Air Force is just on the outside of both of the AP and Coaches polls and will be looking to make an entry to the polls this week with a win over rival Navy. In addition to the Falcons needing to beat Navy, they will also need some help as well to move into next week's Top 25. Air Force has not beaten Navy since 2002, and Navy has created a profile big enough over the past few years that if Air Force wins they should have a very good chance of being ranked.
Below are the games that will have a direct impact on whether Air Force gets ranked.
All times are Mountain.
Texas A&M @ #24 Oklahoma State (Thursday ESPN, 6 p.m.)
Texas A&M is lucky to be undefeated since they needed a huge comeback a few weeks ago to beat Florida International. The key to Texas A&M winning is to have quarterback Jerrod Johnson perform at a high level, and not turn the ball over or make dumb mistakes. Oklahoma State has been flying under the radar this year with a lot of new faces on the 2010 team, and this Cowboy team may be better then last years..
Navy @ Air Force (Versus, 12:30 p.m.)
This will be one of the quickest games of the year since both squads use the run option offense. The winner will come down to who can control the time of possession with their running game. Yes, that is simple but both teams are at their best when the run option is clicking. There is a chance that this game might have a combined ten pass attempts between the two teams. However, both schools have a quarterback who is capable of throwing a solid deep ball on occasion to test the defense. Navy has been slightly down this year compared in recent years, but they will be motivated for the Commander-In-Chief award; Navy has won this game the past seven years.
#16 Texas vs. #8 Oklahoma (ABC Regional/ESPN 1:30 p.m. @ Cotton Bowl In Dallas)
Texas is coming off their worst loss in the Mack Brown era at home against UCLA, and will need to have some type of running game to compete against Oklahoma. Oklahoma has been up and down this year, but they will want some revenge from last years 16-13 loss.
#9 Wisconsin @ #21 Michigan State (ABC Regional/ESPN 1:30 p.m.)
The Spartans should be ready for this matchup since last week was a nice tune up against Northern Colorado. Plus, the Spartans will get a boost as head coach Mark Dantonio will be back coaching in the press box after suffering a heart attack against Notre Dame two weeks ago.
Week four must have been Big 10 cupcake week since the Badgers set several school records agaisnt outmanned Austin Peay, but this will be their first chance to prove themselves since their escape over Arizona State.
Virginia Tech @ North Carolina State ABC Regional/ESPN 1:30 p.m.)
Who would of thought that N.C. State would be the higher ranked team in this matchup as the only undefeated team left in the ACC. The Wolfpack are very dangerous when quarterback Russell Wilson is on his 'A' game. There is some debate over where Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams should play this week.
#20 Penn State @ #18 Iowa (ESPN 6 p.m.)
Here is the sarcastic side of Iowa fans who list ten reasons why they will lose to Penn State. Iowa has owned Penn State this past decade with a 7-1 record against the Nittany Lions since 2000, and Kurt Ferentz is 7-2 all time against Joe Paterno.
#25 Nevada @ UNLV (The mtn. 8 p.m.)
Nevada is ranked for the first time in 62 years behind the the 'Pistol' offense that is run to perfection by Colin Kaepernick, also known as the angry Ostrich. UNLV is going to have to step up their shaky defense to try to slow down Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua who have combined for just over 900 rushing yards on the season. Last year, Nevada amassed 773 yards of total offense against UNLV, so UNLV will definitely have to improve off of that if they want to get their second win of the year.
A lot of games to keep an eye to see if Air Force can crack the top 25. The most important item on the list is for Air Force to beat Navy and hope for one of these lower ranked teams to lose; that should propel Air Force into their first top 25 ranking in either poll since the 1998 season.