One victory can change a season.
Nebraska and Southern California, a couple of college football blue bloods who have had less-than regal seasons, get the chance to re-write their stories come Saturday.
Big games involving the Huskers and Trojans are among the five things to know for Week 12 of the college football season.
BIG RED MEETS MEAN GREEN: Nebraska is having about as bad a 7-2 season as is possible. The Cornhuskers were pounded by UCLA and Minnesota in their two losses and haven't beaten a ranked team. Their coach, Bo Pelini, had to apologize for an old tirade against fans that was recorded and released earlier this season. And injuries have stripped them of their starting quarterback (Taylor Martinez) and about a half-dozen other key players. A victory last week against Michigan gave the Huskers hope. This week No. 14 Michigan State comes to Lincoln with the best defense in the nation and a perfect Big Ten record. If the Huskers win, they'll have the inside track to the conference title game and, just like that, a bad season gets good.
TROJAN TURNAROUND: USC was 3-2 and 0-2 in the Pac-12 when Lane Kiffin was fired in late September and Ed Orgeron became interim coach. The former Mississippi coach and longtime USC assistant has lightened the mood and the Trojans have responded by going 4-1. No. 6 Stanford comes to what is expected to be a soldout Los Angeles Coliseum. A victory puts the Trojans back in the Pac-12 South race.
BOWLING: Among the 11 teams that can become bowl-eligible this week is Boston College, which has missed the postseason the past two years after going to 12 straight bowls. The Eagles get North Carolina State (3-6) at home and the Wolfpack could be without injured starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell.
STOOPS AND SWITZER: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops needs one victory to tie Barry Switzer for the most in Sooners history. Stoops enters No. 22 Oklahoma's game against Iowa State, which hasn't won in Norman since 1990, with 156 victories and 38 losses since taking over in 1999. Switzer went 157-29 from 1973-88.
OLDEST RIVALRY: Auburn vs. Georgia is called the Deep South's oldest rivalry, dating back to 1893. The series is tied 54-54-8, but the Bulldogs have dominated lately, winning six of seven. The seventh-ranked Tigers are in the middle of one of the best turnarounds in the country after going 3-9 and winless in the SEC last year. Auburn still has SEC and even national title hopes with No. 1 Alabama still to come. But a victory against Georgia would put the Tigers in great position to get a BCS bid no matter what happens against the Tide.
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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoAP
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