Tag Archives: Boise State Broncos

College Football Preview – Week 4

All times Central

For the foreseeable future my Saturdays in the fall are consumed by college football. I often include a second, and sometimes third screen in my day, and this year will be no exception. Be that as it may, I figured a good way to preview the college football weekends would be to go through the day and say what I plan to watch on each screen.

Thursday, September 19th

Evening

Main Screen
Clemson at NC State (6:30 pm/ESPN) – The Solid Verbal podcast coined the phrase “Clemsoning” which basically is when Clemson loses a game they shouldn’t lose. This is probably one of those games. On the road, on Thursday night against an NC State team they should have no trouble with. NC State has beat no one of note, but night road games can get tough.

Friday, September 20th

Evening

Main Screen
Boise St. at Fresno St. (8 pm/ESPN) – Boise St. lost to Washington in week 1, and that loss might not look too bad in a couple of weeks, but outside of a late October road game against BYU they don’t have any other games to make a statement in. Some are of the belief that the new playoff system will benefit schools like Boise St., but that seems unlikely. Meanwhile, this is literally the only game on Friday night.

Saturday, September 21st

Morning

Main Screen
North Carolina at Georgia Tech (11 am/ESPN) – This is an absolutely brutal weekend in college football, with almost nothing to get excited about. This is the only morning game that features two schools from AQ conferences, and it happens to be an ACC Coastal division game. The winner of this likely becomes the #2 contender behind Miami in that division.

Second Screen
Florida A&M at Ohio St. (11 am/BTN – If you must torture yourself with a second game, this is sadly the best you are going to find. It sounds like Braxton Miller is going to play, and he could use some stat padding to get back in the Heisman race. This one will be ugly.

Afternoon

Main Screen
Michigan St. at Notre Dame (2:30 pm/NBC) – Things pick up a bit in the afternoon. Neither of these teams has looked very good in the early part of the season so far, but this game is going to be big for one of these teams to make a statement. Notre Dame needs to bounce back from barely beating Purdue and Michigan St. needs to beat someone who might win 7 games this season.

Second Screen
Tennessee at Florida (2:30 pm/CBS) – Florida is coming off a bye week after a tough loss at Miami. It’s time to start conference play and this one shouldn’t be too difficult. Florida still has plenty of time to win the SEC, and after a bye week this should be a cakewalk.

Third Screen
Purdue at Wisconsin (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – Wisconsin is coming off the controversial, heartbreaking loss to Arizona St. Purdue took Notre Dame deep into the 4th quarter before losing it. Wisconsin has to bounce back and get their first conference win. Purdue should be happy just to keep it close.

Evening

Main Screen
Arizona St at Stanford (6 pm/Fox) – The de-facto game of the day. It’s both teams first conference game, and since Stanford has aspirations of making the National Championship they probably need to win this home game. ASU is playing with house money after getting some help from the refs against Wisconsin. Assuming Gus Johnson will have the call this one should be crazy.

Second Screen
Auburn at LSU (6:45 pm/ESPN) – SEC football always has potential. LSU looks like the team that everyone overlooked in the preseason. They need to not look ahead to Georgia next week and win this one. Night games in Death Valley are always very tough for the road team, but Auburn has beaten both Washington St. and Mississippi St. already, so this is one that could be closer than it looks.

Third Screen
Michigan at Connecticut (7:00 pm/ABC) – Favorite team bias? Probably, but after Michigan nearly crapped the bed at home against Akron last week they must bounce back. UConn is 0–2 including an embarrassing home loss to Towson. It’s already been pointed out that night road games are hard, but if Michigan loses this they clearly aren’t the team people thought after beating Notre Dame.

Did I miss any games you will be watching?

Mack Brown’s Possible Replacements

UPDATE (Sept. 10th 2013): There is a new version of this post for the 2013 season.

Darren Rovell tweeted Mack Brown’s buyout over the weekend. This after Brown’s Texas Longhorns suffered their second straight loss in an absolute beatdown at the hands of rival Oklahoma. After losing the National Championship to Alabama at the end of the 2009 season Texas went 5-7 and 8-5 (although only 4-5 in the Big 12 that second season). Despite a National Championship in 2005, and back-to-back one loss seasons, Longhorn fans have apparently had enough. This is of course ludicrous, but what else is new. Brown is owed a ridiculous amount of money over the rest of his contract, but can be bought out for just $3.5M this year, and it goes down each subsequent year. That latter point is what makes me think they are in no hurry to replace him, but it’s still fun to speculate.

