Boise State: The Broncos are easily the most highly anticipated addition to Big East football. Chris Petersen has shown how great of a coach he is with the coaching job he has done this year. Boise was expected to struggle this year with first year starter Joe Southwick taking over for Kellen Moore at quarterback. Southwick has done a good job of managing the game and allowing a decent running game and a dominant defense lead the team to a 5-1 record. A tough loss to Michigan State in the season opener is the only thing that will keep Boise from being a BCS buster again this year. Oh, and don't look now but Petersen has landed two 4-star recruits this year. He hasn't done that before at Boise.
Central Florida: UCF has had a much needed turnaround in the middle part of their season. George O'Leary has had a very controversial stint as the helm for the Knights and a lot of people felt that he had to win big to keep his job this year. I myself was pretty surprised that he kept his job after the fallout from the Kenneth Caldwell scandal. But the possibility of a nine or ten win season looks to be a saving grace for O'Leary right now. His decision to move star quarterback Jeff Godfrey to wide receiver in favor of Blake Bortles has paid off and the defense is doing just enough to win games. UCF is also in on a handful of big prospects. The decommitment of Richard Benjamin was a big hit, but he still lists them and doesn't seem to be rushing to make a decision.
Houston: It doesn't get much worse than starting off your season by giving a team it's first FBS win. But that's what happened to Houston and it led to the firing of their offensive coordinator. Tony Levine started off his career on a three game losing streak but he has stopped that skid and could get above .500 this week against SMU. Houston has never been known for it's defense but it was much worse than normal to start this season. However, they've been able to hold their last three opponents to 17 points a game and the offense has done much better after the coaching change.
SMU: SMU is just not a good team this year. Losing to a Tulane team that, in my opinion, is the worst team in the nation pretty much sealed the deal on that. The Mustangs are very bad on offense and I can honestly that I've never heard that about a June Jones team. Zach Line entered this season as one of the best running backs in the country but he has had a very average year and his yards per carry has dipped to under five yards for the first time as a starter. Garret Gilbert has somehow played worse than he did at Texas. And the offense is not making very many big plays. The defense has played poorly in it's big contests but they haven't been bad in conference, picking up a shutout against UTEP. June Jones has been the subject of some criticism and rightfully so. It will be a surprise if he survives this season.
Memphis: This is going to sounds sill but Memphis has played pretty well for a 1-5 team. Before last week they hadn't been blown out by any team on it's competitive level and they honestly had a fighting chance in a couple of games they had no business being in. Let's face it, Memphis has a terrible football program and that's not likely to change anytime soon. But small victories are what get things turned around and Justin Fuente is going to need as many small victories as he can get. Fuente is a young guy with a good track record on the recruiting trail. Time will tell if he can get some talent to Memphis and turn things around. For now he's doing a good job of keeping his offense from turning the ball over as well as keeping his team in a couple of games. He has four games left on the schedule against teams that are having very down seasons. Getting to three or four wins would be huge for the program.
Navy: The Midshipmen are facing a problem that all of the service academies face: Sustainability. Navy has gone from beating Notre Dame two years in a row to being shut out by San Jose State at home. It's hard to recruit at the Naval Academy and therefore it's hard to have continued success. Navy is missing the dominant running game that they've had over the last 5 years or so. Trey Miller hasn't run the ball as well as Ricky Dobbs and others did and the offense is struggling to score because of it. Even with an improved passing game, the offense isn't wearing down defenses like usual and it's killing the formula that has worked in the past. Navy has a fairly tough schedule the rest of the way. They'll need to get their ground game to take it to the next level in order to keep the two game winning streak they have going.
San Diego State: The Aztecs are a respectable 4-3 this year with losses to three teams that are at least arguably better than them. That might not sound all that great, but beating teams you're supposed to and only losing to teams that are on your level is important when trying to get your program to the next level. "Bad" losses are looked are perceived differently in the Big East and it's rubbed off on future Big East teams as well. The Aztecs have gotten a pretty good season out of Oregon State transfer Ryan Katz but they haven't been dynamic in the passing game. They have, however, been pounding people with their running game. They are on pace for 40 rushing touchdowns and possibly two 1000-yard rushers. This hasn't translated to good defensive play like it sometimes does and that's the issue that really needs fixing if they want to win the Mountain West. Beating Boise and Nevada on the road are tough tasks, but SDSU has the offensive weapons to hang with anyone right now.