There are some big games this weekend that will help shape the BCS picture and Iowa's chances to sneak in it. Iowa needs to move up in the human polls (obviously) and losses above them will certainly help. But the other thing (and the one thing the Hawks really have going for them) is the strength of schedule, and there are plenty of games this weekend that could help swing it further in Iowa's direction.
Big Ten Race:
There isn't much to watch here this week. It is really down to a 3 team race at this point, Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State. Ohio State is playing out of conference against New Mexico State and should win big. Penn State is at Northwestern and shouldn't have any problems. The Big Ten picture probably won't change at all this week (next week is a big one).
National Championship Race:
#1 Florida vs. Georgia - 2:30 PM CBS
Florida has not exactly been dominant the past 3 weeks and has struggled in the redzone. Georgia hasn't been great either, though played LSU very tough. I've heard some people say that even if Florida loses this week but wins out, they would jump Iowa for the title game. I'm not sold on that Iowa and still think a loss here would help Iowa's chances greatly.
#3 Texas at #14 Oklahoma State - 7:00 PM ABC/ESPN2
This is the most important game of the weekend (and possibly the season) for Iowa's championship hopes (besides the games Iowa is involved in of course). Texas is the big obstacle assuming the SEC champion will be #1. Oklahoma State is the last tough game on the schedule for Texas, so I'm rooting for the Cowboys.
#5 USC at #10 Oregon - 7:00 PM ABC/ESPN2
Though Iowa is ahead of USC in the BCS, that is not the case in the human polls. A USC loss could help Iowa there, though Oregon would definitely get a big boost and may pass the Hawks. I think Oregon has the advantage in this game...they are at home, USC's defense hasn't been great the last couple of weeks, and Oregon is getting better every week since losing to Boise State week 1. This game also has big implications in who will play in the Rose Bowl and the winner could very well be Iowa future opponent.
#6 TCU vs UNLV - 3:00 PM VS.
TCU will win...but it could be a little bit of a let down game after a big win over BYU. A sloppy performance may hurt them in the rankings, so that's what I'm looking for.
#7 Boise State vs San Jose State - 2:00 PM ESPN360.com
San Jose State is really quite terrible, so if they keep it close at all it could hurt Boise State's image. Still, Boise State should win by 20+.
#8 Cincinnati at Syracuse - 11:00 AM ESPNU
Syracuse may put up a better fight than Louisville last week and Cincinnati is probably without Pike again. But, Cincinnati should win this one. I'd still like for Iowa to jump them in the human polls one of these weeks
Strength of Schedule:
For Iowa, Penn State beating Northwestern would be good and could push them into the top 10 since USC or Oregon will fall. The 2 B10 teams Iowa doesn't play, Illinois and Purdue, we want to lose, that will help Michigan's and Wisconsin's records respectively. Another Iowa State win would be big too as they play Texas A&M this week. Imagine if ISU won the Big 12 North...that 35-3 win on the road would look even better.
Around the country, the Virigina Tech loss last night hurts a variety of teams. Alabama's week 1 win looks a little less impressive. Georgia Tech's strength of schedule looks worse, and Miami looks like it was the most overrated team a few weeks ago. Actually the whole ACC is hurt by this loss, and I don't think we'll see any team ranked above the Hawkeyes now. (There will still a couple of AP voters that had a 2-loss VT above Iowa this last week, so probably some coaches/Harris voters too).
In the SEC, I think the Tennessee win over South Carolina would be good. Less top 25 teams on Alabama's and Florida's resumes would be good. In the Big 12 a big match up could be Kansas State (who is leading the B12 North) going to Oklahoma. Though, I expect Oklahoma to win big, a KSU win would seal Oklahoma's fate as a mediocre team this year and would make Texas' only big win look at lot less impressive. In the Pac 10, an Arizona State upset of Cal would be helpful. Cal's only losses so far were to Oregon and USC, so if Cal goes down again, it could hurt Oregon and USC.
This is all probably more thought than I need to put into it...things will work themselves out.