Texas is a “destination job”. In other words, it basically means that the coach of this school wouldn’t leave to be the coach somewhere else (besides the NFL) unless he was fired. There are probably about a dozen schools that fall into this category besides Texas. Notre Dame, USC, Ohio St., Alabama, Oklahoma and Florida are no brainers. Michigan, Florida St., LSU, Georgia and maybe Penn St. probably are in the conversation as well. What is really means, is that almost no one would turn this job down.

I have comprised a list of 10 guys I think could get be on Texas’ radar, assuming they wouldn’t hire either of their top two assistants (Manny Diaz and Major Applewhite), which they might.

Art Briles – Baylor Head Coach

Art Briles is 56 and is a Texas native. He has coached in Texas his entire life, starting with high schools before being an assistant at Texas Tech for just two seasons. He then served as Houston’s head coach from 2003-2007. He has been the head coach in Waco for five seasons. This is a good way to summarize his success there:

Briles has won 13 Big 12 conference games in his four years as head coach. Baylor had won only 11 Big 12 conference games in the 12 seasons preceding his arrival.

Briles signed an extension last December with a significant pay bump, but I can’t find the years or buyout. It’s not likely that any buyout will be an issue for a school like Texas but you never know.

Mark Dantonio – Michigan St. Head Coach

Mark Dantonio is also 56, but grew up in Ohio and has no ties to Texas. It’s unclear to me whether he was ever a candidate for the Ohio St. job last year, but if he was he didn’t go for it. He is in his 6th season at Michigan St. and is coming off two 11-win seasons and two top 15 finishes.

Dantonio signed an extension last fall and has a $3.5M buyout and basically has a “lifetime” contract now because it includes an athletic department position after he retires.

It’s pretty say to say that he isn’t going anywhere, but Texas might kick the tires.

Pat Fitzgerald – Northwestern Head Coach

Pat Fitzgerald is 37 and one of the younger head coaches in the country. He has been Northwestern’s head coach since 2006 and it’s the only head coaching job he has had. He grew up outside of Chicago, went to Northwestern and is probably their greatest player ever. He is just a few wins shy of most coaching wins in team history in just his 7th season. He has taken them to four straight bowl games and a couple of winning Big Ten records.

Fitzgerald supposedly took his name out of the race for both the Notre Dame and Penn St. openings. I can’t see a situation where he would pass those up but consider Texas. He has no ties there either. It seems like an incredible longshot, but because of his age he is going to be a candidate for big time jobs for a while.

Al Golden – Miami Head Coach

Al Golden is 43 and in his second year as Miami’s (FL) head coach. He went to college at Penn St. and was an assistant on the east coast for a few years before taking the head job at Temple. If Golden had stayed one more year at Temple he likely would have been a lock to take the Penn St. job this past winter. Instead he muddled through a 6-6 first season and is 4-3 so far this season.

With all of the sanctions and issues at Miami, few would blame him for jumping ship. He has just three years remaining after this season, and if nothing else, could parlay a Texas offer into an extension at Miami. I think he would at least consider the job.

Dana Holgorsen – West Virginia Head Coach

Dana Holgorsen controversially took over at West Virginia when Bill Stewart was forced out. He is 41 and has no direct ties to Texas. He was an assistant at Texas Tech from 2000-2007, as well as two years at Houston as offensive coordinator. He just signed a six year contract in August of last year and might not want to move laterally to another Big 12 school with as much as he is being paid. With everything that led to his hiring, it seems unlikely he is at a point where he would leave, but he would have to give it some thought.

Chip Kelly – Oregon Head Coach

Chip Kelly grew up in New Hampshire and hasn’t coached anywhere but there and Oregon. He was Oregon’s offensive coordinator for just two seasons before getting the big job. All he has done so far is win three Pac 12 titles and a Rose Bowl, and lost one National Championship team. He is 6-0 so far this season.

Even now, it’s hard to call Oregon a destination job, but in a few years Kelly could make it that. There were rumors Kelly was in the hunt for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, and might even have backed out at the last minute. At only 48, he will likely get more NFL offers. At this point, I think that is the only thing he leaves for. He has a good gig at Oregon, and the expectations would be higher at Texas, where he would basically be starting over.

