There shouldn't be many doubters left in college football about the validity of the Mountain West as a legitimate threat to the power players in BCS College Football. The Mountain West posted a 10-5 record against BCS opponents including going 9-2 against the SEC 2-0), Big Ten 1-0) and Pac-10 6-2).
When it comes to recruiting, a common question asked this year was, "Has the Mountain West's success on the field, translated into more recruiting wins off the field?".
To which I've consistently answered that question with a question. "Does it matter?"
Football recruiting is a component in winning football games, but it's not THE component to winning football games. Coaching and development is still the biggest difference maker between programs, and the upper level teams in the Mountain West have proven that they can take the players passed over by BCS Conference Schools, and then turn around and beat those schools with the very players not deemed good enough for scholarship offers.
Utah's undefeated season was bolstered by recruiting classes that ranked no higher than 60th on Scout. The Class of 2009 was the Utes' best finish in five years with a ranking of 52 overall.
Anyone want to lay odds that four years from now, Utah is better than 52nd in the country?
In all honestly, the answer to the question is, "Yes, while it still doesn't happen on a regular basis, it's not uncommon to see a player choose a Mountain West School over a BCS School in today's day and age." Utah has played in two BCS bowls; how many BCS schools have yet to play in one?
It's not just the team at the to of the polls that makes the Mountain West strong. There is depth in the conference. While Utah went 3-0 against BCS Schools in 2008, the rest of the conference still posted a winning record 7-5) against their alphabet brethren.
BYU has consistently been a program capable of cracking the Top 25. The Cougars have been the flagship program in the Mountain West for years. Their season included wins over Washington and UCLA this year.
TCU has the 9th best winning percentage in all of college football for the last 10 years. With more exposure coming for the Mountain West, coupled with a fertile recruiting ground in Texas, TCU has a golden opportunity to be amongst the elite of college football in the years to come.
85 scholarships per team and television and bowl games for everyone are two of the major factors that have led to parity across all of college football. The Mountain West and its football success has become the flag bearer for Non-BCS conferences and their argument for a slice of the BCS money pie.
|11||WLB||Kyle Van Noy||BYU|
|#2 JC||S||Malcolm Williams||TCU|
|#2 JC||DE||James Aiono||Utah|