High Stakes

Saturday, September 8, 2007

It's only the season's second week, but the outcomes of several key matchups across the country promise to have lingering effects throughout the season.

Each team that will play a cross-sectional showdown today has something different at stake. Some teams have more to lose than gain, while others have a rare opportunity to quickly garner respect.

For South Florida, today is a chance to make a national splash against a traditional Southeastern Conference power, Auburn, and vault into the top 25. In that sense, it's a no-lose situation.

For Texas Christian, today's game against Texas represents a must-win scenario if the Horned Frogs want to stay on track for a BCS game. No non-BCS team has ever made a BCS game with a loss.

Most teams are somewhere in the middle and need a win as much as they can't afford a loss. And then there are Notre Dame and Michigan, two of the nation's most recognizable programs. After awful performances last week, both are just thankful for the chance to play a different opponent and wipe away a string of negative headlines.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company