potentially catapult them into a national title showdown. On the West Coast, No. 5 Oregon (10-1) will travel to Corvallis for the civil war showdown with No. 15 Oregon State (8-2). The Ducks retain an outside shot at making the BCS Championship despite last weekend’s home loss to No. 8 Stanford (9-2), but will need USC to beat Notre Dame and for No. 17 UCLA (9-2) to beat Stanford this weekend. If that happens, Oregon will play UCLA in next Saturday’s PAC-12 Championship and could sneak its way back into the top two with a couple of impressive late wins. If, however, Stanford beats UCLA, those two teams would meet again next weekend for the PAC-12 title.

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times


Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.