Three of the top four of the BCS are off this week with only Boise State playing Fresno State on Friday night. So, this weeks list of games will be games that will effect the BCS at-large teams. Since college football uses computers and strength of schedule criteria, these games will feature opponents that of the top BCS teams that will have a positive or negative effect on the top teams. The focus is specifically on Boise State and TCU since they do not control their own destiny since only one of those teams is guaranteed a BCS berth.
All times are mountain time.
This is the last regular season game for Air Force before they go bowling and almost certainly heading to the Independence Bowl. A win on Thursday will give the Falcons their fourth straight season with at least eight wins. Air Force should have no issues in this game as they are a 19 point favorite and the fact that UNLV is 113th in the nation at stopping the run. Look for Air Force to put up at least 300 yards on the ground.
Fresno State Bulldogs at no. 4 Boise State Broncos (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN3.com)
Fresno State has been perceived as a sleeping giant among the non-BCS schools, but has never made that jump. They are a good quality team under Pat Hill and this will be Boise's toughest test, well since last week when Boise State obliterated Hawai'i. Fresno State is more balanced with a running game to compliment the passing game. Fresno State has nothing to lose, they are not going to finish in the top two in the league nor are they going to move up the bowl pecking order. So, look for Pat Hill to pull out all the stops to try to beat Boise State.
No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes at no. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes (1:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3.com)
The reason this game is important is because of the at-large situation that could leave out Boise State or TCU. The Big 10 race is still very crowded and an Iowa win would knock out Ohio State from the Rose Bowl race and most likely out of the at-large discussion. Iowa is coming off of an upset against Northwestern and will want some revenge, but in the ever pessimistic/sarcastic ways SB Nation's Iowa site, Black Heart Gold Pants, has their top 10 reasons why Iowa will lose. I say just stop Terrell Pryor, but that is me.
New Mexico State Aggies at No. 18 Nevada Wolfpack (2 p.m. PPV)
Nevada should easily take care of business against New Mexico State, but if for some reason Nevada loses that will severely hurt Boise State in the computer rankings and making it tougher for them to surpass TCU.
No. 16 Virginia Tech Hokies at no. 24 Miami, FL (1:30 p.m. ESPN/ESPN3.com)
The Hokies are on an eight game winning streak and a win against Miami, FL puts the Hokies in the ACC title game. When Virginia Tech lost to James Madison a week after they lost to Boise State the feeling was that the only quality win Boise State had on their schedule was now gone. With the Hokies resurgence they could possibly be back in the top 10 if things fall their way come Dec. 5th when the final BCS standings are released.
For the actual game Jacory Harris is still questionable for Miami since he is still suffering effects from a concussion he suffered a few weeks ago. Miami should go with the hot hand in quarterback Stephen Morris as he gives them the best chance to win. Here is all you need to know about this matchup from two sources who are much more versed then myself.
No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers at no.19 Texas A&M Aggies (6 p.m. ABC/ESPN3.com)
This is a similar game to the Iowa and Ohio State game mentioned above. A Texas A&M win puts Nebraska outside looking in for an at-large BCS bid, but even with a loss the Cornhuskers should be heading to the Big XII title game. Do not be surprised if Texas A&M pulls the upset on Saturday. The Aggies are a completely different team after they benched human turnover machine Jerrod Johnson for Ryan Tannehill; ever since that move the Aggies are looking very good. TCU fans despise Texas A&M since they are the only former Southwest Conference team to not schedule the Horned Frogs, but they should be rooting for the Aggies to take down Nebraska.
Oklahoma will need some help to get to the Big XiI title game, but sitting at 14 they are in the at-large pool to be considered for a BCS game. The Sooners are known to travel well and could be chosen over a fourth ranked TCU or Boise State, especially if the choice is to go to the Orange Bowl where the Sooners have shown up in the past. First, Oklahoma must get past Robert Griffin III who is Baylor's excellent dual threat quarterback. Baylor has been struggling a bit and Bob Stoops is known for putting together a good game plan against mobile quarterbacks.
No. 23 Utah Utes at San Diego State Aztecs (8 p.m. The Mtn.)
Utah has been struggling the past two weeks and their word from Salt Lake City that Jordan Wynn, while still the teams quarterback, will be pulled if things do not go well early on. TCU really needs Utah to pull this game out to make their win over the Utes when they were at five look a little bit better. San Diego State has the passing game with quarterback Ryan Lindley throwing to Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson to take advantage of Utah's suspect secondary.