10 Remaining College Football Games That Will Determine the BCS Landscape

Ian BergCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2012

10 Remaining College Football Games That Will Determine the BCS Landscape

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    The BCS will release its initial rankings this coming Sunday.

    A number of regular season games will help determine the BCS landscape. There are a mix of critical games through October and November.

    The next two months will prove to be some of the most exciting in recent years. A fitting goodbye is being prepared for the BCS system that we have come to know and hate.

    The major conferences are stacked with key games, with the Big Ten notably missing from the conversation. The MAC earns a nod, so does the WAC.

    No one would have picked the MAC or WAC against the Big Ten to start the season.

    These are the ten contests that will mold the BCS landscape. 

    The USA Today Coache's Poll is used to determine the rankings for this article. It is a component of the BCS Rankings. 

Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech—October 13

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    No. 21 Texas A&M has entered the SEC with a mission and so far they are succeeding. The Aggies are currently a 4-1 team, their only loss coming to the No. 4 team in the country.

    The No. 24 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are finding the path to an undefeated season.

    After this game, the competition drops off severely. There are some teams that could form challenges down the road—teams like Utah State and UTSA—but the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat to be a BCS buster this season.

    Defeating A&M would put the Bulldogs in a place they have yet to witness.

    The Bulldogs would easily climb inside the Top 20 and step into the lead role in the BCS busters talk.

    The Bulldogs have been on a steady climb to land in this position over the past few seasons, and now is the time to put up or shut up for the Bulldogs.

    This will be one of the most under-the-radar, impacting games of the season.

Kansas State vs. West Virginia—October 20

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    You have to like what is going on in Manhattan, Ks, and Morgantown, WV.

    The Big 12 was expected to be top-heavy with Oklahoma leading the way, but the Wildcats and Mountaineers had different plans.

    No. 5 West Virginia is playing offense better than anyone in the country right now.

    No. 6 Kansas State may be second.

    Both of these teams rely on solid offensive performances to win football games, but Kansas State also matches that offense with a tough-as-nails defense. How can West Virginia perform against a top-level Big 12 defense?

    The Mountaineers did put up video game points against Texas, but this Kansas State defense looks better than the one in Austin, Tx. Both teams will have issues finding consistency, but the winner will stake a solid claim at a national title run.

    This game will also have a few Heisman hopefuls driving the offenses in Geno Smith and Colin Klein. 

South Carolina vs. Florida—October 20

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    This was not expected to be a game that could determine a national champion when the season began.

    No. 4 Florida and No. 3 South Carolina are having great years, owning the competition in the SEC East so far this season.

    The late October matchup pits two very good teams head to head, further molding the outcome of the SEC East. This game will help shape the outcome of the season on a national scale as the SEC title game has become a play-in type scenario for the national title.

    Florida takes a sophomore quarterback into a big home contest against a nasty defense. The Gamecocks are playing better than LSU at this point, and Jeff Driskel saw the turf often against the Bayou Bengals.

    The Gators offense is not poised to have a great game.

    It is their defense that needs to excel.

    South Carolina brings one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country to the Swamp in Connor Shaw. They also have one of the better bruising runners in the game with Marcus Lattimore.

    This game looks to be favorable to South Carolina at this point, but a game against No. 9 LSU in Death Valley this coming Saturday could change faith in this Carolina team. 

Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma—October 27

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    No. 13 Oklahoma has been a very disappointing squad so far this season, but they have the tools to be a very dangerous offense. Defensively they are far struggling against the run, but the Sooners are performing very well against the pass.

    No. 7 Notre Dame has not relied on their passing game this fall and won’t have to, but facing Oklahoma on the road, a few passes may need to be made against the tough Sooners defense.

    The Irish will have to rely on their rushing attack to control this game.

    Taking the Oklahoma offense out of the game by keeping them off the field early is a winning strategy on the road.

    Landry Jones is a dangerous component of the Oklahoma offense and will make the Notre Dame secondary nervous, but the Irish can win this game.

    This will have a big impact on the chances to see Notre Dame in a BCS bowl at the end of this season.

Oregon vs. USC—November 3

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    The No. 2 Oregon Ducks have fielded the best offense in the country this season.

    The Ducks are No. 4 in scoring and rushing offense.

    The Ducks are also No. 7 in total offense.

    It has been a great season for the Ducks, who have also looked very good defensively. They travel to face an inconsistent No. 11 USC team that lost its national title hopes with an earlier loss to Stanford.

