Thursday, August 12, 2010
Better Know a Conference: Mid-Majors
Continuing on Mighty's preseason tour of the college football realm...we end up with the mid-majors or pseudo mid-majors. Yes, there's still the great dividing line on automatic bids, revenues, and recruiting abilities. But I'd argue the bias against mid-majors is at an all-time low. Boise State and TCU are both ranked in the top 10 of the preseason poll with Utah also in the top 25. Not to say that bias has vanished, but the mid-majors have as good of chance as ever to get a spot in the national championship this year. So who are the Big Buster Contenders?
Boise State: 122 wins in the past 11 years...not too shabby. But the hype for Boise surrounds their #4 finish in the polls last year and returning 21 of 22 starters this year. They have a great o-line (they only gave up 5 sacks last year) and a QB that doesn't make mistakes (39 TDs v. 3 INTs). Boise State has the challenge of winning on the field against V-Tech (in DC) and home against Oregon State. It also has the challenge of living up to the hype. Last time (2005) Boise was thought so highly it pooped the bed v Georgia (48-13).
TCU Seems to have at least hype wise moved pretty high up the list. They earned an at large BCS bid and are ranked top 10 despite losing 6 all conference starters. However this team is different from last year's . Last year defense was the driver. This year TCU is hyping their QB (Andy Dalton) for a Heisman trophy. The big road blocks for TCU are against Oregon State (in Dallas) and at Utah.
Utah - If there is team to trip up TCU it will probably be Utah. Jordan Wynn started as freshman last year and is on the cusp of being a star this year. However the defense loses 3 linebackers, 2 safeties, and 1 corner. Typically this far more attrition than a mid-major can handle but as I've tried to argue...that line is blurring. That line is especially blurring at Utah leaves for the soon to be Pac-12 next year. 2 tough non-conference from them are at Pittsburgh and at Notre Dame (Mormons v. Catholics.oh)
Houston - Runs the air-raid attack first employed at Texas-Tech. While C-USA has lost its luster Houston is by far the cream of the crop. Coach Kevin Sumlin is probably the hottest coaching prospect out there so look for his name to emerge at the end of the year .
Middle Tennessee - Surprisingly good offense. Check. Easy conference schedule. check. Big name BCS team to bust . Georgia Tech..Double Check. I won't hold my breathe on the expected Sun Belt Champion but if you want a school to really be dark horse BCS Buster..it's Middle Tennessee.
Temple - Yep Temple has a Division I football team. I'm shocked too. That said the unanamous favorite to win the MAC might surprise a few people and go undefeated
BYU - They're in the toughest mid-major conference so a few upset wins (TCU and Utah) and everyone will be aboard the caffeine free express.