Biggest BCS Buster Games to Watch for in Week 5

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2013

Biggest BCS Buster Games to Watch for in Week 5

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    The first BCS standings won't be out for a few more weeks, at which time the politicking and postulating among the top teams will begin.

    But that doesn't mean that the final week of September doesn't provide some matchups that could burst the BCS bubble of some hopeful squads.

    We've identified six matchups from Week 5 that will go a long way toward determining who does—and who does not—get to play in one of the big games in January.

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Georgia

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    The season-opening loss to Clemson put Georgia (2-1) behind the eight-ball early, and another loss would likely mean the Bulldogs would have to beat the SEC West champion in the conference title game to get a BCS berth.

    For LSU (4-0), the importance of remaining unbeaten before facing top-ranked Alabama in November is crucial. If the Tigers don't make the SEC title game, it will be difficult to justify them getting into the BCS ahead of whoever loses the conference championship.

No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 22 Notre Dame

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    Without an automatic conference bid to fall back on, Notre Dame must have signature wins to beef its resume. It failed in the first try, losing at Michigan. Now, with future foes Arizona State, BYU and USC all looking weaker than hoped, this is the Fighting Irish's last chance to impress before their late November trip to Stanford.

    Oklahoma (3-0) still has games against ranked teams from Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State (the last two on the road), so it's not like the Sooners are longing for competition. But winning a big non-conference game away from Norman could make it possible for OU to get an at-large BCS bid if it failed to win the Big 12.

No. 21 Mississippi at No. 1 Alabama

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    Ole Miss (3-0) is in the middle of a brutal three-game road stretch, having already won at Texas two weeks ago and with a trip to Auburn set for early October. Between those two opponents, it faces the No. 1 team in the land. If the Rebels were to somehow beat 'Bama, or even just keep the game competitive, it could go a long way toward their chances of squeaking into the BCS.

    Alabama knows the SEC West is so tough it could possibly make the title game even without making the conference title game. But that doesn't mean the Crimson Tide want to face that scenario, especially right before the initial BCS rankings come out.

No. 23 Wisconsin at No. 4 Ohio State

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    Wisconsin (3-1) is likely out of the BCS picture with a loss this week, because if it can't beat the Buckeyes, it won't make the Big Ten championship game and isn't going to make an attractive enough at-large candidate thanks to its Pac-12 referee-influenced loss to Arizona State.

    Ohio State (4-0) could probably still get a BCS bid without winning the Big Ten, but it has national title hopes. The Big Ten's national reputation has taken a beating again this year, and OSU's game this past week against Florida A&M (the result notwithstanding) likely did more harm than good in terms of voter perception.

No. 10 Texas A&M at Arkansas

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    Neither team is likely to make the SEC title game unless they were to somehow beat both LSU and (in the case of Arkansas) Alabama. Since that scenario doesn't seem likely, both of these teams can really only hope that the SEC East produces such an inferior conference title entrant that a second-place West team would look more enticing to fill a BCS at-large spot.

    That being said, whoever loses this one is probably eliminated from the BCS discussion before it ever officially starts. Arkansas (3-1) would have a two-game losing streak, while a loss for Texas A&M (3-1) could put a significant dent in future ratings for the Johnny Manziel Show.

No. 5 Stanford vs. Washington State in Seattle

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    Stanford (3-0) has so many big games remaining on its schedule that it's hard to believe a late September trip north could have an impact on the Cardinal's BCS chances. But with a lot of high-profile games yet to happen, dropping one here would fall into the "bad loss" category that could affect Stanford's ability to get an at-large BCS berth if it doesn't win the Pac-12.

    The Cardinal dodge a bullet, somewhat, by having this game played in Seattle—Wazzu often has at least one home game moved there, to appease its urban alumni—instead of having to travel to sleepy Pullman.

    Washington State (3-1) has no realistic BCS hopes—unless it were to beat Stanford and later trip up Washington and Oregon and...yeah, never mind.