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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Non-BCS picks of the week

Posted by's Graham Watson

There were a surprising number of byes this week, so the picks are fewer than usual. I've been hot of late with two nine-win weeks in the past three. I'm going for perfection this week.

Here are my updated stats. I appear to be a second-half player.

WEEK 1: 14-2
WEEK 2: 14-4
WEEK 3: 10-8
WEEK 4: 8-4
WEEK 5: 4-8
WEEK 6: 9-3
WEEK 7: 7-4
WEEK 8: 9-2

Northern Illinois 32, Bowling Green 20: The Huskies have looked impressive in their last two wins and should be able to handle a Bowling Green team that hasn't been real consistent this season. Chandler Harnish should be in even better game shape this week to keep the Huskies undefeated in MAC play.

Central Michigan 30, Toledo 10: CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour will be back for this game, but his mobility will be in question after coming off an ankle sprain. I think the Chipps will have a hangover from last week's big win over Western Michigan, which will make the game close early, but CMU pulls away in the second half.

Tulsa 56, UCF 24: Yes, UCF owned the Golden Hurricane last season, but neither of these teams are the same as they were a year ago. Tulsa has polished its offense and is out to avenge last year's C-USA title game. The Golden Hurricane will run away in the second half as they've done most of the season and this won't even be a challenge.

Southern Miss 28, Memphis 7: This is a good chance for Southern Miss to grab a much-needed conference win against an ailing Memphis team. The Tigers will play two quarterbacks that earned their first game experience last weekend. The win will get the Golden Eagles out of the C-USA cellar.

Notre Dame 49, Washington 24: This isn't the rivalry game that it was in 2005, but there's probably still a little bit of emphasis on beating former Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham just to prove a point. The Irish are the better team here and if the offense is clicking the way it has the last few weeks, this could get ugly.

BYU 35, UNLV 17: BYU not only needs a win here, it needs a win with an exclamation point. The Cougars were counted out and cast aside after their shocking loss to TCU last week, but there still are several weeks remaining in the season, and while a BCS bowl might be gone, the Mountain West title is far from locked up.

TCU 45, Wyoming 10: I'd say this would be a good time for a letdown if Wyoming hadn't dominated TCU for three quarters last year and handed them a demoralizing loss. It's the perfect game to get over BYU and start a path toward the Mountain West championship. Lose this game, and the BYU win means very little.

Middle Tennessee 24, Mississippi State 22: Since this is the only Sun Belt game I'm picking this week, I thought I'd call this upset. This is the same Middle Tennessee team that beat Maryland, so it's possible. And it's not like Mississippi State is some juggernaut. Blue Raiders win on a late field goal.

Boise State 17, San Jose State 14: Two years ago, the game in San Jose was closer than expected, and I think we see the same result here. San Jose State's offense is not quite good enough to play with Boise State. The SJSU defense will give the Broncos fits, but I'm not sure it will be enough.

Nevada 49, Hawaii 20: After a week off, I would hope Nevada would come back to WAC play as the team everyone expects it to be. The Wolf Pack is still in the hunt to challenge for the WAC and is definitely poised to make a bowl. But another conference loss and this starts to become a disappointing season for the Wolf Pack.