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Monday, January 5, 2009
Bold non-BCS predictions for 2009


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

With the 2008 season almost in the books, it's time to make some bold 2009 predictions.

1. Another undefeated season: Boise State has the schedule to go undefeated for a second consecutive season, and with 13 regular-season games (the Broncos play at Hawaii, which allows them another game), the Broncos could be the first team to go 13-0 during the regular season. But will their schedule be tough enough to get them into the BCS?

2. San Diego State becomes bowl eligible: With Brady Hoke, Al Borges and Rocky Long manning the ship, the rest of the Mountain West better be weary of the Aztecs. I'm not saying they win the conference, but they'll be far more competitive.

3. The Irish rise: Using the Hawaii Bowl as a jumping-off point, the Irish rally next season to win 10 games, but it won't be enough to climb into the top eight of the BCS standings to get an automatic BCS bid. But an at-large bid won't be out of the question, especially with a decent schedule.

4. Air Force wins the Commander In Chief Trophy: Navy has dominated its military brethren for the past six seasons, but Air Force had its second consecutive stellar year with a lot of young players and a coach that's becoming a hot commodity. Sophomore quarterback Tim Jefferson leads his team back to prominence.

5. ECU wins Conference USA: The Pirates are going to repeat their conference championship, but don't expect them to be a BCS buster with the ridiculous schedule they have in 2009. The Pirates kickoff with Appalachian State and then travel to North Carolina. They also have rematches against Virginia Tech and West Virginia.