Mountain West stands 5-1 against PAC-10

By By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

By Quinn Wilcox, Staff Writer

Has there been a power shift out West in college football? The Pac-10 has been fielding a lot of stinkers, while the Mountain West Conference has been proving itself time after time against the big boys from the Bowl Championship Series conferences. This could be one of those rare years where the mid-major MWC overtakes the Pac-10 as the strongest conference in the West from top to bottom. Don’t believe me? Just look at the numbers.

Although I’m saying the Mountain West is stronger than the Pac-10 this year, I am not saying BYU or Utah would beat the Pac-10. While USC did blow it last week, it is a college football juggernaut. But over the years, the Pac-10 has slowly turned into USC and the nine dwarfs, particularly in 2008. In terms of Top 25 representation, the Mountain West has more than held their own against the Pac-10’s best. Besides USC, the only other ranked team in the Pac-10 is Oregon, who currently stands at No. 23. Compare that to the Mountain West, which has two Top 25 teams this week and three last week before TCU was knocked out. After USC’s loss last week to Oregon State, BYU comes in one spot ahead of the Trojans in the AP poll at No. 8, with Utah rising to No. 15. And out of the conference’s BCS hopefuls, who has the tougher road as of right now? USC has only one ranked team remaining on its schedule8212;Oregon. Utah and BYU still have to face each other, along with TCU, which is always tough. Then there’s that game this Thursday for the Utes against those “giant killers,” Oregon State.

What traditionally makes the BCS conferences tougher than the mid-majors is their lower-end teams which are usually tough teams to beat. Well, what have the run-of-the-mill Pac-10 teams done against the Mountain West this year? UCLA suffered its most embarrassing loss in more than 70 years to BYU, 59-0. Many people might have expected a BYU win, but 59-0? That’s unreal. Stanford beat Oregon State at the beginning of the year but lost to TCU. Arizona lost to what was a winless New Mexico at the time. But the biggest shocker had to be when Arizona State, which was thought to be a legitimate contender for a BCS bid at the beginning of the season, lost to UNLV. Not Utah or an untested BYU, but UNLV, a team that has been straight up awful over the past couple of years. The only success that the Pac-10 has had against the Mountain West was a Cal clobber of the Mountain West’s perennial doormat Colorado State this past week. That’s a 1-5 record for the Pac-10 against its feebler western brother. And look at the two conferences’ basement teams, most likely to be Washington State and San Diego State this year. At least San Diego State put up a fight against Notre Dame. Washington State has yet to hold a conference foe below 63 points.

The Utes’ game this week against Oregon State will go a long way in determining who has the stronger conference overall. If Utah can score a win against the team that just upset the No. 1 ranked team in the country, people would have a hard time arguing that the Pac-10 truly is better. That would be a 6-1 record for us, and a recent win against what now looks to be one of the better teams in the conference.

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Quinn Wilcox