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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time for a Change-the MWC and the BCS

I asked at the beginning of the year how many wins the MWC could pull off against BCS conference teams. The answer was 9. They finished 9-5 against the BCS with wins over almost every team in the Pac-10 and traditional powerhouses Michigan and Alabama. And San Diego State, easily the worst team in the conference, almost pulled out a W against the Domers.

If we include Boise State (and the Mountain West should be working hard to net Boise as its 10th team), the MWC+Boise State would have wins over every team in the Pac-10 except Washington State (lack of opportunity), Cal (the only Pac-10 team to pull out a regular season victory against the Mountain West), and USC (lack of opportunity?).

And we should note that Utah beat Alabama not with trick plays or 8 Alabama turnovers, but because they were honestly the better team. All but 3 of Alabama's points came off Utah mistakes. Alabama's offense looked like, well, an SEC offense, racking up 200 yards while giving up 8 sacks. Utah moved the ball in the air and on the ground, picking up first downs from the wildcat formation late in the game. Utah was every bit as athletic as Alabama.

And why is this all important--because Utah won their conference by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins. They cashed in on some powerful karma against both TCU and BYU. The MWC was very good this year,

and that wasn't a fluke.

TCU is structurally advantaged compared to, say, Texas Tech. It's not a big school, but it's in the heart of the most dense football talent in the country, and they have been playing football well for quite some time. The true loyalists might be few in number, but they are rabid about their team (see Miami).

BYU can recruit nationally (and internationally). It is a large school with large numbers in attendance at the games-better than any team in the Big East. The Cougars won a title 25 years ago (more recently than just about every team in any of the major conferences). It has a long, strong tradition of potent offenses that quarterbacks and possession recievers want to be a part of and can now draw in Tongans/Samoans (who, except for Manti Te'o, seem to be criminally ignored by the major recruiting services) using the Mormon connection.

Utah draws on the same Tongan/Samoan population and many of the top notch athletes in the region that are not interested in the lifestyle at BYU. They, like BYU, can also nip players from California. Utah, along with BYU and TCU, have sent many notable athletes to the NFL.

Conclusion-the top three teams of the MWC are more legitimate than the top three teams of the Big East. The bottom six of the MWC are every bit as legitimate as the rest of the Big East. There is no rational explanation why the Big East has an automatic spot and the MWC does not.

I propose two solutions. First, the MWC should steal Boise State. Boise State has been succesful everywhere, regardless of the coach and despite the Mickey Mouse field, and they have a BCS bowl win. That top four has been as successful as the top four in any other conference over the last few years. The MWC could then demand inclusion in the BCS.

Second, the MWC champ and the WAC champ play for the bi-conference championship and an automatic spot in the BCS. I have been championing this idea for years. The conferences do not now have championship games, and there is a natural rivalry between the two. If this had been in practice last year, BYU and not Hawaii would have played Georgia and we would have had a better game. If this had been in practice this year, and Utah had beat Boise State, they would have as legitimate a claim as anyone else to the national championship.


  1. Manti Te'o is Samoan-Hawaiian. But I agree these non-BCS schools do a much better job of recruiting Polys--especially Utah, BYU, and UH.

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