As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011″.
Let’s move on to Week 12, where Big Ten and ACC titles could be on the line.
Ohio State at Iowa: Saturday Nov. 20, TBA
Preseason hype and expectations will mean very little when Ohio State takes the treacherous trek to Iowa City in this late-season Big Ten matchup that seems destined to be an elimination game for the Big Ten crown.
Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes will hope to have the Big Ten title all sewn up by the time this game rolls around, but, like in year's past, that’s not going to be an easy task.
The Buckeyes will have to deal with tough opponents all season, not to mention the strong possibility of three or even four teams vying for the Big Ten title all the way throughout the season. All that skill spread around the country could spell a very muddled picture in the Big Ten in 2010, making this game of the utmost importance to two of the teams that seem primed to make a run at the title.
Last season these two teams met up on this same weekend with the Big Ten title on the line in Columbus. The Hawkeyes were able to comeback from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit, but they were beaten in OT by the Buckeyes, 27-24.
Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi and the Iowa defense will be fired up to welcome the Buckeyes into town and will look for some revenge, especially if the Big Ten title is up for grabs once again.
Virginia Tech at Miami (FL): Saturday Nov. 20, TBA
Two of the three teams that jumped the Big East ship in 2004 have made the ACC a comfortable fit for themselves, and 2010 looks to be no different, as both the Hokies and Hurricanes are among the favorites for the ACC title.
Both could use this game as a springboard to the ACC Coastal Division crown and to secure a berth in the ACC Championship Game. Once again, Tyrod Taylor and Jacory Harris will be tested against tough defenses and will measure against one another. Both are capable of doing damage with both their feet and their arms—in fact the teams could benefit from playing against a similar-style quarterback in the practices leading up to the game, as the two have similar styles.
A key for both teams will be to stay healthy down the stretch of the ACC schedule. Injuries riddled the 2009 campaign for the Hurricanes and prevented them from continuing their hot start to last season.
Virginia Tech was uncharacteristically weak during the middle of last season, dropping games to eventual ACC Champion Georgia Tech and to ACC foe North Carolina.
The Hokies will have to avoid those kinds of losses, especially at home, in order for this game to mean something to them when late November rolls around.
Miami will have the home field advantage in this one, which could prove more important than any other factor in this game, as the Hurricanes were 5-1 at home in 2009.
USC at Oregon State: Saturday Nov. 20, 8:00 p.m. ET
The state of Oregon has been quite unkind to the Trojans these past couple of years, delivering crushing loss after loss in four consecutive seasons and hampering the Trojans’ attempts at BCS National Championship Game berths.
This season the Trojans will be unable to compete in any postseason bowls, but they will still have to take the treacherous trip up the Pacific coastline to the state of Oregon, this year to face the Oregon State Beavers.
The Beavers have been underdogs in the two team's meetings during the Trojans’ dominating Pac-10 run, but this year Oregon State might find itself in an unusual situation—favored against a USC team.
The Beavers are among the favorites for the Pac-10 title, and they have a chance to make their way to the top of the conference if they can overcome the growing pains of a new quarterback.
Oregon State will feature running back Jacquizz Rodgers extensively in this one—as they have the past few years against the Trojans—and will hope for a similar result to that of 2008—when the Beavers shocked the country by beating Mark Sanchez and the then-No. 1 Trojans.
Although the Trojans are ineligible for the postseason, don’t expect Lane Kiffin and USC to go quietly. Quarterback Matt Barkley and a group of talented returners will do their best to play spoiler to the entire conference and claim a Pac-10 title despite their inability to play in the Rose Bowl.
This game might be a perfect opportunity for the Trojans to do just that.
Other Games of Note: Wisconsin at Michigan, Arkansas at Mississippi State.