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5 Mountain West Conference games you can't miss

Well you probably will miss them, since it appears no one gets the network that airs Mountain West games. But if you're the fortunate soul that does have the mtn., along with Versus and CSTV, you can't miss these games. And if you do, well then you're probably the typical BCS fan that could give two shits about the Mountain West.

Eh, but I still like you.

BYU at New Mexico
Sept. 29th, 6:30 MST, CSTV

Two years ago BYU nearly lost to New Mexico in Albuquerque. However, they pulled out a gutsy win and that game was the turning point in BYU's season, as they went 4-3 the rest of the way after starting just 1-3. That of course paved the way for a great 2006 campaign. Now BYU returns to Albuquerque and the Lobos will be looking for some sweet revenge after getting hammered 42-17 in Provo last year. New Mexico should be solid this year and will put a scare into BYU. Can BYU's unproven offense keep up with the Lobos stingy defense?

Utah at TCU
Oct. 18th, 6:00 MST, Versus

The last time Utah faced TCU in Fort Worth, they saw their 18-game winning streak come to an end. That ending was controversial on two accounts. Once in regulation and the other in overtime. However there is no reason to go over those issues, as Utah got a bit of payback last season, drubbing the Frogs 20-7.

Yet this year it could be TCU looking for revenge, after Utah gave them one of only two losses last year. For Utah though, this game will be about proving it can win consistently against top-level Mountain West teams. Last year's victory was nice, but it doesn't mean much in the entire scheme of things for Utah if they can't win a conference championship. And if Utah is going to win a conference championship, it most likely will require a win over TCU in Fort Worth.

This game should pit Utah's solid offense against TCU's great defense. The matchup could result in the best game of the season, or it might be a yawner -- depending on how mentally tough Utah is. TCU will need to beat either Utah and BYU -- or ideally both -- if they're going to make noise again this year. Losing to both schools might signal that the Frogs aren't ready to be the top dog just yet.

Nov. 8th, 7:00 MST, Versus

In 2005 these two teams waged one of the most epic games in Mountain West Conference history. BYU, seemingly on their way to a dominate victory over TCU, watched as the Frogs clawed back from an 18-point deficit to take the lead late, before BYU forced overtime. In overtime the Cougars rolled down the field and quickly found the end zone, as John Beck found Todd Watkins on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Momentum back on their side, BYU seemed to be in control. Except the snap on the PAT was muffed and the Cougars watched as TCU only needed 6 and an extra point to win.

TCU's next possession saw Cory Rodgers lunge for the goal and even though it appeared he fumbled the ball, Rodgers was given the touchdown, TCU converted the extra point and won the game 51-50.

Now the two meet once again in Provo, with even far more subplots surrounding this game. TCU obviously hasn't forgotten BYU's stunning 31-17 victory over the Frogs in Fort Worth last season. And if they are going to win the Mountain West this year, it might come down to whether or not they can get a road victory over BYU. For BYU, it's a chance to replay that 2005 loss -- even though they blew an 18-point lead. Can they win two straight against the Frogs and position themselves for a possible repeat as conference champions? Well the end result may hinge on whether or not they can pull out a victory over TCU.

BYU at Wyoming
Nov. 17th, 12:00 MST

A November game in Laramie seems to always turn out to be a nightmare. That's what makes this game one you can't miss. And I'll admit, it has everything to do with the fact the conditions could be near whiteout. As Laramie in November makes Hoth (the planet at the start of Empire Strikes Back) look like Laguna Beach. It's going to be colder than the reception David Duke would receive at the annual NAACP convention.

Oh and the game might be well worth the watch, too. Wyoming will undoubtedly be looking for revenge and there really is no home field advantage quite like Laramie. And the occasional piss bombs don't help matters, either.

Utah at BYU
Nov. 24th, 12:00 MST, CSTV

Ok, no need to rehash over last year's game. It was a nightmare for the Utes, though you've got to give them credit, they did show up to play. Losing barely to a top-25 team when you're big underdogs is always nice, but we need more than that.

The fact the past two Holy Wars have come down to the final play is evidence enough as to why this is on the list. If you don't watch this game, you're not a football fan. It's constantly a battle and one that has proven to create some epic games in the past. I don't see why this year will be any different.

Utah might need this victory to become bowl eligible with their schedule, or maybe it locks up a conference championship. Either way, I do think this game will be an important one for the Utes. It will mean more to them than just bragging rights, it could be the ultimate difference between an unforgettable season and one that's easily forgotten.

Likewise for BYU, this game could have a huge impact on the post-Beck Cougars. Stringing a winning streak against Utah together would be huge, as BYU hasn't done that since the 2000 and 2001 season. This game could also give BYU a shot at another conference championship, since I doubt they will have it locked up entering the '07 Holy War like they did last year. I don't want to oversell this game, but I think it's going to be titanic for both programs.