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10 Best College Football Showdowns in Week 10

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIIOctober 28, 2012

10 Best College Football Showdowns in Week 10

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    Week 10 looked like the week to end all weeks when looked at from the preseason perspective. Before the season took its toll on the USC Trojans and the LSU Tigers, this was expected to be a day when four undefeated teams near the top of the BCS all faced off and clarified the national title picture.

    Now, there is very little clarity that can come from the USC vs. Oregon match or the LSU vs. Alabama match, assuming the higher-ranked teams come out victorious.

    What's great about Week 10 is that there are battles for conference supremacy taking place all over the nation. Some battles are for the lead in the conferences, while other battles are merely teams that are jockeying for position behind the clear-cut leaders.

    Here are the 10 best showdowns coming in Week 10.

     

    *All rankings are from the AP Poll

    *All times are ET

10. Temple at No. 20 Louisville

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at Noon

    What's on the line? Louisville's perfect record and the Big East's AQ status.

    As Louisville hosts Temple, the Big East runs the risk of losing its highest-ranked team in the BCS. No, Louisville can't take down the Big East's AQ status by itself, but having at least one team in the final BCS Top 14 is a huge piece of leverage when the assessments are made. (The assessments are not based on one solitary year of performance.)

    Temple has the talent to upset Louisville. However, if you watched the Cincinnati vs. Louisville showdown in Week 9, you know that Teddy Bridgewater can seriously entertain you if he's playing from behind in the fourth quarter.

    This will be a game that's definitely worth watching.

9. TCU at No. 23 West Virginia

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m.

    What's on the line? Reputation and a possible slot at the bottom of the BCS rankings.

    Two first-year Big 12 teams take each other on in what should be a scoreboard-breaking battle for who's the stronger team previously from a "lesser" conference.

    West Virginia has lost its national title hopes already, as has TCU (if it even had any). While neither of these teams is a factor for the conference title, they will be fighting as fiercely for this win as they would fight for the title.

    TCU's defense will be stacked right next to one of the worst defenses in the Big 12. A lot will be learned about these two teams on Saturday, especially regarding estimated time to win a conference championship.

8. Arizona State at No. 13 Oregon State

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 p.m.

    What's on the line? Oregon State's outside shot at a BCS game.

    Oregon State can still theoretically make it to a BCS bowl game. In fact, if the Beavers win out, they can make the Rose Bowl.

    However, that is unlikely. What these two teams are battling for is a position toward the top of the conference for potential selection into a mid-major bowl in December. The Alamo Bowl, Sun Bowl and a few others are still more than viable options for either team.

    Sometimes, just getting a slightly better bowl than a conference foe is all you need to fire a team up for the rest of a season. 2012 is a year like that for many teams across the nation.

7. Pittsburgh at No. 4 Notre Dame

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m.

    What's on the line? Notre Dame's national title hopes.

    Everyone that knows college football well knows that there is a phenomenon that occasionally occurs after a team wins a big game. There is the risk of taking that "Whew! Glad that's over" breath and under-performing in the next game. That small risk makes this game at least worth mentioning on this list.

    The main point that makes this game worth watching is that Notre Dame is about to go 9-0, and the toughest game on the Irish's schedule was just played.

    If you've been waiting for Notre Dame to prove itself, that's been done. If you're an Irish fan that been waiting to silence all the haters, that's been done. (Well, some people will never shut up, but the semi-rational ones should be silenced at this point.)

    Notre Dame fans can enjoy something they haven't enjoyed in a while: The media will be talking about Notre Dame being "back," and the Irish faithful won't be wishing they'd just be quiet.

    Enjoy the win, Golden Domers!

     

    *If this were any other opponent than a 4-4 Big East team that looks to limp into bowl season at its best, the game rank would have been higher.

6. No. 21 Nebraska at Michigan State

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m.

    What's on the line? Nebraska's place in the Big Ten title game.

    Michigan State and Nebraska face off in Week 10, and Michigan State may not be as happy with a win here as it would think. While a win over Nebraska would be great for the Spartans as a program, that win would put rival Michigan into the top spot of the Legends Division.

