To me a fly in the ointment is something that turns something very good into something gross, ugly or unusable. To be the non-BCS teams that make a run at earning one of the top ten bowl invitations are anything but that. Hawaii, Utah and Boise State were a breath of fresh air to college football and they deserve a better title than the nausea inducing fly reference.
I prefer the phrase "Gate Crashers". Not only does it create a visual of a team fighting to get into a party they weren't invited do, but it does so with the positive act making it happen. It certainly is a better image than a bug in the pudding, isn't it?
Mountain West Conference Leading the Way
There are four undefeated teams in the AP Top 25 from non-BCS conferences and three of them reside in the Mountain West. If any of the three --- No. 11 Brigham Young, No. 17 Utah or No. 24 Texas Christian --- could run the table they would almost certainly earn one of the spots. But that won't be easy.
The Mountain West actually has five decent football teams when you add in Air Force and UNLV. Each of those teams is capable of spoiling the party for any of the other teams in the league. As a result it's not hard to rank the chances of the top three making it all the way to a BCS game.
Utah ----- Urban Meyer's Utes are clearly the team to beat in the MWC. First of all they already have posted wins over Air Force (30-23) and UNLV (42-21). Add to that a 25-23 win over Michigan, Utah has proven more than any other team in the league. They have excellent balance between the run (173 yards/g) and the pass (244 yards/g) balance. Additionally the Utes have the advantage of playing both Brigham Young and TCU at home.
BYU ----- The Cougars get the second-best chance nod in part because of their amazing 59-0 destruction of UCLA. They followed up that performance with a 44-0 blowout of Wyoming. Quarterback Max Hall already has 15 touchdown passes against just two interceptions. While BYU has been the most impressive team in the league thus far, they have to play three of the top four on the road with only UNLV visiting Provo.
TCU ----- The Horned Frogs are certainly a program on the rise with a 4-0 start and an impressive 31-14 win over Stanford. Granted that's not the world's most remarkable accomplishment, it still counts. TCU is the best running team in the league (249 yards/g). TCU gets BYU at home, but the reason they have a less chance of crashing the BCS party has nothing to do with that. This Saturday TCU plays Oklahoma in Norman. Chances are that the result of that game will make it impossible for TCU to attain the national ranking needed for a BCS opportunity. No team has ever been able to play the role of "Gate Crasher" without a perfect record.
While the MWC slugs it out, don't be shocked if the most competitive non-BCS league in the country ends up on the outside looking in after beating each other up over the course of the season. IF that happens, No. 19 Boise State is ready, willing, and perhaps able to step in and fill the void.
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