2011 College Football: Boise State and 10 Mid-Majors That Could Bust the BCS
Since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998, there has never been a shortage of controversy.
The debate surrounding mid-majors and BCS games has been a growing topic over the past few years.
Ever since Utah went undefeated in 2004-2005 and followed it with a Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh, the mid-major dispute has grown every year.
Just two years later, Boise State shocked the world with a BCS upset win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Since that point, mid-major college football is known to at least have one BCS bound team every year.
Whether a team is looking to make a BCS game or tear up a school's BCS hopes apart, is a completely separate issue.
Here is a look at 10 teams who could bust the BCS in 2011.
10. UCF Knights
2010 record: 11-3 overall, 7-1 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: vs. Boston College, at FIU, at BYU, vs. Tulsa
Season Outlook: UCF will without a doubt have their work cut out for them.
They have a tough schedule in 2011 and will have to work hard to make it out alive.
The Knights have several winnable in conference games against teams like Marshall, UAB, and Memphis, but the big games listed above will be very tough.
FIU, the school once thought of as an easy win, is quickly gaining momentum and made their first bowl game last year.
Boston College out of the ACC is always tough and mid major power BYU will be a hard game on the road.
However, UCF is capable of beating any of these teams.
They finished the 2010 season with a bowl game win over the Georgia Bulldogs. Wins over a struggling powerhouse school can really boost a mid-major's momentum.
The Knights will have to ride the season on the shoulders of Jeffrey Godfrey and hope he's not in line for a sophomore slump.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2010 record: 10-3 overall, and 6-2 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: at Oklahoma, vs Oklahoma State, at Boise State
Season Outlook: Tulsa definitely bolstered up their schedule hoping they can complete a few upsets in 2011.
The Golden Hurricanes ended 2010 on a high note, winning their last seven games on their way to a bowl game victory over Hawaii.
Few analysts gave Tulsa much of a chance against Hawaii and the Golden Hurricanes responded. They came out on fire and routed the Warriors 62-35.
Tulsa returns 3600+ yard passer G.J. Kinne in 2011.
Not only did Kinne go for over 3600 yards passing, he can also take off and run the ball.
Kinne was the teams leading rusher, going for 561 yards on 158 carries.
Kinne will need some help from the run game, as well as his defense if they want to shake up the BCS in 2011.
8. Air Force Falcons
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2010 record: 9-4 overall, and 5-3 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: vs. TCU, at Notre Dame, at Boise State, vs. Army
Season Outlook: Like the previous schools, Air Force didn't make it easy on themselves in 2011.
They face off against many of the big name mid-majors next season, and every game will matter.
They do return quarterback Tim Jefferson as well as running back Asher Clark, which will help in big game moments.
Air Force got off to a great start in 2010, by beating BYU 35-14 at home.
The next week they nearly had a season making win. Air Force went into Norman Oklahoma, and barely lost to the Sooners 27-24.
The momentum of the Oklahoma game could have carried them along way last season, and they are hoping an early season win over TCU can do just that.
Air Force has several early season tests that could determine their fate for the rest of the season.
7. Navy Midshipmen
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2010 record: 9-4 overall
Biggest games: at South Carolina, vs. Air Force, at Rutgers, at Notre Dame
Season Outlook: Navy had an up and down year in 2010.
The Midshipmen started off with a narrow loss to Maryland, and then followed it with two straight wins.
After losing to rival Air Force, they upset Notre Dame 35-17 just a few weeks later.
Perhaps still excited about the Notre Dame win, Navy fell to Duke the next game.
Navy has plenty to look forward to in 2011. They return leading passer and rusher Ricky Dobbs, who should have a big senior season.
Watch out for the Midshipmen and their methodical attack in 2011.
6. Houston Cougars
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2010 record: 5-7 overall, 4-4 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: vs. UCLA, at Tulsa
Season Outlook: The 2010 season went down quickly for the Houston Cougars.
Heart-and-soul player Case Keenum fell to a major injury, and Houston was in major trouble. They spiraled out of control, eventually losing their last four games in a row.
Keenum applied for and was granted another year of eligibility, meaning he will be hunting for revenge in 2011.
