Last season, the Mountain West Conference had co-champions in Boise State, Fresno State, and San Diego State. With the expansion of the MWC in 2013, there will be a definitive champ by playing a conference championship game to end the season.
The additions of San Jose State and Utah State from the former Western Athletic Conference boosts the strength of the MWC. There are six teams projected to become bowl eligible, but Nevada and Wyoming are predicted to finish just outside the six wins needed for eligibility.
Boise State is projected to win the MWC championship, but the Broncos could easily falter along the way. In 2013, Boise plays on the road at Washington, Fresno State, Utah State, BYU, and San Diego State; those opponents had a home winning percent of over 90 percent last season (28-3). It looks very likely that they will lose at least one road game, most likely at Washington or BYU.
In conference play, Boise State at Utah State could be a game to decide the Mountain Division, but San Diego State also beat Boise on the Blue last season so the Aztecs are definitely a dangerous cross-division conference matchup. Another challenge for Boise State will be Fresno State, especially since the Bulldogs have possibly the best quarterback in the MWC.
However, the Broncos' schedule is ranked 83rd in the CFU strength of schedule rating so another double digit win season should be expected if they do not gather a conference title. Boise State coach Chris Petersen has a knack for developing winning teams. If Utah State could have kept Gary Andersen, the boys in blue would have a more certain test in the Mountain Division.
There is a lot of parity in the upper half of the MWC and the West Division could be tightly contested. San Jose State is projected to win the West, but San Diego State and Fresno State could easily contend in or win the West.
Nevada is a team that is not necessarily bad, but will likely struggle with bowl eligibility in 2013. The Wolf Pack is ranked 50th in the CFU strength of schedule rankings and play tough away games at UCLA, Florida State, San Diego State, Boise State, and Fresno State (27-6 combined home record in 2012). They also play a couple difficult games at home with BYU and San Jose State. Nevada could grind out a couple more wins than the projected 5-7 record, but it will be a tough road to get to a bowl game for the Wolf Pack. The departure of longtime coach Chris Ault is also bound to have an effect on Nevada in some way.
Mountain West Conference Projected Records
Team, Overall Record, Conference Record
Each school is linked to a 2013 preview.
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The 2013 Preseason All-Mountain West Conference Team by College Football Universe is posted below. Fresno State has the most players listed on the first team with six; next teams up with the most first team players are San Jose State with five, Boise State and San Diego State with four each. New Mexico and Utah State have two apiece as well as Colorado and Nevada both had one player make the first team.
While the Mountain West Conference does have talent on defense and maybe more overall than offense, there are some stand-out quarterbacks in the MWC that are poised to have great seasons. If Fresno State QB Derek Carr has another spectacular year, he could be a top-five rated NFL quarterback prospect by the end of 2013. MWC quarterbacks Cody Fajardo (Nevada), David Fales (San Jose State), and Chuckie Keeton (Utah State) are all players to watch.
2013 All-Mountain West Conference First Team
OL: Charles Leno Jr. (r-Sr. 6-4 294) Boise State
OL: Matt Paradis (r-Sr. 6-3 293) Boise State
OL: Weston Richburg (Sr. 6-4 297) Colorado St
OL: Austin Wentworth (r-Sr. 6-5 299) Fresno St
C: Tyler Larsen (Sr. 6-4 312) Utah State
QB: Derek Carr (r-Sr. 6-3 210) Fresno State
RB: Kasey Carrier (Sr. 5-9 185) New Mexico
RB: Adam Muema (Jr. 5-10 205) San Diego State
WR: Davante Adams (r-So. 6-2 200) Fresno State
WR: Noel Grisby (Sr. 5-11 175) San Jose State
TE: Marcel Jensen (r-Sr. 6-6 257) Fresno State
P: Ben Skaer (r-Sr. 6-0 197) New Mexico
K: Austin Lopez (So. 6-0 187) San Jose State
R: Colin Lockett (Sr. 6-0 180) San Diego State
DL: Demarcus Lawrence (r-Jr. 6-3 244) Boise St
DL: Tyeler Davison (r-Jr. 6-2 311) Fresno State
DL: Brock Hekking (Jr. 6-4 255) Nevada
DL: Travis Raciti (Jr. 6-5 290) San Jose State
LB: Jake Fely (Jr. 5-10 210) San Diego State
LB: Keith Smith (Sr. 6-1 229) San Jose State
LB: Jake Doughty (Sr. 6-0 230) Utah State
DB: Jeremy Ioane (r-Jr. 5-10 189) Boise State
DB: Nat Berhe (Sr. 5-10 190) San Diego State
DB: Derron Smith (r-Jr. 5-11 194) Fresno State
