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Tag:Utah
Posted on: October 29, 2010 7:38 pm
 

Insane Predictions, Week 9

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Iowa State would put up 28 points on Texas before hanging on for victory OH WAIT ADAM JACOBI DID EXACTLY THAT. WHAT. WHAT. (You can't see this, but I'm posturing like an imbecile.) We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever. As you can tell.

Highly Unlikely

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin goes B-A-N-A-N-A-S on homestanding Texas, throwing for 310 yards without an interception and running for another 75 with a pair of touchdowns, leading the Bears to a season-defining 27-24 win over the Longhorns. Afterwards, Texas coach Mack Brown first blames a failed attempt to do the John Wall dance as a motivational tactic in the pregame locker room, then complains that the Bears' Waco recruiting base gives them "a big leg up when it comes to athletes."

"You look at a kid like Griffin," Brown says, referring to the quarterback from outside Killeen, "and that's the kind of player that we just have a hard time getting to come to Austin. The kind of pull they'e got in this state, that's a big advantage." -- Jerry Hinnen

Extremely Unlikely

During the second quarter of the Auburn-Ole Miss game, Cam Newton is tackled after a 15-yard gain on the Rebels sideline near Jeremiah Masoli. As Newton gets up to the ground Masoli yells at him "Hey, I totally would have ratted you out to the cops if I'd seen you with that stolen laptop, Newton!" This enrages Cam Newton, who then immediately triples in size and turns green. He literally rips Masoli in half, and Auburn is assessed a 15-yard personal foul. Oh, and Newton is kicked out of the game, to great protestation from Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. Without Newton, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn suddenly seems like less of a genius, and Auburn's offense stalls. Ole Miss comes back to win and ends Auburn's hopes for a national title. -- Tom Fornelli

Completely Ridiculous

Michigan State loses to Iowa this weekend. Okay, that's not exactly a wild prediction, but what ensues turns the college football world on its head. Michigan State wins the rest of their games, as does Ohio State, and both teams finish the season at 11-1 (7-1) without facing each other. The Big Ten tiebreaker rules award Ohio State the Rose Bowl bid, enraging the Spartan faithful. However, Oregon earns a trip to the national championship, freeing their spot to be taken by a BCS-eligible team from a non-qualifying conference, as is the new rule. Trouble is, Boise State also makes the title game, while TCU beats Utah to knock the Utes out of contention. But instead of the Horned Frogs receiving the bid to Pasadena, TCU is ruled ineligible for bowl play and stripped of all 12 wins after an investigation reveals that they'd been using ringers from the NFL, and nobody at the NCAA had really bothered to check until a concerned Utah fan noticed that the players kept arriving to the games in their personal helicopters. I assume everybody in the NFL has their own helicopter. With no non-AQ schools left standing and no other Pac-10 teams in the top 16 of the BCS standings, the Rose Bowl instead selects Michigan State to face Ohio State, creating the first real Big Ten Championship Game a full season before Nebraska even shows up. The Rose Bowl Committee decides that this game is "kinda way better without the Pac-10 around," and the Big Ten decides to make the Rose Bowl the permanent home of its conference championship game, to be decided every year on January 1. You know, because of tradition. -- Adam Jacobi

Posted on: October 27, 2010 7:44 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 9:25 pm
 

Pac-10 Rose Bowl update, Week 9

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Yesterday, we ran down the list of potential Big Ten champions and what it'll take for each of them to punch their ticket to the Rose Bowl. Now, let's look at the other half of the Granddaddy. Of course, if the Ducks win out, they're probably headed to the BCS Championship instead of Pasadena, but they'll still be the Pac-10 champions. It's worth mentioning, however, that in the event that Oregon finishes undefeated and goes to the title game (likewise with Michigan State and the Big Ten), the second-place team will, in all likelihood, not be taking its place in the Rose Bowl; this is the first season that the new BCS rules require an unused Rose Bowl berth go to a a BCS-eligible team from a non-AQ conference. Being that Boise State, TCU, and Utah are all in the Top 10, it's pretty safe to assume one will be available to crash the party in Pasadena. That said, the Pac-10's nine-game, round-robin schedule and its lengthy tie-breaking procedure mean we've still got a wide-open conference race unfolding.

Oregon can go to the Rose Bowl (or BCS Championship Game) if...

