Early today ESPN has been running a series in ranking the teams within each conference and the non-AQ teams were combined for a top 10 list. Well, to be nice the list is a joke.
1. Boise State. Broncos went 14-0 last season and return 21 starters.
2. TCU. Only loss last season was to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. Most starters return, including QB Andy Dalton.
3. Houston. QB Case Keenum is one of the best in the country. If the defense improves, watch out.
4. Navy. Ricky Dobbs should be a household name. The easy schedule could make this a record-setting season for the Middies.
5. Utah. Jordan Wynn returns, but the defense must be rebuilt.
6. Notre Dame. Brian Kelly should bring improvements to the Irish, but they are one year away from being a Top-25 team.
7. Middle Tennessee. Dwight Dasher makes Middle Tennessee a team to watch.
8. SMU. The Mustangs were one year ahead of schedule last season. Kyle Padron is back, and the offense should be high flying once again.
9. Temple. Bernard Pierce and the Owls are coming off a historic season, and the Owls shouldn't have a letdown in 2010.
10. Northern Illinois. Fifteen starters return, including first-team All-MAC RB Chad Spann and most of a defense that ranked No. 30 in the nation last season.
One and two are not questionable, but putting Houston at three is just plain wrong. If my memory serves me correctly Air Force who was the fourth best team in the Mountain West crushed Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. That same Air Force team picked off Case Keenum six times in a 47-20 win, so not sure how they can be the third best team in the non-AQ especially when loses include to SMU and East Carolina. Houston also is not even ranked in the coaches top 25 and was in the other receiving votes where Utah was in at 24th alongside West Virginia.
I am a fan of Navy and think they are a good team, but ahead of Utah? I think not and that may be the homer in me, but I think Utah would be able to beat Navy. Notre Dame is a questions mark and sixth is ok in my book, but two HUGE omissions from this list is BYU and Air Force.
First off BYU received votes in the coaches poll and had more then everyone on the list except for Utah, TCU, and Boise State all who are ranked in the polls. Houston was the closest by being behind BYU in the coaches poll. BYU and Air Force should be in the list. I have yet to get to the RIDICULOUS notion of Middle Tennessee State on this list. Yes, they won 10 games last year but they play in Sun Belt (sorry Sun Belt but it is true) and their best win in '09 was a mid level C-USA team in Southern Miss. While I think MTSU should be on the list but I would like to see anyone say with a straight face that they are better then BYU, Air Force, and other teams on the list.
Where is Nevada and their Pistol offense ran by Colin Kaepernick and the mad scientist head coach Chris Ault? This image alone should warrant them on the top 10 list. On a serious note Nevada is the only team in the WAC to give Boise State some trouble, and had three 1,000 yard rushers last year.
Now onto what a top 10 list of the non-BCS should look like.
- Boise State
- Air Force
- Northern Illinois
This list is tougher then one thoughts but I think this list is a good representation, plus I removed Notre Dame from consideration because they have special BCS rules so they do not belong. I just do not buy SMU and yes I know they crushed Nevada in their bowl game last year; it is just a gut feeling to remove them from the list.
Northern Illinois does have a history of good teams so they get the benefit of the doubt, and I am hesitant to put Temple on the list, but Al Golden is a stud.
Go ahead and make your own list, and rip mine or the one that ESPN put out.