Or were its best two teams just fortunate enough to catch a couple mediocre Northern Illinois and Oregon outfits going through the motions to end disappointing seasons?
Oregon: done in by unforeseen allergies to its new metallic neon puke helmets, perhaps?
Either way, TCU and BYU each finish 11-2 by punishing margins on national television, will subsequently be in everybody's year-end polls, end with a combined 18-game win streak and generally looked like they should be playing in January rather than before Christmas. Oregon and especially Northern Illinois, not that they're bad teams, but they were both supremely outclassed. How many PAC Ten teams pounded the Ducks by four touchdowns, doubled them up in total yards and held that offense to single digits? The short answer: zero; before Thursday, in fact, no team had bestowed any of those extreme misfortunes on Oregon in any game this season, much less all at once. That was one very un-Latter Day Saintly beatdown.
Shame the entire conference and its John Becks were hidden away on CSTV all season. SMQ regrets the MWC champion pulling out of the Liberty Bowl, where its "this is these teams' Super Bowl" showdown with the C-USA champ made for a compelling, non-generic game. Neither of these invites, besides being too early for any ranked team and lame draws, seems like much of a reward or showcase for winning a league other than the Sun Belt.
Utah and New Mexico close out the conference's unprecedented pre-Christmas sweep Saturday in games against another pair of random "Western" teams - Tulsa and San Jose State - you could have sworn were in the Mountain West their own selves, but aren't.
Final resumes for TCU and BYU, for the record, after the jump...
|Best Win||*at TCU (31-17)||*Texas Tech (12-3)|
|Second-Best||*vs. Oregon (38-8)||*vs. No. Illinois (37-7)|
|Etc.||*Tulsa (49-24)||Wyoming (26-3)|
|Wyoming (55-7)||*at New Mexico (27-21)|
|*New Mexico (42-17)||Air Force (38-14)|
|*at Utah (33-31)||at Baylor (17-7)|
|at Air Force (33-14)||San Diego State (52-0)|
|UNLV (52-7)||at Colorado State (45-14)|
|San Diego State (47-17)||at Army (31-17)|
|at Colorado State (24-3)||at UNLV (25-10)|
|Utah State (38-0)||UC-Davis (46-13)|
|Losses||*at Boston Coll. (23-30, 2OT)||*BYU (17-31)|
|at Arizona (13-16)||*at Utah (7-20)|