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10 games that will make a difference

College Football Playoff selection committee member Mike Gould recently said that by the end of season, "it will become more and more clear who the top teams are."

He was right.

This is going to be a November to remember, starting Saturday, which features six games matching two ranked teams. Every week will help shape the inaugural College Football Playoff, but these 10 games -- ranked in order from least to most important -- will have the biggest impact on how the playoff looks when the final ranking is announced Dec. 7 (this is assuming all these teams stay in the good graces of the selection committee and keep winning):

10. Arizona State at Arizona, Nov. 28: A win could cement the Pac-12 South title for Arizona State, and at this point, winning the conference is the only way the Sun Devils would be considered for the playoff. A win over Notre Dame would be impressive, but that wouldn't be enough to overcome two league losses. Just ask Arizona, which should drop in spite of its win over Oregon.

9. Auburn at Georgia, Nov. 15: Georgia is in trouble after its shocking loss to Florida, and a home loss would doom the Bulldogs, as far as the SEC race is concerned. Winning the SEC is the only hope left at making the playoff, and it's not looking good after losses to South Carolina and the Gators.

8. Notre Dame at Arizona State, Nov. 8: The win against Stanford has since been devalued, which leaves the Irish in need of a statement win against a ranked opponent, and this is their best shot. Although it's not important to the Pac-12 race, a second loss would be devastating to the Sun Devils' playoff hopes after they were drubbed at home by UCLA.

7. Kansas State at TCU, Nov. 8: This is the toughest remaining game on TCU's schedule, and with a loss to Baylor, there's no margin for error. A K-State loss could set up a de facto Big 12 title game between the Wildcats and Baylor in the Dec. 6 season finale. K-State already has the loss to Auburn and can't afford to lose again, especially with road trips to West Virginia and the Bears remaining.

6. Alabama at LSU, Nov. 8: The Tigers aren't the highest ranked team left on the Tide's schedule, but this might be the most difficult game remaining because it's in Death Valley. Two losses to SEC West opponents would be devastating to Alabama's postseason hopes.

5. Ohio State at Michigan State, Nov. 8: This is essentially a play-in game to the Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes have to win out convincingly, but that still wouldn't guarantee the selection committee would forgive the Week 2 home loss to Virginia Tech. The Spartans are the league's best hope of a playoff representative, but they can't afford another loss, especially at home when it matters most.

4. Mississippi State at Ole Miss, Nov. 29: This should be an epic Egg Bowl. The Rebels are one of the nation's best teams and can play the role of spoiler. The Bulldogs should enter this game with no more than one loss and carrying high stakes for both the SEC West and playoff races.

3. Kansas State at Baylor, Dec. 6: This game could determine the Big 12 title, and not even that is a guarantee for a spot in the playoff. This, of course, is assuming the Wildcats can survive road trips to TCU and West Virginia, but even with one loss, this game is important and could determine a tiebreaker scenario. It's the last chance to impress the selection committee.

2. Mississippi State at Alabama, Nov. 15: If the Bulldogs can clear this hurdle, they should have a clear path to the playoff and be a lock for the SEC West title. If Alabama stumbles at home, the two-loss Tide are likely eliminated from both the SEC and playoff races.

1. Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 29: The SEC West could come down to the Iron Bowl, especially with the likelihood Mississippi State will slip up in one of its final two road games -- against either Alabama or Ole Miss. The Tide's last three games are at home, and Auburn should enter this game with one loss.