2009 Preseason Conference Analysis- MWC

I am pleased to announce the 2009 Preseason Conference Analysis segment! I will be reviewing the 11 conference in the FBS to see what to watch for, what to expect and various other things.

This time I will be discussing the Mountain West Conference. The MWC is coming off a great 2008 season. During the regular season, MWC teams went an astounding 6-1 against Pac 10 opponents. Granted, most were weaker opponents, but Utah did beat Oregon State, the only team to beat USC. So not every win was a gimme.

But 2009 has a much different outlook. Utah is rebuilding and won’t be the powerhouse they were last year. TCU expects to be a dominant force in college football. BYU has got potential, but they always choke in the big game, so don’t count on them to do much. I heard Rocky Long is out of New Mexico, so they will surely drop off the face of the planet. Wyoming, UNLV and San Diego State will always be the bottom of the barrel in this conference.

The middle teams are the ones to watch in my opinion, and that’s Colorado State and Air Force. In order for the conference to get better, these guys have got to pick it up. They have to consistently make it to bowl games and win them. The top three, Utah, BYU and TCU generally get to bowl games and usually win them. When the middle of the pack in the conference is doing that, you have a strong conference.

I predict the conference standings to end like this (with conference record):

1. TCU 8-0
2. BYU 7-1
3. Utah 6-2
4. Air Force 5-3
5. Colorado State 4-4
6. UNLV 3-5
7. San Diego State 3-5
8. Wyoming 2-7
9. New Mexico 1-8

I’m not even sure if those numbers can add up to make any sense, but that is a general guess right there. I’m pretty sure that is what is going to happen, but I could be wrong. In fact, I hope I am, and here’s why.

BYU tends to always choke when there is pressure. Max Hall just can’t seem to handle it. And with Jerry Hughes coming back for TCU, expect him to play like a scared kid running from a school yard bully. But hear me out.

BYU has an incredible non-conference schedule for 2009. They play Oklahoma at a neutral field, play Florida State at home, then play Tulane on the road and Utah State at home. Why does that matter? Because Oklahoma may well be the Big 12 champion in 2009, and Florida State may well be the ACC champion for 2009. Tulane and Utah State should be gimmes, but every school has those.

Now think on this: BYU gets the power players in the conference at home this year- Utah, TCU, Air Force and Colorado State. They play cupcakes on the road. Now imagine an undefeated BYU team at the end of 2009. That means a great team in the Big 12 and ACC would each have at least one loss. That means BYU will have beaten potentially 5 ranked teams, two from BCS conferences. They can do it, too, with the tough games being at home, where the Cougars don’t lose often.

So my guess is it will be hard for the MWC to repeat last year’s glory. If anyone is going to a BCS game this year it’s TCU, but I would give the nod to Boise State if they both go undefeated, based on non-conference schedules. But, if BYU can pull off the undefeated year, this could very well be the year we see a non-BCS school in the championship game. Granted, Florida, Texas, USC and those guys would have to each lose a game or two, but that’s likely considering the competitive conferences they are in.

I wouldn’t count on it, but that would be awesome and a slap to the face of the anti-playoff people out there. My prediction for the MWC is that they will be right there with the Big East and WAC as the three mediocre conferences of college football.