Mid-Manifest Destiny: Boise State, TCU Alone Together In The Top Five

SALT LAKE CITY UT - NOVEMBER 6: Bart Johnson #6 and Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrate a touchdown pass during a game against the Utah Utes during the first half of an NCAA football game November 6 2010 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

A weekly examination of the lesser luminaries of Division I-A. On this week's agenda: Utah falls from grace, leaving Boise State and TCU to possibly represent mid-majors in the BCS.

• And then there were two. The mid-majors have graciously allowed another Big Six program to creep into the top five BCS slots following Utah's grisly demise at the hands of TCU and the arm of Andy Dalton. In both the BCS standings and the latest college football rankings, TCU and Boise are 3-4 in the AP and Coaches' Polls. The Utes drop to No. 14, making them the lowest-ranked one-loss team not named Nevada. 

• We were under the impression there would be a football game? Was anyone else just a wee bit shocked at the Hawaii-Boise State outcome? The Warriors entered Week 10 wielding the nation's top-ranked passing offense, and it was tacitly understood that they would lose by several scores, but who outside of Boise expected them to lose like that?

• Backward the Yarbnalls.
Let's just back away slowly and let the Nevada-Idaho box score speak for itself: 391 passing yards. Six aerial touchdowns. No interceptions for either of Nevada's two quarterbacks seeing action. 453 rushing yards. 38 first downs. Two penalties for 20 yards. Two punts. Colin Kaepernick remains available for your consideration, Heisman voters far and near.

• Hail to the hardware. With Saturday's win over Army, Air Force takes home the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, ending a seven-year Navy stranglehold. 

• Move, Knights, move! Freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey took advantage of Houston's legendarily porous defense Friday night, throwing 15 completions on 19 attempts for 294 yards and adding another 105 on the ground. His three touchdowns paved the way for a 40-33 road victory for the Knights, the sole lead of C-USA East, and (clutch those pearls!) a No. 25 national ranking.

• Boo's boo-boos. The greatest name in college football is resting at home after being briefly hospitalized for injuries sustained in a Friday barfight. Reports vary wildly concerning the cause of the fight and its eventual effects (Jackson is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against Temple.)

•Is it still a triple option if you're only using one?
We would like to imagine that large swaths of defensive starters were all on a fall break cruise somewhere this weekend, or sunning it up in the Panhandle somewhere, because when Boise State and TCU's offensive outputs look inferior to any of these teams', there's something terribly wrong. In the mid-majors alone, Northern Illinois put up 65 on Toledo in Tuesday-night action, Tulsa scored 64 on Rice, and Navy obliterated ECU with 76 (SEVENTY-SIX) points. Try not to tear up looking at this box score:


• This week in Mike Locksley Still Has A Job Theatre: Mike Locksley totally still has a job, and now he has a win, too! How precious! The Lobos put on a 17-point fourth-quarter that culminated in a 38-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to secure the win over Wyoming. SB Nation's Cowboy Altitude suspects supernatural forces are at work.

• This week in No, Seriously, What The Hell Do We Do With UTEP? Well, look who just beat SMU! (Who are not as stong as they ought to have been this season, but seriously, we defy anyone to make money betting on UTEP to either win or lose football games. In the physical world we occupy, it cannot be done.)

Profiles in ownage.
• Robbie Rouse, Fresno State's solo back who rushed for 286 yards against Louisiana Tech (on 43 touches!), or just 22 fewer yards than the Bulldogs' entire offensive output.

Not ready for primetime.
• Aaron Opelt, you are sorely missed in Toledo. Northern Illinois scorched the Rockets' scoreboard and nobody in white could keep pace.

Mini-major medalist.

Charleston Southern, everybody! The plucky Buccaneers played up to a bored Kentucky team, losing by four touchdowns but scoring two of their own on longish plays (a 12-yard run and a 17-yard pass).

Louisiana and Memphis got mauled by Ole Miss and Tennessee, while most of the other Big Six schools enjoying a virtual bye beat up on I-AA teams. This week moves the mid-majors to 18-81 against AQ conferences for 2010. The independents have the best mathematical record, at 202, while the Mountain West and WAC have the most wins with four apiece. The Sun Belt has no wins and 20 losses.

Walking Dead Watch.
New Mexico, as previously mentioned, is out the cellar for 2010! Welcome, one and all, to THE STUMP GODFREY ERA, and farewell to the Lobos from this ignominious category of the internet.

Akron? Oh, they just took Ball State to double overtime and faceplanted, again. This isn't funny unless you've been on an unsolicited booster email list of theirs for ten months despite dozens (actual dozens) of pleas to be removed. Or unless you've got something against cartoon kangaroos.

Violently Subjective Mid-Major Top 10
1.  TCU (10-0)
2.  Boise State (8-0)
3.  Utah (8-1)
4.  Nevada (8-1)
5.  UCF (7-2)
6.  Hawaii (7-3)
7.  San Diego State (7-2)
8.  Northern Illinois (8-2)
9.  Temple (8-2)
10. Fresno State (6-2)

Stay Tuned.
Week 11 matchups for the five ranked mid-major teams are as follows: Southern Miss at UCF, Boise State at Idaho, Utah at Notre Dame (can you stand the wait? CAN YOU?!), San Diego State at TCU, and Nevada at Fresno State. The real show, however, is taking place in SEC country, where we would not be at all surprised to see UTEP upset Arkansas, because they're UTEP. (The losses to Tulane and Marshall? Just Mike Price lulling us all into a false sense of security. You'll see.)

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