Keenum will be a sixth year senior now, so experience will not be a question.
Houston is known for their high flying passing attack and that will not change.
Expect Keenum and Houston to pick teams apart through the air, starting with a week one match up against UCLA.
5. BYU Cougars
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2010 record: 7-6 overall, 5-3 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: at Ole Miss, at Texas, vs. Utah, vs. TCU
Season Outlook: BYU was two completely different teams in 2010.
They switched to a new freshman quarterback Jake Heaps, and he came on slow to start the year.
The Cougars lost four of their first five games, barely coming close against their big name opponents. The second half of the season was a completely separate issue.
BYU won five of their last six, and the only loss came against Utah by just one point.
BYU and company expects to pick up where they left off in 2011. However, it won't be easy for Bronco Mendenhall's troops.
They have a gruesome start to the season, playing Ole Miss, Texas, Utah, and UCF all to start the year.
If BYU can make it out of those games with at least a 2-2 record, they could do some serious damage the rest of the season.
4. Nevada Wolfpack
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2010 record: 13-1 overall, 7-1 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: at Oregon, at Texas Tech, at Boise State
Season Outlook: Nevada had a great season in 2010 without a doubt.
They went 13-1, with their lone loss coming in the middle of the season verse Hawaii.
Nevada was successful in ruining Boise State's perfect season in 2010, upsetting the Broncos 34-31 at home.
The Wolfpack started the season with six straight wins, and ended the year with seven straight wins. Nevada capped off the season with a bowl game victory over Boston College.
Repeating the same success will be a tall order for the team next season.
The team lost their starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as well as defensive end monster in Dontay Moch.
Plenty of shoes will have to filled in a hurry to have similar success in 2011. However, Nevada has a good system, and is more than capable of having guys ready to step in.
3. Utah Utes
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2010 record: 10-3 overall, 7-1 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: at USC, at BYU, at Pittsburgh
Season Outlook: Utah makes the tough transition of changing conferences in 2011.
They will be members of the new look Pac-12, and will have a tough test every week this year.
Utah started off 2010 with an upset victory of top 20 Pittsburgh. This year, Pitt will be looking for revenge.
The match up against Pittsburgh is sandwiched between games verse Arizona State and California.
The Utes will have to come out focused if they want to survive the Pac-12 in 2011.
Utah does return their starting quarterback, Jordan Wynn, who needs to have a big year. However, the same can't be said about the running backs.
Utah's top two running backs were both seniors last year, so somebody will have to step up for the Utes.
This will be a tough transition year for Utah, and it remains to be seen how they will handle it.
2. TCU Horned Frogs
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2010 record: 13-0 overall, 8-0 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: at Baylor, at Air Force, vs BYU, at Boise State
Season Outlook: TCU had a perfect season record wise in 2010.
They beat ranked teams in Baylor and Utah. Not only did they beat Utah, they destroyed them. The Horned Frogs took down Utah on the road by 40 points.
After capping off a regular season, TCU was granted with a BCS Rose bowl game verse the big and strong Wisconsin Badgers.
TCU proved their worth, and shocked the college football landscape with a 21-19 win over the Badgers.
Gary Patterson and company will look to keep winning in 2011.
The non conference schedule is much easier in 2011, which will help TCU since they lost their starting quarterback.
Gary Patterson will have to get his new quarterback ready for next year, since TCU will have a target on their back all year long.
1. Boise State
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2010 record: 12-1 overall, 7-1 in conference
Biggest games of 2011: vs. Georgia, vs. Air Force, vs. TCU
Season Outlook: Boise State has been on the map since they shocked the world with a Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma a few years ago.
2011 will be no different.
If you look at their big games listed, you will notice one common theme. They are all at home.
This is absolutely huge in college football. Not only is it huge to play at home, it's huge to have senior quarterback Kellen Moore back.
Moore will be looking for redemption in his final season, since Nevada spoiled their dreams with just one more regular season game left.
After losing to Nevada, Boise State played with a vengeance.
They won their final two games by a combined 59 points over Utah and Utah State.
Expect Boise State to play with a huge chip on their shoulder in 2011, with a great chance of busting the BCS along the way.