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Best of spring in the non-AQs

The 12 teams profiled from the nonautomatic qualifying conferences all are expected to be at the top of their respective conferences. Here's a look at some of the superlatives for those teams:

Best position battle: The BYU quarterback battle probably is the most watched, not only among the non-AQs, but also around the country. The competition likely will come down to last season's backup, Riley Nelson, and highly touted true freshman Jake Heaps, and will determine whether the Cougars can make yet another appearance in the Top 25.

Best recovery from injury: Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish was supposed to miss spring ball because of knee surgery, which prompted coach Jerry Kill to reopen the quarterbacking competition. But Harnish made a miraculous recovery, didn't have surgery and participated in the back half of spring drills, including the spring game, in which he threw for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

Biggest surprise: One of the biggest surprises of the spring was the way Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore struggled. Moore has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in country throughout his short career, so his faltering during spring ball was a bit of a surprise. The Boise State coaches didn't seem too worried, though, and were fairly confident the issue wouldn't slip into fall camp.

Biggest drama: This honor belongs to BYU running back Harvey Unga, who voluntarily withdrew from school after violating the honor code. About a week later, coach Bronco Mendenhall told the media that Unga wanted back in, but now his fate rests with the BYU Honor Code Office, which could decide his infraction was enough to warrant expulsion.

Biggest surprise: Fresno State went into this spring looking for a replacement for All-American running back Ryan Mathews and found an unexpected leader in sophomore Robbie Rouse. Rouse, who rushed for 479 yards and four touchdowns last year, spent the offseason adding bulk to become an every-down back.

Best newcomer: Other than some of the young quarterbacks who have emerged this spring, Utah receiver Griffin McNabb could have the biggest impact among these 12 teams in 2010. McNabb, a walk-on, had five catches for 100 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown reception, during the Utes' spring game.