Top BCS-Impact Games of Week 4
There are 57 college football games involving FBS teams this weekend, and there is just one pitting teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25. Meanwhile, there are five ranked teams playing FCS teams in an effort to dispense some fast cash and get a cheap win.
Here's the Hall of Shame: Miami (vs. Savannah State), Washington (vs. Idaho State), Ohio State (vs. Florida A&M), Florida State (vs. Bethune-Cookman) and Northwestern (vs. Maine). Wouldn't you rather see Miami play Washington and Florida State face Ohio State?
But that's the reality of the BCS world. Title contenders want to play as few non-conference heavyweights as possible, and with that, we have a September full of games that make NFL preseason exhibitions seem meaningful.
With all that said, we still have to pick out a few games for you to watch. So after scraping the bottom of the barrel until it almost splintered, here are our Top 5 BCS Impact Games of the Week (rankings according to simulated BCS standings):
No. 5 Clemson at NC State
When: Thursday 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
A year ago, Florida State arrived in Raleigh ranked No. 3 with an undefeated ACC season and a shot at the BCS title game in sight. Instead, E.J. Manuel and the Seminoles blew a 16-0 halftime lead and their 17-16 upset loss essentially eliminated them from national championship contention.
Will Clemson be consigned to the same fate, as it arrives at this game also ranked No. 3 in the AP poll?
Well, the Tigers are known for tripping up at the most inopportune time, but they should get by here even without maximum effort. The Wolfpack don't have a veteran QB as they did last year with Mike Glennon and though they're 2-0, Louisiana Tech and FCS Richmond hardly constitute much of a test.
Kansas State at Texas
When: Saturday 8 p.m. ET, ABC
After Texas got rolled for a second consecutive week, last Saturday at Ole Miss, Mack Brown boldly predicted this:
"We win the Big 12 championship, we'll be excited, and that's all we've got left."
Eight games might be all that's left for the Longhorns coach after this one. Kansas State, itself a shocking upset victim in a season-opening loss to North Dakota State, will not be in a forgiving frame of mind. The defending Big 12 co-champs simply will not take Brown's tenuous job status into consideration as they seek a sixth straight victory over Texas.
Boise State at Fresno State
When: Friday 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Who'd thunk the shoe would be on the other foot this time, with Boise State, the king of BCS busters, possibly playing the role of the spoiler?
The Broncos' BCS chances for this year were significantly damaged by a season-opening rout at Washington and they're in a bit of a rebuilding phase. Fresno State, on the other hand, should be well rested after last week's game at Colorado got canceled because of severe flooding.
This potentially is the best rivalry going in the reconstituted Mountain West. There's a chance that these two just might meet again in the inaugural MWC championship game after sharing the conference title last season (with San Diego State).
No. 25 Auburn at No. 6 LSU
When: Saturday 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
The top-ranked Tigers will be a decided underdog for this showdown in Death Valley. Of course, that would be the Auburn Tigers, who are currently No. 1 in the Colley Matrix—and No. 3 in Kenneth Massey—computer rankings used by the BCS formula.
The Bayou Tigers, meanwhile, are really the team that have their sights set on BCS glory. After Alabama narrowly escaped against Texas A&M last week, it looks like LSU once again will be the team that stands in the way of the Tides' national championship quest.
Auburn has certainly looked rejuvenated under new coach Gus Malzahn, with wins over two BCS conference foes (Washington State and Mississippi State), but it's not quite ready to be the top cat in the SEC.
No. 22 Arizona State at No. 4 Stanford
When: Saturday 7 p.m. ET, FOX
The only matchup featuring two AP Top 25 teams this weekend is only so because Arizona State was gifted the victory over Wisconsin, thanks to the ineptitude of Pac-12 officials. This week, the Sun Devils probably can't expect that sort of help since they're playing in a conference game.
Stanford begins its Pac-12 schedule with high hopes of reaching at least a fourth consecutive BCS bowl, having played in the Orange, Fiesta and Rose bowls the past three postseasons. The Cardinal have aspirations for something bigger than defending their conference title, with a spot in the BCS championship game possibly within their reach.
Arizona State was fortunate last week, but if coach Todd Graham continues to bungle late-game management as he did against Wisconsin, he won't escape with a win against a much more formidable foe.