  • Oregon wins out;
  • Oregon loses to Arizona or Oregon State AND that team loses another Pac-10 game;
  • Oregon loses to USC, Washington, or California but wins the rest of the games;
  • Oregon loses two games AND the two teams to beat Oregon have at least three conference losses apiece;
  • Oregon loses two games AND wins a multi-team playoff that, since Oregon has no current losses upon which to base their situation, could turn into anything this far away from December.  

Stanford can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • Stanford wins out AND Oregon loses at least two games;
  • Stanford loses another game AND Oregon loses at least two games AND one of the teams to beat Oregon is also tied at 7-2 IF that team lost to Stanford AND the other team to beat Oregon is higher in the standings than the other team Stanford lost to.

Arizona can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • Arizona wins out AND Oregon State loses at least one more game.
  • Arizona loses to a team that is not Oregon, Oregon loses another game but beats Oregon State (who also wins out aside from the Oregon loss), no other Pac-10 teams finish at 7-2 or better, and Washington finishes higher than the other teams Arizona and Oregon lost to.

Oregon State can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • OSU wins out;
  • OSU loses one game to a Pac-10 team that ends with at least three conference losses AND Washington loses another game.

USC can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • USC wins out AND Oregon loses another game AND Stanford loses another game. HO HO HO JUST KIDDING SAY HELLO TO BOWL INELIGIBILITY

 

The Pac-10 has some awfully complicated multi-team tiebreaker rules that, with five or six games left in the conference season, render a full accounting of what each team needs for a Rose Bowl berth nearly impossible. Enjoy:

(1) When three or more teams are tied in Conference play, if one has defeated all others, it shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If that is not the case, a comparison of the tied teams' records against the other tied teams shall be made and the team having the best record against the other tied teams shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If two or more teams are still tied after this comparison, the appropriate two-team or multiple-team tie-breaking procedures shall be repeated among those teams still under consideration. (2) If more than two teams are still tied after the process above is completed, each remaining tied team's record against the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings shall be compared, with the procedure continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage. When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, each team's collective record against the tied teams as a group shall be used. If at any point in the process the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure shall be applied. If more than two teams are still tied after comparing their records all the way through the Conference standings, the team among the tied teams with the highest ranking in the final BCS standings shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If a tie remains, the teams most recently earning Rose Bowl or Bowl Championship Series automatic selection shall be eliminated.

Yeah. So until we see a couple more weeks' worth of results suss themselves out, a potential 3-way or 4-way tie scenario won't be in great focus yet. As a general rule, though, the more winning a team does, the less help they need to claim the league title. But you probably knew that already.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 12:04 pm
 

Notre Dame seniors have a sense of humor

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As we are all well aware, Notre Dame has struggled over the last few years.  The days of the Fighting Irish being a national championship contender are long gone, and there are many college football fans across the country who revel in Notre Dame's follies.  Of course, there are also the many Notre Dame fans who have had a tough time adjusting to the program's down times.

And I mean a tough time.  It's been over 20 years since the school won anything, yet those fans still think that Notre Dame is one of the best football teams in the country, or at least should be.

This doesn't seem to affect the younger Irish fans, however, particularly the students.  In fact, if this letter to the editor of Notre Dame's independent newspaper, The Observer, is any indication, they're quite proud of Notre Dame's new tradition.
The senior class is on the brink of an achievement that has never been accomplished. Assuming (and this is a big assumption) that the football team beats Tulsa this weekend, the game against Utah will be our chance to break the record of most losses in a four-year period, previously owned by the Class of 1964. When we get steamrolled by Utah on Nov. 13, we will officially be the losingest class in Notre Dame History. That day will also be Senior Day, a day that the senior class is allowed on the field at the end of the game. The senior class should not walk onto the field, but storm the field in celebration of its four seasons as spectators in the student section. The senior class should show its thanks and appreciation for a record-breaking four seasons by storming the field at the closing of the loss to Utah on Nov. 13.

You know things have changed when Notre Dame students can't even be sure that the Irish will beat Tulsa.

Unfortunately, no matter how funny I think it would be to see students storming the field after a loss, I just don't see this happening.  Which is too bad.  It's somewhat pleasing to see that the new generation of Notre Dame fans are more at peace with reality than the older generations.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 6:20 pm
 

ESPN exposure key to Boise poll advantage?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's an excellent Tuesday night to be a college football fan, since hey, there's college football to watch. Boise State is playing host to Lousiana Tech in the program's first-ever Tuesday night appearance, and the style-points-conscious Broncos will need to come out with all guns blazing to impress the national TV audience.

