Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
1.Battle in C-USA East: East Carolina leads a group of five possible C-USA East champions, and since the Pirates play on Sunday, they will know exactly where they stand by the day of the game. But Southern Miss, Central Florida, Marshall and UAB are all fighting to stay within striking distance of the C-USA East title. Southern Miss and UAB have the best chance since both have yet to play ECU.
2.And in the other East: Ohio put some pressure on Temple this week with its big win over Buffalo to stay in contention for the MAC East title. Temple, which plays Akron this weekend, has won seven straight but struggled with Miami (Ohio) last week. Temple is already a game up on Ohio, but the two teams have to meet at the end of the season.
3.Staying in the MAC: Central Michigan made a huge statement on Wednesday that it wasn’t going to be bothered by the loss to Boston College two weeks ago. The Chippewas are eyeing their third conference title in the past four seasons and have been the most dominant MAC team all year. However, Northern Illinois is lurking, and with a win against Ball State Thursday night, it could continue to put pressure on CMU and the meeting at the end of the season.
4.Style points do matter: Boise State found out the hard way last week that style points do matter when you’re fighting for your BCS bowl life. That’s why making a good showing against a seven-win Idaho team will go a long way toward getting back in voters' good graces. It won’t get the Broncos above an undefeated TCU, but it will keep them back on the at-large radar.
5.Not the biggest game of the year: TCU coach Gary Patterson said he doesn’t want his team to think of Saturday’s game against No. 16 Utah as an all-or-nothing affair. He said his team has done a good job of taking games one at a time and he thinks this one will be no different despite the fact that it’s the last major obstacle standing in the Horned Frogs' way of their first BCS bowl.
6.Last chance: This weekend’s game against Air Force is UNLV’s last chance to become bowl eligible. The Rebels have just two games remaining this season and need to win both to get to six wins. Air Force has four losses this year, but only one -- a loss to Minnesota -- has come against an unranked team. If UNLV doesn’t win, coach Mike Sanford could be in trouble at the end of the weekend.
7.Lame ducks: Both Memphis coach Tommy West and Western Kentucky coach David Elson were fired this week and both decided to coach their teams through the rest of the year. Applaud them for doing right by the players, and perhaps the players will rally around their coaches.
8.WAC still up for grabs? Boise State should win the WAC this season, but if something crazy does happen, this weekend’s game between Nevada and Fresno State could feature the next WAC champion. Nevada is the only other undefeated team in the WAC besides Boise State and it will play the Broncos at the end of the season. Fresno State is Nevada’s last major hurdle before Boise State.
9.Firing season is upon us: After last weekend’s firings, it's clear that athletic directors and presidents aren’t going to be shy to pull the trigger on their coaches. Several coaches already are on the hot seat -- North Texas’ Todd Dodge and Akron's JD Brookhart to name a couple -- and should be weary of Sunday and Monday should they lose this weekend.
10.Holding out hope in the Belt: Middle Tennessee and Louisiana-Monroe still have an outside chance at catching Troy, which is playing out of conference this week. If both the Blue Raiders and the Warhawks win this week, they’ll be a game back of Troy, but the Trojans would hold the tiebreaker in head-to-head competition. Those teams need to win out and hope Troy falls in a conference game.