DB: Bene Benwikere (Sr. 6-0 192) San Jose State
OL Drew Kerber (Sr. 6-3 255) Air Force
OL Jared Biard (Sr. 6-7 315) Colorado State
OL Jordan Gragert (Sr. 6-4 300) Colorado State
OL Bryce Quigley (Sr. 6-5 295) San Diego State
OL Nicholas Kaspar (Sr. 6-4 284) San Jose State
OL Brett Boyko (Jr. 6-7 310) UNLV
OL Jamie Markosian (Sr. 6-2 302) Utah State
OL Eric Schultz (Sr. 6-4 308) Utah State
OL Tyler Strong (Sr. 6-3 312) Wyoming
C Ben Clarke (So. 6-3 275) Hawaii
C Robert Waterman (Jr. 6-2 290) UNLV
QB Joe Southwick (r- Sr. 6-1 202) Boise State
QB Cody Fajardo (Jr. 6-2 210) Nevada
QB David Fales (Sr. 6-3 220) San Jose State
QB Chuckie Keeton (Jr. 6-2 200) Utah State
RB Tim Cornett (Sr. 6-0 210) UNLV
WR Matt Miller (r-Jr. 6-3 218) Boise State
WR Isaiah Burse (Sr. 6-0 179) Fresno State
WR Brandon Wimberly (Sr. 6-3 225) Nevada
WR Richy Turner (Jr. 5-11 180) Nevada
WR Devante Davis (Jr. 6-3 210) UNLV
WR Robert Herron (Sr. 5-10 180) Wyoming
TE Kivon Cartwright (Jr. 6-4 237) Colorado State
DL Alex Hansen (So. 6-2 240) Air Force
DL Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (r-Sr. 6-3 303) Boise State
DL Sam Ukwuachu (r-So. 6-4 232) Boise State
DL Andy Jennings (Sr. 6-2 278) Fresno State
DL Jacobi Greer (Sr. 6-3 272) New Mexico
DL Lenny Jones (So. 6-3 255) Nevada
DL Anthony Larceval (Sr. 6-2 284) San Jose St
DL Jordan Nielson (So. 6-5 260) Utah State
DL Connor Williams (Sr. 6-3 278) Utah State
DL Eddie Yarbrough (So. 6-3 253) Wyoming
LB Corey James (So. 6-0 235) Colorado State
LB Aaron Davis (Jr. 6-0 215) Colorado State
LB Art Laurel (Sr. 6-0 235) Hawaii
LB Dallas Bollema (Jr. 6-2 230) New Mexico
LB Derek Largent (Jr. 6-4 235) San Diego State
LB Nick Tenhaeff (Sr. 6-2 225) San Diego State
LB Vince Buhagiar (Sr. 6-4 244) San Jose State
LB Tani Maka (Sr. 6-1 250) UNLV
LB Kyler Fackrell (So. 6-5 245) Utah State
LB Zach Vigil (Jr. 6-2 231) Utah State
DB Steffon Batts (Sr. 6-0 180) Air Force
DB Christian Spears (Jr. 5-9 185) Air Force
DB Shaq Bell (Sr. 5-11 195) Colorado State
DB Trent Matthews (So. 6-3 210) Colorado State
DB Sean Alston (r-Jr. 5-10 192) Fresno State
DB L.J. Jones (r-Sr. 5-10 180) Fresno State
DB Eric Pinkins (Sr. 6-3 215) San Diego State
DB Nevin Lawson (Sr. 5-10 186) Utah State
DB Blair Burns (Jr. 5-10 180) Wyoming
DB Chad Reese (Jr. 5-11 180) Wyoming
P Harrison Waid (Sr. 6-1 182) San Jose State
K Jared Roberts (Jr. 6-1 196) Colorado State
Players listed alphabetically by school for each position.
Credit to for providing photo of .
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No. 22 Boise State Broncos (11-2)
Coach Chris Petersen (seventh season, 84-8 at Boise and overall)
Returning Starters: 12, 5 offense, 5 defense, 2 special teams
Recruiting Rank: 53
Strength of Schedule: 83
Boise State looks to once again continue the success that has been established under head coach Chris Petersen. The Broncos are the only FBS program that has 10-or-more wins in each of the last seven seasons and that is largely due to Petersen, the winningest active coach in the FBS.
The schedule is definitely backloaded for Boise State, who were co-champions of the league last year, along with Fresno State and San Diego State. Each team posted 7-1 conference marks in the final year of the league as a 10-team conference.
Boise closes its 2013 slate with four straight conference road games against some of the league’s better teams - Colorado State, Fresno State, San Diego State and Utah State. The last two games in particular could go a long way in deciding who plays for the conference title in December.
The Broncos return 12 starters, including five on either side of the ball, from the team that beat Washington in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Fifth-year senior quarterback Joe Southwick is back after throwing for 2,730 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. Southwick is one of four fifth-year seniors back to lead the offense.
The others are left tackle Charles Leno, Jr., center Matt Paradis and wideout Kirby Moore. Redshirt junior receiver Matt Miller is the other returning offensive starter. Moore and Miller give Southwick sizable options on the outside. Both are 6-foot-3 and combined for 102 catches for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns last season.
The Broncos will have to find a replacement for running back DJ Harper, who has moved on after rushing for 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. Sophomore Jay Ajayi is the probable choice after rushing for 548 yards and four scores as a redshirt freshman. Sophomore Jack Fields, who totaled 135 yards on the ground last year, should see increased playing time.
