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Road To The BCS: Four Key Games This Week

Since college football is considered by some to be a playoff every week, well that is if you are in a non-AQ league then yes if you lose you are almost certainly removed from BCS consideration.

This weekly Thursday or Friday (life can be busy) feature will feature games that will have an impact on Boise State's national title run and TCU's chance at a BCS game. Games listed are one's that have a reasonable chance of an upset happening. Rankings are from the USA Today coaches poll, all games on Saturday unless specified and all times eastern.

Only a few games this week that have an impact on the BCS race.

Tulsa at No. 1 Oklahoma - 8 PM TV: FX

Oklahoma obviously has the talent to win this game, but Tulsa is not exactly a pushover. Tulsa's offense is high-powered and has the ability to be able to go score-for-score. However, Tulsa lost both their head coach and offensive coordinator but new head coach Bill Blankenship is going to keep the same successful offense. The key will be Tulsa's defense because they will need some stops if they are to pull off the upset. Tulsa most likely will be missing Damaris Johnson who is the all-time NCAA leader in all-purpose yards due to felony embezzlement charges.

What they are saying:

So while the powerful Tulsa offense presents a legitimate threat, given the depth and talent on the OU defensive side of the ball I expect the Sooners to keep them relatively in check. Tulsa is a good test to open things for an OU defense that will have to be ready to play quickly with a big time match-up looming in Week 3 -- Crimson and Cream Machine.

Advantage: Oklahoma

South Florida at No. 15 Notre Dame - 3:30 PM TV: NBC

South Florida is an odd team, they always seem to do well early in the year and then fall flat on their face once mid-season rolls around. This must be the year Notre Dame gets back to national relevance (that is what some are saying). The thing the Irish have for the first time in a long time is a defense and that starts with linebacker Manti Te'o who is a projected first round NFL draft pick if comes out a year early. Time to see if Notre Dame can assemble this talent and beat a quality team.

What they are saying:

Offensively, we know the talent is there for Notre Dame, but we're still not sure exactly what kind of approach the team will take. The offense looked very sharp (even if it lacked explosiveness) in last year's opener, but you can imagine there might be some bumps in the road against USF, whose defense, top to bottom, is better than Purdue's last year.

But with a star like Michael Floyd and other playmakers, Notre Dame has a considerable edge on offense in comparison to South Florida. The Fighting Irish should keep USF in check, and eventually Dayne Crist & Co. will break through on offense.

Even if South Florida does improve as Phil Steele and others are calling for (and have their best season EVER), I expect Notre Dame to be much improved as well. In short, the Irish talent should win out. -- One Foot Down.

Advantage: Notre Dame

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU in Arlington, TX - 8 PM TV: ABC

The biggest game of the season may not have as many implications, because the loser of this game has all season to move back into the rankings and they have a title game to boost their standings and get back into the title picture. Assuming Boise State wins they will move up ahead of the loser in this game. LSU is starting Jarrett Lee and that is making LSU fans shutter at the possibility of yet another pick-six, but the interception machine has less to worry about since Oregon is with out their star DB Cliff Harris because he likes to drive fast.

What they are saying:

Just as quickly as Lee played himself into the lineup, he played himself out of it. Well, now Lee has to hope the first half of the season is the Real Lee, and the second half was just because he couldn't get enough work to find a rhythm.

I have no idea how Lee will react to being a starter. Absolutely none. But I can tell you I'll be rooting for him. People love an underdog, and Jarrett Lee's career is nothing but that. Redemption would be a perfect coda to the most vilified LSU quarterback since Jamie Howard. -- And the Valley Shook.

What they are saying:

With the loss of Jefferson, the quarterbacking duties fall to senior Jarrett Lee. Lee's career in one word? Maddening. His 2008 season featured seven pick-sixes. Seven. He has spent the last two years as a backup to the equally inconsistent Jefferson, throwing for 771 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2009 and 2010 combined. For his career, Lee sports a 53% completion rate and 6.6 yards per attempt. Most important of all, the abuse that LSU fans have rained down on him in his career make the insults hurled at Nate Longshore or Brady Leaf look like second-grade playground banter. He's a head case, and if the boo birds start, the Ducks can have a field day. -- Addicted to Quack.

Advantage: Oregon

SMU at No. 8 Texas A&M - Sunday 7:30 PM TV: Fox Sports Net

The Aggies are out of the Big 12 and SMU is being the pesky little kid ins school who thinks if they throw their hand up high enough and lean forward that they will be called up and then gain entrance to the Big 12. Not going to happen SMU. As for the game Texas A&M they are a 15.5 point favorite and that seems high. SMU has a nice high-powered passing offense that can score points on anyone. Maybe Texas A&M is still riding high in the eyes of Las Vegas due to last years hot run to end the season.

What they are saying:

The Mustangs are led on offense by QB Kyle Padron, RB Zach Line, and WR Cole Beasley. Padron paced the Mustangs with 3828 yards passing last season, while completing 59.9 percent of his passes, and throwing 31 TDs against 14 interceptions. Padron was also the second-leading rusher on the team, netting 244 yards and 4 TDs on the season. Zach Line is the workhorse back for the offense, turning 244 carries into 1494 rushing yards and 10 TDs. Line averaged a stellar 6.1 yards per carry, and was good for 106.7 rushing yards per game.

Cole Beasley had a team-leading 87 receptions last season, for 1,060 yards and 6 TDs. Between Padron, Line, and Beasley, the Mustangs have a solid core of skill-position playmakers, and they have a veteran offensive line, with all of their starters coming back. I expect SMU to test our secondary early and often with their passing game, but also try to establish the running game to keep us off-balance. Our defense will have their work cut out for them against an offense that may start out slow because it is the first game, but has the experience to make this a game. — I Am The 12th Man.

Advantage: Texas A&M

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