With so many games to follow during Week 8, which ones matter - and why? Which teams can help Boise the most? What would be their impact?
At the halfway mark of the season, every game is growing in significance. As a result, there are a slew of high-impact, “Four Doug Martin” games this week. Join me after the jump for a list of games that should be followed by any respectable Boise State fan.
And don’t miss the opportunity to vote for Week 8’s “Impact Game of the Week”.
Last week, readers voted #1 Ohio State vs. #18 Wisconsin as the “Impact Game of Week 7”. Luckily, the results could not have turned out any better as the Badgers bit the Buckeyes hard. Texas at #5 Nebraska was the voters’ runner-up, and the 'Horns too came through for the Broncos.
That makes two straight weeks where the readers’ top 2 choices went our way. Cooool. Can your choices tip football fate the Broncos’ way again? Vote and find out.
Oregon State is off this week, licking its wounds and resting up for a date with Cal on Oct 30. Nevada is also off, stewing over what happened on the Big Island. #17 Florida State is the only Top 25 team with a bye this week. Everyone else of importance is taking to the gridiron.
One Doug Martin Games – Kinda Impacts Boise
Mississippi at #23 Arkansas, 10:30AM MST, ESPN3.com
Line: Razorbacks by 10
Root For: Admiral Ackbars
Why? We play ‘em next year. And we want ‘em to be good, real good! Oh – and Fresno played ‘em this year, so there’s that too, I guess. I know, I know… their “supposed real name” is the Rebel Black Bears, but to me they will heretofore always be known as the Rebel Leader Admiral Ackbars. (Never question the wisdom of your students.)
Western Michigan at Akron, 1:30PM MST, ESPN3.com
Line: Broncos by 7
Root For: Broncos
Why? Western Michigan was beaten by two of our opponents: Toledo and Akey’s Breaky Boys. A stronger Western Michigan team improves the WAC’s – and our – SOS. At 0-7, the Zips should pose little threat. Wait – only a 7-point spread? Uh-oh.
Two Doug Martin Games – Impacts Boise
South Florida at Cincinnati, Friday 6PM MST, ESPN2
Line: Bearcats by 8
Root For: Bearcats
Why? Since Fresno beat Cinci, the better the Bearcats finish the season, the stronger Fresno’s SOS becomes. Cinci is an important team to track this year. Let’s hope they continue to help us out.
#13 Wisconsin at #15 Iowa, 1:30PM MST, ABC/ESPN
Line: Hawkeyes by 6
Root For: Hawkeyes
Why? With a win over then-#1 Ohio State, Wisconsin has a chance to enter the NT game picture. Boise no likey additional competitors. With their big win, the Badgers are primed for a letdown as they continue to revel over last week’s upset. On the other side of the ball, the Hawkeyes are in the opposite position. After the Badgers this week, they have the Spartans next week, and the Buckeyes in November. If the Hawkeyes aren’t looking too far ahead, a victory over Wisconsin is more than possible.
Arizona State at California, 1:30 MST
Line: Golden Bears by 3
Root For: Golden Bears
Why? After an embarrassing clubbing at the hands of USC, Cal is ready to get back in the saddle again. Nevada’s fans would love it if they could, as Cal has been their best win of the season. That marquee win was noticed on the national level and its importance should not be overlooked. We want the Bears to win every remaining contest --- except their meeting with the Beavers next week, of course
Ball State at Toledo, 5PM MST
Line: Rockets by 12
Root For: Rockets
Why? Toledo is one of our opponents. The better their record, the better our SOS. At 4-3, Toledo is on its way to a respectable, winning season.
Three Doug Martin Games – Really Impacts Boise
Purdue at #10 Ohio State, 10AM MST, Big Ten Network
Line: Buckeyes by 23
Root For: Boilermakers
Why? I’m still concerned the Buckeyes could make their way back into the NT picture. You know, because they play in front of so many fans and have so much tradition and everything. Wait -what? We’re supposed to vote based on how good each team is? Well, no one ever told me that. /Grrrrr.
The Boilermakers were one of Toledo’s victims, so a victory by Purdue would be a double-whammy. Not only would it put the Buckeyes in their place, but it would place a huge spotlight on Purdue – and pundits would be sure to notice their loss to Toledo. I’m not really expecting it, but stranger things have happened. Like Oregon moving ahead of us in the polls. /Double-Grrrr.
Wyoming at Brigham Young, Noon MST
Line: Cougars by 11
Root For: Cowboys
Why? While Nevada and Utah State both played – and beat – Brigham Young, it’s much better for Boise if its own opponent wins. I would not have thought the Cowboys had much of a chance against BYU after we trampled the ‘Boys in Laramie, but the Cougars have really fallen on hard times. A Cougar loss also weakens Florida State’s SOS, which in turn weakens #1 Oklahoma’s. So, in a third-degree sort of way, a Wyoming win hurts the Sooners. Go get ‘em Cowboys!