"I think we’re making progress there," Petersen said about the run game this spring. "We’ll put the tape on, but it’s been fairly consistent a lot of spring."
The Broncos defense allowed just 15.8 points per game and forced 36 turnovers with a plus 20 turnover margin. The defense will again be led by end Demarcus Lawrence, who tallied 9.5 sacks as a redshirt sophomore. The 6-3, 244-pound Aiken, S.C., native will be joined by senior tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, sophomore end Sam Ukwuachu, and safeties Jeremy Ioane and Darian Thompson as returning starters on a unit that led the MWC and ranked 12th nationally in total defense.
The biggest losses were at linebacker and cornerback, where leading tackler J.C. Perry and top corner Jamar Taylor have graduated. But there's a reason the Broncos have seven straight 10-win seasons, they have great depth. Defensive linemen Tyler Horn and Corey Bell, linebacker Blake Renaud and cornerbacks Bryan Douglas, Donte Deayon and Ebo Makinde should all help keep the Broncos among the league's best.
Boise State will have a new placekicker, but senior punter Trevor Harman is back while Shane Williams-Rhodes returns to handle kick return duties and will likely handle punt return duties as well. Junior receiver Dallas Burroughs could also be in the mix.
Boise's recruiting class includes 19 freshmen and several junior college transfers - cornerbacks Cleshawn Page and Mercy Maston, running back Derrick Thomas, kicker Tyler Raush and defensive tackles Justin Taimatuia and Tutulupeatau Mataele.
PPG: 30.2 (55th)
YPG: 391.3 (69th)
RYPG: 168.2 (56th)
PYPG: 223.2 (71st)
Fum Lost: 9
Int Lost: 7
TOs Lost: 16
PAPG: 15.8 (8th)
YAPG: 315.6 (12th)
RYAPG: 146.2 (47th)
PYAPG: 169.5 (6th)
Fum Gained: 18
Int Gained: 18
TOs Gained: 36
TO Margin: +20 (2nd)
2012 season stats listed unless otherwise noted.
RB Aaron Baltazar
Chula Vista, CA (EastlakeHS)
LB Tanner Vallejo
Grass Valley, CA (NevadaUnionHS)
OL Charles Leno Jr.
r-Sr. 6-4 294
2012 All-Mountain West Second Team, 26 straight starts, & offensive line ranked sixth overall in sacks allowed.
OL Matt Paradis
r-Sr. 6-3 293
2012 All-Mountain West First Team, 13 starts, started at center last 2 yrs, & offensive line ranked sixth overall in sacks allowed.
QB Joe Southwick
r- Sr. 6-1 202
66.8 comp percent, 2730 pass yds, & 19 TDs.
WR Matt Miller
r-Jr. 6-3 218
66 receptions, 769 rec yds, & 5 TDs.
DL Demarcus Lawrence
r-Jr. 6-3 244
48 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, 4 FFs, & 2 FRs.
DL Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
r-Sr. 6-3 303
37 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, & 2 FRs.
DE Sam Ukwuachu
r-So. 6-4 232
35 tackles, 7 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, & 3 FRs.
S Jeremy Ioane
r-Jr. 5-10 189
70 tackles, 2 TFLs, & 1 FF.
at Michigan St L 17-13
vs Miami(OH) W 39-12
vs BYU W 7-6
at New Mex W 32-29
at S Miss W 40-14
vs Fresno St W 20-10
vs UNLV W 32-7
at Wyoming W 45-14
vs SanDiegoSt L21-19
at Hawaii W 49-14
vs ColoradoSt W49-14
at Nevada W 27-21
vs Wash W 28-26*
*MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
vs Air Force
at Fresno State
vs Southern Miss
at Utah State
at Colorado State
at San Diego State
vs New Mexico
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The College Football Universe Preseason Top 126 is now released. The ranking is simply based on which teams I perceive as the best coming into the 2013 season. This is not a prediction of the final season rankings and it is not based on strength of schedule.
