Power programs are playing under the radar, but stakes are high
Situation Room: Michigan-Notre Dame renew rivalry
Wolverines, Irish, Bulldogs and Badgers meet with plenty on the lineBy Rece Davis, ESPN.com
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Charlie Weis and Notre Dame's season could hang in the balance this weekend.
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Wisconsin's P.J. Hill can expect a tough game from Fresno State.
Coach's Corner: Big-game mentalityFormer defensive coordinator and head coach Bob Davie will share his thoughts on various topics throughout this season.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel knows all about big games and their hype.
1. How does a coaching staff prepare their teams for some of the big games we'll see this weekend?Bob Davie: We try to keep the exact same schedule and format as other weeks. One thing coaches always talk about is that you control what happens. It's not about who you play against or the big matchup, it's preparing yourself to play your best. None of those outside influences should play a factor. 2. From your experience, what has this week been like for USC and Ohio State? Davie: Some teams get in a game like this and think their biggest achievement is to just play in it. These two teams realize it's all about winning a game like this. It's not enough just to play in the atmosphere. The ramifications of this game will impact their entire season, and they know it. I think at some places, the hype and distractions might be an issue, but when you look at Ohio State, which has played in the past two national championships and USC, every game is a super-hyped game for them, it's a nonissue. This kind of game is just one you look forward to as a coach and a player. Ohio State realizes if it loses this game, the negativity will be coming its way. There's too much riding on the outcome, and these two teams are so experienced in these situations, it's all about the results. 3. Let's talk about a couple of programs that don't have the high-profile résumés. What are the mentalities of South Florida and Fresno State as they enter their matchups this weekend? Davie: I know for Pat Hill and Jim Leavitt, there's no bonus for sneaking up on anyone. I don't think Kansas coming in is any bigger than West Virginia visiting. USF is used to playing those kind of games. However, Fresno might have had some distractions this week. Getting Wisconsin at their place is a big deal. Fresno normally plays those "anybody, anytime, anywhere" games away from home. All of a sudden, they're at home and the game is on ESPN2. That could be a worry because they're not used to playing a home game of this magnitude. 4. There have already been quite a few games that have been postponed or moved because of the weather. How does that affect a team? Davie: It's tough, and it's a factor. In 1988, when I was coaching Texas A&M, we were supposed to play Alabama and we had to cancel the game because of a potential hurricane. We had to make the decision several days before the game, but the hurricane never made it. That creates a bit of uncertainty. It works for both teams though. It's hard to focus on practice when you don't know if you're going to play that week. But there's no excuse once the game starts.
Viewer's Guide(All times ET) Saturday:
10 a.m.: College GameDay from Los Angeles (ESPN)
Noon: California at Maryland (ESPN)
Florida Atlantic at Michigan State (ESPN2)
Navy at Duke (ESPNU)
3:30 p.m.: Oregon at Purdue (ABC)
Penn State at Syracuse (ABC)
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (ABC)
3:45 p.m.: Chattanooga at Florida State (ESPNU)
7 p.m.: Auburn at Mississippi State (ESPN2)
7:30 p.m.: Virginia at Connecticut (ESPNU)
7:45 p.m.: Oklahoma at Washington (ESPN)
8 p.m.: Ohio State at USC (ABC)
10:30 p.m.: Wisconsin at Fresno State (ESPN2) • College football schedule | ESPN GamePlan
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