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The Monday Morning Look Ahead: Texas and Oklahoma hoping to find their identities in Dallas

So, I’ve got to ask: How you holding up after that epic Saturday of college football we just wrapped up? Are you fully rested, hydrated and ready to start talking Week 7?

Well if not, too bad. This is the Monday Morning Look Ahead after all, and like every team in college football team in the country we’ve got no choice but to put this last Saturday behind us and look ahead to what awaits us just five days from now.

And what awaits us is a slate of games that admittedly doesn’t carry the same cache as the ones from this past weekend weekend did. Sure, there are a few things to keep an eye on. But not nearly as many high-profile, make-or-break, do-or-die games, with major BCS title implications as we had just a couple days ago.

Still, there are a few, starting with…

Another Showdown for South Carolina:

Hey, Gamecocks fans, congratulations on one of the biggest wins in school history! How does it feel? Fantastic? Lovely. I’m so glad to hear.

Well the good news is that after that epic 35-7 beat down of Georgia, the college football Gods were nice enough to bless you… with a trip to arguably the toughest road venue in college football! Whose ready for a trip to the Bayou to take on LSU??

Either way, for South Carolina to get their second straight win over an elite team, what they’ll need to do is essentially take the same game-plan that helped them beat Georgia, and apply it to LSU this weekend. That means running the ball on offense, and going straight at a beat-up Tigers offensive line with Jadaveon Clowney, Devin Taylor and the best defensive line in college football.

Still, make no mistake: While the Tigers are struggling, they’re not about to roll over. Despite Saturday’s loss to Florida, LSU still controls their own destiny in the SEC West title race, and if they can win the remainder of their games still have an outside shot to play for a title.

Therefore, we know the desperate Tigers will be ready.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Gamecocks can play at a championship level for a second week in a row too.

Notre Dame is Looking to Again Flex Its Muscles:

To the credit of Brian Kelly’s crew in South Bend, every time a challenge has been placed in front of them in 2012, they’ve stepped up to the plate and taken it head on. The latest came Saturday, in a 41-3 beat down of Miami that was just as one-sided as the final score would indicate.

But for the Irish to improve to 6-0 this weekend, they’ll have to get by their toughest test of the season when Stanford comes to South Bend Saturday. The Cardinal are by no means elite, but if Saturday’s 50-48 victory over Arizona proved anything, it’s that this offense can score points.

Then again, few teams stop the opponent from scoring points better than the Irish. Currently Notre Dame ranks No. 2 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 7.8 points a game, trailing only the great Alabama Crimson Tide in that category.

Safe to say that there won’t be a better matchup of an emerging offense against an elite defense this weekend than what we’ll see Saturday afternoon in South Bend.

A Red River Shootout?

While the annual Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas almost always is a pre-cursor to the Big XII championship, 2012 is a bit different. Both clubs limp into this game with one Big XII loss under their belts already, with each team having lost that game at home. With West Virginia and Kansas State each sitting atop the standings, it’s safe to say this isn’t your daddy’s Big XII.

But if anything, this game will prove to be a litmus test for both these teams. Each has shown flashes, but both have also been inconsistent, and through 40 percent of their games, I’m not sure that either team knows exactly who they are. Texas is better than expected offensively, but still a major work in progress on defense (especially against the run) and for the Sooners, it’s about doing things consistently. As good as they looked Saturday against Texas Tech, they looked equally as bad in their loss to Kansas State.

Of course as much as these teams need improvement, with just one loss, neither of these teams is out of the Big XII title race either, meaning that a victory Saturday could be exactly what both needs to make a strong second half run.

Which team will do that?

It’ll be fun to find out this weekend down in Dallas.

For all his opinion, insight and articles on sports, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.

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