Boise State, Notre Dame eye BCS-bowl berths

Adam Rittenberg takes a look at the best and worst of the I-A Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC and C-USA so far.

Updated: October 12, 2006, 4:10 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to ESPN.com
Here's a quick look at the best and worst at the season's halfway point from the I-A Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC and C-USA:

Conference USA
Houston looked like the early favorite until its embarrassing home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cougars remain 2-0 in league play, but Kevin Kolb and his teammates have to rebound Saturday at Southern Miss. Defending West Division champ Tulsa is once again solid behind quarterback Paul Smith and the nation's second-ranked pass defense, but the Golden Hurricane still face UTEP and Houston. UAB is the tallest midget in the East Division, and it doesn't play a team with a winning record until Nov. 10 (UTEP).

Biggest surprise
UAB is hardly dominating opponents -- its two league wins have been by a combined 11 points -- but the Blazers lead a struggling East Division. After losing quarterback Darrell Hackney, UAB was picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the division, but it has received solid play from end Larry McSwain and the rest of the defensive front.