While some, well, most, college football fans bash the BCS in favor of a playoff system, the Bowl Championship Series will always hold a key argument: it makes every game count.
There are no second chances in college football, and recent history has told us that a loss basically means missing out on playing for a National Championship.
This system leads to massive games that would be nothing more than an interesting game in a sport with a playoff system.
This year, those special games range from coast to coast, as each conference has at least one game that will attract even the most casual fans all across the country.
Let's take a look at the 10 games, in no particular order, that will have the biggest impact on the BCS and the National Championship.
Both Iowa and Ohio State head into 2010 with high expectations following impressive BCS bowl wins against Georgia Tech and Oregon, respectively. Both teams return experienced units on both sides of the ball and could be top five or top 10 teams come Sept.
Iowa returns arguably the best defensive line in the nation, led by star defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who Ohio State center Jim Cordle called next year's version of Ndamukong Suh. The Hawkeyes will also have a solid passing game, led by quarterback Ricky Stanzi, and a deep backfield, with three capable running backs.
OSU looks like it will be one of the top three preseason teams next season, as Terrelle Pryor emerged in the Rose Bowl as a threat through the air and on the ground. The Buckeyes will also have a good defense next season, led by star defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.
Both Iowa and Ohio State have a decent chance at being undefeated when this Nov. 20 matchup arrives, meaning it could be No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the country, and the winner could all but lock for a National Championship berth. And while it may kill the Big Ten haters to admit it, this could be the marquee game of 2010.
Many see this game as the top non-conference matchup of the year, as two BCS frontrunners square off on Labor Day in Landover, MD. A win in this game could put either team in National Title contention, and for Boise State, finally give them that boost to play for a National Championship.
Both teams will be stacked on offense next year but will also field solid defenses. Boise State returns 21 starters next season, including star quarterback Kellen Moore, who may receive Heisman consideration in 2010.
Virginia Tech's backfield trio of quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans will be one of the most dangerous in the country next season and makes the Hokies the top contender for the ACC Championship.
While a loss won't be the end of the world for Virginia Tech's Orange Bowl hopes, Boise State's BCS hopes ride on this game. But the Hokies, too, need a win to stay in the National Title hunt. And this game could knock out a contender before the season is a week old.
In a rematch of last year's Big XII Championship Game, Nebraska will look for revenge against Texas on its home turf in Lincoln. This game could very well end up being the Big XII Championship for the second year in a row, and it will also have major implications on which team stays in the BCS Title hunt.
While the Suh-less Cornhuskers won't be as dominant on defense next year, they'll still be solid and will be even better on offense. Quarterback Zac Lee and running back Roy Helu highlight Nebraska's 10 returning offensive starters and will help the unit shine in—as crazy as it sounds—a defensive-minded Big XII.
Texas won't be as dominant next season with the loss of quarterback Colt McCoy and wide receiver Jordan Shipley, but incoming quarterback Garrett Gilbert's National Championship performance proved that he has the tools to shine in his college football career.
Look for the Big XII spotlight to head north this season, as Nebraska will help even out the conference and possibly provide the Big XII North with a conference champion.
For the past two years, the "Civil War" between Oregon and Oregon State has decided the Rose Bowl, and don't expect 2010 to be any different, as both look like the teams to beat in the Pac-10 next season.
Oregon returns 20 starters—unless a few more are in jail by Sept.—and returns every player from one of the most versatile offenses in college football.
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James lead an innovative, run-heavy offense, making the Ducks the favorites to win the Pac-10 in 2010.
Oregon State needs to find a way to replace quarterback Sean Canfield, but star running back Jacquizz Rodgers returns, along with 16 other starters to lead the Beavers. Expect Oregon State to compete for a Rose Bowl berth again, and look for its first Civil War win in the last three years.
In a rematch of the last two SEC Championship Games—and possibly next year's as well—Alabama will look to extend its dominance on the SEC with a win over the Tebow-less Gators.
Alabama returns most of its offense from a National Championship team last season, including quarterback Greg McElroy and Heisman Trophy winning running back Mark Ingram.
The Crimson Tide defense is definitely in a rebuilding stage, as only three starters return from last season. But regardless, the defending National Champions will be the favorites for a repeat come Sept.
Florida is also in a rebuilding stage after its 2009 team's mass exodus to the NFL Draft. No loss will be felt more than quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a star player and the emotional leader of not only the offense, but the entire team.
But while the Gators may be young, coach Urban Meyer brought in arguably one of the best recruiting classes in recent history, making the Gators the favorite to win the SEC East once again.
The rivalry between Florida and Alabama has been heating up over the past few years and will receive major attention on a week that also holds Texas-Oklahoma and Iowa-Penn State; a large feat in the college football world.
Expect a great game in Tuscaloosa as this new rivalry grows even more.
In one of the few Big East games that wouldn't produce a bigger basketball game, expect the Big East race to come down to this game in a rematch of last year's defacto Big East Title game at Heinz Field.
Cincinnati returns quarterback Zach Collaros, who filled in last year for injured starter Tony Pike, along with seven other offensive starters. The defense also returns five starters, but don't expect to see an amazing defense out of the Bearcats, who struggled last year as the season went on.
Pitt has a lot of holes to fill on both offense and defense, as only 11 total starters return and the Panthers lose quarterback Bill Stull. But the running game should be solid next season with the return of star running back Dion Lewis.
For fans of solid defense and physical play, this won't be a very intriguing game. But for fans who love high-scoring games between two mediocre teams fighting for a conference title, then this game could end up being a pleasant surprise.
Who knows what to expect from the ACC race this season after last year's roller coaster ride. At points in 2009, it seemed like no team wanted to win the conference. But Georgia Tech finally stepped up and ended up being dominated by Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
The Yellow Jackets will look to build on last season's success, but that will be hard to do with the loss of defensive end Derrick Morgan, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, and running back Jonathan Dwyer. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt returns and will lead Paul Johnson's triple offense, but he will need young players to step up and help from the defense if Georgia Tech wants to repeat as ACC Champions in 2010.
I've already introduced the 2010 version of Virginia Tech, but in short, the backfield, consisting of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, running back Darren Evans, and running back Ryan Williams makes the Hokies the ACC favorite next season. The defense needs some work, but Virginia Tech reloads in that area and shouldn't have a problem getting that unit up to speed.
Expect a hard fought game in Blacksburg, as both teams will try to elevate their conference's reputation and prove that someone wants the ACC in 2010.
Even coming off a down year for Oklahoma, the Red River Rivalry is always one of the most influential games of the college football season. The Sooners will look to rebound from a "dreadful" 2009, while Texas will try to continue its dominance over the Big XII.
Oklahoma needs a win in this game if it wants to be seen as a legit contender again. Quarterback Landry Jones needs to be more consistent if the Sooners want any chance in this game, as his team mirrored his inconsistent play in 2009. Bob Stoops needs this win to reach the BCS, and his team needs to be at its best to take down Texas.
The Longhorns also realize the importance of this game, as the winner will almost certainly take the Big XII South and represent the south in the Big XII Championship Game. Garrett Gilbert will need to be sharp against the solid Oklahoma defense, as a few bad throws could lead to an upset.
Look for another great game in the Red River Rivalry, which, for the second time in as many years, could be a defensive battle.
Alabama narrowly escaped with a victory against LSU in Tuscaloosa last year, and the Tigers will be hungry for revenge in Baton Rouge in 2010. Alabama coach Nick Saban returns to his old school as once again the Crimson Tide's final big hurdle before the SEC Championship Game.
As the defending National Champion, Alabama will surely be the favorite to win the SEC West next season for the third year in a row. But LSU looks capable of challenging the Tide and making a run at the BCS.
Experience will be a problem for the Tigers, as quarterback Jordan Jefferson is one of only nine total returning starters. But the new starters should be ready this late in the season, and combined with home-field advantage, LSU may have a chance to knock Alabama off its post in the SEC West and shake up the BCS.
For the second straight year, two non-BCS teams have a shot to make BCS games and possibly even the National Championship.
Boise State seems to have the easiest path, with just two difficult non-conference games against Virginia Tech and Oregon State and a joke of a conference schedule.
If undefeated, Utah has a good chance to climb back into the BCS after its Sugar Bowl win over Alabama two years ago. TCU's path looks a bit more daunting due to last year's BCS loss, but the Horned Frogs are still the favorites to win the Mountain West.
TCU returns 16 starters from last season, including quarterback Andy Dalton, and will be solid once again on both sides of the ball. The loss of defensive end Jerry Hughes hurts, but still expect a very good defense from the Horned Frogs.
Utah returns 13 starters from last season, including quarterback Jordan Wynn, and is riding momentum from a Poinsettia Bowl win over Cal.
The Utes can also improve their reputation with non-conference wins over Pitt and Notre Dame, which would further prove that they belong with BCS-conference teams. The defense might be shaky, especially in the secondary, as only five starters return, but still expect a solid unit out of the Utes in 2010.
The Mountain West has turned into a very respectable football conference over the past few years and now rivals the BCS's Big East and ACC. This game will no doubt be a showcase of the conference's talent and could vault either TCU or Utah into BCS consideration.