Of course, since that audience will be watching a different network, the CBS College Football Blog totally understands if you want to watch two (awesome) hours of NCIS and the (just as awesome) The Good Wife . Besides, that would make BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall a happier man, since he said today views the WAC 's television deal with that network -- and the lack of the Mountain West 's deal with the same -- as the reason the Broncos have received more recognition than his conference-mates at TCU :

The coach had an interesting reply to a question about why Boise State is ranked ahead of TCU in the national polls, and why the Broncos seem to be a national media darling as opposed to the Horned Frogs.

His answer was basically that the Broncos, through the WAC's television contract with ESPN, simply get more exposure than the Horned Frogs (or the Utah Utes, for that matter) ...

Mendenhall's answer also sheds more light, if any more is needed, as to why the Cougars are taking the independent route.
It's about exposure, as Boise State will learn next year when it is part of the MWC. The Broncos may be in for a rude awakening.
Mendenhall may have something of an argument in the big picture, since it's true that TCU's appearances on the Mountain West network the mtn , Versus , and (the seriously awesome) CBS College Sports can't quite reach as many potential viewers as those on the other network ... yet . (CBSCS is totally working on that.)

But Mendenhall isn't acknowledging all the factors in play here. For one, both the Broncos and the Horned Frogs have made the exact same number of appearances on ESPN's networks this season, two. Whether fair or not, the polls are likely reflecting the fact that the two programs (and nearly all the same key players) met at the Fiesta Bowl just last January, with Boise coming out on top. It's also worth recalling that BYU's disappointment in the MWC's television arrangments were what spurred the Cougars' move towards independence in the offseason; even if Mendenhall is arguing on TCU's behalf, it's his own team's ax that he's grinding.

The litmus test will come when TCU squares off with Utah on CBSCS; the same high-profile matchup airing on the same network in 2009 proved enough to propel TCU to the highest ranking for any non-AQ team, Boise included, entering the postseason. Until then, we'll all have to watch and wait to see what happens, both on the field and in the polls. And if what happens tonight is that Boise struggles with a Bulldog team pollsters will expect them to crush, the exposure Mendenhall sees as a blessing may in fact be a curse.




Posted on: October 23, 2010 10:39 pm
 

What I learned from the non-BCS (Oct. 23)

J. Darin Darst

1. Can we please just give the Mountain West an automatic bid to the BCS instead of the Big East? Please, I beg you. Utah and TCU are easily deserving of BCS bids and I would even say Air Force is better than any team in the Big East too. One team I learned we shouldn't forget about is BYU. Most of us have written the Cougars off, but this team finally looks like its putting things together and might shape the BCS bid for the Mountain West as they have to play Utah in the final game of the season. How much would BYU fans enjoy knocking Utah off one last time before the Utes bolt to the Pac-10, knocking them out of the BCS bowl picture. They don't call it the Holy War for nothing.

2. Circle your calendars for a showdown next weekend of the two best teams in Conference USA next weekend -- East Carolina at UCF. The Pirates have won three in a row and are averaging 38 points per game over that stretch. Meanwhile, UCF has the conferences best defense, which has allowed only 11.6 points over its three-game winning streak. The winner of this game should decide the East Divison in the conference and will be the favorite to win the C-USA crown and that Liberty Bowl berth. It's going to be a great matchup in Orlando. What a weekend you could plan -- watch UCF take on East Carolina and after the game head on over to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights.

3. How good is this Hawaii team? Utah State was supposed to be a sleeper team and hung with Oklahoma, but all Hawaii did was blast them 45-7. Bryant Moniz ... has anybody else outside of Hawaii heard of this guy? He only leads the nation in passing yards and finished Saturday with another 389 yards. The biggest question we all want to know is, can the Warriors (6-2) give Boise State a game? We are going to find out soon enough -- at Boise on Nov. 6.

