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How the Mountain West Can Become an Automatic BCS Qualifier

The answer is simple: make Boise State-Utah a conference game.

Utes ranked 21st by Athlon

You may think the bright afterglow of the Utes’ spanking of Alabama in last year’s Sugar Bowl was a precursor to a dimming of the program’s fortunes, but you would be dead wrong. The Utes have a whole lot of talent returning, and if either Corbin Louks or junior college import Terrance Cain can grab the starting quarterback job, there’s no reason Utah can’t roll through the Mountain West once again. It may be asking too much for another BCS bid and a burst of legislative anger over the inequities of the bowl system, especially with a game at Oregon, but the Utes will be good. Their defense returns a ton of talent, especially along the front seven. Running back Matt Asiata has the burst and power to gain 1,000 yards, if he can keep a pack of worthy competitors off the field. Utah lost a bunch of receivers, but the newcomers may be even better.

Mountain West Conference takes a radical track (LA Times)

The BCS recently agreed to a four-year, $500-million contract with ESPN to televise BCS bowl games starting in January 2011. ESPN negotiated with the understanding the present format would not change, and officials have said publicly they would not try to force a playoff. The Mountain West is seeking change in part because one of its member schools, Utah, finished 13-0 last season but did not qualify for the BCS title game. Utah finished No. 6 in the final BCS standings and watched No. 2 Florida defeat No. 1 Oklahoma to win the BCS championship at Dolphin Stadium. The Utes defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and ended up No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll. The BCS is composed of 11 conferences and independent Notre Dame. The six conferences with automatic qualifier status are the Pacific 10, Southeastern, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East.

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