The road to a possible national championship Orange Bowl game resumes Saturday and it figures to be little rockier for No. 1 Notre Dame than for No. 2 Colorado.

The nation's top two teams have agreed to meet in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Night, even though the official invitation can't be tendered for more than a week.Notre Dame's invitation, that is. Colorado has earned an automatic berth by clinching at least a share of the Big Eight crown. The Buffs need only a tie at home against Kansas State to become the first team other than Nebraska and Oklahoma to win consecutive titles since Missouri in 1941-42 - when the league was known as the Big Six.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is home against No. 18 Penn State, the second of its killer troika of Tennessee-Penn State-Southern Cal. The Orange Bowl will be holding its breath.

Despite Penn State coach Joe Paterno's paeans, there is no way Notre Dame will overlook the Nittany Lions, a traditional power with a seven-game winning streak after an 0-2 start. The losses were to Texas and Southern Cal by a total of nine points.

"Notre Dame is a great football team," Paterno said. "We obviously will have to play better than we have ever played. It will be a real challenge to go out there and be in a competitve game with them."

The rest of the Top 10 finds Boston College at No. 3 Miami, No. 4 Georgia Tech at Wake Forest, No. 5 Brigham Young at Utah, No. 6 Florida at Kentucky, No. 7 Texas at Texas Christian, Maryland at No. 8 Virginia, Memphis State vs. No. 9 Florida State at Orlando and No. 10 Washington at Washington State.

Also, Eastern Washington at No. 12 Houston, Purdue at No. 13 Iowa, No. 14 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Mississippi at Memphis, Minnesota at No. 16 Michigan, South Carolina at No. 17 Clemson, No. 19 Southern Cal at UCLA, No. 21 Ohio State at Wisconsin, No. 22 Illinois at Indiana, No. 23 Michigan State at Northwestern and Georgia at No. 24 Auburn.

No. 11 Nebraska is idle and No. 20 Louisville and No. 25 Southern Mississippi have concluded their regular seasons.