Dan Mullen – Mississippi State Head Coach

Dan Mullen is 40 years old and grey up in New Hampshire. He doesn’t have any Texas ties either, and after following Urban Meyer around, including being Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Florida, he took the Mississippi St. job in 2009. He has had good success there in three seasons, including two bowl wins. His team is 6-0 right now and could have a big season ahead of them. Long term though, it’s hard to see Mississippi St. as a big time program. Mullen’s coaching history doesn’t point to any obvious “dream jobs”. If offered the Texas job, I wonder if he could turn it down.

Will Muschamp – Florida Head Coach

Will Muschamp is 41 and grew up in Gainesville Florida. He played at Georgia and has been an assistant at several places in the SEC. He was also Texas’s defensive coordinator for three seasons. He was also named Mack Brown’s eventual successor before deciding to take the Florida job last year instead. He has the Gators off to a surprising 6-0 start and already back on the map. It would seem crazy that he would go back to Texas at this point, especially since Florida is a destination job itself. I would assume he wouldn’t be interested.

Chris Petersen – Boise St. Head Coach

Chris Petersen is 48 and has had ridiculous success at Boise St. His name comes up for every job and time and time again he seems to turn it down. He grew up in California and spent some time as an Oregon assistant. They won WAC titles in 4 out of the 5 seasons they were a part of it. He is 4-2 in bowl games and is off to a 5-1 start despite losing star QB Kellen Moore. Petersen signed a very lucrative extension in February. He is exceptionally well paid, and with the move to the Big East, he is finally in a bigger conference. He wasn’t interested in the UCLA job, but this might be the biggest job opportunity he could have had. I still find it hard to believe he won’t try something else at some point. This might be too good to pass up.

Charlie Strong – Louisville Head Coach

Charlie Strong is 52 and one of the hot coaching names out there right now. It’s very likely he will take a step up at some point. Strong grew up in Arkansas and played at Central Arkansas. He has had four separate stints as a Florida assistant, including a recent 8 year run as defensive coordinator. He has had success at Louisville so far, including a Big East title in 2011. He already has his team off to a 6-0 start this season, which means he could have his best season ever before this is all over. Anything can happen between now and the winter, but he has to be at the top of Arkansas’ wish list. Since he has roots there, he might prefer that job to Texas anyway.

Who Will It Be?

It’s too early to know if Texas would actually release Mack Brown sometime this year, but it’s definitely possible. If it happens this year, I think Dan Mullen would be my pick as the top outside candidate. Art Briles has good Texas ties as well, and I would think he would also be a serious contender. If Chris Petersen would actually leave Boise St. he would be in the running as well. And if Charlie Strong was somehow not offered the Arkansas job, he would have to be a serious option too.

College Football – Week 4 Preview

All times Central

For the foreseeable future my Saturdays in the fall are consumed by college football. I often include a second, and sometimes third screen in my day, and this year will be no exception. Be that as it may, I figured a good way to preview the college football weekends would be to go through the day and say what I plan to watch on each screen.

Thursday, September 20th

Evening

Main Screen
BYU at Boise St. (8 pm/ESPN) – BYU lost against Utah last week and really only have 2-3 games left against quality opponents (Oregon St., @ND, @GaTech). This is a big game for them to earn some respectability. Now that they are independent they don’t have much else to play for. This could be Boise St.’s toughest game until the season finale at Nevada and would go a long way towards giving them a shot at 11-1.

Friday, September 21st

Evening

Main Screen
Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe (7 pm/ESPN) – This game wasn’t on anyone’s radar three weeks ago, but then ULM went out and beat Arkansas, and took Auburn into OT before losing. Baylor hasn’t been challenged yet, but with a tough stretch starting next week (@WVU, TCU, @UT) this is what they call a trap game. Should be a good one

Saturday, September 22nd

Morning

Main Screen
Maryland at West Virginia (11 am/FX) – An extremely fought slate of morning games. Maryland barely got by William & Mary before beating Temple and then losing a close one to UConn. West Virginia has just bludgeoned two bad teams and look very good. They are the only top 10 team playing in the morning time slot and could hang 70 on Maryland.