CFU Preseason Top 126
Rank, Team, Last Season's Record
1. Alabama 13-1
2. Ohio State 12-0
3. Texas A&M 11-2
4. Louisville 11-2
5. Stanford 12-2
6. South Carolina 11-2
7. Georgia 12-2
8. Oregon 12-1
9. Clemson 11-2
10. Notre Dame 12-1
11. Florida 11-2
12. LSU 10-3
13. Ole Miss 7-6
14. Oklahoma 10-3
15. Northern Illinois 12-2
16. Nebraska 10-4
17. Northwestern 10-3
18. Texas 9-4
19. Michigan 8-5
20. Michigan State 7-6
21. Oregon State 9-4
22. Boise State 11-2
23. UCLA 9-5
24. Miami (FL) 7-5
25. Florida State 12-2
26. Utah State 11-2
27. USC 7-6
28. Arizona State 8-5
29. Kansas State 11-2
30. Wisconsin 8-6
31. Virginia Tech 7-6
32. BYU 8-5
33. Vanderbilt 9-4
34. Cincinnati 10-3
35. Arizona 8-5
36. Washington 7-6
37. San Jose State 11-2
38. Oklahoma State 8-5
39. TCU 7-6
40. Mississippi State 8-5
41. Auburn 3-9
42. North Carolina 8-4
43. Arkansas 4-8
44. Penn State 8-4
45. Rutgers 9-4
46. Baylor 8-5
47. ULM 8-5
48. Tulsa 11-3
49. Fresno State 9-4
50. San Diego State 9-4
51. Tennessee 5-7
52. UCF 10-4
53. Toledo 9-4
54. Bowling Green 8-5
55. Kent State 11-3
56. Texas Tech 8-5
57. Pittsburgh 6-7
58. North Carolina State 7-6
59. Iowa 4-8
60. Missouri 5-7
61. Ohio 9-4
62. Western Kentucky 7-6
63. California 3-9
64. Washington State 3-9
65. East Carolina 8-5
66. Marshall 5-7
67. Indiana 4-8
68. Ball State 9-4
69. Navy 8-5
70. Minnesota 6-7
71. Syracuse 8-5
72. West Virginia 7-6
73. Nevada 7-6
74. Purdue 6-7
75. Air Force 6-7
76. Rice 7-6
77. Georgia Tech 7-7
78. Maryland 4-8
79. Wake Forest 5-7
80. Virginia 4-8
81. Louisiana 9-4
82. SMU 7-6
83. Iowa State 6-7
84. Houston 5-7
85. Utah 5-7
86. Arkansas State 10-3
87. Middle Tennessee 8-4
88. Central Michigan 7-6
89. Temple 4-7
90. Duke 6-7
91. Connecticut 5-7
92. Louisiana Tech 9-3
93. South Florida 3-9
94. Troy 5-7
95. Army 2-10
96. Illinois 2-10
97. Kentucky 2-10
98. Buffalo 4-8
99. Wyoming 4-8
100. Colorado State 4-8
101. Boston College 2-10
102. UTSA 8-4
103. Memphis 4-8
104. Miami (OH) 4-8
105. UAB 3-9
106. North Texas 4-8
107. Colorado 1-11
108. New Mexico 4-9
109. Texas State 4-8
110. Hawaii 3-9
111. UNLV 2-11
112. UTEP 3-9
113. Old Dominion 11-2*
114. Eastern Michigan 2-10
115. Western Michigan 4-8
116. Southern Miss 0-12
117. Tulane 2-10
118. Florida Atlantic 3-9
119. FIU 3-9
120. South Alabama 2-11
121. Kansas 1-11
122. Massachusetts 1-11
123. Akron 1-11
124. Idaho 1-11
125. New Mexico State 1-11
126. Georgia State 1-10*
*FCS schedule in 2012.
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BCS Busters Watch List
1. Boise State Broncos, Mountain West
2. BYU Cougars, Independent
3. FIU Panthers, Sun Belt
4. Ohio Bobcats, MAC
5. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, Sun Belt
6. Houston Cougars, Conference USA
7. Arkansas State Red Wolves, Sun Belt
8. Northern Illinois Huskies, MAC
9. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, Conference USA
10. Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Conference USA
BCS Buster Game to Watch:
Thursday, September 20, BYU at Boise State
The BCS Busters Watch List was previously posted on the 2012 preseason guide, but this is the first summary and ranking. The teams are not ranked as the best teams (see College Football Preseason Guide
), but as the teams most likely to bust the BCS. A couple teams have been added since I first posted the watch.
If a team is to bust the BCS this year, then it may be more of a surprise than past history. The BCS has only been busted seven times by four teams being Utah, TCU, Boise State, and Hawaii in which two of the teams are now in BCS conferences.
With Boise State
losing quarterback Kellen Moore, the usual favorite Broncos are less likely to be a threat to get into a BCS bowl in 2012. However, coach Chris Petersen is possibly the best in the nation and has garnered double digit wins every season at Boise. BYU
has one of the best chances to be a BCS Buster this season. They bring back 18 starters and are a proven winning program. A crucial game at Boise State could shape what direction the Cougars' season will go. If they can beat the Broncos and win the Holy War rivalry with Utah, it may come down to their game against fellow independent and BCS darling, Notre Dame.
FIU, Houston, and Ohio all have somewhat manageable schedules. Ohio
has the most favorable being ranked 123 according to the CFU strength of schedule
and they return star quarterback Tyler Tettleton (3,964 total yards & 38 total TDs in 2011). The Bobcats play the depleted Penn State Nittany Lions to start the season and it gets easier after that. FIU
has a highly touted defense and return enough experience to make a run, but have yet to break double digit wins in their short history. Houston
would have to overachieve to bust the rankings with the losses of impact players and a head coach, but the 2012 schedule does give them hope. Arkansas State
made the list, but are most likely a couple years away from busting the BCS or whatever the prevalent ranking is by then. The Red Wolves still have a shot at the conference championship; they did sweep the Sun Belt last season. If coach Gus Malzahn can lead the Wolves to a miracle road win at Nebraska and run through the conference, who knows what could happen, but a bowl season is more probable than a top 25 ranking. Louisiana Lafayette
also has a good shot at the Sun Belt Championship, but a tough out of conference schedule against Oklahoma State and Florida will probably keep them from moving up to a high enough ranking. Northern Illinois
had a great season in 2011 that ended with 11 wins and a bowl victory. The departure of impact quarterback Chandler Harnish decreases their chances though to continue the success. They do have a rather weak schedule other than their opener against Iowa.
