After yet another ho-hum weekend of a forgettable college football season, things are about to get exciting.
All the noise about the BCS and the regular season isn't just noise anymore.
Fraught with intriguing story lines, bitter rivalries, sweet revenge and BCS-or-bust championship games, the next two weeks of college football will feature some of the most compelling and meaningful games of the season.
Three games in particular will feature head-to-head battles for the BCS. The winner will go on to play on the big stage while the loser will likely be destined for "just-another" December Bowl.
· No. 5 Cincinnati at No. 9 Pittsburgh
· No. 16 Oregon State at No. 8 Oregon
· No. 7 Georgia Tech vs. No. 18 Clemson
We must also mention the National Championship semi-final—otherwise knows as the SEC Championship Game. Another intriguing story line. Another hate-filled, storybook SEC rivalry in the brewing.
Most likely, the winner will go on to play for the crystal football while the loser will spend the off-season explaining their loss to an MWC team in New Orleans.
Here's my take on where we stand now, and how the rest of the season will play out leading up to Selection Sunday.
What we know
Texas, Florida, Alabama and Ohio State are locks for the BCS, regardless of outcomes.
Most likely to clinch a BCS berth this week
TCU just needs a win at home this week against 1-10 New Mexico.
Who is on the bubble for an at-large?
Iowa, Penn State, Boise State, and Oklahoma State.
Who seems the least likely but still has an outside shot of getting in
· Unranked Nebraska needs to upset Texas in the Big 12 Title game
· No. 18 Clemson needs to beat Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game
· No. 19 Oregon State needs to beat rival Oregon at Autzen in the Civil War.
What other key games will likely determine BCS berths
· No. 12 Oklahoma State at Oklahoma
· Nevada at No. 6 Boise State
Who wins, who goes and who gets left out
Alabama over Florida 19-14
The Florida Gators' last-minute touchdown drive falls short as the Tide's dominant defense holds Tebow to 130 passing yards and 58 yards rushing. Mark Ingram strengthens his case for the Heisman with another clock-chewing 124-yard rushing performance.
Pitt over Cincinnati 20-17
Pittsburgh exploits the suspect Cincinnati ground defense with their explosive running game.
Oregon over Oregon State 37-31
The Ducks, who blocked the Beavers from the Rose Bowl last year, will stave off the Beavers once again despite a 140-yard rushing performance from Jacquizz Rodgers.
Georgia Tech over Clemson 28-24
Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets prove once again to be too much for Clemson despite their close game earlier at Georgia Tech—a game where the Jackets were aided by a phantom offensive holding call against Clemson late in the 4th quarter.
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State 24-20
Even though Zac Robinson returns to the field, Oklahoma stuns the Cowboys in Norman.
How will the BCS Bowl Selection play out?
· BCS Title Game : Texas vs. Alabama
· Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Ohio State
· Orange Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Georgia Tech
· Sugar Bowl: TCU vs. Florida
· Fiesta Bowl: Penn State vs. Boise State
How they got there
After losing Alabama to the BCS Title game, the Sugar Bowl will get the first replacement pick and will select the Gators.
The Fiesta Bowl will go next and replace Texas with Penn State, banking on the Joe Paterno entourage and the Nitts’ strong base of traveling fans.
The Orange Bowl goes next and will choose Pittsburgh to face ACC tie-in Georgia Tech.
The Fiesta Bowl will follow-up by selecting Boise State—a team that cut its teeth at the Fiesta Bowl and seems to travel well.
All of this leaves the Mountain West Conference’s TCU to the Sugar Bowl.