NCF Nation: Bear Woods

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

1. Familiar foes: Missouri and Utah never met when current Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was the offensive coordinator, but Christensen used to spend a lot of time in Utah trading offensive plays with his good friend and former Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. With the exception of some personnel tweaks, Utah’s offense hasn’t changed much.

2. A scary Halloween: Halloween has not been kind to Navy. The Midshipmen are 1-12-1 all-time on the holiday and the last win came against NC State in 1914. In all fairness, the Mids haven’t played a Halloween game since 1931 when they tied West Virginia Wesleyan 0-0.

3. It’s all about karma: During last year’s Troy-Louisiana-Monroe game, Troy suffered a safety, turned the ball over twice and missed three field goals, including the game-winning try that went off the crossbar. The loss to the Warhawks was the Trojans' only defeat in conference. The Trojans have to feel like they’re due some good karma this week.

4. Hungry like the Wolfe: UNLV might not be having a good season, but receiver Ryan Wolfe continues on a record-setting pace. Against New Mexico last week, Wolfe became the nation’s active leader in receptions with 270. He ranks 15th all-time, and if he notches just two catches against TCU this weekend, he’ll move into 13th all-time.

5. I’m Bear Woods: According to Troy media relations guru Ricky Hazel, mop sales have gone up in the Troy, Ala., area this week. Several fans visiting Movie Gallery Stadium for the contest between Troy and ULM have decided to dress up as Troy linebacker Bear Woods for Halloween. You'll have to see his picture to get the reference.

6. Ready for our close up: Marshall coach Mark Snyder called Sunday’s ESPN televised game against Central Florida “huge,” not only because it’s a big game for Conference USA, but also because both teams are the only football game on that night, which should help recruiting and the exposure of players such as running back Darius Marshall and tight end Cody Slate, who are up for national awards.

7. The race for the BCS: Both Boise State and TCU have games against subpar opponents this weekend who have combined for a 4-10 record this season. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous. Both teams have had their moments and could present a challenge if either the Frogs or Broncos don’t show up.

8. Keeping the faith: Idaho coach Robb Akey said he’d learn a lot about his team this week by the way they respond after a 70-45 shellacking by Nevada last week. Akey said the day after the game his team wasn’t moping and was anxious to get back in the win column. Not good news for a struggling Louisiana Tech team.

9. Rocky’s return: San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long will meet his former team, New Mexico, for the first time this weekend and it’s a different team than the one he left. The Lobos are 0-7 and their coach, Mike Locksley, is back for his first game since being suspended. Both SDSU coach Brady Hoke and Locksley said this game wasn’t about Long, but who knows if the players will see it that way.

10. Keeping the streak alive: Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews has rushed for at least 100 yards in every game this season, and he’ll have a chance to make it eight consecutive games against a Utah State rushing defense that is one of the worst in the country. The Aggies allow 197.43 yards per game and 10 of their 27 touchdowns allowed have come on the ground.

Troy midseason report

October, 20, 2009
10/20/09
5:50
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

TROY TROJANS (4-2, 30 Sun Belt)

Troy had a slow start with losses in its first two games, but has rallied to win its last four and look poised to win its fourth consecutive Sun Belt title. However, coach Larry Blakeney has said several times this season that this year’s Sun Belt field has been the toughest he’s seen in his five seasons in the conference. Although the Trojans have defeated Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State, two of the toughest competitors in the conference, Louisiana-Monroe is tied atop the conference with the Trojans, setting up a key matchup between the two squads next week.

Offensive MVP

Levi Brown, QB: Brown started the season as the undisputed starter after former starter Jaime Hampton decided to redshirt while recovering from a knee injury and he hasn’t disappointed, He’s thrown for 1,679 yards and nine touchdowns, but in three of the last four games, Brown has thrown for 350 or more yards.

Defensive MVP

Bear Woods, LB: Woods might not lead the team statistically, but he is the heart and soul of the defense. The Trojans were 0-2 with him out of the lineup because of injury and they are 4-0 with him back. Woods does have 25 tackles this season and a tackle for loss.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Where did you go on vacation in these tight economic times? The BCS folks are roughing it in Colorado Springs. 

  • Boise State dreams about a big-time matchup with Notre Dame, but it won't likely happen because Notre Dame isn't looking for another nightmare. 
  • Akron now will only serve booze to fat cats.
  • Just what college football needs: Fledgling program Georgia State will visit Alabama in 2010.
  • Marshall looks forward to the arrival of a JC recruit from California.
  • Does a Bear hit in the Woods? Yep, he's at Troy and he's got a heck of a head of hair.
  • Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch isn't giving up his campaign against the BCS, but the BCS folks -- vacationing at the posh Broadmoor Resort -- don't care.

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