Zach Bigalke: College football season is right around the corner, and we’re down to the non-AQ conferences in our Tailgater season preview series. Today we’ll start with the two conferences that have been as much on the radar in the past week for their back-and-forth battle for teams as they have been in the past few years for their BCS Buster potential. I speak, of course, about the Mountain West and the WAC. With me as always are Matt Strobl and John Mitchell.
Matt Strobl: The season is so close, I can barely function in my normal life.
John Mitchell: I would like to fast forward to September 2nd. I can’t wait any longer.
Bigalke: Before we go any further, we’ve got to get to the elephant in the room. Last week BYU’s declaration — that they were actively considering a move to independent football status, with a move of their other sports back to the WAC — set off a firestorm between these two conferences as they scrambled to acquire one another’s membership. Who emerged stronger as a result of these moves, and how does it affect their bids for BCS membership?
Mitchell: I don’t think either conference got stronger with all of these moves, but it’s obvious that the Mountain West is far ahead of the WAC as a result. Will there even be a WAC conference in a few years when Fresno State and Nevada leave for the Mountain West? With those two teams along with Boise State exiting the WAC in favor of the Mountain West, who is the power team in this conference now? Hawaii? Louisiana Tech? Idaho? As it stands now the WAC is down to six teams and are scrambling to try and acquire a couple FCS schools to try and get a couple more teams. I thought the Mountain West was closing in on being an automatic qualifier when Boise State jumped over adding to the power of the conference with teams like Utah, TCU, and BYU. Then, Utah’s departure to the Pac 10 put them right back where they were and now with BYU deciding on football independence, the MWC has actually gotten weaker this offseason instead of improving on itself like earlier planned. You cannot blame Utah for their move, I mean it was the best for the program making the move over to the Pac 10 and it finally gives them a shot at competing for a National Championship that they could have laid claim to two years ago when they went undefeated and beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The MWC made the right moves by luring Fresno State and Nevada over, but that does little to improve their chances of getting an automatic bid. Any pipe dream that either conference had of maybe securing an automatic bid some day down the road is now over.
2010 Tailgater Previews
Strobl: As it stands, neither conference has a prayer of earning auto-bid status. The criteria are very specific, and while the MWC was close to achieving them, losing Utah and probably BYU will put an end to the quest. At least for now. Still, the MWC did improve itself following the Utes’ departure. The conference had already added Boise State, which balanced out the loss nicely. And frankly, if Utah had stayed, an auto-bid would have been all but assured. As that was not to be, the MWC had to make do with what it had left, and after BYU’s announcement, that meant taking proactive steps to add some new blood. The conference must operate under the assumption that BYU will, in fact, leave, and so adding Nevada and Fresno State was actually quite a coup. As I wrote here, I think BYU’s decision is selfish and poorly-considered, but it seems that the university has all but made up its mind. On the off chance that BYU stays, the conference will have at least five quality programs, but assuming the Cougars do leave for Independent status, the MWC’s top 4 will be of poorer quality than we’re now accustomed to seeing. That’s not a knock on either of the invitees. Both Fresno and Nevada produce competitive teams, but they just aren’t in the same tier as Utah. The WAC is the clear loser in all of this, and has lashed out at FSU and Nevada for their decision to accept the MWC’s invites. That strikes me as being incredibly petty, but I can understand why the WAC feels betrayed. Having your constituent members sign buyout clauses doesn’t exactly smack of confidence—the conference clearly knew that losing Boise State might be only the first of its problems. Now it has been reduced to a league that cannot stand on its own, which leads me to the natural question: Why shouldn’t these two conferences simply merge entirely?
Bigalke: Well, Matt, it’s funny you mention that possibility because from 1996 to 1998 the WAC gave us our first real glimpse of what a 16-team “superconference” might look like. Back then the Mountain West didn’t even exist — but its fruition was largely due to those three years. The WAC augured in an age of unfettered expansion, adding in six teams from the disbanding Big West and Southwest Conferences to bulk up to a full sixteen teams. But an appreciable disparity in quality of play between the old guard and the new recruits over those three seasons compelled those original WAC members to splinter off and form the Mountain West. It might eventually become the only avenue open for the two conferences in the near future, but with the bad blood already there and bubbling once again both will fight to their demise to stay alive. I’ve been hearing of another novel approach that has me intrigued. Apparently the Mountain West and Conference USA have been in discussions about the possibility of hosting a championship game between the winners of the two conferences whose victor would gain automatic entry to a BCS bowl. The WAC is certainly on life support at this point, but despite losing Utah and possibly BYU the MWC could emerge more legitimate than ever, especially if such a joint championship is enacted. I really don’t see that conference as appreciably weaker than before — TCU and Boise State comprise its top end, while Fresno State and Nevada bolster the midrange alongside Wyoming, San Diego State, Air Force and Colorado State. Only New Mexico really sits as a true bottom-feeder. In the end, though, as things presently stand the qualifications for getting a BCS bid are the same as before — win your conference, sweep your schedule and pray for some national respect.