Second Screen
Kentucky at Florida (11 am/ESPN3) – Like I said, rough morning slate. This is the only conference game of note, and it’s the SEC, so what the heck…Florida should roll, although it’s hard to figure out if they are that good or Tennessee is that bad. Florida is playing LSU next, but not for two weeks so not much chance of a trap here.

Third Screen
UTEP vs. Wisconsin (11 am/ESPN2) – It’s not just that Wisconsin is 2-1 with two scares against Northern Iowa and Utah St., it’s that they look really bad doing it. Their offense has been nonexistent. UTEP is not very good either, but their two losses are against Oklahoma and at Ole Miss. This game makes the cut if nothing else because Wisconsin needs to get going before they go to Nebraska next week.

Afternoon

Main Screen
Missouri at South Carolina (2:30 pm/CBS) – SEC West showdown. Most people think South Carolina is overrated and has only climbed to #7 because of their preseason ranking. Missouri is coming to play, but this game is in Columbia. Should be a good one either way.

Second Screen
Oregon St. at UCLA (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – Things drop off quick. Oregon St. has only played once thanks to their cancelled opened and an early bye week. UCLA has looked good in three wins but Houston and Rice look bad. Oregon St. had an extra week to prepare and should at least keep it close for a while.

Third Screen
Temple at Penn St. (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – It was really hard to pick a third game. Temple has played Penn St. close the last few years, and is coming off a bye week. Penn St. looked good last week as they finally got their first win, but it was against a one-dimensional Navy team that hasn’t looked good so far.

Evening

Main Screen
Clemson at Florida St. (7 pm/ABC) – The night slot is filled with solid games. This game not only feature the cream of the ACC crop, but division foes. The winner of this one games a huge advantage in the ACC Atlantic and likely becomes a true contender for the National Championship. FSU hasn’t been challenged yet and have outscored opponents 176-3 (!) in their three games. Clemson narrowly escaped Auburn before steamrolling Ball St. and Furman. This is the biggest game for either team all season.

Second Screen
Kansas St. at Oklahoma (6:50 pm/Fox) – The Big 12 is probably underrated right now. They have 5 teams in the top 25 and the loser of this will need some major help to win the conference. Oklahoma hasn’t been challenged, but is coming off a bye week which is usually huge. Kansas St. has looked really good so far, and they are probably underrated. This should be a good one.

Third Screen
Michigan at Notre Dame (6:30 pm/NBC) – This one is number one in my house, but doesn’t involve as high of stakes as the other two games. Notre Dame has looked as good as they have in years, and after beating Michigan St. on the road last week they are in real good shape. They have an insane schedule left but they still can’t afford to lose this early. Michigan hasn’t beaten a real opponent so far, and have a bye next week before two winnable Big Ten games. This is a huge one for them to gain some momentum and confidence and a chance to play their in-state rival with a 5-1 record.

Did I miss any games you will be watching?

College Football – Week 1 Preview

All times Central

For the foreseeable future my Saturdays in the fall are consumed by college football. I often include a second, and sometimes third screen in my day, and this year will be no exception. Be that as it may, I figured a good way to preview the college football weekends would be to go through the day and say what I plan to watch on each screen.

Thursday, August 30th

Evening

Main Screen
South Carolina at Vanderbilt (6:00 pm/ESPN) – The season starts with a bang as #9 South Carolina travels to Vanderbilt for an SEC conference game the first night of the season. Vanderbilt is never very good, but it’s still tough to open the season on the road in SEC. This is a pretty impressive opening night game.

Checking in on It’s unlikely I will go with multiple screens on Thursday, but these are games I will keep an eye on

- (6:30 pm/ESPNU) Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech – A&M moves to the SEC and Louisiana Tech is the reigning WAC champ. Don’t sleep on this as the first upset of the season This game has been moved to October 13th due to Hurricane Isaac.

Friday, August 31st

Evening

Main Screen
Boise St. at Michigan St. (7 pm/ESPN) – The first (and one of just a couple in week 1) top 25 vs. top 25 games of the season. A good test for this Michigan St. team that people are thinking is in the hunt for the Big 10 championship. Their defense is supposed to be stalwart and this is a good test.

Second Screen
NC State vs. Tennessee (6:30 pm/ESPNU) – Both these teams are just on the outside of the top 25 and both are trying to prove early they are conference title contenders. NC State is in the tough ACC Atlantic division with Florida St. and Clemson. Tennessee is in the slightly weaker of the SEC divisions, the East, where they are trying to prove they are on the upswing and hope keep coach Derek Dooley his job.

