There's a paucity of major match-ups in college football in Week 7. Just three games feature two ranked teams, and only one of those involves a top-10 squad. But as with every week in a sport beloved for its chance of chaos, the college football rankings stand to be shaken up should even one of the handful of BCS National Championship Game contenders be upset. And with the initial BCS rankings of the 2011 season rolling out on Sunday night, now is not the time for a collapse.
Here's what's at stake in Week 7.
No. 1 LSU at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.
If LSU wins: The Tigers keep on keepin' on toward a November showdown with Alabama.
If LSU loses: I think LSU fans can kiss both national championship and BCS bowl dreams goodbye. Should a Tennessee team without Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter somehow upset LSU, there's no chance that Nick Saban's Crimson Tide won't at least edge the Tigers in Tuscaloosa.
No. 2 Alabama at Mississippi, 6:00 p.m.
If Alabama wins: The Tide keep rolling, on their way to that same showdown.
If Mississippi wins: I will quit writing about college football, because there is no way this happens.
No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas, 9:15 p.m.
If Oklahoma wins by 70: The Sooners should hang on to their spot atop the USA Today coaches' poll, and might take poll position in the initial BCS rankings.
If Oklahoma wins by 30: The lead Oklahoma enjoys in the less volatile of the two major human polls may shrink enough to allow LSU or Alabama to slide ahead of the Sooners, reducing the chances that Oklahoma ever leads the BCS in 2011.
If Kansas wins: Hell has frozen over.
No. 6 Oklahoma State at No. 22 Texas, 3:30 p.m.
If Oklahoma State wins: Worries about whether the Cowboys are strong enough to make it to a Bedlam Game clash with Oklahoma become worries about whether the Cowboys have the firepower to score with the Sooners. Okie State gets the two ranked teams left on its pre-Oklahoma schedule (Baylor, Kansas State) at home.
If Texas wins: The Cowboys will need to run the table to have any BCS shot, and the Longhorns are still on the outside looking in because they lost too early and to the Big 12's presumptive best team.
No. 11 Michigan at No. 23 Michigan State, 12:00 p.m.
If Michigan wins: Strike up the band for the Wolverines' Rose Bowl chances. They would still need to travel to Illinois, land of Ron Zook's voodoo, but Michigan gets Nebraska and Ohio State at home, and wouldn't see Wisconsin until the Big Ten Championship Game.
If Michigan State wins: Aw, look, Michigan was as adorably inured to the pressures of playing football on the road in the early goings of the 2011 season as it was in 2009, when a 4-0 start turned into a 5-7 nightmare.
No. 20 Baylor at No. 21 Texas A&M, 12:00 p.m.
If Baylor wins: Robert Griffin III's Heisman candidacy gets a shot in the arm and another Herculean trial: Week 9's game at Oklahoma State would become, in all likelihood, the biggest in Baylor's history since Jimmy Carter resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Oh, and the three-loss Aggies would be on a trajectory toward a 6-6 farewell from the Big 12.
If Texas A&M wins: The Aggies' infinitesimally slim chances of creeping through the back door to a Big 12 title (they play Oklahoma in Norman) get ever so slightly more reasonable. And, sadly, Griffin's Heisman candidacy goes poof.