Every year there are many games that affect the outcome of the Bowl Championship Series. Big games like Oklahoma-Texas, USC-Notre Dame, Florida-Georgia, just to name a few
I took those games and threw them out, because we can all assume those will be big games. Now what about the MWC, ACC, WAC, and games outside the conference.
Those can be big games too. What if Utah lost at the Big House to Michigan last year. Utah would not have been allowed to show that they were a better team than Alabama. Instead, Utah won in Ann Arbor and went on to the Suger Bowl where they dismantled Alabama.
So here are four must-watch games that will have implications on how the BCS turns out.
These two teams are going to be under the radar this year. Clemson was the favorite to win the ACC last year but could not get anything going after the loss to Maryland. Clemson fired Tommy Bowden after a 3-3 start and went 4-3 to close out the season.
This year they are not the favorite, even though I think they could make a run with only five games on the road, with the toughest being Georgia Tech in the second week of the season. If they can get past the Yellow Jackets, they could make a run for the ACC title game and make the BCS.
They face TCU which is lodged between Boston College and Maryland. Both ACC games might get more attention than TCU.
As much as I would like to say this game has major implications on Clemson—it means a lot more to TCU. They have a schedule that could see them run the table this year, which is the easiest out of the top three on the MWC, Utah, BYU, and TCU.
The biggest problem might be on the road at Clemson. You might think it would be against BYU, but in order for a MWC team to be in the BCS they have to go undefeated, since the conference does not have an automatic berth—yet.
Since BYU will have a tough time going undefeated, because they play Oklahoma and Florida State, we will have to rely on TCU to get past Clemson.
If for some reason BYU upsets both Oklahoma and Florida State, then the biggest game could be TCU at BYU.
For now it will be TCU's to lose.
Chris Petersons record at Boise State is a remarkable 35-4 in the three years he has been head coach. Last year the Broncos went undefeated and still missed out on the BCS, mostly due to an easy schedule. They averaged 37.6 points per game, which was the lowest in Peterson's tenure.
This year could be no different, but in order for Boise to have any consideration for the BCS they have to get by Oregon whom they beat last year in Eugene, and get the points per game up over 40.
The Broncos schedule is basically the same as last year, with it being one of the easiest in the nation. They will have to win every game and win them all by a wide margin. Hopefully for the Broncos sake, a two loss team (Ohio State) will not be a factor in Boise State making the Fiesta bowl.
The Ducks had a very good season last year, finishing tenth in the polls and a victory over Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl.
If the Ducks had found a way to beat a weak Boise State, they might have found themselves with an at-large berth in the BCS. Since they started out 4-2, there was no way they could, so all they did was win six of their remaining seven games.
They have a chance for revenge on Boise State, as it is the first game of the season. They have only four conference road games with the toughest being at UCLA.
Oregon could make a run but has to get past a tough game to open the season.
Last year's game was big and this year will be no different. Both teams have a great shot to make a statement here. This game will have a bigger impact on the Championship game more than anything, since I believe that USC will be there this year.
Even though Ohio State lost last year by over 30 points, they still managed to make the BCS and then lose their third straight BCS game.
The Buckeyes have only four games on the road, with the toughest being at Penn State. If they can make it past both Penn State and USC, they might be able to get to the National Title game for the third time in four years.
USC has a very strong team, like they do every year, and will have many players drafted in the NFL again, but they have not won the title since 2004, and they have not lost a non-conference game since the 2005 national title game against Texas.
The only question will be the defense, since they have only three returning starters on that side of the ball. Free safety Taylor Mays will anchor the defense and should have no problem helping the Trojans make stops.
They have a tough schedule, as they have to travel to Ohio State, Notre Dame, and California. If they can get out of those places with a victory, they will be in the title game for the first time since 2005.
Both teams have a great shot to make the BCS.
Pittsburgh has got only five road games and a stretch of five weeks in which they will be at home playing or resting. Pitt defeated Notre Dame last year in South Bend and they took four overtimes to do it. Because of this, they have confidence they can do it again.
After Pitt plays Notre Dame they have two tough confernece games against West Virginia and Cincinnati. This game is more of a confidence builder going into those final two games.
Pitt returns 15 starters from last year and will be strong, and they could very well make the BCS for the first time since 2004 when they lost to Utah in the Fiesta Bowl.
All Notre Dame needs to do is be ranked in the top 12 or have 10 wins to be BCS eligible. In my mind Notre Dame will have two loses (USC and Michigan) going into the Pittsburgh game.
If they can make it past Pittsburgh, they should be able to make the BCS with the remaining games being Connecticut and Stanford.
This may be the last shot for Charlie Weis, as they do not have a difficult schedule. They have a very expierenced team with 15 returning starters.
The best thing going for Notre Dame is they play USC in the middle of the season and not at the end.
With all of that under consideration, here are my five BCS games as I see it.
BCS Championship Game: Florida vs. Southern Cal
Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Tech
Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs. Boise State
Suger Bowl: Texas Christian vs. Ole Miss