At Tuesday’s weekly teleconference, it was unanimous among the big three coaches of TCU, Utah and Air Force, the MWC’s three nationally ranked college football programs, that there still may be maltreatment of teams not in the big six conferences.
Some coaches said they care about it and think something should be done to fix the problem; others said nothing can and should be done.
The unbeaten TCU Horned Frogs stayed at No. 5 in the country despite winning convincingly over Colorado State in its conference opener–though 27-0 may not have been enough points to voters.
By comparison, No. 1 Alabama won its game by 25 points, albeit over No. 7 Florida. But No. 2 Ohio State won its game by a measly 11 points over unranked Illinois, a Big 10 team that barely defeated Northern Illinois by six points three weeks ago. What’s the argument for the Buckeyes staying at No. 2 now?
“All I know is last week we went to Colorado and the last two times [at Air Force and at Colorado State] we won by a total of about six points combined in the two games. You go on the road I think it’s hard to do for anybody,” Patterson said.
But the most maddening part of the equation is that a team like Boise State–ranked No. 3 in the land before its last game–could actually defeat a team, in this case, New Mexico State 59-0 and still drop one spot in the poll.
Oregon–a team the Broncos crushed last year in Boise–won by 21 points over Stanford, another ranked opponent, 52-31 and moved into the third spot Boise once occupied.
Alhough the Ducks struggled before putting the Cardinal away, it was the second week in a row that UO used a monster second half to win, not the stuff BCS champions are made of.
The Broncos are headed to the Mountain West next year–with Nevada and Fresno State ticketed for the MWC in 2012–after the three schools spent years in the Western Athletic Conference as flagship programs.
If winning by 59 points isn’t good enough, then what is?
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, whose team is playing some of the best football in the conference and is coming off an emotional 14-6 win over service academy rival Navy in the race for the Commander-in-Chief trophy, watched his team move into the Top 25 at No. 21 for the first time in eight years.
The simple, unbearable truth? The Air Force head coach said most of it comes down to what conference your school is in.
“I still think there’s a little bit of a stigma that says you have to be in these six leagues. I think if you’re in one of those six leagues, by and large if you win, then you’re in good shape.
If you aren’t one of those six leagues then you have to win by 70 points or you may drop. That may be oversimplifying it a little bit, but I think it’s a pretty prevalent perspective that’s out there,” Calhoun said.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham’s team is also an original BCS-buster, is currently ranked No. 10 in America and watched his idle squad move up three spots despite not having played a game last week.
“Until there is a playoff system, you know, I don’t think anything is gonna be real accurate. Ranking teams and deciding by popular vote who’s the best, I don’t buy that. But we’re several years away from that [a playoff],” Whittingham said.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson is currently in the thick of the BCS picture. Like the Utes, his team is undefeated and is currently ranked No. 5 in the land.
While Patterson has kept a fair distance from coaches like Whittingham and Calhoun when it comes to saying what he really feels, he did share his thoughts on what the toll of winning with style takes on a mid-major program.
“I just look at it, did my team play the best they can play or did they not? That’s the only thing I can control and you know, now going through this two years of the term ‘style points,’ and all the things that go along with it,” Patterson said.
For the record, Patterson is not in favor of a playoff system at the moment like Whittingham. But he didn’t rule it out, however.
“I still say the same question…if it’s easier for [TCU] to get into the playoffs…is it’s just like the BCS system where you only have 8 or 12 teams, if it’s not an easier system I see no reason, because really the bowl games are the reward for the kids in this day and age.
They get a chance to spend a few days at the [bowl] site so right now, no,” Patterson said.
Several teams in the conference, including rising power San Diego State, have a possibility of fighting for one, or possibly two, BCS berths depending on how things shake out in the six power leagues.
While 2010 is the last year the Utes will have to worry about their BCS standing, the other schools in the Mountain West know their battle to stay among the nation’s elite has just begun.