NCF Nation: Brigham Youn
Posed by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
1. BYU: The Cougars stunned the world with an upset of No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday and while many will try to make excuses for the Sooners, BYU played better than Oklahoma in all facets of the game. The Cougars travel to Tulane this week for what should be an easy game before Florida State rolls into Provo next week.
2. Boise State: While Thursday’s win over No. 16 Oregon was overshadowed by the fist of LeGarrette Blount, the Broncos still managed to win their toughest game of the season and now have the easiest path to a potential BCS bowl berth. However, with BYU’s big win, the Broncos are going to need to help if they want to edge the Cougars.
3. Notre Dame: The Irish were impressive in the 35-0 beatdown of Nevada on Saturday. Notre Dame was strong on offense and defense and some are already referring to quarterback Jimmy Clausen as a potential Heisman contender. The Irish will get a stiff test this weekend against a Michigan team that also turned some heads.
4. TCU: The Horned Frogs watched both BYU and Boise State storm ahead in the race for a BCS berth while they sat at home with a bye. Virginia, TCU’s opening opponent, did the Horned Frogs no favors with a shocking loss to William & Mary this week. Traveling to Virginia was supposed to be a nice addition to TCU’s resume. Now a loss taints their season completely.
5. Utah: The Utes won their 15th consecutive game on Saturday, but it wasn’t as impressive as many thought it would be. New starting quarterback Terrance Cain did some nice things and put up some strong numbers, but the defense allowed 221 rushing yards and 17 points, which was a little out of character. Granted, 96 of those yards came on Robert Turbin’s touchdown run in the first quarter.
6. Navy: The Midshipmen nearly pulled off a glorious upset of No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday and even though they lost, they still opened many eyes to the versatility of quarterback Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs threw for more yards against the Buckeyes than Navy had thrown since Oct. 27, 2007. The Midshipmen have a tough schedule this year, but after this weekend’s performance, their chances for a bowl berth have improved.
7. East Carolina: Coach Skip Holtz called the Pirates almost giving up a 24-0 lead first game jitters, but it’s cause for concern, especially heading into a crucial game against West Virginia this weekend. The Mountaineers are looking for payback for last season’s loss and the Pirates are looking to keep pace with BCS-busting teams in the Mountain West and WAC.
8. Houston: The Cougars got off to a fast start with a big win over Northwestern State. Although the win came against an FCS team, it showed that the Cougars’ offense has not lost a step from last season and that it’s even added a couple new weapons. Whether the Cougars’ defense has made similar strides probably won’t be known until this weekend’s game against Oklahoma State.
9. Southern Miss: Even without star receiver DeAndre Brown, the Golden Eagles rolled to a season-opening 52-0 win against Alcorn State. And the challenge doesn’t get much more difficult this weekend against a Central Florida team that struggled against Samford. UAB is currently on top of C-USA and the Golden Eagles have a chance to join it.
10. Colorado State: This final spot could have gone to several teams, but the Rams earned it with a win over rival Colorado this weekend. Colorado State is a lot better than many thought and could actually make a little run in the Mountain West. At the very least, it could start the season 3-0 before it hits BYU.