Week Eight Preview: TCU-BYU Highlights Weekend of Conference Battles

halldaltonweekeightThe first BCS standings are nearly a week old. Teams now know the climb that faces them over the next seven weeks if they are to make it to the national title game.

That climb starts tomorrow.

Almost every single team ranked in the top 25 will face a tough in-conference match up this weekend, highlighted by four of the top five BCS teams facing tough road games in hostile environments.

No. 1 Florida will travel to Mississippi State, to face a Bulldog team that will be no pushover. And from the looks of the past few Gator SEC games, a few mistakes may send Florida tumbling down the BCS rankings if they aren’t careful.

No. 4 Boise State risks its undefeated record at Hawaii, never an easy place to claim victory, against the Rainbow Warriors in a tough WAC matchup.

No. 5 Cincinnati travels to Louisville to take on a Cardinal team looking for any sort of redemption, trying to reclaim the Big East glory that has become all Cincinnati’s in the past two years.

But the real test of the weekend will be the No. 3 Texas Longhorns, already with doubts cast about them already due to poor showings against Oklahoma and Colorado in two of their opening Big 12 conference games.

No. 2 Alabama, playing at home, doesn’t come up all roses, facing a Tennessee team looking for a way to make some national noise in coach Lane Kiffin’s first year.

But the game of the weekend would find itself in the most unlikely of places, Provo, Utah. BYU and TCU will face off in a battle of two of the three BCS busting hopes of the nation (the other being Boise’s bid). For TCU, a victory could spell increased support from both the computers and the human element. For BYU, a return to the top ten could be in order after falling following a loss to Florida State.

This week following the initial release of the BCS standings always presents intriguing storylines. How will teams that felt they have been slighted by the computers in the first iteration of the BCS iteration react?

Something to look for in the coming weeks is the effect of conference scheduling on the computer rankings. For those conferences with multiple teams in the top 15 (Pac 10, SEC, Big 12) the conference portion of those highly ranked teams may provide a boost in the computers.

For those conferences with lower turnout in the BCS rankings (Big 10, Big East, ACC, BCS buster conferences), the coming weeks may kick out the stool from under their high rankings, as many will take a shot from the computers, and see their averages decline.

But that’s all discussion for the future, for now, lets enjoy a weekend in which 24 of the top 25 AP teams are in action, and see just what the BCS standings look like on Sunday.

Maybe we’ll see something completely different.