Press preseason college football poll
signs $1.7 million per year deal with UVa
West tidying up postseason deals
1070 touts Pirates, Panthers, new shows ... Fort Worth Bowl
embraces Mountain West, TCU... NYC schools reap windfall
from NCAA-NIT deal
inks football coach to long-term pact ... NCAA, NIT
apparently come to terms in lawsuit
takes stand in NCAA-NIT legal clash
decree has some schools on war path
sheriff brings law and order to Gatorville
2005 College Football Hall of Fame class
Bend at odds with Hall of Fame over $$$
Stadium among 'shrines' on pigskin 'tour'
offense may stay in holster awhile
News Nuggets, 08.22.05
NOTES FROM ECU AND BEYOND...
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Compiled from staff reports
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Mountain West angling for
clearer path to BCS
By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports Writer
A year after Alex Smith and the Utah
Utes went undefeated and became the first outsiders to finally crash the BCS
party, most everyone in the Mountain West Conference knows it's a bit much
to ask for a repeat.
``I don't know that you can have an
encore,'' commissioner Craig Thompson said.
That's not necessarily a bad thing.
The Mountain West and its member
schools have been clamoring for years to be included in the Bowl
Championship Series. Utah's run to the Fiesta Bowl, where it routed
Pittsburgh 35-7 to finish 12-0, certainly raised the league's credibility
Of the conferences that don't
automatically send their champion to the BCS, the Mountain West has the most
potential to do so.
``We've had a lot of people comment
that maybe our league deserves an automatic bid more than leagues that have
automatic bids, without naming names,'' Thompson said.
``We have said that if you play in a
BCS bowl game, and if you win a BCS bowl game, are you in fact not a BCS
conference?'' he said. ``You did it, so that's momentum to build on. It does
show our coaches and administrators up and down the line that you can play
in a BCS bowl game by winning the Mountain West Conference.''
With Smith gone to the San Francisco
49ers as the top pick in the NFL draft and coach Urban Meyer gone to
Florida, the general consensus is that the MWC will be much more balanced,
with Wyoming and New Mexico which has finished second three straight years
seemingly poised to unseat the two-time defending champion Utes.
With the addition of Texas Christian,
it's now a nine-team conference.
``I think we're going to have
tri-champions at 9-2 or 8-3,'' Thompson said. ``I think it's that balanced.
That's a little unfortunate, and where we need to get with our league is
that that 9-2 still gets an automatic, like everyone else's automatic.''
The Utes were No. 6 in the final BCS
ranking, ahead of the Big East, ACC and Big 10 champions.
``They can get in at 9-2, 8-3, but we
have to be 11-0,'' Thompson said. ``That's what we're trying to change.''
The league has a number of solid
programs with potential to become top 25 teams, and the BCS in 2006 will
weigh the performance of other teams in a conference besides its champion
when determining who gets an automatic bid. For now, it's probably unbeaten
or bust as far as the BCS goes for the MWC champ.
``I think our situation is we would
probably be better suited to have somebody go 11-0 again,'' Thompson said.
``But two to three years from now, we'd be better suited to have two or
three 9-2, Top 25 people. But right now we just have to keep pushing.''
If there's one lingering
disappointment, it's that Utah didn't get to play in the Sugar Bowl against
``I would have liked to have gone
against an undefeated team,'' offensive lineman Jesse Boone said. ``I felt
like we deserved that. You take what you get, and we showed them.''
At the conference media day, Boone wore
two huge rings, from the 2003 Liberty Bowl and last January's Fiesta Bowl.
``I've got more fingers,'' he said.
Coach Kyle Whittingham, promoted from
defensive coordinator to replace Meyer, said the Utes' goal is simply to win
the conference championship.
``It's not about going undefeated. As
soon as you put those kind of parameters on a season, what happens as soon
as you drop a ballgame? The air goes out of the whole deal,'' he said.
A capsule look at the teams in
predicted order of finish:
UTAH Sophomore Brian Johnson replaces
Smith. He played in 10 games last year as Smith's understudy, completing 14
of 21 passes for 142 yards, with one TD and one INT. ... The Utes return
only five starters on offense and five on defense. ... Utah opens at home
against Arizona on Sept. 2, and plays another game against a team from a BCS
conference when it visits North Carolina on Oct. 1.
WYOMING QB Corey Bramlet said the
Cowboys have a new mind-set after their 24-21 win over UCLA in the Las Vegas
Bowl. Bramlet's 12-yard TD pass with 57 seconds left won it. ... The
Cowboys, whose 19 returning starters are the most in the league, open Sept.
3 on the road against Meyer's Florida Gators.
NEW MEXICO Senior RB DonTrell Moore,
coming off knee surgery and 1,091 yards, can become the sixth player in
Division I-A history to have 1,000 yards rushing in four straight seasons.
... New Mexico has lost three straight bowl games.
COLORADO STATE RB Nnamdi Ohaeri was
picked as the preseason newcomer of the year. He started at CB for UCLA in
2003 before deciding to transfer. He attended a JUCO last year.
TCU The Horned Frogs competed against
most of the MWC teams when they were in the 16-team Western Athletic
Conference from 1997-99. ... TCU, which moves to the MWC after four seasons
in Conference USA, was 26-10 over the last three years, including two bowl
BRIGHAM YOUNG Gary Crowton resigned
after the Cougars' third straight losing season and was replaced by
defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall.
AIR FORCE The Falcons are trying to
bounce back from only their third losing season under Fisher DeBerry since
SAN DIEGO STATE RB Lynell Hamilton
returns after missing all last season with a broken leg and ankle. He rushed
for 1,087 yards and four TDs in 2003, being named MWC freshman of the year.
... Coach Tom Craft, 14-22 in three seasons, is in the final year of his
NEVADA-LAS VEGAS Mike Sanford, who
was Utah's offensive coordinator the last two seasons, was hired as head
coach after John Robinson retired. Sanford will call the plays in a spread
offense as the Rebels try for their first winning season since 2000.
News Nuggets are
compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data
published by ECU, Conference USA and its member
schools; and reports from Associated Press and
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