What to watch from the non-AQs, Week 12

November, 19, 2009
11/19/09
8:09
AM ET
1. Light at the end of the tunnel: TCU players say they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but they better hope that light isn’t a train in Laramie this weekend. TCU lost to Wyoming the last time it traveled to Laramie and Texas struggled there earlier this year. TCU is obviously the better team in this game, but it’ll have to play like it to come away unscathed.

2. Don’t look ahead: Both Boise State and Nevada have games against teams with losing records this weekend and it would be easy to look ahead to next week’s game between the two schools that will ultimately decide the conference title. The game won’t matter much, though, if one team falters this weekend.

3. MAC elimination game: Ohio and Northern Illinois will be playing in an elimination game this weekend. Both teams need to win to stay in the hunt for their respective division title races. This game will end the divisional title dreams for one team and the Huskies and Bobcats are so close statistically that it’s too close to call.

4. Hot seat is warming: UTEP’s AD came out and said coach Mike Price is safe, but that’s the only AD of the possible coaches on the hot seat to talk about their coach’s future. North Texas’ Todd Dodge, Akron’s JD Brookhart and even Marshall’s Mark Snyder all need to win this weekend to give themselves some peace come Monday.

5. Back in the saddle: It’s almost unfathomable that Houston could win 10 games this season and not play for its conference title, but that’s the reality the Cougars are facing after losing to UCF last week. They need to win and have SMU trip up against Marshall to have any shot of getting back in the conference race.

6. Sun Belt history: The Sun Belt Conference has been around since 2001, and if Louisiana-Monroe wins this weekend, it will be the first time the conference has had three teams with seven or more wins. If that happens, it looks like all three teams will be bowl bound.

7. Running out of chances: This weekend might be New Mexico’s last chance to notch a win this season. The Lobos host Colorado State, which has not won a league game and has lost seven consecutive games. If the Lobos don’t get this one, their last opportunity will be against a possibly undefeated TCU team.

8. Winning streaks abound: Four non-AQ teams are in the top 10 in winning streaks both overall and within their respective conferences. TCU and Boise State are behind Florida and Texas, respectively, and then Temple, which has won eight consecutive games, comes in seventh. Nevada, which has won seven straight, comes in ninth.

9. C-USA East still up for grabs: Four teams still have a shot at the Conference USA East title with East Carolina leading the pack and Southern Miss, UCF and UAB falling in line behind the Pirates with 4-2 conference records. Of the group, Southern Miss has the best chance to overtake the Pirates because the two teams play each other next week.

10. Odd man out: Three MAC teams could get bowl eligible this weekend, but with four MAC teams with seven or more wins already and just three guaranteed bowl berths to go around, there are going to be several disappointed MAC teams this year. The goal would be to get to seven wins and become an attractive at-large, but that means winning out.

Graham Watson | email

College Football
Watson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 Conference for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also covered college football recruiting for the Dallas Morning News.

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