4. Who is the Sun Belt's second-best team? Since the conference has two bowl bids this year, somebody has to grab that second spot, right? Louisiana-Lafayette looked like it might finally grab a bowl bid, but ended up losing at home to Western Kentucky 54-21. The Hilltoppers hadn't won a game in close to three years. Maybe its Arkansas State? The Red Wolves are now 3-2 in the conference and played Troy really close (Lost 35-28). Big game for Arkansas State on Nov. 2 as it takes on Middle Tennessee. FIU was off this week, but it is 2-0 in Sun Belt play. Will somebody please step up in the coming weeks!

5. Miami (Ohio) isn't all that great and the fade is beginning. Sure the RedHawks were 3-0 in the conference, but just lost to Ohio, a key game in the East Division. They now have three of their final four games on the road, including next week at Buffalo. I'm not sure they are going to be able to win the division. Ohio and Temple are much better teams and with the conference only getting three bowl bids, Miami (Ohio) is most likely going to be left out. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois is making a HUGE statement in the West as it has now won five in a row. Get ready for the game on Nov. 9 against Toledo, which will likely decide who reaches the MAC title game.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 10:11 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Midseason Report: Rest of Non-BCS

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race, and in the some of the smaller conferences, it's anybody's conference crown. Here's what's happened so far and what might happen down the stretch.

MOUNTAIN WEST

The MWC crown is almost certain to come down to one game: TCU (7-0, 3-0) at Utah (6-0, 3-0) on Nov. 6. Neither the Horned Frogs nor the Utes have broken a sweat in conference play to date (the Frogs have gone three weeks without even allowing a touchdown), and with nonconference challenges like Oregon State, Pitt, Baylor, and Iowa State all collectively behind them, chances are good both teams will go into their showdown undefeated, ranked in the top 10, and ready for a mega-hyped, winner-take-all matchup for the conference title.

And if a handful of the BCS conference powers above them in the BCS standings drop games between now and then, the stakes could be even higher than that.

The only team with a realistic shot of upsetting the MWC Game of the Century apple cart is Air Force (5-2, 3-1), which will travel to TCU this week and host the Utes Oct. 30. The Falcons came within a whisker of collecting a huge scalp at Oklahoma and have the inside track on the Commander in Chief's Trophy after ousting Navy, but their 27-25 loss last Saturday at San Diego State (4-2, 1-1) means they'll likely have to sweep the TCU/Utah pairing to take the conference title. Good luck with that, Falcons.

And hey, speaking of the Aztecs, Brady Hoke 's impressive salvage job has SDSU all of six points (and two questionable calls, one each at Missouri and BYU ) away from a perfect 6-0 record. As is, they'll likely have to settle for playing spoiler against the two league powers and their first bowl berth since 1998.

The less said about the other five teams in the league -- and their combined 7-22 overall record -- the better.

C-USA

We are in for quite a race in the East with East Carolina (4-2, 3-0), UCF (4-2, 2-0) and Southern Miss (5-2, 2-1). East Carolina already beat Southern Miss but plays at UCF on Oct. 30. The Golden Knights will host Southern Miss on Nov. 13.

 UCF might be the best of the trio with a defense ranked as one of the best in the nation. The Knights have been led by defensive end Bruce Miller (seven tackles for a loss) and cornerback Josh Robinson (eight breakups). The offense has come along despite not having starting running back Brynn Harvey. Freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey has done well this season, rushing for 310 yards, while throwing for 669.

East Carolina has one of the best passing offenses with former Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis (16 TDs, nine INTs). The Pirates can pass with anybody, but the biggest problem right now is the defense. East Carolina's defense is ranked 111th in the nation and has given up 40 or more points in four of the six games.

Southern Miss will need to beat UCF and get some help after losing 44-43 to East Carolina a few weeks ago, but this is still a pretty good team. Austin Davis is having a good season (1,480 yards), but top receiver DeAndre Brown has been struggling with a leg injury all season. The Golden Eagles need him to have a shot to win the conference crown. The defense is once again strong against the run with LBs Korey Williams and Ronnie Thornton leading the way.

In the West, SMU is in the driver's seat with Houston, UTEP and Tulsa all giving chase. The Mustangs lost some tough out-of-conference games against Texas Tech and TCU, but is still undefeated in conference play. It should be no surprise that SMU has been able to pass and put up points. Kyle Padron is doing very well with 1,818 yards passing and 19 TDs. Aldrick Robinson has become Padron's favorite receiver with 580 yards receiving. SMU faces Houston this weekend and at UTEP on Nov. 6. It already beat Tulsa 21-18 on Oct. 9.

