BYU, Utah Utes football: Streaks snapped, but MWC title still attainable
PROVO — Yes, it was a rough week for the Mountain West Conference.
Most notably, BYU saw its 18-game home winning streak end against Florida State, while Utah watched its 16-game winning streak — which was the nation's longest — snap at Oregon.
As a result, the Cougars plunged from No. 7 to No. 19 in The Associated Press rankings while the Utes fell all the way out of the polls.
That leaves No. 15 TCU, which visits Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference, as the lone unbeaten team in the MWC, and the league's best shot at playing in the Bowl Championship Series.
During this week's teleconference, the coaches at TCU, Utah and BYU downplayed the hype surrounding the BCS and affirmed that their focus is on winning the league title.
"I've never been one of those guys that talked about the BCS," said Horned Frog coach Gary Patterson. "I always think you've got to win your conference first."
"Our focal point," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham, "is winning the Mountain West Conference."
Said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall: "It's always first and foremost in our thoughts to play well in our league."
OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS: Colorado State owns a 3-0 record, its best start since 1994. The Rams opened 7-0 that year and ended up posting a 10-2 mark, winning a conference championship and playing Michigan in the Holiday Bowl. CSU currently holds the league's longest active winning streak with six consecutive victories dating back to last season.
New Mexico, on the other hand, is 0-3 for the first time since 2000. The Lobos, who host in-state rival New Mexico State this week, haven't started a season 0-4 since 1994, when they started with five consecutive losses. In all, UNM has dropped seven straight games — its longest losing streak since 1990-91, when it lost 10 in a row.
WOLFE AND PITTA: UNLV's Ryan Wolfe is the active career receiving yards leader with 3,023 yards, just ahead of Central Michigan's Bryan Anderson (3,011) and Buffalo's Naaman Roosevelt (2,922).
BYU tight end Dennis Pitta is No. 8 on that list, but is No. 1 among tight ends with 2,269 career receiving yards. Marshall's Cody Slate is the No. 2 leading tight end with 2,168 career yards.
EXTRA POINTS: TCU leads the nation in sacks with 11 and is No. 3 in rush defense, yielding 43.5 yards per game ... Wyoming hasn't scored in nine consecutive quarters. Cowboy coach Dave Christensen said his starting quarterback this week against UNLV will be true freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels ... The Horned Frogs have recorded one sack in each of the last 26 games, including three last week in their win over Texas State ... Air Force has had 11 straight games with a sack ... San Diego State has lost 13 consecutive non-conference road games dating back to 2003 ... UNLV quarterback Omar Clayton has thrown for at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive games, dating back to last season. It marks the longest streak among MWC quarterbacks.
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