Each conference has a team in the top ten of both the AP and coaches polls after Boise State and TCU returned the bulk of their rosters that competed last January in the Fiesta Bowl. But there is much depth beyond them. Which team do you feel has the best chance of busting into the BCS this year from these two conferences?
Strobl: Boise looks very strong to start the season. All the major players return, led by QB Kellen Moore. After the Broncos bested TCU in last year’s “relegation bowl”, they have to be given the edge in 2010. Boise is in my personal top 3 in terms of pre-season rankings, though the Broncos face a very stiff test by playing Virginia Tech. That game amounts to a road contest for BSU given the relative distances each program will travel. But TCU also faces a strong opponent to open the year. Oregon State should compete for the Pac 10 and can certainly give the Horned Frogs a run or their money. I think when all is said and done, both TCU nor Boise could have a loss, and in that case the schedule favors Boise State to be the most likely BCS-Buster. But of the two TCU stands a better chance of running the table, so taking everything into account, I’ll go with the Frogs as my choice to break into the BCS once again. Don’t sleep on Utah either—if Jordan Wynn progresses, the Utes could surprise some folks and capture the MWC.
Mitchell: It wouldn’t surprise me to see both Boise State and TCU back in a BCS bowl game this year, but you have to believe that Boise State has the best chance of doing so. Boise State is ranked 3rd in the opening AP poll, and if they can run the table with wins over Virginia Tech and Oregon State, then don’t be surprised to see this team playing for a National Championship this season. Boise State, in my opinion, has the better team when comparing the two, but if you take a look at their schedule like Matt said, TCU stands a better chance of ending the season without a blemish on their record. I do believe that the Broncos will have one slip up this season and I think that will come in the season opener to Virginia Tech. I think it’s too tall of an order to expect Boise State to knock off Virginia Tech in a so called “neutral site” game in Maryland. We’ve seen how good Boise State is on the Smurf turf, but it will be interesting to see them play a de facto road game to open the season against a top 10 opponent. Can Boise State get into the BCS with one loss? With their ranking so high in both major polls at the start of the season, it is realistic to think so. But, it wouldn’t shock me to see them take a major dive in the rankings if they lose their season opener to the Hokies. So, to answer the question, TCU has the best chance of busting back into the BCS – only because they have a more favorable schedule than the Broncos in 2010.
Bigalke: Naturally the two teams that faced one another in Glendale last January are their respective conferences’ favorites heading into 2010. Both teams return loaded rosters, have manageable schedules and have a real shot at another undefeated regular season. TCU has the tougher conference slate, and that’s why I see the Broncos rather than the Horned Frogs as the better positioned team to return to the BCS. Not only does Boise State have an easier overall road to finishing 12-0 in the WAC than TCU encounters in the Mountain West, but Chris Petersen’s team returns the deepest set of returning starters on both sides of the ball of any team in the nation. As long as they start the season strong against Virginia Tech — admittedly not the easiest of tasks given that the game is being played at FedEx Field, home of the Redskins and nearly a de facto home game for the Hokies — there is no reason why the Broncos shouldn’t be headed back to the BCS for the third time in five years.
Now let’s get into analyzing some of these teams. We’re going to break down each of the bowl teams from these two conferences, starting with the Mountain West. The Horned Frogs earned their first BCS berth last season after taking the conference. Can TCU return to the BCS and earn a victory this time around?
