Monday, December 7, 2009
Final regular season non-AQ power rankings
By Graham Watson
1. TCU: The Horned Frogs finished the regular season the best non-AQ team in the country and some even thought they deserved a spot in the national championship. Although that didn’t happen, TCU could still vie for the AP championship after the bowl season.
2. Boise State: The Broncos are in the BCS, which is where they should be, but they needed some Longhorn luck to get them in. The Broncos will play their toughest game of the season against TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. TCU is the only team Boise State has lost to in the past two seasons.
3. BYU: The Cougars didn’t play this weekend, but are the third-highest ranked non-AQ team in the country. They’re headed back to Las Vegas, but have an intriguing matchup against Oregon State, one of the only matchups outside of the BCS featuring two ranked teams.
4. Central Michigan: The Chippewas wrapped up their first undefeated conference campaign (all wins) and now get to square off against Sun Belt champion Troy. The Chippewas jumped into the AP poll for the first time in school history.
5. Utah: The Utes didn’t finish the season the way they wanted, but their bowl matchup should be fun. Cal running back Jahvid Best might give Utah’s run defense fits, but Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn could give Utah fans a glimpse of next year against a porous Cal secondary.
6. East Carolina: The Pirates become the first C-USA team to win back-to-back titles since the conference moved to the championship format. This is a senior-laden team that’s looking to end the season on a high note. The win over Houston should give them confidence heading into bowl season.
7. Troy: The four-time Sun Belt champions will get a break from New Orleans and head to Mobile, Ala., to face Central Michigan in what should be a home game for the Trojans. Troy matched North Texas in becoming the only other team to win four consecutive Sun Belt titles.
8. Houston: Quarterback Case Keenum had a decent game in the C-USA championship, but made too many mistakes to give his team the title. The Cougars face Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl for the second consecutive year, which will be yet another stiff test for Keenum and the passing offense.
9. Navy: If the Midshipmen beat Army this weekend, they will capture their seventh consecutive Commander-in-Chief Trophy. Navy will face Missouri in the Texas Bowl, which will test their passing defense and their run game against one of the best run defenses in the country.
10. Ohio: The Bobcats had too many injuries to stay with a fresh Central Michigan team in the MAC championship, but still put up a good fight. They’ll play a head coachless Marshall team in the Little Caesars Bowl and have a good chance of notching their first 10-win season since 1968.