Dooley: A September of separation
Published: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 4, 2011 at 11:45 p.m.
No college football team has ever won a national title in September, but many have lost a chance to play for one because they didn't get through the first month unscathed. There is always a chance to bounce back from a September loss, but only two teams have played for the national title with a September loss since the BCS started in 1998 — the ‘98 Florida State Seminoles (lost at N.C. State) and the 2008 Florida Gators (lost to Mississippi).
Here are 10 games in September that could derail any hopes of a national title.
TCU at Baylor: The Horned Frogs know that unbeaten doesn't necessarily get them in the big game, but a loss eliminates them early.
Oregon at LSU: The defending runners-up against what may be the best team in college football this season. Loser leaves town.
Boise State at Georgia: Can Georgia win it all? Someone from the SEC has to, right? We know how good Boise is, but it can't afford any loss.
Oklahoma State at Arizona: The Cowboys are a darkhorse pick to go to New Orleans and will likely be a preseason top-10 team.
Georgia at South Carolina: If Georgia gets by Boise this will be considered an elimination game. South Carolina has a legitimate chance to go all the way.
Utah at Southern Cal: The new Pac-12 rivalry could see the winner going a long way, especially if it's Utah.
Michigan State at Notre Dame: While we aren't sure if either of these teams can be in the mix late in the season, we know the loser will not be.
Ohio State at Miami: Toughest test for the Jim Tressel-less Buckeyes will come against Miami. Hard to seriously believe in Ohio State this year.
Oklahoma at Florida State: Sooners are everyone's pick to play for another NC. They cannot with a loss to resurgent FSU.
Arkansas at Alabama: Both teams will have plenty more work to do, but the loser will have a hard time climbing back up the mountain.