Mitchell: It was a crime last season that TCU and Boise State were matched up in the Fiesta Bowl and we weren’t able to see these two teams face off against competition from the automatic bid conferences. It won’t be an easy road for the Horned Frogs to return to the BCS with out of conference games against Oregon State, Baylor, and SMU. That along with having to play on the road against Utah, who will be their biggest competition in the Mountain West this season, will make a second straight undefeated season extremely tough. Gary Patterson is one of my favorite coaches in college football and with 18 returning starters at his disposal, the Horned Frogs might be an even better team in 2010 than they were in 2009. I think they have a great shot at returning to a BCS Bowl game. It’s difficult to predict whether or not they will win the game without knowledge of who it will be against, but I think this team can stack up against any team in the nation this season, so I would say the chances are good of TCU returning to a BCS game for a second straight game and this time winning it. For our sakes, let’s hope they play a team from one of the BCS conferences this time around.
Strobl: I think that TCU has to be considered the favorite to win the league. Their defense is as good as any in the nation and the offense should be every bit as stellar as last year. The key players return, 16 starters overall. In 2009, the team scored 38 points per game while yielding 13, and I don’t see that ridiculous differential changing much this year. Assuming they get past the Beavers, the Frogs should be in position to sweep through the conference, taking out a Max Hall-less BYU and a Utah team that, while improving, isn’t quite up to TCU’s level yet. If all goes well, TCU will be back in a BCS bowl, where a win will depend entirely upon whom they face. But for their opponent’s sake, I hope whoever it is has a massive offense. Without knowing any of the relevant details, I’d say beating TCU will be quite a challenge.
Bigalke: Gary Patterson has the most work to do getting his defense ready after losing key cogs like DE Jerry Hughes and LB Daryl Washington. But for a guy who has a preternatural talent for finding overlooked high-school stars (on both defense and offense) and molding them into top-shelf defensive units year after year, the 2010 defense shouldn’t regress much from the groups that have ranked #1 in the nation each of the past two seasons. And the D will be assisted by an offense that returns most of its Fiesta Bowl roster and should improve on last year’s numbers. QB Andy Dalton has quietly developed into one of the most efficient field generals in the country and might just enter the Heisman discussion with a few big non-conference performances. TCU is still clearly the class of the Mountain West, the team every other conference rival will be gunning for this season.
Utah plays out the last year of their Mountain West status before graduating to BCS status in the Pac-10 next season. The Utes have been the standard-bearer for the conference until last season, when attrition caused some growing pains and relegated them to third in the conference. Can the Utes rebound and bust the BCS one last time before becoming part of the establishment?
Strobl: I think Utah will be surprisingly good this year. Eddie Wide and Jordan Wynn should be able to lead the offense to some impressive numbers, but the defense is a major concern. Only four starters return, and that could hold this team back from greatness. I think Kyle Whittingham would love to leave the MWC a winner, but he’ll probably have to settle for second. How good will this team be? We should know more after the very first week, when Utah hosts Pitt. The Panthers will be a significant test, and if Utah wins at home, it will make quite a statement. The Utes also face Notre Dame out of conference, and the suspect defense has to be wary at the thought of traveling to South Bend to take on Brian Kelly. I expect Utah to finish with about 9 wins, which will be good enough for a decent bowl berth, but the BCS is probably out of reach.
Mitchell: It wouldn’t surprise me if Utah actually knocked off TCU and won the Mountain West this season. Jordan Wynn is back at QB for his sophomore season. He has a year of experience under his belt and should be improved. He’s joined in the backfield with a pretty explosive runner in Eddie Wide and he has a pretty strong stable of receivers to throw the ball too. Utah’s offense will be tough to contain, but with only four starter returning on defense, that could be the determining factor for why they don’t overtake TCU. They do get the advantage of hosting the Horned Frogs this season, but I’m not sure that will be enough for them to knock them off. I just don’t think Utah has gotten that much better from their 55-28 beating at the hands of the MWC champion TCU last season on the road. I think both teams improved and that means that I can’t see Utah taking them out. Kyle Whittingham and Utah should have a strong finish to their Pac 10 days and should have a team ready to compete in the Pac 10 in 2011.
Bigalke: If any team can knock the Horned Frogs from their perch atop the conference, it is the team that first defined “BCS Buster”. Kyle Whittingham will make sure his charges are focused on 2010 and not looking ahead to their move to the Pac-10 next year. The Utes come in experienced after fielding a young roster last year — after the team’s Sugar Bowl triumph over Alabama two years ago (see Matt’s take and my own take from ISC) they had to replace a slew of graduates, yet Utah still enjoyed a ten-win season despite the growing pains. QB Jordan Wynn took over the starting role halfway through the season for Terrence Cain and has grown into a worthy heir to Brian Johnson in the backfield. RB Matt Asiata also returns hungry for one last taste of glory before graduation, and the Utes are hoping to avenge last year’s blowout to TCU. The BCS is well within reach for the Utes this year, as they play out their last season on the outside looking in before they become part of the establishment in 2011.
