Road To Glendale 2011: MAC and Sun Belt Positioning at Stake in Week 6

Bleacher ReportContributor IJuly 30, 2010

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 18:  Quarterback Dwight Dasher #9 of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders looks to throw against the Louisville Cardinals during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 18, 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Louisville defeated Middle Tennessee 42-23. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images


As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011.″

Let’s move to Week 6 where two marquee matchups in non-BCS conferences will probably be your best bet for pressure packed college football this early in the season.

Troy at Middle Tennessee State: Tuesday Oct. 5, 8:00 p.m. ET

This mid-season Sun Belt showdown between the two conference favorites could act as a de facto Sun Belt championship game. With the skill both teams bring to the table in 2010, it wouldn’t be surprising to find these two teams at the top at season’s end.

This seemingly unimportant non-BCS conference game suddenly becomes a marquee matchup of Week 6, and could also provide high entertainment for 60 straight minutes of football.

The likely star here, Middle Tennessee State’s quarterback Dwight Dasher, is an all-around threat with the ability to pick apart defenses with both his feet and arm. Dasher will put his skills to the test against Troy, whose run of Sun Belt titles may be over this year after losing their long-time quarterback Levi Brown.

Brown, who holds many Troy all-time records, will be sorely missed in what will likely be a shootout between the two teams. However, the Trojans won’t be without any hope when they travel to MTSU’s Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in early October.


Long time Trojan coach Larry Blakeney returns star running backs DuJuan Harris and Shawn Southward, along with defensive ends sophomore Jonathan Massaquoi and senior Mario Addison, who will need to put the pressure on Dasher if they are to have any hope of pulling off the road victory.

Temple at Northern Illinois: Saturday Oct. 9, 12:00 p.m. ET

Another high quality non-BCS matchup will again feature two conference title hopefuls, this time the Temple Owls and Northern Illinois Huskies of the Mid-American Conference.

Both teams fell just short of the conference title game last season. With major changes occurring all over the conference, both teams could be right in the middle of the hunt for a berth in the championship game.

The game will feature two unheralded running backs in Northern Illinois’s Chad Spann and Temple’s Bernard Pierce. Both had shining seasons, including Pierce’s surprising MAC rushing title as a freshman in the ’09 season. Questionable quarterback situations will cause both teams to rely heavily on their running games.

Florida State at Miami (FL): Saturday Oct. 9, TBA

A rivalry that was once a non-conference affair has lost some of its luster after the teams joined the same conference and were unable to keep pace with the results of past decades for both teams.


However, after an entertaining edition of the rivalry in 2009, 2010 looks like it could be a reminder of what made both programs so strong during a dominant stretch of Florida football.

Quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder have a lot to do with it, and are early ACC Player of the Year favorites along with Heisman contenders. Coaches Randy Shannon and Jimbo Fisher, although both young and relatively inexperienced in relation to their programs’ history, have returned some youthful energy in the programs and could make the upcoming years more successful.

When the teams meet in Sun Life Stadium in Miami in Week 6, don’t be surprised if you see a game that reminds you of the “Wide Rights I-IV” and “Wide Left” that seemingly define this rivalry.

Just in case you’re wondering: Senior Matt Bosher kicks for the Hurricanes and sophomore Dustin Hopkins takes kicks for the Seminoles.

Other Games of Note: Wyoming at TCU, Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, Mississippi State at Houston, Alabama at South Carolina