View Full Version : 2 None BCS School's that Want to Crash the Party

08-18-2008, 09:02 PM
It is a sad time, summer winding down, schools starting up again, cold air in the near future but the one thing that will get us through all that is football. With the release of the AP Top 25 pole http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/rankings?pollId=1 and college football kick off only 12 days away I thought I would throw out some non-BCS West Coast Bias. A look at some teams out west that have the potential to crash the BCS party.

Conference: Mountain West
Coach: Bronco Mendenhall
Last season: 11-2 (8-0, Mountain West champions)
Bowl: Beat UCLA 17-16 in the Las Vegas Bowl
Starters returning: 8 on offense, 3 on defense


Key players: QB Max Hall, WR Dennis Pitta, RB Harvey Unga, LB Vic So’oto, DE Jan Jorgensen

Outside of the Golden Domer's, BYU is easily the top non-BCS school. A school with a storied past, a national championship under its belt, great quarterbacks, Young and Detmer to name a few; the Cougars now what football is all about. With a recruiting pipeline that is almost limitless at times, that stretches through the USA and down into South America the talent will be rolling through. Bronco Mendenhall has installed a winning presence in this team in his first few seasons at his alma mater after being the defensive coordinator at the University of New Mexico.

You know the defense will be tough under Medenhall. BYU only surrendered 283.5 ypg last year, good for 7th overall in the NCAA, and opponents were only putting up 16 PPG 14th overall. With only 3 returning starters the defense will have to come together quick ans replace 2 LB's Kelly Poppinga and Bryan Kehl who both were drafted. One thing that will help will be DE Jan Jorgensen the anchor and star of the Cougars 3-4/3-3-5 defense. The Sr. is a play maker that by seasons end could easily be an All-American and looking forward to the NFL draft.

The star of the show is Jr. QB Max Hall. Hall finished the year with 3,848 yards, 26 TD's and 12 INT. The scary thing is he is primed for a even bigger year with Harvey Unga (So.) the teams leading rusher from last year (1.227 yards, 13 TD) and the top two receivers Pitta and Collie are back as well! Hall has all the weapons he needs to even possibly get his name into the Heisman hunt as well as leading his team to the threshold of the BCS.

The Cougars will get an early shot to avenge one of their two losses last year. UCLA heads to Provo in weeks three. But before they can attack UCLA, week two they face the Washington Huskies in their house. These two games will definitely make or break the season for the Cougars. A win in Washington sets BYU up very well against UCLA with the injury problems at QB there is no telling who will be starting by week three and a win should be on the table for BYU. As for the rest of the schedule BYU will be looking to build on its 15 game conference winning streak. Tulsa was the second thorn in the side of BYU last year, a shootout that got away 55-47, no such team on the non-conference schedule with an offense to put a scare into the Cougars outside of the Pac-10 foes.

TCU and Utah are the only threats inside the conference the way it looks at the moment. As long as BYU does not run into any shootouts and even with the weak schedule on paper at the moment BYU should be breathing down the neck of the BCS at the end of the year due to their pre-season hype.

Key Games: September 6 at Washington, September 13 UCLA, October 16 at TCU, November 22 at Utah

Fresno St. (WAC)
Head Coach: Pat Hill
Not ranked, received 83 votes for AP poll
Last Season: (9-4 overall, 6-2 conference)
40-28 won over GT in Humanitarian Bowl

Starters returning: 10 Offense, 7 Defense

Total offense 419.5 yds, 31st overall last year, Total Defense 407.5 yds 77th


The Dawgs of the west have been drawing much attention as of late. Fresno St. was the toast of the WAC for many years until the recent rises of Bosie St. and Hawaii. This year the tide is swinging back their way. With one of the top senior QB's in the counrty in Tom Brandstater the Bulldogs have the leader they need to lead their assault on the BCS. Some scouting info on Brandstater from SI.com: elite size and strong arm, developed into a great leader and a guy players respect in the huddle, Good poise in pocket, reads defense's well. Has good touch on deep routes and precision on mediums throws. Cons: Streaky, week to week, does not have elite accuracy for top flight QB, needs to improve footwork. With that said Brandstater finished last year with 2,654 yards, 15 TD's to only 5 INT in 337 ATT. Running back's Ryan Mathews 866 yds, 6.0 ypc, 14 TD's, Clifton Smith 625 yds, 6.3 ypc, 5 TD. Lonyae Miller 609 yds, 4.6 ypc, 7 TD's, Anthony Harding 403 yds, 3.9 ypc, 4 TD's, return and complete a loaded backfield that took much pressure off Brandstater last year and this year provide a great threat if Tom takes that next step in his QB evolution. Teams leading wide outs, Marlon Moore and Bear Pascoe return as well.