BYU has come oh-so-close in recent years to cracking the BCS code, but last year’s 11-2 squad could muster only a fifth straight trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. This might just be the last season in the Mountain West for Bronco Mendenhall’s crew. Do you think they can finally achieve something bigger than Sin City this season?
Mitchell: No. If BYU was going to bust into the BCS, then it was going to be last season in Max Hall’s final season in Provo. They were still pretty far away last season. They finished 2nd in the Mountain West with a 7-1 record in the conference, but their only loss came in a 38-7 thrashing by TCU. Early on last season, the talk was of BYU possibly even playing for a National Title if they ran the table after their season opening win over Oklahoma. But, they were embarrassed at home against Florida State and that ended those hopes. I really like Jake Heaps at QB, but you never know what’s going to happen when you start a freshman QB, regardless of how good he is. (See Trojans, USC). BYU just lost too much talent to seriously compete in the Mountain West this season. It’s going to be a rebuilding year for the Cougars in what could be their final season in the Mountain West. I think they are still good enough to finish 3rd in the Mountain West, a distant third, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they were overtaken by a team like Air Force or Wyoming for the #3 spot.
Strobl: I don’t think so. They might earn a different bowl berth of course, but it’s unlikely to be a prestigious one. With all due respect to what Mendenhall has accomplished, he’s going to be limited this year. Max Hall is gone, tailback Harvey Unga withdrew for a violation of the honor code, and the team only has eleven starters coming back. There’s simply too much turnover for this team to win the league. In fact, it’s possible that we’ll see BYU fall as low as fourth or fifth; if this is indeed the Cougars’ swan song in the MWC, that would be a sad way to exit. BYU has to play the second half of a home-and-home with Florida State and also gets a Washington team that will be out for revenge. The Huskies gave the Cougars all they could handle two years ago only to love in heart-breaking fashion. Rest assured that Jake Locker has not forgotten.
Bigalke: The Cougars were right there in the MWC hunt last year, picking off in-state rival Utah in what might just have been the penultimate playing of the annual Holy War series. That would be the saddest part of all, the end of a rivalry game that started in 1896 and became an annual institution in 1922. That’s the best part of college football, the tradition of those grudge matches, and BYU will be hard-pressed to find it elsewhere. Their only losses last year were to TCU and that crazy loss at home to Florida State. They’ll have chance to get their revenge for both this season, the non-conference home-and-away playing out in Tallahassee this year with the Seminoles and what might be the last conference tilt between Brigham Young and the Horned Frogs. But as the school mulls its long-term future, coach Bronco Mendenhall has far more pressing concerns. The offense now falls to highly-touted recruit Jake Heaps after three-year starter Max Hall graduated. As good as Heaps may already be and no matter how much potential he shows, there is going to be a definite learning curve in Provo this year. The BYU scoring machine loses Hall, it loses RB Harvey Unga, it loses a lot of parts and will suffer as a result. The defense must play beyond itself for the Cougars to hit double digits in the win column once again. They’ll likely be in the top half of the MWC, but second is probably out of reach and it might just be Vegas calling a sixth straight year.
Air Force pulled off their own mini-upset last year when they picked off six Case Keenum interceptions en route to routing the Houston Cougars in the Armed Forces Bowl. Troy Calhoun has to replace a lot of players on both sides of the ball this year. How competitive do you think the Falcons can be this season in the race for the Mountain West title?
Strobl: Last year, Air Force lost to TCU and Utah by a combined 10 points. No one came as close to beating the Frogs in the regular season as the Falcons did — the 20-17 defeat could have easily gone the other way. In fact, with just a few more breaks, Air Force might have been 7-1 in conference play. The Air Force option attack ranks among the most potent offenses in the country, and I expect this team to improve upon last year’s achievements. The Falcons get Oklahoma out of conference, and the Sooner defense has enough to stop them. They also face TCU and Utah in back-to-back weeks, though they do get the Utes at home. Still, I think that Air Force will be a pleasant surprise in 2010. With an upset or two, they could even climb as high as second.
