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Halloween with the non-AQs

10/31/2009

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

It’s Halloween weekend and that means we’re probably in store for some crazy things. A year ago on this weekend, Central Michigan upset Indiana, Utah State defeated Hawaii, North Texas won its first game, Colorado State nearly upset BYU, Louisiana-Monroe upset Troy and Utah barely got past New Mexico.

Not sure what this weekend will bring, but here's a look at some teams and players who have been frightening through the first half of the season.

Haunted House – Boise State’s blue field is one of the toughest places in the nation to play. This decade, the Broncos are 59-2 at home and haven’t lost on their home field since 2005 and that was in the MPC Computers Bowl.

Scary Movie – Which was worse for BYU, the Florida State or TCU loss? Both were the first losses in Provo, Utah, the Cougars had suffered since 2005. BYU was a little more competitive against FSU than TCU, but both efforts were downright scary.

Nightmare on Avenida Cesar Chavez – University Stadium has not been kind to New Mexico the past couple years. The Lobos have not won a home game since Oct. 18, 2008 and has lost 11 straight games overall since that date.

Trick-or-Treat – TCU might be the frontrunner for a BCS bowl berth, but games against Utah and Wyoming could prove tricky. Utah defeated the Horned Frogs last season and cost them a shot at a BCS bowl berth. And the last time TCU traveled to Wyoming, it resulted in an unexpected loss.

Boo (Boo) – Hawaii has been riddled with major injuries this season, which have resulted in its 2-5 record. Linebacker Brashton Satele, one of two starters returning on defense, was lost early in camp. Starting quarterback Greg Alexander suffered a season-ending knee injury against Louisiana Tech and receiver Rodney Bradley broke his leg against Idaho a couple weeks ago.

The Great Pumpkin (Welcome Great Pumpkin) -- Idaho started 6-1, but the second half of the season is a lot tougher as the Vandals found out with the 70-45 loss to Nevada. Six wins doesn’t guarantee a bowl game and the Vandals quick start could be all for naught if they don’t win another game.

Night of the living dead: Nevada has risen from the grave after their season was declared dead and buried with an 0-3 start. However, the Wolf Pack has rebounded to win their last four and now they are starting to resemble a team that could challenge for the WAC title.

Jigsaw team: Memphis boasts nine transfers from major schools on its roster and its has done little to make the Tigers a better team. Memphis was supposed to be the sleeper team in Conference USA East with a strong running game and a decent defense. However, at 2-6, they are in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2006.

Witchcraft: Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews has been spellbinding this season. He leads the country in rushing, has run for more than 100 yards in every game this season and has the power to keep his team both in play for a bowl game and maybe a piece of the conference title should some other teams trip up.

Ghosts, Goblins, Ghouls: Troy quarterback Levi Brown has flown below the radar this season -- mostly because he plays in the Sun Belt -- but he ranks 10th in the country in passing and ninth in total offense. He’s thrown for more than 355 yards in four of the past five games and twice he’s thrown for more than 400.