What to watch with the non-AQs

September, 24, 2009
9/24/09
8:07
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson


1. Double trouble: Houston has a chance to upset its second consecutive Big 12 team and put itself in the hunt for a BCS bowl berth. But watch out for Southern Miss, the conference’s other undefeated team with a Big 12 opponent this weekend. Yeah, the Golden Eagles aren’t receiving votes, but a win over No. 20 Kansas and that changes.

2. Mental fortitude: BYU didn’t respond well after losses last season, so it will be interesting to see how it responds against an undefeated Colorado State team. This is the first time in awhile that Colorado State comes into this game with the confidence that it can play with the Cougars.

3. Starting a new streak: Utah’s 16-game winning streak was snapped last week against Oregon, but with Louisville coming into town, the Utes could be in danger of starting a new streak -- a losing one -- if they don’t clear up some issues on both sides of the ball. Utah has been a confident group since the 2007 season, so look for the Utes to rebound.

4. BG’s big adventure: Bowling Green has been flirting with being a really impressive team this season, but mistakes in the fourth quarter have hurt the Falcons the past two weeks. They can’t afford to do that against an opportunistic Boise State team. Bowling Green does come into this game with confidence, but it’ll have to be perfect for the upset.

5. Defending C-USA: East Carolina’s nonconference play hasn’t made the Pirates look like they’ll be able to defend their conference title. UCF comes in with hopes of earning its conference prestige back and might be able to take advantage of an ECU team that still reeling from to losses to AQ rivals.

6. The Mountain West’s hope: TCU is the Mountain West’s last ranked undefeated team, and a win at Clemson would keep it right on Boise State’s tail in the national standings. Of course, there’s always Colorado State, which could be a huge sleeper with a win over BYU.

7. Bottom of the Mountain: Both San Diego State and Wyoming open conference play this week and are fighting to not be at the bottom of the Mountain West standings. Neither team has looked good this year, and both will be going against teams in the second tier of the conference -- Air Force and UNLV -- looking to make a move toward the top.

8. Upset in the making: In each of the first three weeks, at least one non-AQ school has upset an AQ school, and with the slate of games in Week 4, more upsets are on the horizon. Teams that should be on alert include Texas Tech, Kansas, Iowa State and Louisville.

9. Making new history: Both Idaho and Northern Illinois are in the process of rebuilding their programs, and both will make inroads in the endeavor with a win this weekend. As an FBS school, Idaho has never started a season 3-1. Northern Illinois is looking for its best start since 2003 when it won 10 games.

10. Best team you’re not watching: OK, maybe it’s not the best team, but Army is certainly the most interesting because it’s been quite some time since Army was competitive. The Black Knights are 2-1 and haven’t started a season this strong since 1996. They have a 6-foot-10 receiver, which is pretty rare, and they have a chance to knock off Iowa State on the road this weekend.

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