What to watch: Non-BCS and Others

October, 10, 2008
10/10/08
11:04
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

1. Running on BYU: Not many teams have been able to put a lot of offense on No. 9 BYU this season, but New Mexico might break the mold with its rushing attack. The Lobos rank 25th in the country with 205.50 yards rushing while the Cougars are allowing 112 yards per game.

2. Has Clausen improved? Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen will face his toughest secondary yet, and everyone will finally get to see how much he's improved this season. He hasn't thrown an interception in the past two games, but the Tar Heels lead the nation in picks with 12.

3. Buffalo asserts itself: Buffalo is on the weaker side of the Mid-American Conference -- the East -- but it has a chance to make some waves by defeating a Western Michigan team that's as hot as any other team in the conference. The Bulls have had an extra week of rest and preparation.

4. A new or blue Hawaii: Hawaii was jazzed after its win over Fresno State last weekend and it had every right to be. But now what does it do with that momentum? It faces a beatable opponent at home in Louisiana Tech and should begin its first winning streak of the season.

5. Battle for the Belt: With Troy's win on Tuesday, the pressure is on Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette to keep pace. Last year's champ, Florida Atlantic, is all but out of the way, and now it's time for a new team to emerge and challenge.

6. Memphis on the move: Memphis has been one of the hottest teams in the non-BCS of late, but this weekend's rivalry game against Louisville will prove just how much of a threat the Tigers can be to a Conference USA East that's begging for some team to assume control.

7. Rebounding: Two C-USA teams will be playing on the rebound this weekend after tough losses in the past couple weeks. East Carolina has had two weeks to reflect on its current two-game losing streak. Tulane was stunned by Army last week and lost six players to injury in the process. Both teams will be looking to right the ship.

8. Rocket man: Toledo couldn't have picked a worse time for its first trip to the Big House at Michigan as coach Tom Amstutz deals with criticism about the Rockets' 1-4 start and his job security. The Rockets are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, including a 31-0 loss to Ball State last weekend.

9. Utah gets a breather: After facing a couple tough opponents two of the last three games, Utah gets a bit of a reprieve against a Wyoming team that's 2-4, but lost its last three by an average of 32.3 points, including two shutouts. If the Utes want to prove they can play a complete game, this would be the time.

10. Wolf Pack's back: After two convincing wins the past couple weeks, Nevada could be one of the few teams that don't allow Boise State to run away with the WAC title. The Wolf Pack will have a tough task against a New Mexico State team it barely escaped last season.

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