A team that could make an early run but fall out late is Tulsa
. The Golden Hurricanes schedule is set up for them to have a chance to go on a mid-season winning streak after they play Iowa State. If they defeat the Cyclones, Tulsa could be 8-0 before playing at Arkansas and finishing up conference play versus Houston, UCF, and SMU. The final four games could determine a berth in the Conference USA championship and possibly a jump in the polls. Southern Miss
rounds out the BCS Busters Watch List. The Golden Eagles are coming off a highly successful season, but 2012 will be tougher with the loss of impact players and a difficult schedule. They play non-conference opponents Nebraska, Louisville, and Boise State. UCF
would have made the watch, but their recent bowl ban makes them ineligible. The Knights made Phil Steele's most improved list for 2012.
UCF does have a stingy defense, but underachieved last season.
How would the Boise State Broncos do in the SEC? Boise State would be even better in the SEC. The Broncos showed this weekend that they could win against an SEC team with massive size. More importantly, the boost they would receive from recruiting and conference respect as well as having the best coach in the country would leave no doubt to their validity as a top notch college football program. Of course because of geography and other reasons, this move will never happen, but we still speculate.
Just this past weekend Boise State went into SEC country and stomped the Georgia Bulldogs. Because of last season’s follies for the Bulldogs, many detractors of the Broncos would argue that Georgia is not a quality team. Despite Coach Mark Richt having his first losing season (6-7) with the Bulldogs last year, he did compile a record of 96-34 with Georgia before Saturday. They also brought back some key starters and hauled in a top recruiting class. They had six players named to the SEC Coaches Preseason All SEC Team and three to the first team offense including quarterback Aaron Murray. Also according to Rivals.com, Georgia recruited the fifth ranked class in 2011. All of these factors gave them a preseason top 25 ranking and many experts were hyping them as a rejuvenated team full of talent. Now Boise State doubters are denouncing their victory over UGA when many of the same people were hyping the Bulldogs as a superior team before the game. Georgia did gain close to the same amount of yards as Boise State in their game Saturday, but they lacked the veteran leadership of a sharpshooter quarterback like Kellen Moore and the execution that the Broncos had to put the ball in the end zone.
Boise State proves size doesn’t matter; it’s the motion of the offense that counts. The Broncos’ critics think just because they have a smaller offensive line than many big conference teams that they are a spread “air it out” style offense. Boise State is not a typical spread style or gimmick air raid offense; they use multiple formations, move players around, and run the ball effectively. Their offensive line does average less weight per starter than a starter from the SEC, but the difference in size is not as drastic as often portrayed and they overcome what they lack in size with talent. They played the largest offensive line in the SEC this past weekend with an average of 335.8 lbs. per starting lineman, but the SEC average is 310.6 lbs. per starting offensive lineman which is more comparative to Boise State’s 289.4 lbs. per starting lineman. On the other hand, their defense is not undersized and the average weight of their defensive lineman is near the same as that of an SEC defensive lineman. The average weight of a starting defensive lineman for the Broncos is 281.25 lbs. and the average weight of an SEC starter is 277.24 lbs. Georgia’s defensive line is exceptionally large even for the SEC with an average of 321.7 lbs. per starter. (Projected starters and weights from Sporting News College Football 2011 Preview magazine were used to calculate average weights.)
An excellent coach like Petersen in a power conference like the SEC would be a recipe for a national championship. Boise State’s Coach Chris Petersen could arguably be the best coach in the country. In his five years with the Broncos, he has compiled a record of 61-5 with five consecutive 10 win seasons and two of them undefeated ending with Fiesta Bowl wins. He is the only coach since 1900 to win 13 games in his first season with an FBS team and he is the only coach ever to win two Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year Awards. 11 of the 25 winners have won either a BCS, AP, or USA Today national championship with a much higher percentage of dual winners over the past 11 years. Six of the last nine Bear Bryant award winners not including Petersen have went on to win a national championship.
The Broncos' recruiting would only get better if they moved to a power conference like the SEC. There were four SEC teams ranked in the Rival Recruiting top 10, eight in the top 20, and 10 out of the 12 SEC teams were ranked in the Rivals Top 50 Recruiting Team Rankings for 2011. In 2010, an astounding 11 out of 12 teams in the SEC were ranked in the Rivals Top 50 Recruiting. According to Rivals Recruiting Team Rankings, from 2002-2011 Boise State has never been ranked in the final top 50. It is evident that they have overachieved based on recruit rankings. Inclusion into a power conference would only boost their recruiting due to higher notoriety, more publicity, and introduction into new markets. The Broncos have just moved to the Mountain West Conference and may achieve their first top 50 Rivals rankings if they can maintain their spot at 40 currently for the class of 2012. Their success thus far exemplifies the capability of their coaches to find hidden talent and develop players.
