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MWC football notebook: Mountain West a conference of haves, have-nots

Published: Thursday, Oct. 30 2008 12:58 a.m. MDT

There's a huge gap between the best and worst in the Mountain West Conference.

Just glance at the league standings heading into the final month of the season. No. 10 Utah (8-0, 4-0) and No. 12 TCU (8-1, 5-0) are at the top, followed by No. 17 BYU (7-1, 3-1) and Air Force (6-2, 4-1). Then there are a couple of teams with mediocre records — Colorado State (4-4, 2-2) and New Mexico (4-5, 2-3).

Then things get really ugly.

UNLV (3-5, 0-4), San Diego State (1-7, 0-4) and Wyoming (2-6, 0-5) are all still winless in conference play. Those three schools are a combined 0-13 in MWC games.

Either Wyoming or SDSU is guaranteed to get its first MWC victory this week because they play each other on Saturday in Laramie. Meanwhile, for tough-luck UNLV, which took BYU to the wire in Provo last weekend before falling 42-35, things don't get any easier. The Rebels entertain TCU this week.

UNLV coach Mike Sanford, whose team has won two nonconference games in overtime, has lost two straight games by a combined eight points.

"We've got to find a way to win close games," Sanford said. "We felt like we were going to win that football game (at BYU). We hated losing that game, but we didn't get it done."

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the upcoming showdown between Utah and TCU on Nov. 6 — a clash of the only two unbeaten teams in the league. Both the Utes, who visit New Mexico on Saturday, and Horned Frogs are doing everything they can to focus on this week's games first.

"We're not even thinking about Utah right now," said TCU coach Gary Patterson.

Noting that the Frogs won't have much time to prepare for Utah, he added that the Utes probably used their recently completed bye week to prepare for his team. TCU isn't expected to return from its game in Las Vegas until about 5 a.m. Sunday morning. Then they'll have to travel to Utah on Wednesday.

HOT SEAT: Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, whose team has scored just 17 points in five MWC games this season, acknowledged that he may not be guiding the Cowboys next season.

When asked about his job status, he said it's "tenuous."

Glenn added that when he met with school administrators before the season, his team needed to go to a bowl game to salvage his job. For that to happen, the 'Pokes would have to win out. After playing SDSU this week, the Cowboys visit Tennessee, play at UNLV and finish the schedule at home against Colorado State.

A decision on his job status will be made at the end of the season, Glenn said.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES: The MWC has five teams ranked in the top 20 nationally in fumble recoveries. Air Force is tied with Akron for the No. 1 spot in the country with 14, followed by BYU, which is tied for third with 13. New Mexico is tied for seventh with 11, TCU is tied for 10th with 10 and Utah is tied for 17th with nine.

The Big Ten, meanwhile, has six teams ranked in the top 20 in that category.


E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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