NCF Nation: Nordly Capi

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- It is a gorgeous day here in Colorado for Boise State's first game as a member of the Mountain West, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s.

The big question surrounding the Broncos, of course, is whether they will be long-term members of the Mountain West with so much speculation surrounding them. But there is a football game to be played, so here are a few keys:

1. As you saw in the pregame video -- what will the plan be to neutralize Nordly Capi? Capi is second in the nation with eight sacks, so we will see how the Broncos neutralize him.

2. Will Geraldo Boldewijn have a big game? Boldewijn played in his first game last week, with three catches for 33 yards and two touchdowns, and he is supposed to give the Broncos the deep threat they have been missing so far this season. Chris Petersen said earlier in the week, "I say this to take pressure off of him -- Geraldo’s caught 10 passes for us in the past year. It’s not like getting Austin Pettis or Titus Young back. He’s a young guy that’s a work in progress. But I thought he did well."

3. Boise State pass rush. The Broncos are generally one of the best in the country in this category, but only have nine sacks this season. Petersen was not too concerned when asked about that earlier in the week. "That's where numbers can lie to you," he said. "If you look at the overall numbers, a lot has to do with what those guys are doing up front."

MWC midseason overview

October, 10, 2011
The Mountain West knew 2011 would be a critical season. The league needed some pretty standout performances in this, the final year during the four-year qualification cycle for an automatic bid into the BCS.

[+] EnlargeKellen Moore
Brian Losness/US PresswireKellen Moore and Boise State have been a bright spot for the Mountain West this season.
But so far, Boise State is the only school that has done its part. The Broncos are undefeated and ranked No. 5. TCU, which started the season in the Top 25, is now unranked at 4-2. San Diego State and Air Force, two teams some thought could make some national noise this season, are 3-2. Mountain West teams are 2-8 against teams from AQ conferences so far this season.

New Mexico and UNLV have lost to FCS teams. The Lobos remain one of the worst teams in the nation, and fired coach Mike Locksley after an 0-4 start. They are one of three winless teams remaining.

If you are looking for good defense, you are going to have to look elsewhere. Six of the eight teams in the league rank No. 69 or worse in total defense. That includes four teams -- Air Force, Wyoming, UNLV and New Mexico -- ranked No. 106 or worse.

It appears more likely than ever that the Mountain West will fall short of meeting the three criteria to get an AQ bid for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. That means it would have to appeal to the presidential oversight committee for a waiver to become an AQ conference. Of course, conference realignment has made much of college football uncertain.

Commissioner Craig Thompson has talked to Conference USA about partnering up with football in an attempt to see whether this would help get an AQ bid. Though TCU is leaving the conference, its performance this season does count for the Mountain West. But if it is up to the presidential oversight committee to decide, it could weigh this huge factor: Utah, TCU and BYU are no longer in the league. Those three schools put the Mountain West on the map.

In any case, the Mountain West needs Boise State to keep doing its part as the second half of the season gets underway.

Offensive MVP: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State. Moore remains in the Heisman discussion one year after getting an invite to New York. Moore has thrown for 1,391 yards with 17 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Defensive MVP: Nordly Capi, DE, Colorado State. Capi is No. 2 in the nation with eight sacks, and has had a breakout season for the Rams. He also leads the nation with five forced fumbles. He set an NCAA record with four against New Mexico in the season opener.

Biggest surprise: Wyoming. OK, the Cowboys beat two FCS teams, but they already have surpassed their win total from last season at 3-2. True freshman Brett Smith has handled the starting quarterback duties well. The Cowboys are coming off a big loss to Utah State, so we’ll see how they finish up in the second half of the season.

Biggest disappointment: TCU defense. The Horned Frogs are not supposed to rebuild, they are supposed to reload, right? Well, quarterback Casey Pachall has been good in place of Andy Dalton. It’s the defense that has let the team down in two losses this season. That’s not expected of a team that has come to be known for its defense. But the Horned Frogs made huge strides in a win against San Diego State last week, a good sign moving forward.