The defense is a unit that struggled last year and has to find a way to replace WAC Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Riley.
Other notes on defense that stand out from foxsports.com: --OLB Quaadir Brown, who was supposed to start, may not suit up this season. Brown started eight games last year, but missed summer activities because of personal issues and lost weight. He could be back next season with two years of eligibility.-DE Chris Carter is moving to outside linebacker and could be a factor in passing situations. -LB Ricky Pemasa did not qualify. WR Anthony Johnson and OL Matt Hunt have not qualified yet. One name on the defense that stands out is DE Wilson Ramos -- Ramos moved from defensive tackle to defensive end last year after injuries shuffled the Bulldogs' lineup. Despite having to learn the spot, Ramos had 27 tackles, including seven for loss and three sacks.

The reason the Bulldogs are looked at as a sleeper deals with their non-conference schedule and the fact the June Jones is at SMU and Bosie will have a new man under center.

Key Games: 9/01 @ Rutgers-1st game of the season, the Knights will be looking to reload and continue their building process where as the Bulldogs have a long trip across the US and hope not to run into to much jet lag a loss could set Fresno up for tail spin.

9/13 Wisconsin- The Badgers head west as the top non-conference foe on the Bulldogs schedule. This would be the win that would impress the BCS pollsters enough if FSU runs the table. Tough Big Ten team that can grind it out and keep the Dawgs offense off the field.

9/27 @ UCLA- 4th game of the season, Toledo is the week before in state trip. Hard to read this UCLA team, QB injuries as stated before could derail them but a team of their caliber is still a team to recon with.

11/28 @ Boise State-The final game of the season. Even if the Bulldogs are not BCS bound this game should decide the WAC title. But either way there will be major importance to this game for these schools.

Conference teams that could be thorns in the sides of BYU and Fresno St.

Utah (MWC)
HEAD COACH: Kyle Whittingham, fourth year, 24-14
NR; Recieved 53 votes for AP Poll.
Last Season: (8-4; 5-3)

Four years removed from their BCS part the Utes will put a solid team on the field and look to improve on their 8-4 record. And by all accounts this is their most talented team since their 2004 team. Lead by RB Darrell Mack 1,204 yds and 12 TD's last year. The Utes have a versatile QB in Brian Johnson but he is coming off a season full of injuries and needs to put it all together this year but despite that still threw for 1,800 yards and 11 TD's with a separated shoulder. The offense will look to lead the Utes with a strong secondary that will have to take pressure off a young d-line. With 51 games lost due to injury last year the Utes are sure to be healthy this year. Utah opens in Ann Arbor and is no stranger to the big stage, the battle of Utah is always a heated one and their meeting with BYU in the final week of the season is sure to go down to the wire.

Head Coach: Gary Patterson
Last Year( 7-5; 4-4)

The Horned Frogs might not be on the top of the hill of Texas football but they sure due bring in the talent. LT to name one. Last year was a struggle for the team that just could not get anything going as they were one of those teams that was thought to be a BCS sleeper. The Frogs did make the Texas Bowl and with a victory became one of three teams the win a bowl game each of the past three year. TCU returns 14 starters including Linebacker Jason Phillips, strong safety Stephen Hodge and center Blake Schlueter are all preseason All-Americans and were members of the 2005 and '06 squads. With a year under his belt sophomore QB Andy Dalton 2,459 yard 10 TD performance last year will look to improve but with only 4 returning starters on offense the defense will have to lead the way. None the less TCU brings in athletes and with not so high expectations could put a scare when BYU heads to Texas.

Boise St. (WAC)
NR; Received 17 votes for AP Poll.
Last Year: (10-2; 7-1)

The Broncos are loaded with weapons on offense and know how to win. The only problem is that they have to replace QB Taylor Tharp and his 3,340 yards and 30 TD's, not an easy task. Senior Bush Hamdan and freshman Kellen Moore are fighting for the quarterback job. Four o-linemen need to be replaced one of which Ryan Clady was drafted 12th overall by the Denver Broncos. Running back Ian Johnson, a back who I just love will be leaned on heavily his senior year after hitting pay dirt 16 times last year to go along with 1,041 yards. The defense does not appear to have any major holes.

Neveda (WAC)
Head Coach: Chris Ault
Last Season: (6-6; 4-4)

Yes the Wolfpack. This team can score, lead by Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took over as a freshman last year and showed good athletic ability and was able to handle the pistol offense. He can only build off his 2,175 yards, 19 TD's and 3 INT's. Luke Lippincott is an absolute beast 1420 yards, 5.3 ypc, 15 TD's, WR Marko Mitchell 53 rec 1129 yards, 21.3 ypc, 8 TD's returns. Ault not pleased with the defense hired a whole new staff and brought in six new cornerbacks to try and help solidify the defense. The reason I think Nevada can be a thorn in the side of Fresno is because of their offense. They can pile it up and if the Bulldogs struggle to come together on defense November 7th could turn ugly for Fresno but they do get the benifit of home field in their match up with the Wolfpack.