#8 Alabama at Tennessee, 5PM MST, ESPN
Line: Tide by 16
Root For: Vols
Why? A two-loss Bama squad would not be able to contend for the NT game. A one-loss squad is a whole different story. Although Tennessee is only 2-4, their flirtation with victory at LSU proves the Vols are capable of playing with anyone. Right?
Four Doug Martin Games – Seriously Impacts Boise
UCLA at #2 Oregon, Thursday 7PM MST, ESPN
Line: Ducks by 24
Root For: Bruins
Why? The Ducks need to be put in their place – which is below our Broncos. Sadly, the voters won’t do this until the Qwackers have a loss on their record. A one-loss Oregon team doesn’t hurt the Beavers’ chance to win the PAC-10 either.
#1 Oklahoma at #11 Missouri, 6PM MST, ABC
Line: Sooners by 3
Root For: Tigers
Why? Not sure the voters would move Mizzou above Boise even if they were to run the table. But I’ve been wrong before. Actually, I’m usually wrong – who am I kidding? At any rate, I’d rather have Oklahoma fall than Mizzou. With narrow victories over Cincinnati, Air Force, and Utah State, Oklahoma is not assured of blowing out the Tigers. In fact, winning by any margin is no sure thing for these Sooners. A third week in a row of #1 ranked teams falling is a distinct possibility. No matter what happens, one of the nine remaining undefeated teams will no longer hold that status come Saturday night. And that is a very good thing.
#7 Michigan State at Northwestern, 10AM MST, ESPN
Line: Spartans by 6
Root For: Wildcats
Why? The Spartans have “season of destiny” written all over them. Having conquered Michigan, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame, the most difficult part of their season is well behind them. After Northwestern, it’s #15 Iowa and then just a bunch of Big 10 also-rans. Iowa will be tough – especially since it’s away – but I’d love to see the Wildcats take ‘em down here. With Iowa looming on the Spartan’s horizon, Northwestern could be the classic trap game. Go Wildcats!
Duke at #25 Virginia Tech, 10AM MST, ESPN3.com
Line: Hokies by 27
Root For: Hokies
Why? I almost did not put this in the “4 Doug Martin” section, because Duke should be a total "gimme". But as James Madison proved, nothing is a sure thing in college football today. However, I think the Hokies have learned their lesson. A victory would up their winning streak to 6 and prepare them for their final stretch against Georgia Tech, Miami, and North Carolina. Let's hope Beamer is a good enough coach to ensure his boys are not looking ahead, and remain focused on crushing the Dookies instead.
#6 LSU at #4 Auburn, 1:30PM MST, CBS
Line: Auburn’s Tigers by 6
Root For: LSU’s Tigers
Why? It’s much harder for me to believe The Hat can pull off victories over #8 Bama (home) and #23 Arkansas (away) than it is to believe Auburn and its wunderkind QB can beat 'Bama – even though the Iron Bowl will be played in Tuscaloosa this year. It would be great if neither came to fruition, but in case only one happens, I’m going with the odds – and LSU – at this point.
#16 Nebraska at #14 Oklahoma State, 1:30 MST, ABC
Line: Cornhuskers by 5
Root For: Cornhuskers
Why? How things change. I had been looking forward to rooting for the Cowboys to take down the Huskers this weekend. But the Longhorns pulled through for us with a takedown of Nebraska, making such a scenario unnecessary. Fortunately, this week is no longer a battle of unbeatens. Now if Nebraska can whittle down that number by one more, all will be good. I'm tired of the Big XII having so many unbeatens.
Hawaii at Utah State, 3PM MST, ESPN3.com
Line: Rainbow Warriors by 3
Root For: Rainbow Warriors
Why? With its victory over Nevada, Hawaii has a chance to break into the Top 25. Add to that talk of ESPN broadcasting our date with the Warriors in three weeks, and this game takes on great significance. Like "4-Doug Martin" significance!
Air Force at #5 TCU, 6PM MST
Line: Horned Frogs by 19
Root For: Falcons
Why? Although the Horned Frogs have acted as a type of buffer between us and our BCS chasers, I still have little faith the voters would not decide to jump them over us if we both end up undefeated; I'd rather take my chances with a one-loss TCU squad than not. At 5-2, the Falcons have it in them to take down the Purple Frogs.
Which game’s results will have the biggest impact on the Broncos? Vote for the Readers’ Choice Impact Game of the week.