With so many games to follow during Week 7, which ones matter - and why? Which teams can help Boise the most? What would be their impact?
Last week, readers voted the clash of unbeaten #9 Arizona and Oregon State as the “Impact Game of the Week”. Oregon State came through with flying colors, downing the Wildcats by 11. The runner-up (Bama vs South Carolina) also went in the Broncos’ favor, with the Tide falling to the Gamecocks. Which teams will do their part this week? Will fate be so kind?
# 2 Oregon is off this week, resting up for its next opponent. #14 Stanford is off as well. All other top 25 teams are playing, however. Join me after the jump for this week’s list of games that should be followed by any respectable Boise State fan. And don’t miss the opportunity to vote for Week 7’s “Impact Game of the Week”.
One Doug Martin Games – Kinda Impacts Boise
McNeese State at # 9 LSU, 5PM MST – ESPN3
Root For: Cowboys
Why? LSU is looking like they might somehow – magically – horribly – go undefeated. An ugly win over a D1AA team might finally halt any talk of a NTG invitation. But I doubt it.
#17 Arizona at Washington State, 5:30PM MST, Versus
Line: Wildcats by 23
Root For: Wildcats
Why? A Wildcat win boosts Oregon State’s SOS – and more importantly, perceived SOS. On the flip side, a Wildcat loss would enable Nevada to jump one more spot. Don’t count on that happening though…the Cougs are still the Cougs.
Western Michigan at Notre Dame, 12:30PM MST – NBC
Line: Fightin’ Irish by 24
Root For: Broncos
Why? Both Toledo and the team that Rob Akey coaches beat Western Michigan. A win by the Broncos would be a huge boost to “our” Broncos’ SOS.
# 23 Air Force at San Diego State, 6PM MST
Line: Falcons by 4
Root For: Aztecs
Why? Another Falcon loss would drop them from the Top 25, taking some of the excitement over TCU’s potential undefeated season away. Also, the Utah State Aggies played the Aztecs. Although they came away with a loss, the stronger the Aztecs finish the season, the higher the Aggies’ SOS.
Two Doug Martin Games – Impacts Boise
BYU at # 4 TCU, 2PM MST – Versus
Line: TCU by 29
Root For: BYU
Why? I almost put TCU because each of our individual non-AQ successes adds credibility to the other's. However, a BYU win would knock TCU completely out of contention as well as strengthen Nevada and Utah State’s SOS. A more realistic hope: stay within 2 TDs.
Iowa State at # 6 Oklahoma, 5PM MST
Line: Sooners by 24
Root For: Cyclones
Why? Knocking off another undefeated team makes the Broncos’ path to the NTG that much easier. Don’t count on Iowa State being the one to pull it off, though. I’m waiting for the Red River Rivalry for that.
Mississippi at # 8 Alabama, 7PM MST, ESPN2
Line: Tide by 21
Root For: Rebel Black Bears
Why? Not only would a 2-loss Bama squad have zero chance of jumping the Broncos this year, but a victory by Ole Miss would also boost our marquee game with the Rebels next year. (It’s never too early to start looking ahead to ’11.) Plus, it would be a heck of a way to honor their new mascot. (Although I’m still disappointed Rebel Leader Admiral Ackbar was nixed.)
Boston College at #16 Florida State, 10AM MST, ESPN/ESPN3
Line: ‘Noles by 21
Root For: Eagles
Why? FSU has the chance to challenge Virginia Tech for the ACC title. The more losses the ‘Noles rack up, the less likely this becomes.
#15 Iowa at Michigan, 1:30PM MST, ABC/ESPN
Line: Hawkeyes by 3
Root For: Wolverines
Why? A loss by Iowa would allow Nevada to climb one more spot. Can they make the Top 10 by Thanksgiving?
North Carolina State at East Carolina, 10AM MST
Line: Wolfpack by 7
Root For: Wolfpack
Why? VaTech beat the Wolfpack. The better the Wolfpack looks, the better VaTech looks. Plus, the ACC can use all the SOS help it can get.
Cincinnati at Louisville, Friday 6PM MST
Line: Bearcats by 3
Root For: Bearcats
Why? Fresno’s best win of the season is Cinci. It may turn out to be one of their only wins. Regardless, a strong Cincinnati team improves the entire WAC’s SOS. The Bearcats barely lost to the Sooners three weeks ago, so they have firepower. At 2-3, this is a good time to start exercising it.
