This could be an exceptional year for non-AQ teams. With Boise State and TCU already in the national mix, several other teams could make some noise this season.
Here is a look at the 10 hottest non-AQ/independent teams going into the season:
1. Boise State. Broncos went 14-0 last season and return 21 starters.
4. Navy. Ricky Dobbs should be a household name. The easy schedule could make this a record-setting season for the Middies.
6. Notre Dame. Brian Kelly should bring improvements to the Irish, but they are one year away from being a Top-25 team.
8. SMU. The Mustangs were one year ahead of schedule last season. Kyle Padron is back, and the offense should be high flying once again.
10. Northern Illinois. Fifteen starters return, including first-team All-MAC RB Chad Spann and most of a defense that ranked No. 30 in the nation last season.