College Football

BCS Rankings 2013: 5 Biggest BCS Impact Games of Week 10

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2013

BCS Rankings 2013: 5 Biggest BCS Impact Games of Week 10

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    Eight teams ranked in the BCS Top 25 have a bye in Week 10, including national title contenders like No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 Baylor and No. 6 Stanford.

    But that doesn't mean the week lacks drama.

    Ranked showdowns in Week 10 could help decide the fate of the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12, highlighted by a top-10 matchup between Miami and Florida State in Tallahassee.

    No matter how bleak the slate looks at first glance, every week this late in the season has genuine BCS ramifications. That's what makes this time of year so great!

    Bleacher Report's resident BCS guru, Sam Chi, compiled the five biggest impact games on the Week 10 schedule. Here's a quick preview of each one.

     

5. Arizona State at Washington State

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    Arizona State controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South, sitting in the driver's seat at 3-1 and already owning a win over 2-2 USC.

    Still, with UCLA and Arizona lurking, the Sun Devils have a small margin for error and can't afford to cough up that lead—especially since they play the Bruins in Los Angeles.

    Washington State presents an interesting threat, having also beaten USC, hung around at Oregon and nearly won at Auburn in Week 1. What once was a pushover defense has shown signs of life, and it could present some interesting threats to ASU's attack.

    That holds especially true on the road and in cold weather, where the Sun Devils have historically been much worse than in the friendly confines of Tempe, Ariz. But head coach Todd Graham expects the most from his team, no matter where it plays.

    "If you want to be a champion and that's what we say we want to be...no excuses," Graham said, according to The Washington Post. "You go, rain, sleet, snow, Alaska, Maine, it doesn’t matter—you’ve got to go win."

    That must-win mindset will be put to the test in Pullman, and if the results came back positive, Arizona State will be one step closer to the Pac-12 Championship Game. 

4. Michigan at Michigan State

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    Michigan snapped a four-game losing streak against "little brother" Michigan State in 2012, beating the down-on-their-luck Spartans 12-10 in Ann Arbor.

    MSU's four-game winning streak came on the heels of a six-game losing streak, and Michigan is hoping that this rivalry of streaks will continue to move in that direction.

    Devin Gardner's splits have been a mess in recent weeks, as he has been near-perfect at home against Minnesota and Indiana, but a turnover machine at Connecticut and Penn State.

    That doesn't seem to bode well, but still, the Michigan quarterback is embracing his chance to play against Michigan State's vaunted defense.

    "We’re really looking forward to this opportunity,” Gardner said, according to Mark Snyder of MLive.com. “They’re the No. 1 defense in the country, so it’s an opportunity for our offense to prove ourselves.”

    MSU is 4-0 in Big Ten play, holding a one-game lead in the Legends Division over Michigan. The Wolverines have Ohio State on their schedule and the Spartans don't, so a loss here would essentially end Michigan's pursuit of the division crown.

    This rivalry is so much better when it means something.

3. Tennessee at Missouri

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    Missouri is a much better team than Tennessee, and especially with Vols quarterback Justin Worley sidelined, the Tigers should theoretically have no problem winning this contest in Columbia.

    But this game depends on the Tigers' mindset. Is the team still reeling from coughing up a 17-point lead to South Carolina last week, or is it resolved to continue fighting for a spot in the SEC Championship Game?

    "Our guys are certainly frustrated and disappointed, and they should be," said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, according to the Kansas City Star. "They are competitors and we will have to bounce back from this."

    Missouri quarterback James Franklin could be back for this one, and his return would be a major emotional boost. But even if Maty Mauk remains in the lineup, the key to this game will be focus and execution.

    Tennessee has been tough at home, but it has struggled mightily on the road and will be playing with backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The Vols are ripe for the picking.

    Mizzou just needs to go out there and take care of business. Otherwise, the entire SEC East could be in for a shakeup.

2. Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

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    Texas Tech fell from the ranks of the unbeaten at Oklahoma last week, but now it has a chance to score a quality home win over a different Sooner State school.

    This week's opponent is equally challenging, though, as the Cowboys have looked steady since losing at West Virginia and appear to have righted the ship under head coach Mike Gundy's command.

    It should be interesting to see how Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, a rising star in the sport, handles the first loss of his career. He doesn't seem to think that the taste of defeat will affect him.

    "Twenty-four hours and I’m good,” said Kingsbury, according to Don Williams of the Amarillo Globe-News. “It’s tough here for a little bit, but there’s so much to play for, and like I said, it’s all out in front of us if we approach it the right way.

    The Red Raiders offense was able to move the ball in spots against Oklahoma, which might have the best secondary in the Big 12. This week they get a physical front seven, led by defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, that will challenge the offense in different but equal ways.

    A loss would put Texas Tech two games behind Baylor in the loss column, meaning it would need to run the table and hope for some help in order to win the conference.

    That's never a good position to be in.

1. Miami at Florida State

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    Chi calls this the biggest meeting in the Miami-Florida State rivalry since 2000, when the Hurricanes were still in the Big East and the game had BCS National Championship implications.

    But even though it's the marquee game of Week 10 and both teams are undefeated, Vegas doesn't predict this one to be particularly close. Florida State is currently favored to win by 21 points.

    According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com (via The Wall Street Journal), that spread is the largest since at least 1980 between two top-10 teams this late in the season. But the Hurricanes do not lack for confidence, and they won't be fazed by the bright lights.

    "I'm not really into the bigger headlines or anything like that," said quarterback Stephen Morris, according to Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. "I'm just trying to help our team win."

    Morris will be counted on to protect the ball against FSU's swarming defense, something he has struggled with in spots this season. Considered an NFL prospect, his arm could be the key to winning this game, but it could also be the key to losing it.

    Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston has already proven his skill under the bright lights, and he could be in store for another Heisman-sized statement game.

    Miami's defense will have its work cut out for it—and then some.

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