OK the title might be a bit over the top, but the below list is from ESPN's college football Others blogger, Graham Watson. She has an early look of the non-BCS and independents very early outlook for 2009. Before we get into the Mountain West selections, why is Notre Dame number three? Where people that impressed with a 49-21 win over Hawai'i in the Hawai'i bowl, was it the seven wins they had on the year, could it be that their best win came over Navy who finished 8-5, wait I know it was their loss to Syracuse at home.
I understand that the University of College Football of America (thank you PTI) will be better, because they play weak schedule, but they will be better then Boise State or Nevada both teams which do have an offense.
Now to my real gripe, where is Utah!! This is a list for 2009, but they do bring back 9 starters on defense and one of the replacements was the number one rated JUCO prospect in the country, James Aiono who just happens to play the same position as Paul Kruger. Their offense does lose a lot with quarterback Brian Johnson, running back Darrell Mack and their top three wideouts.
However Matt Asiata who split time at running back is a bruiser and then there is Eddie Wide who would be a more true compliment to the running game then Mack and Asiata were. The quarterback race is open but realistically it will come down to Corbin Louks and JUCO transfer Terrance Cain with a small possibility of Jordan Wynn who graduated early to be in spring ball and DeVonte Christopher.
This list could be an attempt for the writer to garner comments and talk about it, so I guess I fell into the trap. This is ridiculous first off Utah is the third best team at worst in the MWC, which would automatically put them at sixth which is one spot ahead of Air Force. Placing Utah at five would be fine by me and most Utah fans, then there is BYU they always seem to trip up somewhere and have yet to meet the high expectations the past few years.
Their offense is very good and top three among non-BCS and top 20 nationally, but it is their defense that is the key to their success. If BYU had a stable defense then seeing them at two is no problem. My top five out of the non-BCS and independents would be like this:
2. Boise State
3. Southern Miss
5. Notre Dame (because of their schedule)
Here is the list below that prompted this article:
1. TCU -- The Horned Frogs finished the season as one of the top teams in the country, and with only a few personnel losses and several key additions, the Horned Frogs are going to be the top team to bring down the BCS this year. It helps that Jerry Hughes, the anchor of the nation's best rushing defense, is still on campus.
2. BYU -- Even with the loss of Austin Collie, the Cougars bring back a strong team that will be better for its experiences from 2008. And don't forget the addition of receiver McKay Jacobson, who is a similar playmaker to Collie. He and tight end Dennis Pitta will continue to give the Cougars strong offensive options.
3. Notre Dame -- With all the talent Notre Dame is bringing back and bringing in through recruiting, it's hard to imagine that this team isn't going to be better than it was in 2008. The Irish ended the season on a high note with a big win in Hawaii and the optimism was intensified with the signing of top recruit Manti Te'o. Now it's time to put it all together on the field.
4. Boise State -- The Broncos will be just as good as they were a year ago, but the loss of Jeremy Childs will force quarterback Kellen Moore to find a new favorite target and a couple of the receivers to step up in Childs' place. There's little doubt the Broncos will be the favorite to win the WAC, but it might have trouble against an Oregon team looking for revenge, and in their tilt at Tulsa.
5. East Carolina -- The Pirates were one of the best teams in the non-BCS last season, but were discounted because of a mid-season losing streak. A lot of the players who helped defeat Virginia Tech and West Virginia to begin the 2008 season return, and key additions at running back and defensive end should help the Pirates challenge for the C-USA title again.
6. Southern Miss -- The Golden Eagles started last season slowly as they got used to coach Larry Fedora, but with a year of this system under their belts and winning their last five to end the season, the Golden Eagles will be a team to watch next year. Not to mention the fact that Southern Miss brings back all of its skill players and has a couple nice additions on defense.
7. Air Force -- The Falcons were one of the youngest teams in the country last season, but still managed to exceed expectations and finish fourth in a tough Mountain West Conference. With Utah rebuilding, the Falcons will have a chance to crack into the top three of the conference and notch another eight-win season.
8. Central Michigan -- The Chippewas struggled a little bit last season and didn't play in the Mid-American Conference title game for the first time in the past couple years, but this is still a good team that now will have a solid senior nucleus. It needs to get quarterback Dan LeFevour help in the running game, but otherwise it should be the favorite to win the MAC.
9. Houston -- The Cougars lost a couple key players on defense, but the offense remains mostly intact and should get help from a decent class and some players coming back from injuries. Quarterback Case Keenum, who led the nation in total offense, is back as are most of his weapons. There's no doubt that he'll be back in the top of the total offense category once again.
10. Nevada -- The Wolf Pack will be one of the most dangerous rushing teams if running back Luke Lippincott, who missed last season with a torn ACL, receives a medical redshirt from the NCAA. That would take the pressure off quarterback Colin Kaepernick to run and he could focus on his passing, which was up and down all season. The only problem for Nevada is a tough non-conference schedule that includes games at Notre Dame and Colorado State, and at home against Missouri and UNLV.
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