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ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

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ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

1.  Boise State: The Broncos have a chance to get the buzz rolling early when they host Oregon. Last season, an incredibly young BSU team went to Autzen Stadium and knock off the Ducks. Almost the entire Bronco team is back and they all figure to be better, especially sophomore QB Kellen Moore. If BSU gets by Oregon, it's all way downhill from there. They go to Fresno State (BSU has won 7 of 8 against the Bulldogs by an average of 24 ppg). The next toughest hurdles would be at Tulsa and at La. Tech and a home game with Nevada. That schedule is good IF Boise beats Oregon. If not, they could win the rest, going 11-1 and still not be a top 15 team.


2.  BYU: There is a lot to like about this year's Cougars team. Start with experienced QB Max Hall, a physical running game led by Harvey Unga, some big-play potential now that speedy WR McKay Jacobsen is back, a salty defense led by DE Jan Jorgensen (the MWC's all-time sacks leader) and their two toughest conference games, against TCU and Utah are both at home. The bad news: They have to play mighty Oklahoma in their opener in Arlington, Texas. They also have to face FSU. I think the Cougars can beat the Noles, but I don't like their chances against the Sooners. Still 11-1 against this schedule, which should include four top 25 opponents, is more than respectable. And, if they upset the Sooners, then run the table while OU goes on to win the Big 12, BYU would have a legit shot at playing for the BCS title. That's a lot of pressure on a suspect O-line especially since OU might have the country's top D-line.


3.  Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles are back and have a bunch of players that would be starting in the SEC. If phenom WR DeAndre Brown is going to be back to 100 by mid-summer as Larry Fedora expects, USM will have a dynamic offense. Sophomore QB Austin Davis has a bunch of playmakers around him and the O-line is all back. Defensively, Fedora has his entire D-line back and they get a big infusion of size and athleticism in DLs Willie Packer and Joel Ross and DE/OLB Scottie Williams. The road schedule won't be easy though with games at Kansas, Louisville, Houston and ECU. Still, USM might have more talent than any of them. Still that's four road games against solid competition. Maybe they can afford one slip and still get to a BCS game.


4.  Houston: Kevin Sumlin is a rising star in the coaching business and his team should be dangerous this season. QB Case Keenum is an underrated gem with wonderful pocket presence and is just one of those undersized Texas-bred quarterbacks who lights up the scoreboard all season. He has a lot of speed around him and UH imported some talented JC O-linemen. The D does have a lot of holes to fill but UH is going to win a lot of shootouts. Their game at Oklahoma State could be a 70-55 kind of affair. Then, UH gets a week off before hosting Texas Tech where Mike Leach protégé UH offensive coordinator Dana Holgersen gets to try and take down his mentor. The Cougs have the talent to keep both games very interesting. Road trips to Tulsa and UTEP also will be worth watching. Ten wins might seem like a lot but I think it's very realistic and would get them into the top 25.


5.  TCU: This might be Gary Patterson's fastest team. Once again, they should be nasty on defense and junior QB Andy Dalton has some capable weapons to work with. The middle of the D is new, but Patterson says its going to be more athletic than it was last year. They have to go to Virginia, Clemson and BYU and get Utah at home. Going 10-2 might not be good enough for a BCS spot, but they might have enough speed to get to 11 wins.


6.  ECU: After making a big early-season splash last season the Pirates fizzled. QB Patrick Pinkney is back again and will need to be much more consistent. He does have his entire O-line back and RB Dominique Lindsay is also back after missing 2008 with a knee injury. On D, five of the team's top six tacklers are back. But it's hard to be too optimistic when you see what awaits them in the non-conference schedule: at WVU and at UNC in consecutive weeks and later in the season they host a Va. Tech team that might be in the top five.


7.  Utah: I expect the Utes to take a step back this season. Bruising RB Matt Asiata is back, but not that much of the offense from last season joins him. The D again should be tough. I do wonder how much they'll miss star specialist Louie Sakoda, though. They also have three rough road games: at Oregon; at TCU and at Utah. I'd be stunned if they win two of those three.


8.  Central Michigan: The Chips have a borderline Heisman hopeful in Dan LeFevour and they have a lot of experience around him. They can also make some noise with road wins at Arizona and Michigan State to open the season. I don't think it's out of the question to expect that given both of those teams are breaking in new QBs and LeFevour and Co. have a lot of seasoning from playing in some hostile places. Another hurdle will be playing at BC, but the Eagles too have to establish a new QB and they lost a ton of talent on D. Having said all of that it's so hard for any MAC team to crash a BCS bowl. These guys can't afford anything less than an unbeaten season.