WAC

Make no mistake about it, Boise State is in total control of the WAC. It went undefeated through the conference last season as is expected to cruise through this year. Kellen Moore is once against having a fantastic season with 16 touchdown passes with only one interception. Also to nobody's surprise, Boise State ranks in the top 5 in both offense and defense, including having the No. 1 rush defense in the nation. The only games that could spell trouble for the Broncos are vs. Hawaii on Nov. 6 and at Nevada on Nov. 26.

Hawaii's passing attack and Nevada's pistol offense can be tough to defend, but it would be a major shock if Boise State lost either of those games.

MAC

This conference is wide open, but looks like it's going to come down to Northern Illinois (5-2, 3-0) or Toledo (4-3, 3-0) in the West and a trio of teams in the East.

 Miami (Ohio) has been the biggest surprise of the conference, sitting on top of the East with a 3-0 record and 4-3 overall. The RedHawks still have their toughest competition left with Ohio (Oct. 23), at Temple (Nov. 23) still on the schedule. It's also pretty amazing since Miami (Ohio) has one of the worst rushing games in the nation, gaining just 69.7 yards per game (112th). I'm not sure this team can win the East, but we'll have to keep an eye on them.

Ohio stumbled against Marshall, but has won three in a row and can take a big step toward the East title with a win over Miami (Ohio) this weekend. It would have to play at Temple on Nov. 16. Boo Jackson is doing pretty well back at quarterback with 913 yards passing and nine TDs. The defense has done a solid job, being led by Donovan Fletcher who leads the team with 42 tackles and five interceptions.

Everybody's favorite Temple is right in the thick of the race and gets to host Ohio and Miami (Ohio) later this season. If I had to pick a team to win the conference, I would pick the Owls. The passing game needs to get better, but the rushing attack has been just fine. When Bernard Pierce is healthy, he gives the Owls a huge boost over every team in the conference. And when Pierce is out, Matt Brown has stepped right in just fine.

Out West, Northern Illinois has been using a strong rushing attack, led by Chad Spann (753 yards, eight TDs) and quarterback Chandler Harnish (457, 6.4 avg) to improve to 3-0 in the conference and 5-2 overall. It will host Toledo on Nov. 9 in what will probably decide the division. Toledo's offense hasn't been all that great this year, but does have one of the top wide receivers in Eric Page (54 catches, 580 yards). Archie Donald has been fantastic at linebacker, recording 72 tackles, which ranks 18th in the nation.

Sun Belt

The conference is Troy's to lose ... again. Middle Tennessee was supposed to contend, but the Trojans did away with them 42-13. Louisiana-Lafayette put up a fight, but Troy beat them 31-24. So who's left? Keep your eye on Florida International . The Golden Panthers are 2-0 in the conference and hung with Rutgers and Texas A&M earlier in the season. That game is at Troy on Nov. 13.

Troy hasn't missed a beat with freshman quarterback Corey Robinson . He has thrown for 1,740 yards and 12 touchdowns, while RB DuJuan Harris (300 yards rushing) and Jerrel Jernigan (501 yards receiving) have also done a nice job. FIU also has a good receiving core with Greg Ellingson and T.Y. Hilton . Anthony Gaitor is one of the best defensive backs in the conference and could be a factor in their game next month.


Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:57 am
 

Is it time to overhaul the Coaches Poll?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most odious aspects of the BCS -- and let's be clear, there are very many -- is the fact that the Coaches Poll constitutes one-third of the voting for the standings. If the poll's involvement weren't already accepted as normal, it would sound absurd: the selected coaches (or their selected assistant who actually fills these things out without attribution), given about 20 hours after the conclusion of their games, are tasked with ranking 25 out of the 120 teams in the FBS. The coach will never gameplan for, or have anything more than a cursory opinion about, the vast majority of these teams. The more time the coaches spend researching the poll, the less time they have to do their job (which isn't one with a great deal of spare time to begin with).

Thus, we get the same win-go-up, lose-go-down lazy polling that we can very well get from the AP already. What's the point? Does adding yet another hastily arranged Top 25 to the BCS add any merit? Moreover, isn't it a waste of what the coaches bring to the table for the BCS? Coaches do have exemplary abilities when it comes to evaluating other teams, after all, but that skill is primarily used in the daily rigmarole of their job, which is to say, on teams that they're actually going to play at some point.

