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Sunday, September 26, 2010
What we learned from non-AQs: Week 4

By Andrea Adelson

Another week in the books, so what did we learn from the non-AQs? Boise State and TCU are still tops, but Utah and Nevada are undefeated, too. They could wreak havoc on the race for a potential BCS national championship berth.

1. Boise State and TCU may not have gotten the style points they wanted this weekend, but the top non-AQ teams did win, keeping their quest for a historic national championship berth alive. Boise State beat Oregon State 37-24 on national television on Saturday night, while TCU beat SMU 41-24 on national television Friday night. Neither looked outstanding. Both had uncharacteristic lapses. Boise State had special teams breakdowns and eight penalties, including several personal fouls. TCU, always known for its defense, gave up 192 yards rushing. But what would style points have gotten them, anyway? Neither is busting into the Top 2 of the human polls with undefeated teams ranked ahead of them. I'm not even sure a 100-0 win would do that. The point is to keep winning, and that is what they are doing.

Titus Young
Titus Young and Boise State just keep winning.
2. Utah and Nevada are here, too. And then there were four undefeated non-AQ teams left. Watch for Nevada to join the Top 25 today after a 27-13 win over BYU on Saturday. The Wolf Pack are 4-0, their best start since they began playing on the FBS level in 1992. The 4-0 start also marks Nevada’s best start since the 1991 team went 12-0 to start the season. Meanwhile, Utah welcomed the return of starting quarterback Jordan Wynn, who missed the past two games with a sprained thumb. The Utes beat San Jose State 56-3, but their schedule is back-loaded, with a brutal stretch beginning Oct. 30 at Air Force.

3. Heartbreak hotel. Several non-AQ teams suffered heartbreaking losses on Saturday. UAB lost to Tennessee 32-29 in double overtime, but, oh, what could have been. UAB kicker Josh Zahn missed field goals from 30, 35, 41 and 49 yards in regulation. UCF lost with 24 seconds left after Kansas State scored on a 7-yard run to make it 17-13. It was the first time the Knights trailed all day. Ditto for Memphis, which lost to UTEP as time expired. Dakota Warren made an 18-yard field goal as the Miners rallied for the 16-13 win. Ohio lost to Marshall 24-23 when coach Frank Solich decided to go for the win, and the 2-point conversion failed with no time left. Arkansas State lost to Troy in the closing seconds, too.

4. The MAC is all right. The MAC and Big Ten had eight games on Saturday, and the MAC won two of them -- Toledo beat Purdue and Northern Illinois beat Minnesota. The MAC now has eight wins over Big Ten opponents over the past three years -- two this year, two in 2009 and four in 2008. Let us not forget the valiant effort Temple gave in a 22-13 loss to Penn State. Temple led until the 1:38 mark of the third quarter. Before Saturday, Temple had lost its past four games to Penn State 154-9.

5. The service academies are for real. When was the last time Air Force (3-1), Army (3-1) and Navy (2-1) were a combined 8-3 after four weeks of the season? Certainly not recently, and that is mainly due to the struggles the Black Knights have had. After their 35-21 win over Duke, they are two games above .500 for the first time since going 10-2 in 1996.