Saturday, September 1st

Early Morning

Main Screen
Navy vs. Notre Dame (8 am/CBS) – Thanks to the decision to play this game in Dublin, Ireland, college football fans can get their day started 3 hours earlier than normal. As a Michigan fan, I am looking forward to Notre Dame getting beat in week 1. Some of their key players are out and Navy is not only a tough matchup but usually a pretty solid team. Somehow Notre Dame is a double digit favorite.

Morning

Main Screen
Northwestern at Syracuse (11 am/ESPN2) – The morning slate of games is rough. With no Michigan (for me) or intra-conference games, this is probably the non-conference game with the biggest names. I am a casual Northwestern fan and will likely watch this game most intently of any of the morning options.

Second Screen
Ohio at Penn St. (11 am/ESPN) – This game will be interesting for lots of reasons, especially to see how Penn St. handles their first game post-everything. Ohio is coached by former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich and won 10 games last season. They are no slouch. Penn St. needs to get off to a good start.

Third Screen
Miami (OH) vs. Ohio St. (11 am/BTN) – While I hope to see a huge upset here, I am not counting on it. Instead I am hoping to use this as an excuse to test out the BTN2GO app.

Afternoon

Main Screen
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois (2:30 pm/ESPNU) – Unfortunately the afternoon doesn’t get a lot better. There is some appeal to this game because 1) There’s a Big Ten team. 2) There’s an Illinois team. 3) It’s at Soldier Field.

Second Screen
Miami at Boston College (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – More week 1 conference action, this time in the ACC. Miami is on the cusp of NCAA sanctions so they might not be eligible for the postseason before the season finishes. In the meantime, they are probably the #2 team in the ACC Coastal division so this is an important game for them.

Third Screen
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin (2:30 pm/BTN) – Should be a blowout but we will see if Monte Ball can get his Heisman campaign going in week 1. Also, another potential chance for BTN2GO app.

Evening

Main Screen
Alabama vs. Michigan (7 pm/ABC) – Unquestionably the game of the weekend, especially for me as Michigan fan. GameDay will be there and the game is at Cowboys Stadium. Michigan needs to prove they are legit and Alabama needs to prove they are the best team in the SEC (for now).

Second Screen
Auburn vs. Clemson (6 pm/ESPN) – Another neutral site, non-conference, big time program game. Auburn desperately needs to bounce back from a 4-4 SEC record. Clemson should be one of the three (or so) favorites in the ACC and needs to take the leap to big-time program and stop shooting themselves in the foot.

Third Screen
Hawaii at USC (6:30 pm/Fox) – Should be a blowout, but as Chris and I both picked USC to win the National Championship it will be interesting to see if they are as good on offense as we think they will be.

Did I miss any games you will be watching?

Boise St.’s Path to the BCS Championship

I am sure I am not the first person to write this story, but I was curious what it would likely take for Boise St. to end up in the BCS Championship game, and so I did some homework to try and figure it out.

Boise St. is currently one of six unbeaten teams and ranks 5th in the BCS Standings. They will need some help to get to the BCS Championship and here are the teams I think could finish ahead of them.

1a. LSU

Definitely a team that controls it’s own destiny. Winning out assures it a spot. (Remaining Games: @Bama, W. Kent., @Miss, Ark, SEC Championship)

1b. Alabama

See above. These two teams play each other so it can only be one of them. In my opinion, there is virtually zero chance of a rematch of these two teams (LSU, @Miss St, GA Southern, @Auburn, SEC Championship)

2. Oklahoma St.

Because of where they are in the standings and their remaining schedule, they likely control their own destiny as well, and shouldn’t need any help if they win out. (KS State, @TTech, @Iowa St, OK)

3a. Stanford

Needs OK St. to lose I would think. I suppose if Stanford blows out remaining opponents and OK St. doesn’t there is a chance it could change. Pac 12 Championship helps. (@OR St, Oregon, Cal, ND, P12 Championship)

3b. Oregon

The dark horse that I think people are overlooking. Only loss was Week 1 vs. LSU and they have been shellacking people lately. If LSU wins out, Oregon upsets Stanford and wins Pac 12, they will move up and have a case. (@Wash, @Stanford, USC, OR St.)

