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BCS: The Calm Before Guns Ablaze

Wyatt Earp is sitting in a saloon (somewhere in Lubbock), all by himself. He's nursing a drink, reminiscing all that's happened in this tumultuous season. When he's done, he'll slowly get up and head over to the O.K. Corral (in Norman, OK, of course) to "kill 'em all."

(Here's a visual, if reading hurts your eyes)

Next week, the Biggest Game of the Season and the BGISH (Biggest Game In School History) for Texas Tech will be settled on Owen Field, with the winner moving on and the loser carried off to the BCS morgue. But this Saturday, both Texas Tech and Oklahoma will be quietly polishing their guns at their respective watering holes.

Elsewhere, not much is expected to happen, either. The other five teams atop the BCS standings are all favored by at least two touchdowns in their respective games. There should not be a single upset among the championship hopefuls on Saturday and we might just have sort of a collective bye week.

The most intriguing game with BCS ramifications will take place in Corvallis - between two teams just outside of the BCS top 25. By now, Oregon State is making USC fans a bit nervous. The Beavers control their own destiny in terms of winning the Pac-10's automatic bid to the Rose Bowl. While the Trojans want to shoot for the big prize of the BCS championship game, they want to have Pasadena as a consolation prize if that doesn't work out.

So far, Oregon State hasn't cooperated, winning every Pac-10 game since dropping its opener to Stanford. But the Beavers will be facing the conference's next-best teams in their closing weeks - against California, at Arizona, and host Oregon in the Civil War. One loss probably will hand the Trojans the conference title for the seventh straight season.

The Golden Bears have a slim, slim shot at a BCS bowl berth, but mostly they're playing for a trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl. There's a pretty big difference between San Diego and El Paso, and we are not just talking about the cash money payout.

Besides the Cal-Oregon State 3:30 p.m. ET matchup, there is just one other game whose outcome might impact the BCS bowl picture - Brigham Young-Air Force, also at 3:30 p.m. If the Cougars win, a non-BCS conference team would be guaranteed a BCS bowl berth.

Three non-BCS teams currently are ranked in the top 14 of the BCS standings, with the top team locked in for an automatic bid - No. 7 Utah, No. 9 Boise State and No. 14 Ball State. The Utes, at 10-0, control their own destiny. If they close out the regular season with two more wins, then they're headed to their second BCS bowl appearance in five seasons.

A BYU victory over Air Force cinches the scenario that even if both Boise State and Ball State are upset in the closing weeks, and the Cougars defeat Utah in the Holy War on Nov. 22, one of those teams will stay in the top 14, which comes with the automatic BCS bowl berth. If anything, the Cougars can keep their own slim BCS hopes alive by beating the Falcons.

Finally, just for kicks, here are a few one liners on the expected walkovers Saturday:

Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama, 7:45 p.m. - Yes, yes, Sylvester Croom has beaten his alma mater the last two years. That streak's over.

No. 3 Texas at Kansas, 12:30 p.m. - This seems to be the chic upset pick of the week. Why? Because it's gonna be cold in Lawrence? Hell will freeze over before KU beats Texas.

No. 25 South Carolina at No. 4 Florida, 3:30 p.m. - Yes, yes, Steve Spurrier was a Gator and will forever be a Gator. Florida fans still love him to death. Just not this week.

No. 6 USC at Stanford, 7 p.m. - Last year the Cardinal shocked the Trojans at the Coliseum with a 24-23 win. If Stanford scores 24 points this time - that'll be one more than USC has given up in the last six GAMES.

No. 7 Utah at San Diego State, 8 p.m. - Just how bad are the 1-9 Aztecs? They've surrendered an average of 43.3 points per game during their six-game losing streak. Division I-AA, anyone?

Samuel Chi is Editor of RealClearSports. He may be reached at sam@realclearsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @BCSGuru.

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