Thursday, October 14, 2010
Non-AQ What to Watch: Week 7
By Andrea Adelson
Come one, come all for your Top 10 non-AQ storylines for Week 7:
1. What will the first BCS standings reveal? The first rankings come out on Sunday, but they were a big topic of discussion this week, when ESPN BCS guru Brad Edwards projected that No. 3 Boise State would be ranked No. 1. Nobody expects that to last should everybody else remain undefeated, but it serves as a validation for the schedule the Broncos have played thus far. They have San Jose State this Saturday, but keep in mind their future opponents have a combined record of 21-19. Virginia Tech and Oregon State are also looking pretty strong.
2. Can Nevada handle a big test at Hawaii? This is a classic reverse matchup -- a team that loves to run in the Pistol offense versus a team that loves to pass in the run 'n' shoot offense. Which wins? You have to give the edge to the team that runs. Nevada will be able to chew up clock and get pressure on Bryant Moniz, but there is no question this is going to be a tough game. Nevada has not beaten the Warriors in Hawaii since 1948.
3. Can Air Force keep its winning streak going against San Diego State? The Aztecs struggled against the run last week in a loss to BYU, as the Cougars had 62 carries and held the ball for 45 minutes. San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long said his team missed way too many tackles, and that led to way too many yards after contact. That is going to have to be corrected and fast against the No. 1 rushing offense in the country. The triple option is a different run game to handle, and Tim Jefferson had made a huge difference. The Aztecs cannot afford to make many mistakes.
4. Style points this week for TCU? Coach Gary Patterson made headlines for telling BYU to be careful what it wished for when it came to independence. Now the two schools play for the final time as Mountain West conference rivals. There probably is no love lost here, as Patterson said there is no shot TCU would play an independent BYU. But Patterson has been adamant that he will not roll up style points on anyone. Perhaps the better question to ask is whether TCU can get is third straight shutout.
5. More offensive fireworks for Utah in the second quarter? You may not have heard this yet, but Utah is outscoring teams 101-7 in the second quarter this season. Coach Kyle Whittingham has no explanation for the outburst. Can the trend continue Saturday against Wyoming?
6. Tougher start to the season -- Wyoming or San Jose State. The Cowboys are facing Utah, the fourth team to be ranked in the Top 10 at the time they played -- more than any other team in the country. The Utah game follows losses to Texas (No. 5 at the time), No. 3 Boise State and No. 4 TCU. Utah is No. 10 in the coaches’ poll. San Jose State comes close. The Spartans are playing their fifth ranked team in Boise State after having played Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin and Alabama.
7. Can Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher find his rhythm? His season debut last week against Troy was less than spectacular, going 22-of-37 for 172 yards with an interception, and gaining 27 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. There is not much relief this week as the Blue Raiders go on the road to play Georgia Tech.
8. Can Temple rebound? The Owls lost 31-17 to Northern Illinois last week, and coach Al Golden ripped his team afterward for showing no passion or sense of urgency. He also said he was going to have lineup changes, playing guys who showed the heart and effort he wanted to see out of his starters. He also sounded frustrated with the slow recovery of running back Bernard Pierce, who has been hampered with a sprained ankle. Matt Brown has done well in his place. Temple plays Bowling Green on Saturday in a game it should win.
9. Can Houston quarterback David Piland win his first game as a starter? Coach Kevin Sumlin is sticking with Piland, after initially starting Terrance Broadway when Case Keenum went out for the season with a torn ACL. Piland and Houston lost to Mississippi State last week and face in-city rival Rice on Saturday. Piland is going to need more help from the run game. The Cougars only had 47 yards rushing against the Bulldogs.
10. How much longer can Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore stay atop the ESPN.com Heisman hunt? As long as Boise State keeps winning, Moore will most likely get an invite to New York. He appeared at the top of an ESPN.com straw poll after Denard Robinson slipped last week in a loss to Michigan State. Moore has 14 touchdowns and just one interception this season.