Early games with most BCS impact 

August, 10, 2012
08/10/12
9:06
AM ET

The question seemed simple. It was not.

On Monday, a group of ESPN college football writers was assembled to shoot the ESPN The Magazine College Football Preview special at ESPNU, and the producer gave us a heads up as to what one of the main questions would be.

What's the biggest September game outside of Michigan versus Alabama?

The truth is, there are a ton. Wolverines-Tide on Sept. 1 has the potential to still be creating BCS waves all the way into January, but it isn't the only one. Plus, there are others that are giant on strictly a regional scale, but giant nonetheless.

What are the top 10 September matchups in terms of BCS impact? We've listed them here, along with game projections from Brian Fremeau of Football Outsiders (based on his FEI formula), week-by-week.

WEEK 1

Clemson Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers (Atlanta), Sept. 1

Win odds for Clemson: 51.8 percent

For the record, this was my answer on the ESPNU show. Sort of. I actually combined this with the Tennessee-NC State matchup that takes place on the same field the night before, all part of an ACC versus SEC opening weekend doubleheader. But while the Vols and Pack will be playing for season-saving stakes (and perhaps head coach-saving stakes), the Tigers and Tigers will be fighting to see who could potentially start an early push as an outside national title contender.

Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR

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