Wednesday, September 2, 2009

CFI Preview: BCS Busters Top Five

1. Boise State Broncos
College Football Insiders: 16
Associated Press: 14
Coaches Poll: 16
2008 Record: 12-1 (WAC: 8-0)
The Broncos hold the No.1 spot due to their record of success, and until they prove they do not belong in the preseason top 25, they should be members of it. They have a solid offensive line which gave up only 11 sacks all season in 2008, a quarterback in Kellen Moore who is a strong pocket passer, and a solid secondary which has all but one returning starter. Their offensive line is a big question mark at this point. They have only two upper-classmen starting while the rest are sophomores earning their first full-time starting jobs. There is definitely more to love than hate with this Broncos team and until they show signs of significant downfall from last seasons’ success, they will be in the BCS Busters’ top-five rankings.
Up Next: 9/3 vs. Oregon; 9/12 @ Toledo

2. Utah Utes
College Football Insiders: 20
Associated Press: 19
Coaches Poll: 18
2008 Record: 13-0 (MWC: 8-0)
The Utes have one of the strongest defenses in the in the nation, returning seven starters from a year ago. They do have holes to fill on offense, including every skill position. Quarterback Corbin Louks has the skill set to take this team far this season due to his ability to run the ball. The fact he can get out of the pocket and make things happen brings huge upside to this revamped offense. They still have first-team All-MMWC tackle Zane Beadles, who will serve as a mentor to the new group of linemen coming in. The defense will be rock solid, but the offense will need to come through and move the chains to keep the defense fresh if the Utes are going to make a BCS Bowl push.
Up Next: 9/3 vs. Utah State; 9/12 @ San Jose State

3. BYU Cougars
College Football Insiders: NR
Associated Press: 20
Coaches Poll: 24
2008 Record: 10-3 (MWC: 6-2)
The Cougars’ Max Hall should do wonders for an offense that brings back only four starters from a year ago. Hall has great pocket presence and an outstanding tight end in Dennis Pitta to throw to if he gets into trouble. The offensive line is young and inexperienced, but could be surprisingly effective. The defense brings back seven starters and should be a force in the MWC. The only factors that could potentially bring this team down from the top-five rankings are their offensive line and the schedule. Playing Oklahoma, Florida State, TCU, Air Force and Utah, will be a big test for this young team. Should they pull a couple of upsets, they will make their way to a New Year’s Day bowl game.
Up Next: 9/5 vs. Oklahoma (Dallas); 9/12 @ Tulane

4. TCU Horned Frogs
College Football Insiders: NR
Associated Press: 17
Coaches Poll: 17
2008 Record: 11-2 (MWC: 7-1)
The Horned Frogs have great balance on offense and return seven starters from 2008. All but one skill position will be a second-year starter which bodes well for this group. Their defense still has the likes of defensive end Jerry Hughes, who can be a game-changing performer and protect the secondary because of his pass-rushing ability. The secondary returns three starters of its own and should be able to hold their own even if Hughes can’t get to the quarterback on every play. The Frogs have one of the softer schedules of the BCS Buster teams and have a great chance of climbing up the top-five rankings as the season progresses.
Up Next: 9/12 @ Virginia; 9/19 vs. Texas State

5. Nevada Wolf Pack
College Football Insiders: NR
Associated Press: 50
Coaches Poll: 40
2008 Record: 7-6 (WAC: 5-3)
The Wolf Pack have a high-powered offense that will cause trouble for opposing defenses. The ground game they possess is tremendous, with the quarterback (Collin Kaepernick) and tailback (Vai Taua) both coming off 1,000-yard seasons in 2008. It is the pass defense that needs to tighten up—they were last in the nation in that department a year ago, surrendering a horrific 311.6 yards per game. Despite a good pass rush, the secondary allowed too many points on the board for the Wolf Pack to win close games. They were 1-4 in games which both teams scored 30 or more points. If the secondary can even remotely catch up with the defensive line, this team will be feared and should end up with a much better record than its 7-6 mark of a season ago.
Up Next: 9/5 @ Notre Dame; 9/19 @ Colorado State