After already getting by arguably their two toughest opponents of the season—Virginia Tech and Oregon State—Boise State is sitting at 3-0 and No. 3 in the polls.
However, apart from a showdown against WAC rival Nevada in November, Boise State doesn’t play anyone that is going to help them either jump to the No. 2 spot in the polls or even prevent them from being overtaken by a team currently ranked lower than them.
Therefore, if the Broncos hope to make it to the national championship, they’ll need some help.
Luckily, there are many, many opportunities for national title-contending teams to stumble.
So, let’s take a look at the other title contenders’ schedules and any spots where a possible trip-up could put Boise State in the BCS National Championship Game.
Note: Only Top Five teams were considered. Of course, other top teams could end up competing for the national title, but as of now, these teams appear to be Boise State’s biggest competition in reaching the championship game.
There's no question that Alabama looks like the No. 1 team in the nation right now. But they also play in the toughest conference in America, the SEC, and therefore have multiple opportunities to stumble at least once.
Here are four games that present serious challenges to the Tide.
Sat. October 2: vs. No. 7 Florida
No, Florida isn’t the same without Tim Tebow.They just don't seem to have the "it" factor that propelled them the last few years.
That said, the Gators are still probably Alabama’s toughest competition in the SEC.
Although the game is in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide is going to have to play a great game to take down the John Brantley-led Gators.
Sat. October 9: at No. 20 South Carolina
This game against Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks could be Alabama’s toughest test of the year.
Although South Carolina did lose to Auburn last Saturday, they have experienced a resurgence in 2010 and could end up walking away with the SEC East title.
If Alabama doesn’t come to Columbia ready to play, the Cocks could easily sneak out a victory.
Sat. November 6: at No. 12 LSU
Always a tough game, Alabama will need to play close to perfect to beat LSU in Baton Rouge. No, LSU isn’t a great team this year, yet they find a way to win.
The Tigers have one of the best defenses in the country, and if ‘Bama turns the ball over, their shot at consecutive national titles will be over.
Fri. November 26: vs. No. 10 Auburn
Maybe the most intense rivalry in all of college sports, the Iron Bowl is a great game no matter the quality of either team. Luckily, both teams are pretty good this year, to say the least.
If this game was in Auburn, most would be inclined to actually predict a Tigers victory. But since it’s in Tuscaloosa, it would be hard not to favor the Tide. Still, ‘Bama will have to play well.
As the No. 2 team in the country, Ohio State has looked every bit like the class of the Big Ten. In fact, they've looked unbelievable.
But they've got a few tough road games and certainly aren't infallible, especially if Terrelle Pryor plays poorly.
Sat. October 16: at No. 11 Wisconsin
It’s never easy going into Camp Randall Stadium and coming out with a win, especially when Wisconsin is actually good.
Although Pryor and the Buckeyes look virtually unstoppable at this point, the Badgers could easily knock them off here. With a 6:00 p.m. start time, you know the crowd will be rocking in Madison.
Ohio State will have to play close to perfect if they hope to keep their undefeated record intact.
Sat. November 20: at No. 17 Iowa
Although Iowa stumbled in its game at Arizona two weekends ago, the Hawkeyes could still be the best team in the Big Ten.
With a great defense and a steady offense, Iowa has the makings of a Rose Bowl team despite the early loss.
With the game in Iowa City, Ohio State can afford few mistakes against the Hawks.
Sat. November 27: vs. No. 19 Michigan
It remains to be seen whether the Wolverines are actually as good as their 4-0 record indicates, but at this point in the season, we can assume they are.
The game is in Columbus—which should give Ohio State a decided advantage—but you know Michigan will get up for this game.
College football’s biggest rivalry could decide if OSU goes to the national title game.
Oregon's offense couldn't be stopped in non-conference play, but can it continue throughout the Pac-10 season?
Can its defense keep up?
Sat. October 2: vs. No. 9 Stanford
Two of college football’s most prolific offenses collide in what could turn out to be the Pac-10 game of the year. The Ducks are averaging 58 points a game, while the Cardinal are averaging a mere 48.
Don’t expect a whole lot of defense in this one. That said, a stop here or there by the Cardinal and Stanford could prematurely end Oregon’s national title aspirations.
Sat. October 30: at No. 18 USC
No, USC really has nothing to play for. No, they really aren’t that good this year. But they are dangerous nonetheless.
It’s certainly no easy task going down to SoCal and coming out with a win, so Oregon can’t take this game lightly. Although the Trojans may not have much to gain, they could certainly play spoiler.
Fri. November 26: vs. No. 14 Arizona
One of the surprise teams in the Pac-10 so far, Arizona poses a unique challenge for this Ducks team: They actually play defense.
The Wildcats are allowing only 11 points a game and have shown they can take down top teams, as evidenced by their upset of Iowa. The Ducks better make sure not to overlook ‘Zona in preparation for Oregon State.
Sat. December 4: at Oregon State
No matter the year, the Civil War is one of the most entertaining games in college football every season.
Although the Beavers have struggled early, they have a good team and will likely be contending for the Pac-10 title by the time this game rolls around.
After barely losing this one last year, Oregon State will be out for revenge. Plus, unlike last year, it’s in Corvallis.
As Boise State’s mid-major brethren, TCU is in a similar situation as the Broncos.
They already played their premier game of the year and don’t have any real strength-of-schedule boosters the rest of the season. That doesn’t mean they still couldn’t lose.
Sat. October 23: vs. Air Force
When Air Force comes to town, the Horned Frogs better be ready for a fight.
The Falcons have already taken down BYU and pushed Oklahoma to the brink. If TCU takes this game lightly at all, their hopes of a repeat BCS trip will be crushed.
Sat. November 6: at No. 13 Utah
Arguably their toughest test of the year, the November 6 showdown with Utah in Salt Lake City could determine who wins the Mountain West.
The Utes bring in a dynamic offense capable of scoring on anyone, and if the Frogs aren’t ready, then they won’t be ready for a trip to Glendale.