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Beyond the BCS: Trap Games on Tap
by Ben Burns - 11/17/2009
Each week, Ben Burns and columnist David Payne scour the non-BCS conferences looking for hidden gems that may go unnoticed.
This week, they take a look at a few possible look-ahead or letdown situations on the card.
Kent State at Temple (-13.5): The surprising Owls increased their winning streak to eight with a dominating 56-17 win at Akron last week. They are atop the MAC East standings at 6-0 and own a one-game lead over next week’s opponent, Ohio.
Kent State hasn’t been nearly as bad as expected, especially after losing all-time leading rusher Eugene Jarvis two weeks into the season. The Golden Flashes won three straight, before a bad road loss at Akron.
But Kent State has had two weeks to get over that loss and prepare for Temple.
Kent State racked over 550 yards of offense in last year’s win over Temple.
Nevada (-31.5) at New Mexico State: Nevada is one of the hottest teams in the nation, having won seven straight after a disastrous 0-3 start.
New Mexico is one of the coldest teams in the nation, having lost four straight without scoring an offensive touchdown in any of those games.
As the statistics and the 31.5-point line suggests, this is a big-time mismatch. But it was a big-time mismatch last year too, when the Aggies went into Nevada and won straight up as a 19.5-point underdog. That upset is New Mexico State’s only WAC road win since joining the conference in 2005.
The memory of that game alone might be enough to keep the Wolf Pack focused on the task at hand instead of next Friday’s showdown with Boise State.
"Don't think for a minute, after (the 52-14 win over Fresno State on Saturday), that the kids didn't start talking about last year's game," Nevada coach Chris Ault told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We didn't have to say a word."
TCU (-31.5) at Wyoming: With Wyoming and winless New Mexico left on the schedule, TCU all but assured itself of an undefeated regular season with last week’s rout of Utah. That makes Saturday’s 900-mile trip to Laramie a serious letdown possibility.
Wyoming beat TCU the last time the Frogs made the haul up north (2007), but this is obviously a different TCU squad. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said TCU was the “best team we’ve played” in the last five seasons. That includes Alabama and Oregon.
TCU knows even a sloppy win in either of its final two games would do serious damage to its reputation. But sometimes teams start pressing when they try to blow someone out.
This is a difficult test against a Wyoming team that’s riding a little momentum after last week’s comeback win at San Diego State. The Cowboys scored 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to knock off the Aztecs.