Sep 062005
Authors: Brett Okamoto

Will somebody please remind the Mountain West Conference of its place in college football?

I've heard of Cinderella stories in sports before, but the MWC isn't even Cinderella. We're the mice that show up for the musicals and get chased by the cat.

College football captivated the country this weekend and the MWC was right there in the middle of it – and not how you might think they would. Usually if a team from our conference does make it on to ESPN it's a clip of some Big XII or SEC running back knocking us over like sixth graders and spiking the ball in our end zones.

This year the story was a little different.

Ask Oklahoma. Their Big XII Oklahoma Sooners went up against our MWC TCU Horned Frogs and got embarrassed 17-10. They were ranked in the top 10 before the Frogs ended their national championship hopes before they even knew they had them. TCU is now ranked No. 22 in the nation and is one of four finalists for the ESPN Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Week.

Ask Washington. Tyrone Willingham was well on his way to his first win at Washington until the Huskies forgot about a little thing called the fourth quarter. Air Force scored 13 points in ten minutes and left victorious.

Ask Dusty Sprague. Ok, so Colorado beat CSU in The Showdown. But ask the 190-pound CU receiver what Robert Herbert's shoulder pad tasted like. ESPN rewarded Herbert's body slam on their daily Top 10 as the fourth best play in the country on Saturday.

"People talk about the Mountain West like we're a little conference and I don't like that," Herbert said. "This conference is changing, there's a lot of talent here."

In addition to TCU and Air Force, BYU added a 20-3 win over the Big East's Boston College, and Utah beat the Pac-10's Arizona, 27-24.

And let's not forget about last year. Anybody remember the first pick of the NFL draft Alex Smith? Utah posted a 12-0 record and finished with a No. 4 ranking in the country after beating Big East champ Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl.

Bradlee Van Pelt is number two on the depth chart for the Broncos. Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Ty Detmer is a former BYU Cougar. Denver's own Mike Anderson ran the rock for Utah.

That's it, if I haven't convinced you, it doesn't matter – I've convinced myself. No more down-talking the MWC. This year we've already knocked off some of the most respected teams in the country and it's only week one.

Let the other conferences rule the BCS and play in the advertising circus that are the bowl games. I'd say we're playing some pretty impressive football right here.

Brett Okamoto is a sophomore technical journalism major. He is the sports editor of the Collegian.

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