Road to the BCS: Early matchups could set the tone

Andy Lyons

Games that can help Boise State, or any other Mountain West team, get into contention for a BCS bowl game.

The college football is a long yet it is also a very short season lasting just over three months, and before we know it BCS bids will be handed out. With every game mostly mattering we will take a look at the games that can help a Mountain West squad earn a BCS bowl bid.

Look for an American Athletic Conference team being mixed in here each week, because with Louisville being expected to be a top-10 team, and a dark horse national title contender they are a team that could greatly help a Mountain West squad by losing at least one game.

A quick reminder of the BCS rules in regards to a non-automatic qualifying teams getting a bid are: First they must be a conference champion and be ranked in the top 12, or a can be ranked 16 and higher if they are ahead of any other automatic qualifying conference champions.

All Mountain West teams in the hunt are a given, so these games will not be listed unless it is there to help a higher rated MWC squad.

All rankings are the BCS standings, or in this case simulated BCS standings.

Saturday, Aug. 31

No. 10 LSU Tigers vs. No. 19 TCU Horned Frogs (Arlington, Texas) 8 p.m. ET, TV: ABC

This is a game that LSU can recover to if they fall to TCU, and with the Horned Frogs a loss will probably knock them out of the top 25 but not completely out since the Big 12 is pretty wide open. There has been some back and forth in this game between Gary Patterson and Les Miles over player suspensions.

MWC rooting interest: Tough call since the SEC will have multiple teams in the top-10 as the season goes on, and the Big 12 is wide open. At this point going with LSU since they probably will lose a game or two down the road, as will TCU.

Nevada Wolf Pack at No. 27 UCLA Bruins, 10 p.m. ET, TV: Pac-12 Network

UCLA is currently rated low by the computers that provided information so far, because the USA Today Coaches Poll has the Bruins No. 21. Nevada has the offense to keep pace with UCLA and a win would help all of the Mountain West contenders.

MWC rooting interest: Duh, Nevada.

Sunday, Sept. 1

Ohio Bobcats at No. 14 Louisville Cardinal, 3:30 p.m. ET, TV: ESPN

Louisville is that pesky AAC team that will likely stay above the No. 16 spot all season, unless they lose. They have Heisman hopeful, and likely top-five draft pick, in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater slinging the ball around. However, Ohio is no slouch as they are projected to finish atop the MAC's Eastern division with Bowling Green, according to the consensus rankings. The Cardinal are a 20-point favorite, but weirder things have happen.

MWC rooting interest: Ohio, a loss here to Louisville would drop them considerably lower in the rankings.

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