    Of course, Nebraska will be fully aware of this fact and will try to make quick work of the Spartans on Saturday. Having only lost to Ohio State and UCLA, Nebraska should come into this game fairly confident. Can Michigan State make the 'Huskers regret that confidence?

5. San Diego State at No. 19 Boise State

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 p.m.

    What's on the line? Potentially the tightest conference race outside the AQ.

    If San Diego State can pull out the win in Boise this weekend, the top four teams in the Mountain West Conference will all have one conference loss apiece.

    If Boise can pull off the win, there would be slim hope for a potential BCS bowl game. It's still not likely that Boise would get selected, considering the other options that exist inside the current BCS Top 14. There is a bit of hope, though, and a BCS bowl against the Big East champion would be an interesting matchup, especially considering Boise's imminent move to the Big East.

    Either way, a win by this quality San Diego State squad would give them the edge over current front-runner Boise State. Battles with conference implications are a staple of the November college football diet, and this match qualifies as a rich dessert.

4. Oklahoma State at No. 3 Kansas State

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.

    What's on the line? Kansas State's perfect record.

    Nobody in his or her right mind would pick Oklahoma State in the upset here. That's exactly why you should be attentive to this game at least on the side of whatever match you're already watching on Saturday night.

    Nobody would have picked Iowa State to upset Oklahoma State last year either. In fact, nobody would have picked Iowa State if given the option at halftime. While this may not be the closest game happening on Saturday, there are precious few teams in the FBS that still have unblemished records.

    Kansas State is one of those few. The mighty have fallen hard this year, and a loss to Oklahoma State would fit the season's theme thus far.

3. No. 16 Texas A&M at No. 17 Mississippi State

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at Noon

    What's on the line? Mississippi State's potential Sugar Bowl appearance.

    The Sugar Bowl is still a long shot for the Bulldogs, but it would be totally lost without a win over Texas A&M in Week 10.

    That is beside the point of this game, though. Tyler Russell will be leading the 'Dogs against Johnny Manziel and the Aggies. If you don't tune into this game for any other reason, it's worth it to see this quarterback showdown.

    Manziel and Russell will put on a show. If you haven't seen Russell play any game except the Alabama game, you should definitely check this one out. If you haven't seen Manziel play yet this year, this is a great opportunity.

2. No. 2 Oregon at No. 18 USC

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

    What's on the line? Oregon's national championship hopes.

    Thanks to USC's loss in Week 9 to Arizona, Oregon's championship hopes are already shaky. Oregon needed the win over USC to look really good in order to jump over Kansas State in the BCS.

    Of course, if Oregon's disappointed in the "weakness" of the USC Trojans, USC can take advantage of the fact that Oregon may be underestimating them. If Oregon takes a loss to USC in November, there's almost no way the Ducks can get back into the BCS title discussion.

    This was expected to be a battle of unbeaten teams. Now it's a wounded dog against a healthy duck. The outcome is never certain until the final whistle is blown. USC has home-field advantage in this one, and that should make things even more interesting.

1. No. 1 Alabama at No. 5 LSU

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.

    What's on the line? The SEC West Division, the BCS title game, revenge, redemption...

    This game has almost everything that the Oregon vs. USC match is now missing after USC suffered its second loss of the season. LSU is fighting to save face after it took one on the chin from the Florida Gators.

    Alabama is determined to keep playing the best football it can, which would result in a win over the Tigers. Alabama's also hell-bent on proving that it can do everything last year's team did, if not more.

    LSU's defense is still among the best in the nation. The Tigers will not go down without a fight, and this game could get brutal early on. LSU is coming off its bye week and has used every opportunity over the last two weeks to prepare for this epic showdown.

    If Alabama wins, there is no reason to doubt the No. 1 ranking beside the team's name. If LSU wins, there is every reason to believe that the Tigers could make it into the BCS title game after winning the SEC.

    Everything is on the line from conference to country in this game. It will be a battle, but don't expect another 9-6 overtime finish like in 2011. Expect the game to look more like the 21-0 performance this past January.

    Whichever team wins, there will be little doubt surrounding the winner, unlike last year.

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