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Friday, October 24, 2008
Things to watch: Week 9


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

1. The nation's best offense: Tulsa coach Todd Graham said his Tulsa offense is the nation's best and we'll all get to see if that's true when the Golden Hurricane take on UCF live on ESPN on Sunday. UCF beat the Golden Hurricane twice last season, including in the C-USA title game.

2. Battle for the WAC: Boise State is the favorite to win the WAC, but could there be a challenger out there? We'll find out this weekend when first-place San Jose State takes a crack at the Broncos. The Spartans will be relying on their strong defense and a suspect offense.

3. In the Cards: The MAC's lone undefeated team takes on Eastern Michigan this weekend sandwiched between bye weeks. Were it not for the byes, this would be an easy game to look past especially since the best teams loom ahead. Careful Cardinals.

4. Rebound team: BYU will attempt to shake off last week's loss to TCU against a UNLV team that has been up and down this season. The Rebels also are coming off a tough loss against Air Force last week. BYU needs the win to keep pace with Air Force, which won Thursday.

5. All quiet in the Sun Belt: With the exception of Troy, the top Sun Belt teams are all idle this week, making for an uneventful weekend in the conference. The Trojans visit 0-7 North Texas, which should be an easy win. The most intriguing game of the weekend will be Middle Tennessee's attempt to upset another BCS team.

6. Idaho's game plan: A story in the Idaho Press-Tribune brought up an interesting point about resting some of the injured Vandals in preparation for the Nov. 15 rivalry game against Boise State. I know Idaho is out of the running for a bowl game, but could this happen?

7. Quarterbacking woes: Memphis will be breaking in two green quarterbacks this weekend against Southern Mississippi, opening the door for the Golden Eagles to nab their first Conference USA win of the season. Memphis, on the other hand, must find a way to keep its offense on track to keep its season moving in the right direction.

8. First road win: Notre Dame's game against Washington is less about making a point about coach Tyrone Willingham and more about showing that the Irish can win on the road. The Irish are 4-2 this season and both losses have come away from South Bend. Against a winless Washington team, this should be a walk.

9. TCU, the week after: As I said earlier this week, TCU would be due for a letdown this week if it wasn't playing a Wyoming team that coach Gary Patterson said embarrassed the Horned Frogs last year. TCU should be OK this week -- it's next week that's worrisome.

10. Quarterback controversy: Dan LeFevour is slated to start against Toledo this weekend, but his backup Brian Brunner has been the most talked about of the two quarterbacks this week. Brunner led the Chipps to wins each of the last two games and it will be interesting to see how healed LeFevour really is against the Rockets.