Boise State would be a better team, but would not have the same amount of wins in a power conference. It would be inevitable that the Broncos would eventually have issues with playing on the road and in different climates even though they have an excellent road record as of late. On the other hand, I believe their home record would be similar to what it has been. They are 64-2 at home since 1999 and have beat teams like Oregon on the Blue. I think they would still garner many wins each season just less road wins. Boise State would still have more talent if they were in a power conference and their coach is capable enough to gain notoriety in a BCS conference to finally achieve a slot in the national championship game. They just proved they could handle a larger team. The SEC would only make them a better team.
Here are highlights from last week's game between Boise State and Georgia:
The College Gameday game of the week was Oregon vs LSU. The first half was competitive, but the Ducks were falling apart by the third quarter. They had multiple fumbles and the Bayou Bengal defense took advantage of them. The Oregon offense garnered less than 100 yards rushing in a pivotal first game. Final Score: LSU 40 Oregon 27
Boise State vs. Georgia was another highly anticipated match up of the weekend. The first half was close with the Broncos leading 14-7 at the break. Kellen Moore of Boise State was in rhythm by the third quarter and started throwing darts down field. A balanced attack by the Broncos was too much for the Bulldogs to handle. Final Score: Boise State 35 Georgia 21.
Yet another SEC team played a strong out of conference opponent in BYU at Ole Miss. It was a low scoring game and Ole Miss only led 3-0 at the half. Ole Miss went up 13-0 and their defense was smothering until BYU made a sudden comeback in the fourth quarter. Todd Heap threw a touchdown pass to Ross Apo at the 9:52 mark in the fourth and later Kyle Van Noy recovered a fumble for a three yard touchdown to put the Cougars up 14-13. Final Score: BYU 14 Ole Miss 13.
USC played in a very tight game with Minnesota. They held on to win 19-17 behind Robert Wood’s school record 17 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Final Score: USC 19 Minnesota 17.
South Florida also beat Notre Dame in a game that was delayed twice. Notre Dame started play very sloppy and they could never recover. Final Score: South Florida 23 Notre Dame 20.
Brady Hoke was successful in his coaching debut for Michigan in a game that was delayed and called final early due to weather. Final Score: Michigan 34 Western Michigan 10.
Arkansas defeated Missouri State in an expected blow out. 11 different players caught a pass for the Razorbacks and Joe Adams returned two punts for touchdowns. Final score: Arkansas 51 Missouri State 7.
I just gave a quick recap of the games I watched. Leave a comment about any of the games played today. I also blogged about some of the early games and scores on my last post. Here’s a link to the ESPN scoreboard for the rest of the night’s final scores and ongoing games:http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/scoreboard?confId=80&seasonYear=2011&seasonType=2&weekNumber=1
Florida State (10-3) 12.22
NC State (7-5) 9.35
Clemson (4-8) 8.3
Maryland (5-7) 7.616
Boston College (4-8) 7.014
Wake Forest (2-10) -3.97
Virginia Tech (13-0) 15.86
North Carolina (11-1)15.63
Miami (8-4) 12.38 *does not include recent suspension of players.
Georgia Tech (8-4) 8.56
Duke (4-8) 5.324
Virginia (1-11) -.917
Virginia Tech is projected to win the ACC by beating Florida State in a close game. North Carolina has a high Momentum score and a projected record of 11-1, but the firing of Butch Davis may have a strong effect which is not calculated in the score.
Nebraska (9-3) 16.15
Michigan State (9-3) 15.5
Iowa (11-2) 14.33
Northwestern (8-4) 10.647
Michigan (9-3) 3.514
Minnesota (2-10) -.134
Ohio State (12-1) 14.975
Wisconsin (10-2) 14.22
Penn State (8-4) 13.125
Illinois (8-4) 8.423
Indiana (3-9) .0095
Purdue (2-10) -1
The Momentum rankings show that Ohio State should still have another good season despite losing head coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but Iowa is projected to beat them in the Big Ten championship game.
Pitt (9-3) 13.656
Uconn (9-3) 10.643
West Virginia (11-1) 10.559
Cincinnati (11-1) 10.537
South Florida (6-6) 7.766
Syracuse (3-9) 3.35
Rutgers (3-9) 2.722
Louisville (3-9) .317
The Big East is projected to be a three way tie between Pitt, West Virginia, and Cincinnati. Two of Pitt’s losses are to out of conference teams and they are more likely to finish lower in the BCS standings than West Virginia or Cincinnati since they are projected with more losses.