Mitchell: As Matt alluded to, Air Force actually gave TCU the biggest threat within the conference last season. While the Horned Frogs beat BYU and Utah 38-7 and 55-28 respectively, they only defeated the Air Force Academy by a score of 20-17. They also only lost to Utah by a slim margin in a 23-16 decision on the road. Air Force was very close to breaking into the big three last season, just a touchdown away from jumping Utah for third place. They showed some depth in the conference with their eight wins season and the shellacking they laid on Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. I think a six or seven win season and a fourth of fifth place finish in the Mountain West.
Bigalke: Look, Air Force always plays disciplined football. But there’s a big reason why I didn’t pick the Falcons as one of my sixteen BCS Buster candidates in my preseason edition of the column, and that’s the fact that the potent defense must replace six starters, the equally-fierce defense must replace five and that simply feels like too much attrition for Troy Calhoun to overcome this season with this team. Don’t get me wrong, there aren’t going to be a whole lot of blowouts for this squad. But Oklahoma isn’t the 2009 vintage that BYU was able to snuff out. Traveling to Fort Worth and then back to Colorado Springs — and the fact that Air Force players are first and foremost in the Air Force Academy, no different than their brethren at Army and Navy in that football is the easiest part of their day — for the TCU-Utah double is no real bonus, either. At least they’d have had a little more respite from their training with back-to-back road games. Any way you shake it, they’ll go bowling. They’re right there with BYU and Wyoming and San Diego State and Colorado State in that it depends on early conference results to see how it’ll shake out. But this is pretty much a two-horse race in conference this year.
Wyoming surprised many by becoming the fifth bowl team from the Mountain West in Dave Christensen’s first season as head coach in Laramie. They then managed to knock off Ryan Mathews and the Fresno State Bulldogs in double overtime of the New Mexico Bowl. Can the Cowboys return to bowl eligibility in 2010?
Mitchell: The Wyoming/Fresno State New Mexico Bowl last season was one of the most exciting of the bowl season. But, Wyoming may want to hang onto those memories of last year’s New Mexico Bowl, because the ceiling for this team is 7-wins and even that mark will be extremely tough to reach. 6-6 was good enough for the Cowboys to earn a bowl bid last season and I have to believe that if they can reach that mark once again next season that it will be good enough to earn a second consecutive bowl game. They truly have a hellish schedule with out of conference matchups against Texas and Boise State. I still think the future is bright for Dave Christensen in Laramie with Austyn Carta-Samuels at QB, but six wins should be the expectation for the Cowboy faithful.
Strobl: There is an outside chance. At most, I see six wins on their schedule, but six wins might be enough to keep the Cowboys bowling after they demonstrated their ability to win. The team gets fifteen starters back from last year’s squad, and as you said that team was quite effective. However, their schedule is horrific. One of the things I respect most about Wyoming is that the school never shies away from taking on the big boys. This year, the big boys include Texas and Boise State in back-to-back weeks. Wyoming will have to be spot on in each and every week if it hopes to finish at .500.
Bigalke: You know what, call me crazy, call me a partisan, but this year really feels like we’re in 1996 again. The Mountain West is now the expansionist aggressor rather than the WAC, but it’s just got the aura of optimism in Laramie once more. By no means do I think they’ll knock off the Horned Frogs or Utes for the MWC title this year, but they’re right there in the hunt with BYU and Air Force for that third spot in the conference. And I really have a feeling Dave Christensen’s side can snag third this year. A green side and a green head coach were able to pull off bowl eligibility last season. The Cowboys return eight starters on offense and seven on defense, including QB Austyn Carta-Samuels. The sophomore doesn’t have upperclassman Robert Benjamin looming over him anymore on the bench, he’s got a year in Christensen’s system to get familiar to the pace of the college game and he showed glimpses of true promise last year. Like Jordan Wynn he’s a work in progress, but while they have two brutal non-conference games all they have to do to take third in the Mountain West is win against their peers in the middle of the pack. They will likely lose to Boise State (who they get the “pleasure” of playing next year again, but now as a conference rival) and Texas, sure, but BYU and Air Force and the rest can be beaten by this roster — I honestly see the potential for an eight-win regular season.
|MOUNTAIN WEST PREDICTIONS|
|1. TCU||1. TCU||1. TCU|
|2. Utah||2. Utah||2. Utah|
|3. Air Force||3. BYU||3. Wyoming|
|4. BYU||4. Air Force||4. Air Force|
|5. Wyoming||5. Wyoming||5. BYU|
|6. San Diego State||6. San Diego State||6. San Diego State|
|7. UNLV||7. Colorado State||7. UNLV|
|8. Colorado State||8. UNLV||8. Colorado State|
|9. New Mexico||9. New Mexico||9. New Mexico|
Which Mountain West team do you think has the best chance of rebounding from last year’s losing record to return to bowl-eligible status?
