Preseason 2005: Non-BCS Sleepers
By popular demand, here are some non-BCS sleepers. These are teams that I think I may have underrated when I released my rankings earlier this month.
I'll throw two out there- Houston and Southern Miss. Everyone is high on USM, but I just don't buy it yet. They have lost some players, and they were only a 7-5 team last year. Are they going to be better? Maybe, maybe not. We need to wait and see. Houston underachieved drastically last year. Truthfully, it wouldn't shock me to see Houston beat Oregon on September 1 and make a run at the West title. UTEP is the clear favorite, but Houston may shock some people.
Who is a sleeper in this conference? I guess I have to go with Eastern Michigan at this point, although any of the bottom eight teams is a possibility. EMU has the offensive firepower to light it up and that makes them dangerous in a conference like this.
I could be sleeping on a lot of teams here. But I have to pick one out. So I'll go with New Mexico. The Lobos are a team that many are picking to win the conference. I've got them fourth. They have the running game to stay in any game. They are a talented group, but their road games are against Missouri, UTEP, TCU, Wyoming, San Diego State, and Utah. Ouch.
The Troy Trojans went to a bowl game last year. They lost a lot of talent, but I still have them projected as going just 5-6 and finishing 5th in the Sun Belt. They are probably a better team than that and should finish #3 in the conference more than likely. We'll wait and see.
OK, I'm going WAY out on a limb here and saying New Mexico State. I'm going to say that Hal Mumme has the type of affect on them that Price had on UTEP last year and they go from doormats to contenders in one year. Mumme runs a quirky offense and this team has the players to put big points on the board. If nothing else, they'll be fun to watch.