College Football 2010 Midseason Report & Forecast

October 15, 2010

Although we are already halfway into the college football season, it seems that only a few season-altering games have been played. Namely, South Carolina's win over Alabama, and Oregon's defeat of Stanford.

Brad Edwards of ESPN has projected that Boise State will start atop the BCS rankings in the coming days, even though the Broncos will start to drop as the power conference teams get into the meat of their games.

At this point, Ohio State and Oregon seem to be the two power conference teams with the best chance to go the national championship game.

Ohio State travels this week to face Wisconsin, and still must play at Iowa (November 20) and at home against Michigan (November 27). However, they do not play Michigan State -- the Big 10's other undefeated team -- and they do not have a conference championship game.

The Buckeyes' schedule ironically could end up hurting the Spartans, as an undefeated Michigan State team may not even get consideration for the national championship game.

At the same time, we do not see any marquee games for Oregon, other than perhaps an October 30 date at USC. However, the constant high level of competition in the Pac-10 may do in the Ducks, as recent Oregon teams have not shown that they can navigate through the league's difficult stretches. In particular, Oregon's last game at arch-rival Oregon State on December 4 maybe their one "trip up" game.

Meanwhile outside the power conferences, Boise State still has one more difficult game on November 26 against Nevada and its explosive pistol offense. In addition, the other noteworthy non-automatic qualifier -- the currently projected third-ranked TCU Horned Frogs -- also has one more roadblock against what probably will be a top ten Utah team by the time they play on November 6.

How about the other contenders? We start with the highest-ranked conference, the SEC, which has two undefeated teams in LSU and Auburn. Those schools will play each other on October 23. In addition, Auburn must play Arkansas (October 16) and at Alabama, while LSU plays at home against Alabama (November 6), and later at Arkansas (November 27).

The Big 12 has four undefeated teams left in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Missouri. From the rankings and the teams' performance on the field, the likely scenario is to have Oklahoma and undefeated Nebraska line up against each other December 11 at the Big 12 Championship Game.

High-scoring Oklahoma State may have something to say about that however, as the Cowboys will host both teams later this year (October 23 versus Nebraska and Nov 27 versus Oklahoma).

Looking at those one-loss teams with the potential to climb the rankings, we have to start with Alabama again.

Given that SEC teams with at least one loss have won the last four National Championships, we cannot discount Alabama. The same goes for South Carolina and Arkansas as well. With Alabama and Arkansas still to play both LSU and Auburn, the survivors could end up playing in the December 11th SEC championship game.

On the periphery are Stanford, Florida State, Iowa, Arizona, and Wisconsin, who at this point would need many things to happen to even be in the conversation for the national championship game.

Listed below are some of the key games that will go a long way toward deciding who plays in the BCS Championship Game. Please note that this list is by no means complete, as there are other games that could potentially alter the rankings, such as Oklahoma State-Nebraska and Ohio State-Michigan.

Here are the top 10 most influential games remaining in the 2010 college football season:

1. Ohio State @ Wisconsin (October 16)
2. LSU @ Auburn (October 23)
3. Alabama @ LSU (November 6)
4. TCU @ Utah (November 6)
5. Ohio State @ Iowa (November 20)
6. Boise State @ Nevada (November 26)
7. Auburn @ Alabama (November 26)
8. Oregon @ Oregon State (December 4)
9. Big 12 Championship Game (December 11)
10. SEC Championship Game (December 11)

By Christian Siagian
Contributing Writer to

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