Strobl: I’ll take the Atzecs. Though just 4-8 last year, San Diego State returns sixteen starters in 2010 and could be viewed as a sleeper. QB Ryan Lindley has some real upside and could lead the offense to strong production. But SDSU will go only as far as its defense allows. The unit returns seven starters and needs to make vast improvements if the program is to have a shot at the post-season. The potential is there, it just comes down to execution. The Aztecs will need to pull a couple of upsets to make it happen, but a bowl berth isn’t out of the question.
Mitchell: San Diego State is the trendy pick by most to surpass Wyoming for 5th place in the Mountain West. While, I don’t believe that will happen, they are the only team from the Mountain West that didn’t reach a bowl game last season that I think has a remote chance this year. They have a bevy of returning starters, but they aren’t good enough to give one of the big boys in the conference a serious scare. Six wins is the ceiling for this team and I honestly see them only getting five. I don’t see San Diego State making a bowl game, but they have the best shot of the four teams that didn’t make it last year.
Bigalke: Look, I like the Aztecs as well. UNLV is a similar team, returning fifteen starters as well (8 offense, 7 defense) and playing a brutal non-conference schedule that consists almost exclusively of 2009-10 bowl teams: Wisconsin at home, Idaho in Moscow, Nevada at home in the state rivalry, and at West Virginia. Their only respite is the end-of-regular-season trip to Honolulu to play the Warriors. UNLV should have the players to be competitive in the Mountain West, and if they reach six wins they’ll definitely snag a bowl bid for sure after missing in 2009.
Who is the best pro prospect in the Mountain West?
Mitchell: Matt Reynolds (OT/BYU) — If Reynolds decides to forgo his senior season in Provo, then I believe he will be the top prospect from the Mountain West for the 2011 NFL Draft. I’ve seen some mocks putting him in the first round if he declares early and I think that is a bit of a stretch, but he certainly could be a second round selection next season. His sheer size is incredible and he has the ability to back it up. I think he has a bright future in the NFL.
Strobl: Wayne Daniels (DE/TCU) — If he chooses to come out early, Ryan Lindley will draw some attention. But I think the answer here is TCU defensive end Wayne Daniels. He’d have to go pro as a linebacker; at 6’2”, 250 pounds he lacks the size to play on the line. And he’s no Jerry Hughes. But Daniels is quick and tenacious and could go as high as the fourth round.
Bigalke: Eddie Wide (RB/Utah) — After getting injured against Louisville last season in the fourth game of 2009 for the Utes, we lost a big chance to see what Matt Asiata could do. But Asiata’s loss was Wide’s gain, as the junior ground up over a thousand yards in ten games of football. He’s the type of change-of-pace speedy little back (5’10″, 195 pounds) that would fit in well as a #2 in the depth chart for a lot of NFL teams. His size makes him an injury concern, but he’s got the speed and the game to serve a valuable role in a league that chews through tailbacks.
Which Mountain West matchup are you most looking forward to seeing in 2010?
Strobl: TCU-Utah. Can there be any other? This game represents the best chance for TCU to be upset. If the Frogs handle the Utes in Utah, they go to the BCS.
Mitchell: I have to agree with Matt. When TCU travels to Utah on November 6th, the Mountain West title should be on the line. Along with that, if TCU is unbeaten it will be the last hurdle they have to jump if they want to bust into a BCS bowl game for a second consecutive season.
Bigalke: There can be another, Matt. I’m most looking forward to the Holy War on November 27 when BYU heads to Rice-Eccles Stadium to take on the Utes for the last time as conference foes. With Utah moving to the Pac-10 next year and BYU looking at a move toward independence, it’s going to be harder than ever for these two schools to schedule their annual meeting. And they’ve drifted further and further apart in their outlook. So be sure to tune in for this season finale for both teams. The Utes might just be looking at a BCS berth if they knock off TCU on the 6th…
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