So let's embrace that: have every single coach participate in the new coaches poll by ranking only their 12 opponents. As with traditional polls, a no. 1 gets the highest value (in this case 12), a no. 2 gets 11, and so on down the line. You know, like a normal poll. Now, since this is necessarily grading only FBS play (unless fans really want to see Montana come in at no. 8 in the poll or something similar), the teams with an FCS opponent are only going to be ranked by 11 opponents, so the rankings will be by average value instead of total.

Does this unfairly reward good teams in weak conferences (see: Boise State)? Well, maybe when it comes to their rankings relative to their conference pals. But look at who Boise's opponents are playing. Oregon State also plays TCU and Oregon. Wyoming got Boise, TCU, Utah, and Texas for this season (yes, Texas tanked, but that's an anomaly). Lowly San Jose State? The Spartans see Boise State, Utah, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Boise State may have some control over their schedule, but they certainly have little control over who their opponents play, and that's going to matter in this poll. Meanwhile, Ohio State may play in a tougher conference, but does anyone seriously think any of the Big Ten's coaches would rank another conference member over OSU as long as the Buckeyes stay undefeated? Would anybody have put Alabama second in the SEC before South Carolina pulled the upset?

Also, once the season starts to get into its late stages, coaches will be able to rank these teams based on what they saw first-hand in actual gameplay. Will this result in some coaches ranking teams based largely on how they performed against that coach's team? Sure. That's called rewarding wins and punishing losses. In other words, it's the entire point of polling. And if a coach seriously thinks a team that's, say, 19th in the AP played his team better than the 11th-ranked team, well, that's information that absolutely deserves to be integrated into the poll -- and it's much easier to justify making that adjustment in this format instead of the win-go-up/lose-go-down cookie cutter Top 25s. 

Is this a perfect poll? No, of course not. There's still some value in a straight Top 25 poll, and the computer rankings have their merit. But if we're including coaches in the BCS process -- and we should! -- we should play to their strengths, not make them play pollster. This is how to do it.

Posted on: October 9, 2010 10:28 pm
 

What I learned from the Non-BCS teams (Oct. 9)

By J. Darin Darst

1. We are in for a great battle in the Mountain West between Utah, TCU and Air Force. Is their any doubt that this conference is better than the Big East? It's very easy to say TCU is the best team because it is ranked the highest in the polls, but I'm not so sure about that. And I'm not so sure anybody comes out of the this conference undefeated. Utah has looked just as good as TCU this season and absolutely destroyed Iowa State on Saturday night. TCU hosts Air Force on Oct. 23 and then travels to play at Utah on Nov. 6. Air Force hosts Utah on Oct. 30. That's quite a three-week stretch for three Top 25 teams. I'll take any three of those teams over anybody from the Big East.

2. Army looks like it is headed to a bowl for the first time since 1996. Sure, the Black Knights only beat Tulane, but this team is 4-2. They have also scored 194 points this season, 10 more than all of last year. It only needs to come up with two more victories to play in the Armed Forces Bowl. It plays VMI on Oct. 30, which will most certainly be a win, so Army just needs to find one more victory -- at Rutgers, Air Force, at Kent State, at Notre Dame or at Navy. You know most of the nation will be rooting for them.

3. Northern Illinois might be the frontrunner in the MAC, not Temple. The Owls looked like the team to beat until today as Northern Illinois defeated them 31-17. Chandler Harnish threw two touchdown passes and Chad Spann rushed for 100 yards and a score in the victory. Northern Illinois is 4-2, 2-0 in the conference and has victories over Minnesota (not a huge accomplishment, but its still a BCS team) and barely lost to Illinois 28-22. The biggest game left on its schedule is probably at road trip to Western Michigan on Oct. 30. Stay tuned.

4. Troy is by far the best team in the Sun Belt. Many, including myself, thought Middle Tennessee would win the conference. But even with Dwight Dasher back for MTSU, Troy blasted the Blue Raiders 42-13 on Tuesday night. Since the Sun Belt gets two bowl bids, the bigger question is -- who is the second-best team? It's up for grabs, but Louisiana-Lafayette looks to be up for the challenge. Despite starting the season at 0-4, Florida International could be the second-best team. It hung with Rutgers and Texas A&M in non-conference play.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com