Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Those Other Teams

Who will be the best non-BCS/independent/mid-majors in 2009?
I didn't want to spend my time ranking the non-BCS conference, so I just considered the rest of teams all together and pulled out the ones I saw having the most success in the coming season. Believe me, this is not an exciting prospect, which means you won't be getting a lot of info today. I'll talk a bit about the teams who could realistically compete for high rankings, but the rest of the top-10 will be fleshed out with a basic list. I mean, I don't mind discussing TCU and Notre Dame, but I'm not researching the Troys and Tulsas of the world. Why? Because I'm incredibly lazy and my real job has started up again.

1. Notre Dame - While technically a BCS school, the Irish are relegated to coverage here due to having no conference affiliation. They return 9 on offense, 6 on defense, 100 starts on the O-line and play a schedule comparable to Penn State's. However, they lack the Lions' overall talent. Clausen is overrated, possibly due to undercoaching, but has a supporting cast that can pick up the slack and the D should be stout enough to withstand the likes of powerhouses (sarcasm) Washington and Washington State. Look for the Irish to get tested early by a scrappy Nevada team, a tough Sparty, and get outright crushed by USC, en route to a 10 win season and a probable BCS bid.

ND starting QB Jimmy Clausen...nice job at development, Weis.

2. Boise State - Here they go again. The Broncos have a great shot at undefeated, with Oregon looking like the only true test on he schedule. Despite having only 10 starters back, there's more than enough coaching and talent in Boise to keep the Broncs well ahead of Nevada. While I do not think this team is as good as TCU, they're more likely to get a BCS nod with the easy road ahead of them. If they knock off Oregon (which I'm not sold on) all they have to do is watch the upset all the way to Tempe.

3. TCU - This is easily the best non-BCS team in the nation and could realistically compete in every conference. I was tempted to include the Mountain West in the conference blasts, but when faced with the Wyomings and New Mexicos of the league just gave up. Anyway, the Horned Frogs have a chance to run the table, despite 2 BCS games on the road(VA, Clemson). Because of that, I'll call for them to win their conference again, securing it with a win at BYU on October 24. But, don't look for a BCS bowl, as Boise State will probably get an at large bid (again) and there's no way 2 of these guys will make it.

4. BYU - The Cougs are making a case by playing 2 BIG games this year: Oklahoma and Florida State, and might even win one of them. Max Hall is a good QB with insane numbers and Unga's a solid back, there's only 2 other starters coming back with them. Defensively, they return 8, but D's not exactly the strong suite in Provo. They'll most likely win 9 or 10 games, but their homecoming will be ruined by TCU.

5. Utah - Not this year, Utes. I see losses at Oregon, TCU and BYU, but will most likely win eight or nine games en route to a bowl game.

6. Troy - The men of little-"t" Troy again look to increase credibility by playing 2 SEC schools.

7. ECU - I guess it runs in the family.

8. Nevada - Fear the Pistol...I'm looking at you, Notre Dame.

9. UTEP - Mike Price, Baby!

10. Central Michigan - Remember: LeFevour's still here.

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