4. Oklahoma

I feel less confident that the Sooners can get ahead of Boise St., but I think it’s possible. Their ranking is completely dependent on two things, how well do Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas St. close out the season, and how badly do they beat OK St. on the road in the last game. They could easily win their next three games by a combined 150 points, so they are capable of making a statement, but they also lost their starting RB. (TAMU, @Baylor, Iowa St, @OK St)

5a. Arkansas

I know I am starting to sound insane at this point but hear me out. Arkansas is 7th in the BCS and 8th in both polls. They still play South Carolina and to LSU. If Alabama somehow loses twice, Arkansas can win the SEC West. A one-loss SEC champ who beat LSU and South Carolina (possibly twice) is appealing. (S Car, Tenn, Miss St, @LSU, SEC Championship).

5b. South Carolina

Don’t give up reading yet, I am not crazy. South Carolina is ranked 9th in the BCS and 10th in both polls. They still play at Arkansas and home against Florida and Clemson. They control their own destiny in the SEC East and if Clemson has just one loss for that last game, it will be worth something. If they then defeat an undefeated LSU/Bama in the SEC Championship they could take a big leap. (@Ark, Florida, Citadel, Clemson, SEC Championship)

What Does It All Mean?

The voters are fickle, and a 1-loss SEC champ, even if it’s South Carolina or Arkansas will garner some high votes. Oklahoma is a big name school that still has an opportunity for a big road win to close out the season. Boise St.’s biggest win is likely behind them, meaning they will need some help. How much help is yet to be determined, but my personal take is that Boise St. needs a lot.

What I Learned in College Football Week 1

Here are five things I learned in week 1 of the college football season:

1. Year-to-Year Turnover in College Football is Spiteful

With graduations and other attrition, things change in college football at a much faster rate than in the pros. TCU came into the season ranked #14 but lost on the road to Baylor, despite a mighty comeback. Defending National Champs Auburn started the season ranked 23rd but needed to recover an onside kick and score twice in the last 2:07 to avoid a week 1 upset at home. Both teams had new starters at quarterback and ran into some issues. Neither should be ranked this week, but both probably will.

2. LSU is Still Very Good

Despite suspending starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and WR/RB Russell Shepard, LSU rolled into Texas Stadium and manhandled defending runner-up Oregon. People forget that LSU QB Jarrett Lee is a 5th year senior who started a good chunk of games as a freshman way back in 2008, and has thrown about 130 passes since then. Lee didn’t have to do much, and in fact he didn’t, thanks to four Oregon turnovers. LSU ran the ball well too. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when/if Jefferson comes back, but LSU is definitely still in the hunt.

3. Preseason Rankings Are Stupid

The aforementioned Auburn Tigers and TCU Horned Frogs proved this to be true. #16 Notre Dame also lost at home. LSU was ranked behind Oregon, and Boise St. sure looked better than #5. #12 South Carolina won by 20, by surviving an early scare. #25 USC also suffered a scare at home against Minnesota, who is in the argument for worst team in the Big 10. Northwestern won on the road against an ACC school without their starting QB, but was unranked. BYU won on the road in the SEC, but was unranked as well.

4. The Notre Dame Hype is Overrated as Usual

Notre Dame entered the season ranked #16 with people predicting they would reach a BCS bowl. While that remains possible, it seems like they have a lot of problems. A very late touchdown made the 23-20 loss look more respectable than it was. Notre Dame made a lot of mistakes and their starting QB didn’t last one game before being benched. A relatively tough schedule over the next 4 games (@Michigan, Michigan St., @Pitt, @Purdue) will make or break Notre Dame’s season. If they can’t make it out of that stretch unscathed that might be it for BCS chances.

5. Our Dark Horses Look Great

On episode 15 of our podcast Chris and I picked Houston and Northern Illinois as our non-AQ, non-Boise St./TCU noisemakers. Houston came out on top of a 1000-yard barnburner against UCLA. That is their only game against an AQ school and they miss Conference USA powerhouses UCF and Southern Miss. Northern Illinois rolled against Army. Three 4th quarter touchdowns make it a 23-point blowout, instead of a 35+ point de-pantsing. Northern Illinois has Kansas next week before what could be an ugly one against Wisconsin. But both looked good in their debuts.