    The Trojans will hope that Matt Barkley and his dangerous skill players can gain enough yards to burn the Oregon defense. The problem for USC is that Barkley will need to hold his own in a shootout scenario.

    That isn’t going to end well for the Trojans against the Ducks.

    This Oregon offense is scary good. The defense is just good enough.

    This will mold the Pac-12 landscape, but it will also determine if the season ends with a Pac-12 vs. SEC title game. 

Alabama vs. LSU—November 3

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    No. 1 Alabama has will have a few stumbling blocks ahead of them before it lands in Baton Rouge, but the No. 9 LSU game is undoubtedly circled on the calendar.

    The Tigers will be prepped for this game after an embarrassing loss in the first single-conference national title game in modern memory. The Tigers their first game of the season when Florida battled for a victory over LSU at home.

    Alabama has yet to truly be tested, and the Tide has lost some key players on offense. Alabama will need to have its best offensive showing of the season in Baton Rouge in order to gain a win.

    That performance will be very tough against the LSU defense.

    No matter how much LSU has struggled to start the year, they will bring it together against Alabama. Getting pressure on A.J. McCarron should be the focus of the LSU defense. The Tigers pass rush has been off a bit so far this year. It needs to grab traction against Alabama.

    Alabama needs to earn the win to keep themselves in the national title discussion. The Bayou Bengals need the win to return to the table. 

Bowling Green Falcons vs. Ohio Bobcats—November 7

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    This may seem to some like a misplaced game; two unranked teams battling through the world of mediocre football.

    Expect the unexpected, my friend. The Ohio Bobcats are undefeated and could remain that way.

    Bowling Green marks the only real test that remains for this Ohio team. The Bobcats started the season defeating a now-strong Penn State team in Happy Valley. Ohio has moved through its schedule moderately well and stares at a 5-0 record.

    The Bobcats have been building their program under Frank Solich since 2005, expecting to make it to relevance. They have arrived there now, and stand the chance to make a mark on the final stages of the BCS era.

    This should be a moderately easy game for the Bobcats to win, but there are always issues with the mid-major conferences and consistent play.

    If the Bobcats can beat Bowling Green, they are very likely to run the table and become this year’s Boise State. 

Notre Dame vs. USC—November 24

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    This will be the biggest game of the Brian Kelly era at No. 7 Notre Dame to date.

    Notre Dame will travel to Los Angeles with this game having the ability to hold the keys to a national title appearance for the Irish.

    Expect the Irish to be undefeated heading into this game. Also expect for No. 11 USC to have a lot of its mental errors fixed by the final game of the season.

    Everett Golson will have 11 games under his belt, and the Irish will have continued to gain strength on the defensive side of the ball. The Notre Dame backfield will be very developed and ready to have a season-high game against the Trojans.

    USC lost hope in a national title season with the early season loss to Stanford. Beating Notre Dame could be the redemption that the men of Troy are looking for, but it won’t come easy.

Florida vs. Florida State—November 24

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    No. 12 Florida State had an embarrassing loss to N.C. State this past Saturday.

    Even with a  No. 12 ranking, they aren’t likely to find the road to a national title appearance—unless they knock off a major Top 5 team.

    If the No. 4 Florida Gators can stay undefeated going into this game, both of these teams will have a ton at stake.

    The Gators will want a win to finish a possible undefeated season.

    Florida State will be looking to return its name to the elite profile in college football.

    Jeff Driskel will be facing a tough defense, but he will be a seasoned SEC veteran by this game. The FSU offense will face a bigger challenge, as the Seminoles would like to get the ball moving on the ground.

    The winner of this game will have a chance to make a mark on the BCS. It may not be as a title contender, but it could be a battle for a date with one of the big four bowl games.

Louisville vs. Rutgers—November 29

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    The Big East is not having the strongest showing this season, but they do hold an automatic bid to the BCS. The headliner right now is No. 16 Louisville, but No. 20 Cincinnati and No. 19 Rutgers are attempting to steal the national stage from the Cardinals.

    Teddy Bridgewater is doing a great job leading the Cardinals offense, but the Rutgers defense has been very stingy and hard on opposing offenses this fall. The Rutgers defense may be the most impressive story line coming from the Big East this season.

    The Scarlet Knights host this game and will have a lot to lose on their home field.

    Louisville was the favorite to win the Big East this season, but Rutgers stands firmly in the way of that goal.

    This will not be an at-large bid game, but it will likely determine the Big East winner and the conference member that lands in the BCS dance.