Best game: Boise State 35, Georgia 21. The Broncos picked up their first win against an SEC team. It was a much needed one, not only to keep BCS hopes alive, but to continue to stay in the national conversation. Moore went 28-of-34 for 261 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, and the defense piled up six sacks.

Best coach: Chris Petersen, Boise State. The Broncos came into the season with high expectations once again, and they have been able to manage those and some off-field distractions, as three players have been forced to sit out because they violated NCAA rules. But they haven’t started conference play yet. That begins this week, so Boise State still has much to do to get back to a BCS game.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

September, 5, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference. The independents are selected by a national panel of writers.

Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 38-34 win over UCLA in his first game since tearing his ACL last year.

Defense: Cordarro Law, DL, Southern Miss. Had eight tackles (two solos) and added two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss in Southern Miss’ win over Louisiana Tech.

Special Teams: Robert Kelley, PR, Tulane. Set a school-record for kickoff return yards in his first game for the school, with 213 yards on seven returns.

Kriss Proctor, QB, Navy. Ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard scoring sprint on the third play from scrimmage, in a win over Delaware.

Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Recorded a career-high 12 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to USF. Floyd set the school record for career receptions and now has 183.

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU. With his team trailing 13-6, Van Noy caused a fumble that he also recovered, taking it 3 yards into the end zone for the decisive score in a 14-13 win over Ole Miss.

Special teams: Jon Teague, K, Navy. Set a career and Navy record with a 54-yard field goal. Teague added a 36-yard field goal and was 4-of-5 on extra points.

East Division

Offense: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple. Had 20 carries for 147 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns in a win over Villanova. Pierce became the third player in Temple history to record 10 games of 100 yards rushing.

Defense: Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green. Had tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and safety in a win over Idaho.

Special Teams: Travis Carrie, PR, Ohio. Had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 44-24 win at New Mexico State.

West Division

Offense: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois. Threw a career-high five touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and a score in a 49-26 victory over Army on Saturday.

Defense: Nathan Ollie, DT, Ball State. Had four tackles, including two sacks, in a 27-20 win over Indiana.

Special Teams: Ryan Casano, PK, Toledo. Made all three field goals and seven extra points for 16 points in a 58-22 win over New Hampshire.

Mountain West
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State. Completed 28-of-34 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 5 Boise State to a 35-21 win over No. 19 Georgia.

Defense: Nordly Capi, DE, Colorado State. Set a new NCAA single-game record with four forced fumbles in a 14-10 victory at New Mexico. His fourth forced fumble of the contest helped the Rams preserve their first conference victory. He added seven tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks .

Special teams: Greg McCoy, KR, TCU. Set a new TCU single-game record with 229 kick return yards a 50-48 loss at Baylor. His total ranks fourth in Mountain West history.

Sun Belt
T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU. Had 283 all-purpose yards, 12 shy of his own school record, in a win over North Texas. The 283 yards were the most by any player in the country in Week 1.

Defense: Eric Russell, DB, Middle Tennessee. Led the team with 13 tackles, including 11 solo, and got his first career sack in a loss at Purdue. He also had an interception and was the main kick and punt returner for the team.

Special Teams: Hendrix Brakefield, P, Western Kentucky. Averaged 44.6 yards per kick on eight punts in a loss to Kentucky. Of his eight punts, three went for over 50 yards -- including a 58 yarder. He also had two punts downed inside the 10.

Bryant Moniz, QB, Hawaii. Moniz completed 20-of-33 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown while adding a career-high 121 rushing yards on 14 carries with three more scores in a win over Colorado.

Defense: Paipai Falemalu, DL, Hawaii. Had six tackles (five solo), including three for a loss, in a win over Colorado.

Special teams: Taveon Rogers, KR, New Mexico State. Returned four kickoffs for 177 yards -- including a 97-yard touchdown -- in a loss to Ohio. Rogers had a total of 259 all-purpose yards.