Friday, October 17, 2008

Cold Mountain West

Last week, it was a bloodbath in the Big 12, where two of the undefeated teams were dropped in shootouts. This week, it's moved to the Mountain West Conference, where intra-conference fratricide claimed a high-profile victim that could prove to be quite financially costly.

Texas Christian's 32-7 dissection of Brigham Young effectively ended the Cougars' BCS bowl bid. The faint talk of BYU being in the BCS title game was plenty silly before, and now it seems downright absurd.

With the Cougars eliminated from BCS bowl contention, the conference now will hang its hopes on Utah, the lone undefeated team in the MWC. The Utes had been the highest ranked non-BCS team in the unofficial BCS standings anyway, and now they will get a chance to consolidate their position. Without a question, if Utah wins its remaining games, it will get an automatic bid to one of the BCS bowls, most likely the Fiesta Bowl.

The Utes get the benefit of playing three of their five remaining games at home - including the two most difficult ones. Utah hosts TCU on Nov. 6 and BYU - now reduced to a spoiler - in the season finale on Nov. 22.

Should they falter, the only other non-BCS team that has a chance to claim a BCS bid is Boise State. The Broncos, after Friday night's 27-7 win over Hawaii, play four of their final six games on the road. Their most daunting obstacle would be the Nov. 28 season finale against Fresno State on the Blue Turf. Boise State, currently No. 14 in the unofficial standings, have good enough computer ratings to keep them in the top 14 and eligible for a BCS berth should they stay unbeaten.

There are a host of other teams with hopes and dreams of crashing the BCS party, but they will probably remain just that. Both Ball State and Tulsa are too far down in the polls to have any realistic chance of landing in the top 14 even if they finish the season unbeaten. TCU, though its only loss was at Oklahoma, has unimpressive computer rankings that won't get that much of a boost from the games left on its schedule.

On Saturday, civil war returns to the Big 12, as Missouri now tries to mar Texas' unbeaten record and deny the Longhorns a trip to the BCS title game. Oklahoma, while pining for a Texas loss, will also have its plate full with the offensively potent Kansas team in town. At the end of the night, we'll see if the Longhorns will emerge as No. 1 in the first official BCS standings of the season.

Join the Guru for Saturday night's live blog - and you'll be richly rewarded when the Guru counts down the projected top 15 teams in the official BCS standings at the end of the night.

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