College GameDay 2012 Schedule: Games with Biggest National Title Implications

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 29, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 22:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers hands the ball off to Tavon Austin #1 against the Maryland Terrapins  during the game on September 22, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  WVU defeated Maryland 31-21.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With many of the nation's top teams playing on Saturday, there are some games that will have strict national title implications for the teams involved.

Here are some matchups that could very affect the outlook of teams contending for the national championship.

Baylor (25) vs. West Virginia (9)

Both teams in this game have started out strong with a 3-0 start, but one of them will be leaving Saturday's game with a loss.

West Virginia is currently the No. 9 team in the country and have a great chance to move up the rankings after dropping one spot thanks to a lackluster effort against Maryland last week.

A win over a top-25 team like Baylor could help West Virginia regain its former standing in the sport.

No matter what happens in the other games on Saturday, the Mountaineers will add a huge win to their resume if they beat the Bears.

On the flip side, Baylor has a huge opportunity for themselves as well.

Ranked No. 25 in the country, the Bears have played well so far in 2012, but the Mountaineers will be their toughest opponent yet. However, a win over West Virginia would be quite the statement for Baylor and will certainly put them on the map as one of the top teams in the country.

Florida State (4) vs. South Florida

After an emotional and impressive win over Clemson last week, Florida State must be careful not to have a letdown against South Florida this week.

The Seminoles were already well known for their great defense, but the game against the Tigers proved that Florida St. has a great offense as well.

EJ Manuel threw for a sensational 380 yards and ran for another 102, making up for 482 of the Seminoles' 667 total yards. Florida State also proved they have a reliable running back in Chris Thompson, who added 103 yards on the ground against Clemson.

There's no doubt that FSU has the talent on both sides of the ball to hang with top teams like Alabama, Oregon and LSU, to name a few, and that makes the Seminoles a national championship contender.

The Seminoles just have to keep winning their games in order to do that and if they lose this week against a lowly South Florida team, Florida State can kiss its national title hopes goodbye for good.

Ole Miss vs. Alabama (1)

Alabama is by far the best team in the nation at the moment, and the Crimson Tide will certainly be in the conversation for another national title this season.

Alabama is a good team offensively, but their defense is second to none. If you don't believe it, just ask the Michigan Wolverines, who were totally shut down by the Crimson Tide during Week 1.

In all, Alabama's defense is allowing an incredibly low 5.3 points per game, good enough for second-best in the nation.

Head coach Nick Saban is as good as any coach in the nation at keeping his team focused and ready to play. No Saban-coached team will underestimate any opponent, and that makes it tough to upset Alabama.


Oregon (2) vs. Washington State

After a dominant win against Arizona, 49-0, Oregon has proven themselves to be a national title contender.

The Ducks' rushing attack is downright scary, as evidenced by being ranked No. 7 in the nation on the ground, and their passing attack makes their offense as complete as you can get.

To make them look more complete, the Ducks defense began to get their feet under them after shutting out the Wildcats last week.

As it stands now, the Ducks have all the weapons on both sides of the ball to make a run at the national championship, but a loss to Washington State would erase their hopes in the blink of an eye.

Towson vs. LSU (3)

I already feel bad for Towson in this matchup.

LSU once again has its sights set on a national championship, and there's little doubt Towson will stand in the Tigers' way.

The Tigers have a top rushing attack that is ranked eighth in the nation, so moving the ball against Towson's defense shouldn't be difficult.

On top of that, LSU also sports one of the best defenses in the nation, and that allows them to hang with any team they play.

Normally, the Tigers' tough schedule will allow for one loss during the season while keeping them in the national title conversation. But that loss can't happen against a team like Towson.

Tennessee vs. Georgia (5) 

The Bulldogs have a dangerous game this week against the Volunteers.

Tennessee has gotten off to a 3-1 start, with their only loss coming against the Florida Gators. But through the first four games, its been proven that the Volunteers can move the ball through the air with the best of them.

Georgia will have to be careful not to get beaten deep, but that shouldn't be an issue for the 30th-ranked defense in the nation. Not to mention, the Volunteers will have one hell of a time stopping the Bulldogs on the offensive end.

The Bulldogs can do it all and are certainly realistic contenders for a national title. A win over a tough Tennessee team would be a nice addition to their national championship resume.

South Carolina (6) vs. Kentucky

After needing their fifth-ranked defense to help them to victory in Week 1, the Gamecocks have flashed some offensive skill in their last three games, scoring a combined total of 128 points.

So now that South Carolina has established their offense to go along with their strong defense, this team has enough on both sides of the ball to compete for a national title. But they can't have another close call like they did against Vanderbilt.

Kentucky just finished getting spanked by the Gators last week, 38-0. With the Gamecocks looking like a better team than the Gators this season, they should have no problem smoking the Wildcats this week.

The Gamecocks are already suspect thanks to that Week 1 performance, but even so much as a bad game against Kentucky will push South Carolina to the back of the national title conversation.


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