August 09, 2004

Let’s Play Some Football! Non-BCS Version

All right, so I am cutting a corner. I have lumped all the non-BSC conferences together, so sue me. I think the world can go on. Was anybody really wondering how I thought Middle Tennessee would do this year?

Conference USA
This is a conference in serious flux due to the Big East’s meltdown. This is the last year in C-USA for Louisville, Cincinnati (who head to the Big East), TCU (the Mountain West) and Army (Independent). Replacing them next year will be Rice, SMU, UTEP, Tulsa, Marshall and Central Florida. For 2004, the Cardinals are the class of the league, led by QB Stefan Lefors, and Coach Bobby Petrino. Memphis and TCU could make a run at Louisville, with the always-dangerous Southern Miss lurking behind them.

1. Louisville Cardinals
2. Memphis Tigers
3. Texas Christian Horned Frogs
4. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
5. South Florida Bulls
6. Houston Cougars
7. Alabama-Birmingham Blazers
8. Cincinnati Bearcats
9. Tulane Green Wave
10. East Carolina Pirates
11. Army Cadets

Mid-American Conference
This could be a down year for the MAC, especially after last year, when Toledo, Miami, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois made the Top-20 at one point. Still, this is a dangerous conference. Toledo and Marshall are the favorites, with Miami and BGSU close behind. It will be a rough year for the Herd and Central Florida, as the rest of the league would love to send them off in pain.

1. Marshall Thundering Herd
2. Miami (OH) RedHawks
3. Central Florida Golden Knights
4. Akron Zips
5. Kent State Golden Flashes
6. Ohio Bobcats
7. Buffalo Bulls

1. Toledo Rockets
2. Bowling Green Falcons
3. Northern Illinois Huskies
4. Western Michigan Broncos
5. Central Michigan Chippewas
6. Ball State Cardinals
7. Eastern Michigan Eagles

Mountain West Conference
The best of the non-BCS conferences resides here. Utah, under second-year coach Urban Meyer is a possible top-10 team. The MWC has become a defensive league; with the Utes, SDSU and Colorado State all sporting fine D’s. The Aztecs are recruiting well, and could suprise.

1. Utah Utes
2. San Diego State Aztecs
3. New Mexico Lobos
4. Colorado State Rams
5. Air Force Falcons
6. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
7. Bringham Young Cougars
8. Wyoming Cowboys

Sun Belt
This widespread league, stretching from Tennessee to Idaho is also in flux. After this season, New Mexico State and Utah State leave for the WAC, and two young programs, Florida Atlantic and Florida International join. As has been the case the past few years, North Texas is the class of the league. The Mean Green are due for their third consecutive New Orleans Bowl.

1. North Texas State Mean Green
2. New Mexico State Aggies
3. Troy State Trojans
4. Utah State Aggies
5. Arkansas State Indians
6. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
7. Louisiana-Monroe Indians
8. Louisiana-Lafayette Raging Cajuns
9. Idaho Vandals

Western Athletic Conference
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the WAC is a conference in flux. This is the last year of the non-Western WAC, as SMU, Rice, Tulsa and UTEP are leaving for C-USA. In their place will be New Mexico State and Utah State. This year, it’s the same big two as the last couple years: Boise State and Fresno State are the class of this league, with Hawaii and quickly-improving Tulsa not far behind.

1. Boise State Broncos
2. Fresno State Bulldogs
3. Hawaii Warriors
4. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
5. Rice Owls
6. UTEP Miners
7. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
8. Nevada Wolfpack
9. SMU Mustangs
10. San Jose State Spartans

Previously: ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12

Posted by Frinklin at August 9, 2004 06:49 PM

What, no PAC-10? Or are you saving the best for last?

Posted by: Richard at August 9, 2004 08:25 PM

Yeah, the BCS conferences go in alphbetical order

Posted by: frinklin at August 9, 2004 08:37 PM

That's the highest ranking I've seen Arkansas State at so far this offseason.

Oh, and Idaho will be headed to the WAC next year as well.

Posted by: Jeremy at August 9, 2004 09:33 PM
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