The 2009 season was huge for the Mountain West Conference. The year started with BYU’s upset of Oklahoma at Cowboys Stadium and cultivated with TCU’s appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. By the end of the season, the conference found three of it’s members (TCU, BYU and Utah) ranked ranked among the top 18 in both of the major college football polls. Although Utah will depart the conference for the Pac-10 at the end of the season, Boise State will jump right in to take their place and the Mountain West may not miss a beat as far as football is concerned.
This week marks “Mountain West Conference Week” for the Examiner college sports department. In honor of this, College Football Examiner Kevin posed some questions for the Mountain West Conference Examiners. The first part of the Q&A focuses on the Mountain West Conference as a whole. Here are the five questions Kevin asked about the 2010 Mountain West season and my answers.
This is an exciting time for the Mountain West as Boise State is lined up to join the conference. Where do you see the future of the conference heading five years down the road?
The Mountain West is in a prime position right now. This season could be the season that sets the table for the future of the Conference. The addition of Boise State is huge, as they are to-date the most successful non-BCS team going. Sure, TCU and Utah can have a say in that, but Boise has the latest BCS Bowl win among the three.
Speaking of TCU, there is a budding rivalry between the Frogs and the Broncos that has the potential to create huge games between the schools from here on out. There is some disappointment about Utah taking off for the Pac-yet-to-be-named, but at the same time it speaks to the quality of play that’s taken place in the MWC. Five years from now, there’s a reasonable chance that the Mountain West could be one of college football’s premier conferences with automatic qualification. The fact that the conference spans almost the entire western portion of the country creates a huge umbrella for recruiting.
Does the Mountain West deserve an automatic BCS berth or is there still work to be done to prove they are worthy of the lucrative seat at the BCS table?
Utah and TCU have already done a lot of work to prove the Conference’s worthiness. These are two schools that have already combined for three BCS appearances and two BCS wins. Since 2004 TCU, Utah and BYU are a combined 31-17 against BCS schools. That includes a 10-3 (.769) record for TCU and 13-4 for Utah. In addition, Boise State is moving in and serves as a worthy replacement for the Utes. The only “fly in the ointment” is that Boise has a 5-5 record against BCS teams since 2004. But, put together their BCS success along with TCU and Utah’s and it’s hard to say the MWC doesn’t deserve a shot.
TCU looks to be pretty strong once again from within the conference, but tell me who the real team to beat is in the Mountain west in 2010.
Keep an eye on Utah. Obviously TCU is going to get a majority of the publicity coming into this year and rightfully-so but the Utes are primed to make some noise of their own. For starters, the Utes host TCU on 11/6 and are champing at the bit to get revenge for the 55-28 beating they received from the Frogs in Fort Worth last year. In addition, they host BYU, meaning the two toughest in-conference opponents for the Utes will play them on the road. They leave for the Pac-10 after this season and would love nothing less than to say “goodbye” with an undefeated season and a third BCS berth.
Who are some of the top players to watch in the Mountain West in 2010?
Eddie Wide – SR RB, Utah – ran for 1,069 yards in 2009 with 12 TD
Anthony Wright – JR DB, Air Force – MWC-leading 7 interceptions in ‘09
Mychal Sisson – JR LB, Colorado St. – 6 sacks and 15.5 TFL in ‘09
Carmen Messina – JR LB, New Mexico – Led nation in tackles with 162 in ‘09
Andy Dalton – SR QB, TCU – 61.6 comp %, 8 int, 2,756 yards, 23 TD in ‘09
Looking for the best moments in conference history. Feel free to share any that come to your mind, and I’ll compile a list of some of the best.
In chronological order:
2005 Fiesta Bowl – Utah 35 Pittsburgh 7, Utah become first “BCS Buster”
2005 TCU 17 Oklahoma 10 in Norman to open the season
2009 Sugar Bowl – Utah 31 Alabama 17, Utah first non-BCS team with 2 BCS wins
2009 BYU 14 Oklahoma 13 at Cowboys Stadium to open the season *unintentional theme going*
2010 Fiesta Bowl – Frogs fall short but still earn MWC’s third BCS berth
2010 – Mountain West announces the addition of Boise St. for 2011
This is the first of a special two-part article with Kevin. The second half of the article can be found here.