9.  FAU: The Sun Belt doesn't get much respect, but the league's talent level is improving every year and they generally schedule some real heavyweights out of conference. I think Troy has the best chance to win this league, but the Trojans have to go to Florida and that's too steep for them. FAU, which returns a proven winner in QB Rusty Smith and his top seven receivers, is capable of winning the league and putting up a lot of points on anyone on their schedule. Their toughest two non-conference games are at Nebraska and at South Carolina. I think they'd be very fortunate to win one of those two especially since the Owls have to replace their top six tackles from 2008. Still, they have a much better shot taking down the Huskers and Cocks than Troy does winning at UF. Troy also has to go play an improving Arkansas team on the road as well.


10.  Nevada: The Pack are a long, long shot but they are a fun team to watch. Lanky QB Colin Kaepernick is a little like a cross between Robert Griffin and Terrelle Pryor. He's also got a few quality RBs to balance out the offense some. Their D-line's also pretty good. Schedule wise, they'd need a lot of help. They open at Notre Dame, which I think is going to be improved. The problem is if Nevada upsets them in the opener. Chances are no one will put any stock in the Irish again the rest of the season and that would de-value the win quite a bit. They host Mizzou, which figures to be down. If they win those and come into the final game at Boise where both somehow are unbeaten and pull the upset, that would get Nevada into a BCS bowl, but I think that's highly unlikely. Going 10-2 is still probably on the north side of optimistic.


Source:  espn.com

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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

I'd love to see it happen, but I'm going to take the wait and see approach. I think we're all underestimating Nebraska. I do agree that Troy won't beat UF at UF but don't sleep on them beating Arkansas. Arkansas may be improved but so is Troy. Even if we lose both BCS games this season as long as we do what we have to do in the belt I wouldn't be upset. We have the offense to run the table in the 'Belt just have to see what the D has to say for themselves

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

I think Nebraska and USC are under-estimating us. I think the beginning of last year was a wake up call. Alot of proud seniors on this squad and I think they know that this could be the next step in our program. I have a good feeling going into those first few games....

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

Jab979 said

I'd love to see it happen, but I'm going to take the wait and see approach. I think we're all underestimating Nebraska. I do agree that Troy won't beat UF at UF but don't sleep on them beating Arkansas. Arkansas may be improved but so is Troy. Even if we lose both BCS games this season as long as we do what we have to do in the belt I wouldn't be upset. We have the offense to run the table in the 'Belt just have to see what the D has to say for themselves

arkansas did improve as you could see with that final game at lsu.

might i ask why you say you feel that the owls fans are under estimating nebraska?

i just want something to talk about honest.
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

unfortunately this is bulletin board material, and will make Nebraska and SC reconsider underestimating us
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

Nunzio42 said

unfortunately this is bulletin board material, and will make Nebraska and SC reconsider underestimating us

If Nebraska would need bulletin board material to get up for their first game of the season then they are pathetic.  Maybe if we were hidden in the middle of their schedule, but I don't expect us to catch them off guard in any way.  The only way we win is if we are better on that day not because they were not ready or taking us lightly.
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

vuren said

Jab979 said

I'd love to see it happen, but I'm going to take the wait and see approach. I think we're all underestimating Nebraska. I do agree that Troy won't beat UF at UF but don't sleep on them beating Arkansas. Arkansas may be improved but so is Troy. Even if we lose both BCS games this season as long as we do what we have to do in the belt I wouldn't be upset. We have the offense to run the table in the 'Belt just have to see what the D has to say for themselves

arkansas did improve as you could see with that final game at lsu.

might i ask why you say you feel that the owls fans are under estimating nebraska?

i just want something to talk about honest.

I feel we're underestimating Nebraska because in the past few years they haven't been a good football team. The so called "experts" have them as a ranked team to start the season. In the past we always got our hopes high oh we can beat Texas, we can beat Michigan State (if not for the holding call on Gent, we may have done so). I feel that Nebraska is a much improved team and they will come out ready to show everyone that Nebraska football is back.

I'm not saying FAU doesn't have a shot in hell, it'll just be a tough game and until we can prove we can beat a BCS team especially on the road I'm going to have to go with Nebraska

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

They had a pretty darn solid team last season…

But not in agreement with the "experts" on being ranked pre-season that high whatsoever…need to prove that first!

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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

Who's underestimating them??? They're freaking Nebraska, there is no question that they are better than we are. Can we beat them? I suppose but anyone that thinks we have anything more than an outside shot at beating them is delusional.

Lets worry about not finishing 4th (where we're slated to finish) or worst in the SunBelt before we go on about beating Big Red.
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Re: ESPN's Top 10 potential BCS busters

Can always count on TeamBeer for the grounded reality check ;D

Any thought on the initial line guys??

Leaning towards - 17 here…
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