The 10 Games That Will Determine the BCS Championship Matchup

Doug ZerjalContributor IISeptember 18, 2011

The 10 Games That Will Determine the BCS Championship Matchup

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    There are 10 key games left this college football season that will shape the national championship chase. 10 games that will dwindle the list of crystal football hopefuls from many to two. These games lead up to the conference championship games on December 2nd and 3rd and the BCS National Championship in New Orleans on January 9th.

Oklahoma St. @ Texas A&M (September 24th)

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    Everyone in the country knows Oklahoma is one the real championship hopefuls this year, but what about someone else in the Big 12? The matchup this upcoming Saturday between the Cowboys and Aggies should help determine which team is truly ready to challenge the Sooners for conference dominance and possibly ready to become a dark horse in the national picture.

Arkansas @ Alabama (September 24th)

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    Next Saturday also features a matchup of SEC West heavyweights as the Razorbacks travel to Alabama. Expect an epic buildup as Arkansas' vaunted offense goes against Alabama's terrific defense. The winner gets a leg up in the race to Atlanta, site of the SEC championship game.

Nebraska @ Wisconsin (October 1st)

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    Nebraska's first game in the Big Ten features two teams hoping to take the next step into the national title discussion. The game will feature two the conference's best quarterbacks in Nebraska's Taylor Martinez and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson.

Alabama @ Florida (October 1st)

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    Alabama figures to be a clear favorite in most of its games this season. This road test at Florida could be stiffer than people realize. Last year's dominating 31-6 performance by 'Bama should be tougher to duplicate in the Swamp with Will Muschamp's defense and new and improved Gator QB John Brantley.

Wisconsin @ Ohio St. (October 29th)

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    After their loss to Miami, Ohio St. is probably out of the championship chase. Wisconsin may roll into Columbus undefeated, though. Don't sleep on the Buckeyes at home, even in down year.

    If there's a chance to take down an undefeated team, the Buckeyes will vow revenge on a Wisconsin team that gave them their only loss a year ago.

Texas A&M @ Oklahoma (November 5th)

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    Oklahoma lost two games in 2010. One of them was a 33-19 loss at College Station. Expect high drama as two of the nation's best offenses light up the scoreboard.

LSU @ Alabama (November 5th)

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    Mark you calendars, hire a babysitter or lock yourself in a room.

    This could be the game of the year in the SEC and in college football.

    Two big-time programs bring their tremendous defenses to the game in Alabama. The winner should win the SEC West and will be the favorite to represent the conference in New Orleans for the BCS championship game where the conference is shooting for its sixth consecutive crown.

Oregon @ Stanford (November 12th)

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    Oregon's loss against LSU definitely hurt their championship chances. Stanford should still be in the hunt, though, when the Ducks come calling in mid-November for the Pac 12 North's de facto championship game.

    Stanford's schedule is kind, with their only other real test coming October 29th at USC. This game might be the only hurdle for an undefeated season for the Cardinal.

Oklahoma @ Baylor (November 19th)

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    Baylor? That's right. If Oklahoma is going to play for the BCS title, they're going to have to shut down Robert Griffin III. Griffin is capable of winning a game by himself, and expect him to play well in one of his few national spotlight games.

Boise St. @ San Diego St. (November 19th)

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    Boise State lost one game a year ago—a night game at Nevada. Their biggest threat in 2011 might be this late-season road battle against a solid Aztec team led by future NFL QB Ryan Lindley.