BYU Cougars: The Five Most Critical "Other" Games For Week Three
The BCS is one-of-a-kind.
Where else can you find meaning, intrigue and National Championship implications from every single game, regardless of who's playing.
Only in the BCS can teams be so tied to an intricate web of contingencies, where who you've played, who your opponents have ve played and what the margin of victory was, all somehow manage to define the strength and measure of a team.
As a result, what could be happening on a field thousands of miles away may have a greater impact than the one your team is actually playing in.
For instance, BYU play SDSU the same week that Oklahoma faces Texas in the Red River Shootout. An Oklahoma win that day would most likey do more for the Cougars than a victory over the Aztecs.
Crazy. Only in the BCS.
For BYU, that's certainly not going to be the case this week.
The Cougars will have their hands full with a very athletic and very capable Florida State team coming to Provo.
The 'Noles have struggled a bit, losing their home opener to red-hot Miami and barely sneaking by FCS Jacksonville State at home.
Nonetheless, BYU can't overlook this team. FSU will come in hungry looking to make a statement and quickly turnaround their season.
BYU will undoubtedly attack FSU's suspect secondary and try to force Ponder and FSU to be more one-dimensional by stuffing the run. Which looks to be another weak spot for FSU.
The timing couldn't be better for the Cougars who have been lights out to start the season. On both sides of the ball. Throwing and running. Coaching and executing.
And this could their last chance to garner BCS credibility before heading into what looks to be an exhilarating conference battle.
While the FSU is by far the most critical game, it has also been the one most thoroughly covered by the media. So we'll take a look at the top five "other" games impacting the Cougars 2009 season.
Last week was a fairly disappointing week for the "other" critical five games.
Air Force lost in a close game at Minnesota. UNLV almost pulled the upset over a ranked Oregon State team from the Pac-10.
And Tulsa blew out the Lobos, although that's not such a bad thing if Oklahoma can beat the Golden Hurricane on Saturday.
The best news from last week's top five "others" was that Oklahoma looked like Oklahoma again. Even without Sam Bradford. A 64-0 demolition over Idaho State.
Here are this week's top five Cougar games outside of Provo.
1. Tulsa at Oklahoma
While the Cougars are a shoe-in for the BCS if they win out, that is still a big if. Any loftier aspirations will probably go only as far as the Sooners can take them.
Miami's win over Georgia Tech could prove just as big of a win for the Cougar's as any of the ones listed here.
Namely because the Hurricanes are a marquee opponent of two of BYU's marquee opponents (Florida State and Oklahoma).
And also because it will ensure both Utah and TCU advance in the polls. You gotta love the BCS. Where else does this stuff matter?
And there's a possibility the Seminoles could meet Miami once again in the ACC championship game.
Oklahoma looked terrific last week against Idaho State. BYU needs the Sooners to look as back to normal as possible.
Tulsa will be a much bigger test for OU (who wouldn't over Idaho State?) and at 2-0, Tulsa could be OU's first quality win.
A loss would be devastating to BYU and obviously to Oklahoma. But it would also be catastrophic to the Big 12. Three consecutive weeks with top Big 12 teams falling to non-BCS schools.
It's unlikely, Oklahoma doesn't lose in Norman.
2. Utah at Oregon
This is a huge game for the Mountain West Conference. Autzen is one of the most difficult venues to play in.
Luckily, the pollsters and pundits are well aware of Autzen's degree of difficulty and a win here could give the Utes a huge boost of credibility.
Personally, I think it will automatically clinch a BCS berth for the MWC as Boise State will have nothing on the MWC triumvirate.
More importantly, like FSU is for BYU, it is the last big test the Utes will face before heading into conference play.
If the Utes pull it out, they should be solid favorites for the next seven weeks of football before they head to TCU in mid-November. Just two weeks before the Holy War.
Utah will have their hands full. Oregon will come into this game hungry, looking to recover from the Nightmare in Boise debacle.
3. Utah State at Texas A&M
The battle of the Aggies could prove to be a pretty telling game for Utah State and new coach Gary Anderson.
I was impressed with the Aggies against Utah and while a little short on talent, I think they have the ability to upset A&M.
It will be a tough game and USU will have to execute very well. However, a win would be yet another upset from an unsuspecting non-BCS school over a favored Big 12 team.
4. Colorado State at Nevada
Will the real CSU please step forward.
After an impressive win over cross-state rival Colorado to open the season, Colorado State looked to have stepped up to a whole new level play for 2009.
After Colorado lost to Toledo and CSU barely eeked out a victory over FCS Weber State though, one wonders if perhaps looks were deceiving.
We'll find out soon enough when the Rams face the Wolf Pack in Reno. One of the toughest teams in the WAC. This would be a big win for Rams and thus, to the Y.
This would put CSU at 3-0 when they head into Provo next week. Not a bad follow-up for the Cougars if they manage to triumph over the 'Noles.
But, it will be a tough match overall for the Rams. Colin Kaepernick is a very talented QB, and despite their 35-0 loss to Notre Dame, this is a very good team.
5. Wyoming at Colorado
This is a fascinating game. It will be very intriguing to see if the Buffaloes can bounce back off of two disappointing losses and pull off a win at home.
Wyoming looked great for about two quarters against Texas. Particularly on the defense. They played with intensity. They didn't miss tackles and they made big plays. But it didn't last.
The offense was atrocious and the defense could only keep Colt McCoy at bay for so long. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys play against a struggling Colorado team.
A win would be a huge get for the MWC. It will be yet another win by a (presumed) bottom tier MWC team over a BCS foe. Just like last year. It's great for the computers and it's a great talking point to MWC naysayers.
Most of all, I think it would be a great win for Dave Christensen and the program overall.
Overall, this looks to be another challenging week. I'll take Oklahoma, Utah (just a hunch), and Colorado State for a 3-2 finish. This list can just as easily go 1-4.
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