Louisiana Tech (9-2) is certainly the toughest of the six incoming teams, but lost its No. 19 ranking and a shot at the Western Athletic Conference title with a 48-41 overtime loss last week to Utah State. The Bulldogs rallied from 24 points down to tie the game on a Matt Nelson field goal on the last play of regulation, but faltered in its overtime possession.
"Maybe we were a little emotionally done at that point," said Tech coach Sonny Dykes said. "We battled so much to get back in - I don't know if we ran out of gas down the stretch."
Old Dominion has the splashiest record, 10-1, and is preparing for a deep run in the FCS playoffs. The Monarchs will host Coastal Carolina or Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 1 at its S.B. Ballard Stadium.
The Monarchs won the Colonial Athletic Association, though it will not receive official credit. In retribution for ODU's pending move out of the conference, the CAA disqualified the school from championships in all sports.
Coach Bobby Wilder's Monarchs, who are planning to be up to FBS speed in 2015, are averaging 44.5 points and 538.3 yards per game.
Texas-San Antonio is 7-4 entering its game Saturday against Texas State, though the Roadrunners are just 2-3 in the WAC. Attendance is still relatively strong, at an average of 27,265 at the Alamodome.
North Texas, like Sun Belt brethren FIU, will not be bowl-eligible. The Mean Green (4-7) finishes the season Saturday at Western Kentucky.
North Carolina-Charlotte, a program in its pre-infancy, conducted its fall finale scrimmage last Saturday. The 49ers begin play in 2013, and will join C-USA competition in 2015.
With his five field goals, Rice's Boswell is keeping its C-USA's tradition of strong placekicking alive and well. These weren't chip shots, either: 56, 51, 43, 53 and 28 yards.
But at 19 of 24 and five made from 50 or more yards, Boswell isn't the most accomplished kicker in the league. That honor is going to Tulane's Cairo Santos, who has hit all 20 attempts, including long shots of 54 and 57.
Accordingly, the Brazilian was named this week as one of the three finalists for the Lou Groza Award.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.