Stanford (11-1) 21.885
Oregon (13-0) 21.093
Washington (3-9) 4.943
Oregon State (4-8) 4.146
Washington State (1-11) -6.102
Utah (12-1) 16.7
USC (9-3) 12.033
Arizona (7-5) 10.091
Arizona State (6-6) 5.712
Colorado (2-11) 1.887
UCLA (3-9) 1.817
Utah’s score may be off since they just switched conferences, but we will see. Either way Utah should have a chance at winning the Pac-12 South. Oregon is scored to win the Pac-12 championship despite Stanford having a higher Momentum score and playing Oregon at home during the season, but Oregon is a good road team and Stanford has not established a strong enough home field advantage over the last five season so the Ducks are very tightly projected to beat the Cardinal.
TCU (11-1) 20.933
Boise State (12-0) 19.5
UCF (13-0) 15.04
Temple (13-0) 14.451
Notre Dame (7-5) 11.056
BYU (8-4/7-5) 9.067
Boise State and TCU should dominate the Mountain West. Since the game between the Broncos and Horned Frogs is going to be on the blue turf, Boise State is projected to beat TCU in a tight one.
UCF and Temple are a couple of surprise non-BCS teams. A few of Temple’s wins are very close. Penn State and Maryland are a couple of teams that Temple is scored to beat which may not be too unrealistic since the Owls only lost to the Nittany Lions 22-13 last season and they beat a BCS team in Uconn. The defensive trend of Temple is another factor that helps their Momentum score. UCF is trending in the right direction in terms of wins and points allowed as well as bringing in another good recruiting class. The Knights have a schedule that could lead them to double digit wins again if not the projected 13.
Notre Dame’s score and projected record shows another year of transition for Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish. Sometimes people criticize the strength of Notre Dame’s schedule, but it is stouter than critics claim. This season they are scheduled to play three Big Ten, three ACC, two Pac-12, two Big East, one MWC, and one independent team with three teams ranked in the top 25.
The Momentum Rankings show that BYU should be either 8-4 or 7-5. Their game against Ole Miss is too close to call. Their first season as an independent should be good, but not great. They still need to gain more momentum to beat their rival Utah in the Holy War.
*Conference Championships are included in projections.
*Games against FCS teams were not projected. However, teams were given a win for FCS games to show a better depiction of the projected season record, but this does not help in accuracy since FCS teams do win some games.
*Bowl games are not projected.
On this blog, I have provided a variety of information to give a free preseason guide for college football fans. I have included the projected AP top 10, composite rankings from preseason magazines, the CFU top 50, a YouTube video, and many useful links.
These are my projected top 10 teams for the AP Top 25 that will be released in August. These are not my top 10 teams. My top 10 is on this blog post under the CFU Top 50.Projected AP Top 10
5. Boise State
7. Florida State
8. Oklahoma State
9. Texas A&M
10. South Carolina
Just Outside: Nebraska.
Oklahoma and Alabama should be ranked at 1 and 2 respectively when the AP poll is released. Oregon and LSU will be in close competition for the 3 and 4 spots. I think LSU will get more #1 votes than the Ducks and there are more voters from the south than the west coast, but Oregon has had plenty of publicity and do warrant a high ranking in the eyes of many voters. Boise State should be in the top 10, but it is hard to say where they will fall in the rankings due to bias by certain voters that continuously underrate them. Stanford should be another definite top 10 team in which will most likely fall somewhere in the 5 to 8 preseason rank. Florida State will also be in the same range as the Cardinal. Oklahoma State and Texas A&M should be somewhere in the latter half of the top 10. The last team in is a close call; I think South Carolina will be in the AP top 10, but Nebraska does have a chance.
I also bought some college football preseason magazines over the past weekend and below are the composite rankings of the top 10 from the four I read including Athlon Sports, Sporting News, Phil Steele's top 40, and Lindy’s Sports. Athlon and Phil Steele both have Alabama ranked number one. Sporting News has LSU in the top slot and Lindy's has Oklahoma for their one. LSU seems to be the most bogus of the teams being hyped as a preseason number one. I agree that LSU may deserve anywhere from a top 5 to top 10 ranking, but there is not enough to warrant a ranking over Oklahoma, Alabama, or even Oregon. It looks like Sporting News filled up on too much gumbo.
