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The Monday Morning Look Ahead: See ya, September

Well, that was fun and all, September. We should do it again some time.

For now, here are the stories we'll be watching this week at CBR headquarters.

Conference play is kicking in

College football's first month of the season has become a matter of tuning up for conference play. Well, playtime is over.

Sure, we’ll see the occasional date with the Sisters of the Poor. For the most part, though, the next few months are all about those dates with well-worn rivals that will ultimately decided who will be playing for the whole enchilada in January.

Notre Dame soldiers on

The Fighting Irish, of course, are an exception to that whole silly conference thing. ND’s schedule remains no less daunting, no matter the month.

The Golden Domers took last weekend off following an impressive start to the season. This week the Irish get an up-and-down Miami squad under the lights of Soldier Field in Chicago, an ND stronghold.

Did the bye week help Brian Kelly’s team shore up its depleted secondary? Better hope so. Miami QB Stephen Morris has thrown for a total of more than 1,000 yards in his last two games against Georgia Tech and Miami.

SEC’s sleepwalking

After a generally lackluster slate of games over the weekend, the first Saturday in October features a host of compelling match-ups in the SEC. Hopefully, that will rouse the league’s top teams, as LSU, South Carolina and Alabama all trudged along last week versus overmatched opponents. (Georgia’s defense didn’t look so hot, either.)

Maybe the head Gamecock will find a way to give the Bulldogs a poke before the SEC East foes square off on Saturday. Seems like Les Miles has yet to do anything particularly zany this year.

Whatever it is, here’s hoping something happens this week to pop the top off these teams.

Auburn, Arkansas vie for distinction of bigger disaster

One place where there has been no shortage of excitement: Fayetteville. Thank Mr. Smile, John L. Smith for that. I suspect that plenty of Razorbacks would trade some of that excitement for a little better on-field product.

Meanwhile, Auburn has had a rough start, too, prompting questions about Gene Chizik’s job security. The Tigers nearly knocked off LSU a couple weeks back. Was it a sign Auburn is getting back on track?

A loss to Arkansas this week would suggest not.

How does Texas intend to slow down Geno Smith?

West Virginia’s quarterback wowed last week in his Big 12 debut, tossing eight touchdown passes against Baylor. At this point, he’s the consensus favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Given the problems plaguing the Texas defense, coordinator Manny Diaz can’t be happy about seeing WVU coming up on the schedule this weekend. Even so, the Longhorns will pose the stiffest test of the season for the Mountaineers’ high-octane offense.

The winner here likely moves to the front of the line in the Big 12.

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