Things to watch in the non-BCS: Week 10

October, 31, 2008
10/31/08
10:31
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

1. Watch the run: Notre Dame's defense will be on alert this weekend against a Pitt team that boasts LeSean McCoy, the No. 11 rusher in the country. The Fighting Irish have not been good against great runners this season. Remember Javon Ringer's 201-yard game?

2. Don't hold anything back: TCU admittedly held some things back against Colorado State in preparation for BYU, but it can't afford to do the same against a UNLV team that already has a couple BCS upsets this season. It can't afford to look ahead to Utah either.

3. Running for history: Louisiana-Lafayette running back Tyrell Fenroy needs just 30 yards to notch 1,000 this season and become the seventh rusher to have four 1,000-yard seasons in NCAA history. This would be the first time in the past four seasons that he's rushed for 1,000 yards this early in the season.

4. What can Brown do again? After a record-setting performance against North Texas last week, Troy starting quarterback Levi Brown knows the bar has been raised for the Trojans' last conference road game against Louisiana-Monroe. Will the pressure get to him? So far he's embraced it.

5. In this corner: Last season a brawl broke out between North Texas and Western Kentucky. While cooler heads are expected to prevail this year, this could be North Texas' chance to score its first win of the season, which might incite some unsavory taunting.

6. Tulsa's chance to quiet naysayers: While Arkansas isn't the best the BCS has to offer, it is a BCS opponent that could add some credibility to Tulsa's schedule should there be a few undefeated teams by season's end.

7. Big scoring, little defense: When Rice and UTEP get together this weekend, don't expect a defensive affair. The fewest points the two teams have combined for during the past four meetings is 63. And a win for the Owls means bowl eligibility.

8. Getting out of the funk: BYU didn't have its best game against UNLV last weekend, but still managed a win. Perhaps that was enough to shake the Cougars out of their TCU hangover. Colorado State isn't exactly a powerhouse, but it did stick with TCU a few weeks ago. And the schedule only gets more difficult for the Cougars.

9. Diversify the offense: New Mexico is going to have to come up with a more diverse game plan against the No. 9 rushing defense in the country. The Lobos have relied on their rushing offense all season and defenses have stacked the box against them. The Lobos have not passed for more than 190 yards in a single game all season and not more than 146 in the past five games.

10. Hawaii 5-oh? Hawaii is going for its fifth win this week against Utah State. And while I've sworn off predicting Hawaii games, it will be interesting to see how Utah State reacts after last week's devastating loss to Fresno State. There are enough wins remaining on the schedule to give Hawaii bowl eligibility, and the chance for a bowl increases if Boise State makes a BCS bowl.

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