Let's take a look at the good and the bad for the non-AQs in Week 11.
The good: TCU and Boise State are still in the national championship conversation, though the debate is about their credentials more than anything else. The Broncos beat Idaho 52-14, and have now baten their WAC opponents by an average score of 50-8. For those who wonder why TCU dropped in the human polls after a 40-35 win against San Diego State, the Broncos beat a Hawaii team with the same record as San Diego State 42-7 at home. … Tulsa has won four straight games and is now in the hunt for the Conference USA West title. The Golden Hurricane are tied atop the West with SMU. But since the Mustangs hold the head-to-head win, Tulsa needs to win out and hope for SMU to slip in one of its final two games. … Northern Illinois has won seven straight for the first time since 2003. … FIU is in the driver’s seat for the Sun Belt after beating Troy for the first time in school history. … BYU has won three straight, including its past two games 104-17. … FAU (4-5) has won three straight, and got its third one-point win of the season, 24-21 against Louisiana. ... North Texas has gone over 400 yards of total offense in all three games under interim head coach Mike Canales after only eclipsing that mark three times in the first seven games this season before he took over.
The bad: This has been a tough season for Wyoming. The Cowboys went to a bowl game last season for the first time since 2004, and beat Fresno State 35-28 in a double-overtime thriller. But nothing has gone right this season. Wyoming (2-9) is winless in Mountain West play, and has lost six straight, including back-to-back losses to New Mexico and UNLV. That would make the Cowboys the worst team in the league. They have won just one game against FBS competition this year, at Toledo, and close out the season Saturday against Colorado State. Wyoming ranks near the bottom of the nation in passing offense, rushing offense, points scored and points allowed, and is No. 119 in total offense and No. 105 in total defense. The team has also had to overcome the death of Ruben Narcisse, killed in a car accident in September.
The heartache: Central Michigan found itself down 38-24 with seven minutes to play against Navy, but the Chippewas never gave up, scoring with 4 seconds left to make it 38-37. Coach Dan Enos elected to go for two, because he thought his team had momentum and would have a hard time stopping Navy in overtime. But the 2-point conversion pass from Ryan Radcliff to Kito Poblah went over his head. Of their eight losses this season, five have been by a touchdown or less. “The entire team supported the decision to go for two,” Enos said. …
Arkansas State was 4-5 heading into its game against Western Kentucky, with bowl hopes on the line. The Red Wolves erased a 21-7 halftime deficit and led 28-21 with 54 seconds left. But a bad snap in punt formation gave Western Kentucky the ball deep inside Arkansas State territory. Willie McNeal caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Kawaun Jakes with no time left to send the game into overtime. Western Kentucky won it 36-35 when defensive back Derrius Brooks scored on a 2-point conversion on a reverse. Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts had no explanation for the botched snap. Arkansas State finishes up at Navy and FIU.
A few more helmet stickers: UNLV running back Tim Cornett scored four touchdowns in a win against Wyoming, making him the first Rebel to score four touchdowns in a game since 1994. … Ball State safety Sean Baker intercepted two passes and returned a fumble 26 yards for a touchdown in a 20-3 win at Buffalo. … Miami (Ohio) freshman receiver Nick Harwell had 125 yards and a touchdown in a 24-21 win against Bowling Green. He now has 43 receptions for 600 yards over the past five games, after making just two catches for 15 yards in his first five games.
A few injury items to note: Boise State suffered a big blow with the news that middle linebacker Byron Hout is out for the season with a broken foot. It’s unclear whether he will be ready for a bowl game. … Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson is doubtful for Tuesday’s game at Temple after getting injured in a bar fight a few weeks ago. Phil Bates has been hobbled by injury, but is expected to start. … Miami (Ohio) quarterback Zac Dysert (ribs) is a game-time decision for Wednesday’s contest at Akron. … Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich (ribs) is out for the season, and Jerry Davis is expected to start against Eastern Michigan.
Week 12 look ahead: A few big games coming up: MAC East Division matchup between Ohio and Temple on Tuesday night. Both teams have one loss in conference. Fresno State is at No. 4 Boise State on Friday night. No. 23 Utah is at San Diego State, while Army and Notre Dame play in the first game at Yankee Stadium.