Minnesota at Purdue, 10AM MST
Line: Boilermakers by 5
Root For: Boilermakers
Why? Toledo’s marquee win of the season is against Purdue of the Big Ten. More Purdue wins translates into an improved resume for Boise.
Three Doug Martin Games – Really Impacts Boise
# 11 Utah at Wyoming, 4PM MST
Line: Utes by 20
Root For: Cowboys
Why? Not only does Utah have a chance to go undefeated, but the Cowboys are one of our opponents. A head-to-head comparison of results is inevitable.
# 20 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 1:30 PM MST
Line: Red Raiders by 3
Root For: Red Raiders
Why? The Cowboys are one of 12 other undefeated teams. The fewer, the better. Plus, we want the Cowboys to save up their big wins for the Huskers and the Sooners.
#21 Missouri at Texas A&M, 10AM MST
Line: Aggies by 3
Root For: Aggies
Why? Kind of amazing that an undefeated and ranked team is the underdog. But it’s the Tigers here, not the Sooners. I’ll feel a lot bet when the number of undefeateds falls to single digits. There is a good chance the Aggies can help this happen this weekend.
California at USC, 1:30PM MST
Line: Trojans by 2
Root For: Golden Bears
Why? If the Bears keep winning, Nevada’s win will look better and better. The Trojans will be fired up at home to halt their two game skid. I'll be amazed - and delighted - if the Bears can pull it off.
Four Doug Martin Games – Seriously Impacts Boise
# 1 Ohio State at # 18 Wisconsin, 5PM MST, ESPN
Line: Buckeyes by 4
Root For: Badgers
Why? A loss by The Ohio State U would bring the Broncos one step closer to the NT Game. Wisconsin is one of three tough games the Buckeyes have yet to play. While Iowa and Michigan will put up a good fight, Wisconsin presents the greatest challenge to an undefeated Buckeye season.
Texas at # 5 Nebraska, 1:30PM MST, ABC/ESPN
Line: Huskers by 9
Root For: Ooh, it hurts to say this – but the Longhorns
Why? Nebraska has a straight line to the NT game if they can past the Horns since the Sooners are not on this year’s schedule. Can the Huskers avenge last year’s “final second”? Let’s sure hope not.
# 12 Arkansas at # 7 Auburn, 1:30PM MST, CBS
Line: Auburn by 3
Root For: Razorbacks
Why? While it’s possible a one-loss Arkansas team could vie for the NTG, I’d rather take my chances with that than an undefeated Tigers squad. Auburn is playing well this year – and voters will be compelled to make sure an undefeated Tiger team makes the Title game so as to avoid a repeat of the 2004 debacle.
Illinois at # 13 Michigan State, 10AM MST, Big Ten Network
Line: Spartans by 7
Root For: Fightin’ Illini
Why? With Iowa the lone ranked opponent left for the Spartans to play this season, Michigan State has one of the easiest roads left to an undefeated year. We want the Spartans to lose – and Illinois provides one of the few remaining teams to make it happen.
#19 Nevada at Hawaii, 9:30PM MST, ESPN3
Line: Wolfpack by 7
Root For: Wolfpack
Why? Does Vegas know something we do not? 7 points is not that big of a spread. But then again, Hawaii can score points in bunches. And the trip through three time zones always accounts for about a 3 or 4-point home team advantage. This will be Nevada’s second-toughest test until they meet us for Turkey. Let’s hope they stay true to form – and continue to win.
Wake at Virginia Tech, 1:30PM MST, ESPNU
Line: Hokies by 22
Root For: Hokies
Why? If you are reading this, you already know why. The Hokies' most challenging opponents come in November – against Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Miami. Until then, it’s Wake and Duke. A Homecoming win this weekend would put the Hokies back into the Top 25. Let’s hope they stay focused on the game – and not the festivities.
Check back on Monday for game results.
My pick for Impact Game of the Week:
Wow. This is a really tough choice. But I’m gonna go with Texas at #5 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are nipping at our heels, and if Mack Brown’s squad can’t take down the Huskers, I’m not sure anyone else can either. A win by Nebraska puts them front and center in the NT game conversation – and you know what that means, especially when the Broncos have just finished licking their chops after a good San Who-se State feast. It means voters will want to jump our Broncos with yet another BCS Bride.
Which game’s results will have the biggest impact on the Broncos? Vote for the Readers’ Choice Impact Game of the week.