After looking at the AP rankings, watching Tennessee volunteer to get kicked in the groin by Rick Neuheisel, and seeing Washington quarterback Jake Locker nearly stage a classic comeback two weeks ago, I decided to write an article about how great the Pac-10 is.
I spouted off about how USC would destroy Ohio St. and then even picked UCLA to win against BYU. What I didn't consider in the article is that USC was only going to play a lowly Big Ten team (like the one Utah abused earlier in the season), but many of the other Pac-10 teams weren't.
This is my official apology: It will never happen again.
Okay, maybe just once more—but this time it is for the Mountain West Conference. Wow, they're really good. Why aren't they a BCS conference?
They went 7-1 on Saturday with only pathetic San Diego State losing. Better, though, is that MWC schools were 4-0 against the Pac-10 and completely ruined both Arizona State's and UCLA's football seasons.
SEC fans can thank them later, maybe by scheduling some games against them. I think this is the real image problem with both conferences.
The Pac-10 often plays Mountain West Schools because they are geographically close and share some media markets. But the PAC-10 schools think that MWC football teams are the mentally challenged little brother of BCS conferences.
It helps nobody to be pummeled by shortbus football teams. If the Pac-10 was honest about how good the MWC actually is, these annual beatdowns wouldn't hurt quite so bad.
The Mountain West, for those of you who don't watch anything but ESPN, is a football conference in flyover country with a 15-5 non-conference record so far this season, which includes a 5-0 record against Pac-10 schools.
The top teams in the MWC are arguably as good as any in the country, with No. 11 BYU, No. 20 Utah, and TCU, who should be ranked but fall around No. 27 in the AP. That's better than the Pac-10, Big East, or ACC.
The reason you don't know this is that they actually started their own television network instead of bending over to the boys from Bristol. It's called the Mountain Network.
Good luck finding it unless you have the $239 per month, every channel in existence package.
The Mountain network has terrible commentary and worse camera work, YouTube quality local commercials, and pretty good ratings on Saturday in the fall. They play the MWC games that Fox Sport Rocky Mountain and ESPN won't—basically all of them.
I know, football games aren't played by conferences, so let's talk about teams.
BYU humiliated UCLA on Saturday and in the process made Lee Corso, who picked UCLA (like I did) to win, pretend that Alzheimer's was setting in. Maybe he wasn't pretending?
Seriously though, that game might have been 100 to nothing if Urban Meyer was coaching instead of Bronco Mendenhall. Max Hall tied the school record with seven touchdowns thrown and then came out of the game with almost eight minutes left IN THE THIRD QUARTER!
This performance snagged an NCAA Offensive Player of the Week honor. BYU's third string defense shut out UCLA for the entire fourth quarter.
Mormons do have sympathy for the less fortunate.
No, Norm Chow and Rick Neuheisel didn't quit trying to score. Are you kidding? I think Rick was punishing his starters by never taking them out. In fact, UCLA missed a late fourth quarter field-goal attempt. Oh yeah, BYU blocked an earlier attempt from inside the 20 without controversy.
Utah rolled the worst team in college football at Utah State. TCU beat Stanford, Air Force beat Houston, New Mexico gave Arizona its first loss, and highly touted Arizona State lost to UNLV, arguably the worst MWC team.
Don't worry though, with non-conference play all but over for the season, ESPN and the rest of the nation can return to ignoring the Mountain West. The BCS schools can get back to playing with themselves to determine a champion.
Unless you live in the high desert Rocky Mountains, the next MWC team you'll see will probably be playing in the Rose Bowl in January.
Photo courtesy of LA Times and a completely overmatched cornerback.
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