Let's take a look at the good and the bad for the non-AQs in Week 3.
The good: It looks as if Boise State and TCU are going to be in a dogfight for the top non-AQ spot the rest of the way, based on the way both teams played this past weekend. Kellen Moore and Andy Dalton looked terrific, and so did their respective defenses in big wins. Boise State showed no letdown in a 51-6 win against Wyoming, and TCU showed no letup in a 45-10 win against Baylor.
This might fall on deaf ears – OK it probably will fall on deaf ears – but the WAC is showing some fight this season. Nevada had a huge win against California. Fresno State has a win gainst Cincinnati. Utah State looks much improved as well. There is no question both the Broncos and Horned Frogs face serious challenges the rest of the way – Oregon State comes to town this weekend in Boise. But if both teams keep playing the way they have early on, they could be right back where they were last season.
The bad: Tough to decide whether Houston or North Texas had the worst day on Saturday. Both teams qualify, though, now that they have lost their top two quarterbacks for the season. Houston saw Case Keenum and backup Cotton Turner go down within a quarter of each other, and will now turn to a true freshman to take over the high-powered offense for the rest of the season. Watch for Terrance Broadway to take over.
North Texas has some serious quarterback issues, too. Last week, starter Nathan Tune was lost for the year with a dislocated hip. This past weekend against Army, backup Derek Thompson broke his leg and is out for the year. The Mean Green are now going back to Riley Dodge, who was the starter last year but moved to slot receiver in the spring because of elbow troubles. North Texas lost 24-0 to the Black Knights, their first shutout since 2006. The injury bug has gone beyond quarterback, though. The team has lost nine starters to injury this season.
The bad, Part II: Colorado State has scored 19 points in three games, and is clearly feeling the pain of having a true freshman starting at quarterback. Pete Thomas has thrown one touchdown to six interceptions, and is averaging 6.4 yards a completion. The Rams have now lost 12 in a row.
The bad, Part III? Ohio apologized Monday for the behavior of its mascot before the game against Ohio State this past weekend. The Bobcat mascot tackled Brutus the Buckeye after jumping on his back and wrestling him down to the ground while fans booed. Ohio has barred the student dressed in the costume from any future affiliation with Ohio athletics.
A few more helmet stickers: Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin had another good game this past Saturday against ULM on his way to Sun Belt co-offensive player of the week honors. In three games, Aplin has gone 73-of-119 for 959 yards and four touchdowns. … Toledo defensive back Desmond Marrow had 10 tackles and two interceptions, including one he returned 15 yards for a touchdown in a 37-24 win at Western Michigan. … Utah punt returner Shaky Smithson had a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown against New Mexico. He topped the 100-yard mark and returned a punt for a touchdown for the second straight game.
A few injury items to note: Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz (shoulder sprain) is most likely out for Saturday’s game against Michigan. Coach Dave Clawson said the team would go with either Aaron Pankratz or Kellen Pagel. If Schilz is out for an extended period, he also said the team would consider playing freshman Trent Hurley, who the team planned to redshirt. Kent State hopes to have running back Eugene Jarvis (groin) when it plays against Miami (Ohio).
Week 4 look ahead: Lots of big games ahead for the non-AQ teams, headlined by No. 3 Boise State against Oregon State, the first home game of the year for the Broncos. All eyes will be on them once again as they have another national spotlight game. Other big games to watch: Nevada at BYU, Fresno State at Mississippi and TCU at SMU.