All teams that were ranked in the top 10 by each preseason magazine are included in the rankings. Each team received points for their ranking (10 pts for #1, 9 pts for #2, and so on).Top 10 Composite Rankings from Preseason Magazines
1. Alabama (2) 37
2. Oklahoma (1) 37
3. Oregon 29
4. LSU (1) 24
5. Boise State 24
6. Florida State 18
7. Stanford 10
8. Virginia Tech 10
9. Notre Dame 10
10. Texas A&M 5
11. Ohio State 5
12. Oklahoma State 4
13. Nebraska 4
14. Georgia 2
15. Arkansas 1
The preseason CFU Top 50 teams are listed below. The rankings are based on merit of previous accomplishments with an emphasis on the previous season combined with the amount/quality of returning starters, coaching, and the incoming recruiting class. The CFU Top 50 is not a prediction of other polls or of the season's final rankings. Otherwise, I attempt to determine rank with some sort of fairness rather than preordain rank. However, there is no exact science to these rankings. I am in the process of developing a formula based ranking that I will release later.CFU Top 50
4. Boise State
5. Oklahoma State
7. Florida State
10. South Carolina
14. Texas A&M
15. Miss State
16. Michigan State
17. Notre Dame
20. Virginia Tech
23. West Virginia
24. Ohio State
27. Penn State
33. NC State
35. Miami FL
38. North Carolina
39. Arizona State
42. San Diego State
43. Air Force
44. Texas Tech
48. South Florida
Just outside the top 50: Nevada, Boston College, Miami-OH, Hawaii, Houston, Oregon State, Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Cal, Cincinnati, Troy, FIU
Since I last posted the CFU top 25, some of the rankings have changed. Ohio State is now ranked at 24 due to the loss of their coach and quarterback combined with the instability now in the program. Nevada was close to being a top 50 team based on merit of last season’s accomplishments, but the loss of talent at skill positions especially Colin Kaepernick leaves to question if they can continue the level of success from last season. Many preseason rankings have them somewhere around a top 75 to 90 team, but I believe they deserve a higher rank due to the recent progress of their football program. Here are links for more information:
Other early preseason Top 25 rankings:
Early preseason rankings by NationalChamps.net:http://nationalchamps.net/2011/earlybird/index.htm
Athlon Sports Preseason Top 25:http://www.athlonsports.com/college-football/top-25
ESPN College Football Live early Top 25 Poll:http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/19472/one-big-east-team-in-early-top-25Information provided by Phil Steele:
Preseason All American team:http://blog.philsteele.com/2011/06/01/2011-preseason-all-american-team/
Preseason All Big Ten and All SEC teams:http://www.philsteele.com/Blogs/2011/May11/DBMay28.html
Returning starters (some inaccuracy since this blog is from Jan 26th):http://blog.philsteele.com/2011/01/26/2011-returning-starters/Stats, standings, and other rankings:
College Football 2010 Season Standings on ESPN.com:
Last season's rankings according to TeamRankings.com:
CFU Rankings Page:http://www.collegefootballuniverse.com/Rankings.html
CFU Stats Page:
2011 Recruiting Class Rankings and Info:
ESPN Class Rankings:
Rivals.com 2011 Team Class Rankings:
Scout.com 2011 Team Rankings:
"10 Head Coaches Poised for Instant Success at New Schools" on BleacherReport.com:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/694589-college-football-2011-10-head-coaches-poised-for-instant-success-at-new-schools#/articles/694589-college-football-2011-10-head-coaches-poised-for-instant-success-at-new-schools
Other Posts from JB's Blog with Preseason Info:
Dirty South of College Football (analysis of SEC west):
College Football Universe Top 10 (note rankings have changed):
Dynamic Dozen Early Heisman Watch:
2011 College Football Bowl Season Top 10 Highlights on YouTube:
· Andrew Luck
Junior QB Stanford 70.7 Comp%, 32 TDs, 170.2 Passer Rating · Kellen Moore
Senior QB Boise State 71.3 Comp%, 35 TDs, 182.6 Passer Rating
· LaMichael James
Junior RB Oregon 1731 Rush Yds, 5.9 Avg Rush, 24 Total TDs
· Justin Blackmon
Junior WR Oklahoma State 1782 Receiving Yds, 16.1 Avg Rec, 21 Total TDs· Denard Robinson
Junior QB Michigan 4272 Total YDs, 6.6 Avg Rush, 32 Total TDs· Landry Jones
Junior QB Oklahoma 4718 Pass Yds, 38 TDs
· Brandon Weeden
Senior QB Oklahoma State 4277 Pass Yds, 35 TDs· Knile Davis
Junior HB Arkansas 1322 Rush Yds, 6.5 Avg Rush, 13 Rush TDs· Trent Richardson
Junior HB Alabama, 6.3 Avg Rush, 10 Total TDs· Ryan Broyles
Senior WR Oklahoma 1622 Receiving Yds, 14 TDs· Marcus Lattimore
Sophomore HB South Carolina 1609 Total Yds, 19 Total TDs· Alshon Jeffery
Junior WR South Carolina 1517 Receiving Yds, 17.2 Avg Rec, 9 TDs*
Stat totals are from last season.
These are my Dynamic Dozen Heisman frontrunners coming into the 2011 season. However, many of times the Heisman winner ends up being someone that was not on preseseason watch lists.
Here are links to other watch lists and Heisman info:Heisman Pundit
ESPN Pac-12 Blog
These lists cover most of the preseason candidates except some longshots like Chris Relf and Edwin Baker which may have just as good of a chance looking at recent history. Bleacher Report has Terrell Pryor on their list, but I doubt he will have a chance since he has to sit out five games. Andrew Luck will be at the top of almost everyone's Heisman watch going into week one. It will be his trophy to lose. Here is a YouTube video of his college highlights so far.