2013 Preseason College Football Rankings: Predicting Non-BCS Teams to Bust Polls

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2013

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan LynchStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

You haven't seen the last of the Northern Illinois Huskies.

NIU inspired/infuriated the nation with their qualification for the Orange Bowl. A clearly overmatched Huskies team was beaten 31-10 by the Florida State Seminoles.

Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch was the driving force to getting Northern Illinois its first BCS bowl bid. He could very well repeat in 2013.

The Huskies' toughest competition in the MAC, Kent State and Ohio, are going to be hit by either a coaching change (Kent State) or graduation (Ohio). Toledo will probably be NIU's toughest in-conference competition.

With games against Purdue and Iowa next year, the Huskies have the opportunity to pick up some important victories.

Dave Doeren might have moved to NC State, but NIU has recovered from coaching changes before. You should count on them to do it again.

Along with Northern Illinois, here are three other teams that could bust the BCS.


Boise State Broncos

This isn't a huge surprise. Every season, Boise State starts out with the greatest chance of any non-AQ school to make the BCS. As long as Chris Petersen returns, the Broncos will be right in the thick of the BCS hunt.

A season opener against the Washington Huskies is the kind of high-risk, high-reward game the school needs in order to build its resume.

Winning would be a big step toward an undefeated season and legitimizing the Broncos in the eyes of voters. However, a loss would almost certainly doom them to the periphery of the elite bowls.

Joe Southwick will be returning, so he could make the jump from game manager to impact player.


Fresno State Bulldogs

Seeing a Carr line up at quarterback for Fresno State should seem a little familiar. Junior Derek Carr is the little brother of former Bulldogs quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr.

It's not name recognition, either, that got the younger Carr the starting QB job at Fresno State. He was the 14th-highest rated passer in the country in 2012. Carr threw for 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

Much like Boise State, the Bulldogs have a tough opener with Rutgers coming into town. Beating the Scarlet Knights would give Fresno State a lot of momentum to start the season.

Fresno State has built the kind of program where people are familiar with the name and would give it the credit due should the Bulldogs run the table.


Toledo Rockets

On to the aforementioned Toledo Rockets.

Selecting the Rockets is a rather risky move. For their first game, they travel down to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators. If Toledo can keep it close, that will count as a win in the eyes of voters.

The Rockets look to have one of the best offenses in the MAC next year. Quarterback Terrance Owens, running back David Fluellen and wide receiver Bernard Reedy are all in their junior seasons.

Toledo will be a handful for the rest of the conference and should probably be penciled in as the second-best team behind Northern Illinois.