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September 29, 2006

SCS.comThe conference season is heating up this weekend all around the country, most notably in the Big Ten, Pac-10, and ACC, and many of the top contenders in those three leagues will hit the road this Saturday. Meanwhile, it's also a weekend that will see Boise State, a BCS hopeful from a non-BCS conference, travel to Utah for one of its toughest tests all season. BSU is ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation and has high hopes of crashing the BCS, but a loss this Saturday would surely end those dreams before October even arrives. BCS HOPEFUL BRONCOS TO BE TESTED

With the addition of a fifth BCS game this fall, a number of non-BCS conference schools had hopes of crashing the party in 2006. TCU was one of those teams, but the Frogs fell hard to BYU Thursday night. Boise State was also a preseason favorite to make such a run, and the Broncos, currently 4-0 on the campaign and ranked among the top 25 teams in the country, will pay a visit to Utah this weekend. BSU destroyed Oregon State three weeks ago but has won its last two matchups over Wyoming and Hawaii by just a touchdown each. Will the Broncos go the way of TCU, or will their march towards a hopeful BCS appearance continue? BIG TEN FAVORITES HIT THE ROAD

Ohio State, ranked number one in the country since August, has always been the Big Ten front-runner, but Michigan has emerged as the co-favorite in recent weeks, especially after the Wolves' dominating performance on the road at Notre Dame two Saturdays ago. Both squads will hit the road for tough in-conference tests this weekend, the Buckeyes traveling to Iowa and UM paying a visit to Minnesota. No test has been too tough for Ohio State to this point, but the Hawkeyes, like OSU, are 4-0 and have high hopes with Gameday on campus. The Gophers, meanwhile, are just 2-2 but have shown both this year and in past years thay they are capable of putting points on the board. Will the Bucks and Wolves continue to roll, or will they hit a bump in the road even before the month of October arrives? PAC 10 FAVORITES HIT THE ROAD

The situation in the Pac-10 this weekend is much like the one in the Big Ten, as the conference's top three contenders will all be away from home. USC, not only a conference but also a national title contender, will venture to Washington State. The Cougars are 3-1 and won their league opener at Stanford convincingly last week. Auburn showed no problems with WSU in week one, though, so how will USC fare? California, meanwhile, also struggled on the road in the SEC to open the season but has also won three straight games since. With Heisman contender Marshawn Lynch carrying the load, the Bears are still a threat in the PAC-10 race but will head on the road to Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers are 2-1, and Corvallis is rarely friendly to the opposition. Finally, Oregon will travel southward to Arizona State. The Sun Devils still have hopes of making a run of their own at the league title but have already fallen a game behind the pace and don't seem to be on the same page as the Trojans, Bears, and Ducks. Will this be the week that changes? ACC COASTAL SHOWDOWN

And while we're talking about big-time conference battles, don't overlook Saturday afternon's showdown between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. With the recent struggles of Miami, these two are clearly the top two contenders in the Coastal division, meaning this weekend's winner will get the early advantage and hold the tiebreaker should it come to that later in the season. The Hokies are 4-0 overall and have won their first two ACC games by a combined score of 71-10. The Jackets, meanwhile, have bounced back from a season-opening loss to Notre Dame to win their next three contests, including last weekend's ACC opener against Virginia.


At long last, one of these finally took place last weekend as NC State topped Boston College in the final seconds of that contest Saturday evening. With that in mind, I'll go with a pick here much like the one last week: Purdue topping Notre Dame. Now keep in mind, I'm not necessarily predicting this upset, just saying it's at least somewhat likely to take place, and if it did, it would have huge national implications. The Irish have been a national title favorite since August, but after getting throttled at home against Michigan a few weeks ago, they have no room to spare if they wish to stay in the hunt. The Boilers showed they've improved with a win over Minnesota last weekend, and though it will take an even better performance this Saturday, having Purdue take down Notre Dame is not totally unthinkable.

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