2008 Football Year in Review: The Mountain West Conference

JeremySenior Writer IJanuary 20, 2009

Since it is the off-season, we shall take a look back at the league and each team specifically for the 2008 football season with the highlights and lowlights. Just for fun, below is how I thought the order of finish would turn out:

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

The actual final standings were:

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

I nailed San Diego State and Colorado State on their projected finish, and had the top three there, just not in the right order. Take that for what it’s worth; I think I did all right.

The season was one for the ages, all the preseason talk was on BYU crashing the BCS with their amazing offense. This looked really good with two straight shutouts of UCLA and Wyoming.

Then BYU was exposed against TCU as being slow and not having a good defense.  Just to pat my own back, I noticed trouble in the second half of their Utah State win.

The two teams at the beginning of the season that were getting little or no pub were Utah and TCU.  TCU was even far below since they were thumped by Oklahoma, but later on, that loss did not seem too bad. 

TCU gained huge respect by beating BYU, a top 10 team at the time.  The Utes made their splash by steadily defeating opponents and had a great come-from-behind win over Oregon State.

Then there are the Utes, who were unranked at the start of the season, and ended up ranked No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the coaches poll. Along the way, Utah defeated five ranked teams at the time they played, who is that, fifth? Well, Michigan was 24th in the coaches poll to start the season.

Utah looked good in some games and others they did not, but they managed to go undefeated and get their second BCS bowl berth and win in five years. The Utes then showed up in New Orleans and crushed an overrated Alabama team, 31-17, and made an argument to be national champions.

An interesting fact about the Utes in comparison to other BCS teams, is that Utah has as many wins as the ACC does in the history of the BCS. 

The two wins came in 1999 when Florida State defeated Virginia Tech (Va. Tech was in the Big East that year), and this year when Virginia Tech defeated Cincinnati.  Also, the Utes are the only team in the BCS era to have two undefeated teams.

In the regular season, the league did well; they went 6-1 against the Pac-10 and went 12-6 overall against BCS teams, The league went 3-2 in the bowl season, and in the year end polls had three teams ranked with two in the top 10. 

The league also had their second straight year of getting five teams to bowl games. This by far was the best year for the Mountain West, and with this being year one of the four-year cycle for evaluations for automatic bids to the BCS, the league got off to a great start.

Stayed tuned to more "year in reviews" for each individual team.

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