- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are you final regular-season power rankings for the non-AQs:
1. TCU (12-0). The Horned Frogs cap their second straight undefeated regular season with their second straight BCS appearance, this one against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. This is the real deal against a real AQ opponent. Now the Horned Frogs have to go out there and show they can win.
2. Nevada (12-1). The Wolf Pack beat Louisiana Tech to close out their season, the best in school history. They shared the WAC title with Boise State and Hawaii and now play Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
3. Boise State (11-1). The Broncos rebounded from their loss to Nevada with a win over Utah State to close out the season. Now they get another non-AQ in a bowl game for the fourth straight year, against Utah in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas. Still, it’s a great matchup between two of the best outsiders in the BCS era.
4. Utah (10-2). The Utes have the nation’s longest active bowl winning streak at nine straight, but are going to be playing in the bowl game without quarterback Jordan Wynn, who just had shoulder surgery. Still, this season has been another good one for coach Kyle Whittingham, who won 10 games for the third straight season.
5. Hawaii (10-3). The Warriors beat UNLV to close out the season and claim a share of the WAC championship. They also won 10 games for the first time since 2007. Hawaii has a great matchup in the Hawaii Bowl with Tulsa, one of the hottest teams in the country.
6. UCF (10-3). The Knights won their second Conference USA championship over SMU and have posted back-to-back winning season for the first time in the George O’Leary era. They also are in the BCS standings for the first time ever at No. 25.
7. Tulsa (9-3). The Golden Hurricane have won six straight and dip behind UCF because of the all-important conference championship the Knights just won. Still, this team is playing terrific right now and bounced back nicely after a 5-7 season a year ago.
8. Navy (8-3). The Midshipmen face Army on Saturday and have won a series-record eight straight over the Black Knights. Still, both are playing as bowl teams for the first time since 1996.
9. San Diego State (8-4). The Aztecs posted their best season since 1996 and coach Brady Hoke won Mountain West Conference coach of the year honors.
10. Northern Illinois (10-3). Yes, the Huskies lost the MAC title game, but they lost with 33 seconds left and had won nine straight to that point. This is still an excellent football team that has a chance to prove itself against a good WAC team in Fresno State.
19hTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney
2dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
3dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman