At long last, the final four teams that I haven’t attached an arbitrary grade to. Here are Boise State, Fresno State, Idaho, and New Mexico State.
Record: 7-0, 3-0 WAC
Highlights: Wins against Virginia Tech and Oregon State, #1 in total defense nationally, leading conference in a great many stat categories.
Weak Points: The schedule, also [...]
The end is near on these silly report cards- just six teams left in the two western leagues. And most of them are pretty good teams- coming up with new ways to talk about 1 and 2 win teams gets tiresome after a while. Here’s San Diego State and Utah.
San Diego State
Record: 5-2, 2-1 Mountain West
Unlike the MAC, plenty of C-USA teams enjoyed bye weeks in the early going, meaning it took a bit longer to cross the halfway point. Then I didn’t write anything last week, so now most of them have 7 games in the books, but that’s close enough. Time to catch up with East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Tulane, UAB, and UCF.
Record: 5-2, 3-0 Conference USA
Highlights: Overtime win over NC State, Hail Mary win over Tulsa, #1 pass offense in a pass-happy league, #3 total & scoring offense.
Weak Points: Second half collapses against Virginia Tech and UNC, 10th in the league in pass and total defense.
Grade: A-. Other than two bad halves, ECU has been outstanding this year, vastly outperforming expectations. The defense is still suspect, but so far the offense has been good enough to escape any close games in the league.
Remaining Games: at UCF, Navy, at UAB, at Rice, SMU
Best Case: 5-0, into the top 25, conference title and another Liberty Bowl berth.
Worst Case: 2-3. With 3 quality opponents left, if someone solves the offensive attack, ECU could be in trouble.
Prediction: 3-2. I’ll be predicting a UCF win this weekend, and suspect that ECU will split between Navy and SMU. 8-4 on the season, and right now I have them projected to play Clemson in the Eaglebank Bowl in DC.
Record: 4-3, 1-1 C-USA
Highlights: 25 point win over league leading SMU, #1 scoring offense in C-USA, 9th nationally
Weak Points: loss to cross-town rival Rice, disappointing results against BCS teams, worst rushing defense in the league.
Grade: Read Post
Most of the MAC played six straight to open the season, but three stragglers (Buffalo, Kent State, and Western Michigan), took a little longer.
Record: 2-5, 1-2 MAC
Highlights: Road win at Bowling Green, #1 pass defense in the league, #4 total defense.
Weak Points: 42-0 shutout to Temple, #12 scoring offense despite mid-pack total offense numbers.
The rest of the Sun Belt has reached or passed the midpoint of their seasons- FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana, ULM, Middle Tennessee State, Troy, and Western Kentucky are all finally into the last half of their seasons.
Record: 2-4, 2-0 Sun Belt
Highlights: Consecutive wins over Sun Belt teams after 0-4 start against BCS schools. Had legitimate chance to win at least 3 of those games. #1 Total Defense in the league despite schedule.
Weak Points: Big loss to Pittsburgh, special teams numbers low, last in Sun Belt passing efficiency.
Grade: C-. If FIU had a 1-AA, or even a low end C-USA or MAC school, they could be 3-3 by now.
Remaining Games: at Florida Atlantic, ULM, at Troy, at Louisiana, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee
Best Case: 6-0 for an 8-4 season and the New Orleans Bowl. Troy will be a tough game, but we don’t know just how good FIU can be yet.
Worst Case: 3-3 for a 5-7 year, home for the postseason.
Prediction: 5-1, 7-5 on the season and off to the first winning season and bowl in FIU history.
Record: 1-5, 0-3 Sun Belt
Highlights: Last second victory over UAB to start the season, #2 pass defense in the league.
Weak Points: 5 game losing streak since opening weekend including to struggling North Texas, worst offense in the league, worst rushing defense.
Grade: D-. After an optimistic start, things have gone badly for the Owls.
Remaining Games: FIU, at Western Kentucky, Louisiana, at Texas, at Middle Tennessee, Troy
Best Case: 2-4 with a rough stretch at the end.
Worst Case: 0-6, now that Western Kentucky has managed to win, there are no easy wins for FAU.
Prediction: 1-5, I think they can win one of the next three, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it. Read Post
Finally, the last batch of reviews for this week. Which is handy, because week 7 starts in about 22 hours. By odd coincidence, MAC teams in the lower half of the alphabetical sort (in this case, Miami, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, and Temple) are having much better seasons than the ones in the top half. Go figure.
Record: 3-3, 2-0 MAC
Highlights: Wins over Colorado State and Kent State, exposing Florida’s horrific offense in week 1, lead the league in turnover margin.
Weak Points: Blowout losses to Missouri and Cincinnati, worst ground game in the league (119th in the country), most team stats are bottom half of the MAC.
Grade: B-. Extra points for exceeding expectations- only losses are to BCS league teams, and they’ve already beaten teams they would have lost to in 2009.
Remaining Games: at Central Michigan, Ohio, at Buffalo, at Bowling Green, at Akron, Temple
Best Case: 5-1 for an 8-4 season and a bowl bid. CMU and Ohio certainly haven’t looked unbeatable so far this year.
Worst Case: 1-5 for a disappointing ending, but still a big improvement over 2009.
Prediction: 3-3, and probably at the bottom of the bowl priority list, meaning it’ll be tough to find a game for the postseason. They could certainly perform better though.
Record: 4-2, 2-0 MAC
Highlights: Resounding wins over Minnesota and East favorite Temple. Top rushing team in the MAC, allowing just 10.2 points per game despite 3 BCS teams on the schedule.
Weak Points: Special teams ranks among the lowest in the league, pass offense not carrying its share of the load. Read Post
Most of the Mountain West has reached the halfway point, so we’ll take a look at how the first six games have gone for Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, TCU, UNLV, and Wyoming. Read Post
Five teams have reached the halfway point of the last WAC season as we know it- Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, San Jose State, and Utah State. The rest reach the midpoint on Saturday, for a nice, normal split.
Record: 4-2, 2-0 WAC
Highlights: Tough road wins at Army and Fresno State, leading the country in passing offense, 11th nationally in scoring offense.
Weak Points: Bad loss at Colorado, running game is 117th, defense is below average, kick returns are terrible.
Grade: A. Hawaii has looked very strong against decent WAC teams, and hasn’t lost a non-BCS game yet. Not sure if they can compete with Nevada and Boise, but we’re about to find out.
Remaining Games: Nevada, at Utah State, Idaho, at Boise State, San Jose State, at New Mexico State, UNLV
Best Case: 6-1 and the Hawaii Bowl (if they’re eligible, that’s where they go). I don’t think they win out, but they could potentially steal one from the WAC leaders.
Worst Case: 4-3. Losses to Boise & Nevada and a surprise from one of the other five.
Prediction: 5-2. I think they’ll take a loss this weekend, and in Boise, but nobody else on their schedule is playing as well as the Warriors. 9-4 on the season and comfortably playing in their home bowl game.
Record: 2-4, 1-1 WAC
Highlights: Surprise win over Utah State, #4 rushing offense in the WAC.
Weak Points: Nearly everything, statistically. Read Post
The MAC has a very front-loaded schedule, which means 10 of the 13 teams have played six games in the first six weeks. Because you don’t want to read (and I don’t want to write) about 10 MAC teams in one shot, I’m breaking them into two parts. Here are the first five on the list- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan (it’s alphabetical, not because they’re all terrible). Eastern Michigan will be moved to the next batch because the NCAA Stats database just went down again.
Record: 0-6, 0-2 MAC
Highlights: They gook Gardner-Webb to overtime before losing. They’re 4th in the MAC in Net Punting. They are not 120th in any of the major NCAA stat categories.
Weak Points: Everything but punting. Lost to a FCS team. Hasn’t been within 11 of anybody else. Last in the league in offense, 11th in defense.
Grade: F. To be winless at this point and not get an F, there would have to be some pretty compelling circumstances. Nothing compelling here, just a bad football team.
Remaining Games: at Ohio, Western Michigan, at Temple, at Ball State, Miami, Buffalo
Best Case: 1-5. Unless some other team appears, the only winnable game on the slate is Ball State.
Worst Case: 0-6. This is not unlikely.
Prediction: 0-6 and 0-12 on the season. Ball State has won two games already and the others are all at least decent teams.
Record: 2-4, 1-1 MAC
Highlights: Gave Purdue fits, upset Central Michigan on the road. Leading the league in kickoff returns, #2 in rushing offense.
Weak Points: Lost to FCS Liberty. Read Post
This is the first of two or three parts covering the C-USA teams as they cross the six game mark. Today we look at Memphis, SMU, Tulsa, Southern Miss, and UTEP.
Record: 1-5, 0-3 Conference USA
Highlights: Big win over in-state rival Middle Tennessee stopped a two game losing streak to the Blue Raiders.
Weak Points: Last in the league in offense, 10th in defense. Kick return and turnovers among the worst in the country.
Grade: D-. MTSU is down this year, but still a decent win for the Tigers. Otherwise, nothing has gone right for this team with four of their five losses coming in blowouts.
Remaining Games: Southern Miss, Houston, Tennessee, at Marshall, at UAB, UCF
Best Case: 3-3 with wins over UAB and Marshall, plus a home upset in four chances.
Worst Case: 0-6, since UAB and Marshall are both road games.
Prediction: 1-5, for a 2-10 season. They have a bunch of home games down the stretch, but they’re against UT and 3 of the best teams in the league. Tough road ahead for the rebuilding Tigers.
Record: 4-2, 3-0 Conference USA Read Post