Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Last week was a great opener for the non-AQ schools, especially those in the Mountain West Conference. Let’s see if some of the other conferences can make some noise this weekend.
Here are some things to watch this weekend:
1. One game at a time: My favorite sports cliche actually rings true for a BYU team that is back on top of the world with its win over Oklahoma last week. The Cougars will have to put that win aside and focus on a struggling Tulane team that nearly upset ECU last season after its big early-season wins.
2. Planting a flag: The Mountain West Conference picked up right where it left off last season with two big wins over Oklahoma and Colorado. Now it’s Air Force's and TCU’s turn to continue the streak. Both have winnable games against AQ opponents. Wyoming, which plays Texas, does not.
3. Make it a double: Both Idaho and North Texas got off to their best starts under their current coaches with a win on the opening weekend, but it might be tough to make it two, especially against teams that played close to their opponents (but lost) in Week 1. Idaho has an improved Washington team and UNT faces a pretty good Ohio offense.
4. Gator bait: Troy was the only non-AQ conference champion not to start the season with a victory and it doesn’t get any easier as it travels to the Swamp to face the No. 1 team in the country. Not putting the Gators on upset alert, but maybe Troy can make it a game.
5. Keep on keepin’ on: Boise State’s BCS hopes became dim this week after BYU’s win over Oklahoma, but the Broncos still have the easiest path to the BCS and still need to go undefeated to give voters a choice should a Mountain West team also be at the top of the standings at the end of the year.
6. Anybody, anytime, anywhere: After a subpar season a year ago, the Bulldogs have been able to work in relative obscurity this offseason. But they’ll be at the forefront this weekend against a Wisconsin team that barely snuck by Northern Illinois. The Bulldogs looked good against UC Davis last week and could be back on the map with a win in Madison.
7. Scoreboard watching: BYU won’t have to worry about Oklahoma’s game with Idaho State, but Boise State fans might want to keep a watchful eye on Oregon’s game against Purdue. The Broncos need Oregon to rebound and have a pretty good season. They also need the Ducks to have some confidence going up against Utah next week.
8. C-USA’s turn: After a lackluster opening weekend, Conference USA steps it up with six pretty big games this weekend -- five against AQ opponents and one against BYU. This is C-USA's chance to show that some of its teams at least need Top-25 consideration.
9. New coaches need to rebound: Only three of the non-AQ’s new 11 coaches won this past weekend -- Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson, Army’s Rich Ellerson and Wyoming’s Dave Christensen -- and with the exception of Army, which plays Duke, all will have a tough time repeating. The only other coaches who could/should get off the schneid this week are Brady Hoke (SDSU), Tim Beckman (Toledo), Stan Parrish (Ball State), and DeWayne Walker (NMSU).
10. Leveling the playing field: The non-AQ’s have 25 games against AQ opponents this week and need to improve on their 3-18 record from last week. Only BYU, Boise State and Colorado State defeated AQ teams in Week 1, the others teams were defeated by an average of 26.8 points per game.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final 20 Duke 7 1 Florida State 45 Final 2 Ohio State 24 10 Michigan State 34 Final 5 Missouri 42 3 Auburn 59 Final 17 Oklahoma 33 6 Oklahoma State 24 Final 7 Stanford 38 11 Arizona State 14 Final 25 Texas 10 9 Baylor 30 Final 16 UCF 17 Southern Methodist 13 Final Utah State 17 23 Fresno State 24