Wodraska: WAC behind the Utes, at least this week

Published November 11, 2009 6:10 pm
College football » A Utah win over TCU would help Boise State's odds of busting BCS.
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One of Utah's self-proclaimed biggest fans, at least this week, won't even be in Fort Worth on Saturday to see if the Utes can upset the No. 4 Horned Frogs of TCU.

That is because WAC commissioner Karl Benson has games in his own conference to worry about, but that doesn't mean he won't be following the showdown in the MWC.

The outcome could have a huge factor in deciding Boise State's fate. If the Utes win, Boise State likely would be this year's BCS buster.

If TCU wins and goes on to win out, the Frogs will get the automatic bid and the Broncos must hope the BCS is impressed enough by their win over Oregon in the season opener to take them as well.

That is a scenario Benson would prefer to avoid.

"Boise State's future is hanging on this game," he said. "The only way for Boise State to jump ahead of a MWC team is for TCU to lose, so myself and all the WAC athletic directors are rooting for Utah."

One could argue that a one-loss team from the MWC would be more deserving of a BCS bid than the Broncos, based on the teams' strength of schedule. But Benson is in no mood to argue that theory.

He believes Boise State, with its season-opening 19-8 win over Oregon, and its consistent big wins in the WAC should be good enough to make the Broncos a solid choice.

Heck, even if TCU wins out, Benson will push for the Broncos to be included in the BCS as well.

Last year, the Broncos finished undefeated and ranked No. 9 in the BCS standings but were left out of the BCS. They went to the Poinsettia Bowl, where they were beaten by TCU 17-16.

Perhaps more than any other year, the Broncos would have a solid case for their argument, considering they might have a victory over the Pac-10 champion.

But the BCS is more about money and TV ratings, a fact that has Benson nervous, as does last week's voting, when Cincinnati remained ahead of the Broncos despite its struggles to beat a 4-5 Connecticut team 47-45.

"For whatever reasons voters thought that was better than Boise State's 10-point win over La. Tech," Benson said.

Most coaches would answer with the old adage that a win is a win. That thought often applies, just not when non-BCS teams have to win and sell their cause to have a chance as a buster.

Heck, the WAC even hired a PR firm to help their chances this year.

"Unfortunately, the WAC and the MWC have to pound their chests a little louder," Benson said, in explaining the decision to hire Scott Peyron & Associates.

Sometimes that pounding includes cheering for teams normally considered rivals.

"Last year I was rooting for TCU," Benson said. "You have to choose sides at this time of year."

Heisman update

Stock up » Texas QB McCoy is making a big push for the honor, going 33-for-42 for 470 yards in a 35-3 blowout over UCF.

Stock down » Texas WR Jordan Shipley was McCoy's favorite target Saturday, with 11 catches for 273 yards, and he'll get credit for helping McCoy look good, but as the end of the season nears, McCoy will get his votes.

lwodraska@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">lwodraska@sltrib.com

Game of the Week

Outside of the Utah-TCU game, the most interesting to watch might be the Iowa-Ohio State game, in which the Hawkeyes will start redshirt freshman quarterback Jams Vandenberg after starter Ricky Stanzi suffered an ankle injury against Northwestern.

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