Thoughts and observations from around college football while wondering how the Mountain West stacks up against neighboring mighty Pac-10 and how recruiting pitches may change a bit this fall.

THUMBS UP: Give props to Mike Sanford and the UNLV Rebels who punked ranked ASU in the Sun Devil's own hallowed bailiwick. Might be the Rebs' biggest win in school history. Hats off to the MWC, which went 4-0 against the Pac-10 over the weekend, easily the biggest Saturday in the league's 10-year history.

THUMBS DOWN: Syracuse. With legends Jim Brown and Floyd Little in attendance, the Orangemen are outgained by Penn State 191-5 in the first quarter.

THEY SAID IT ... USU coach Brent Guy after losing to Utah by 48: "I told (the team) we hit ground zero. I said both towers just went down. We're at ground zero, in my opinion, and I've gotta find a way to coach them out of it."

And ... from UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner, assigned to cover BYU's Austin Collie in a 59-0 Cougar win: "We knew we were in trouble. We weren't playing well. We were getting frustrated because we were losing and losing quickly, like a flash flood."

And ... Fresno State coach Pat Hill after kicker Kevin Goessling missed three field goals in a 13-10 loss to Wisconsin: "When it's all said and done, he's going to be the best kicker we've ever had."

Finally, from UCLA left tackle Micah Kia after Cougar Jan Jorgensen beat him on a play: "Any O-line coach would gag if they saw how I performed on that play. Jorgensen, being the good player he is, saw it and capitalized on it. I'll definitely learn from this."

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: AFA ran 71 times and never completed a pass in a win over Houston in Dallas ... BYU leads the NCAA in third-down conversion percentage at 78.1 with Penn State a distant second at 65.9 ... BYU's offensive line hasn't allowed a sack or holding penalty in three games.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: With BYU 11th and Utah ranked 20th, the MWC could get TCU in the rankings next week if the Utes beat AFA, BYU takes care of Wyoming and TCU beats SMU.

MY MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: With all due respect to Max Hall, his offensive line deserves some kind of award as a collective body of work. He's been relatively untouched in three games.

DUMB AND DUMBER: ASU for losing to UNLV, and me, for thinking the Sun Devils were a Top 10 worthy team. Have at 'em Bulldogs.

UNSUNG HERO: Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. In 17 starts, the Sooners have scored 50 points or more eight times.

YEAH, BUT ... East Carolina is chasing BYU, Fresno State and Utah for a BCS berth and at 4-0 is off to its best start in nine years. But No. 15 ECU will now miss one of its top defensive players, linebacker Quentin Cotton, who injured his right knee. Also, the Pirate's left tackle Stanley Bryant is out indefinitely.

TRENDSETTERS: Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who tore up his knee on a sideline hit during a punt play against Michigan. Weis says he'll wait until the end of the season to repair his ACL. "They didn't hire me for my body, they hired me for my mind," he said.

OVERRATED: OK, I won't list Ohio State here for the fourth time in a row, but it was tempting. I'll go with Michigan, losers to a terrible Notre Dame club. Second choice is Auburn, a 3-2 winner over Mississippi State.

UNDERRATED: TCU doesn't get the respect deserved and will decide the MWC race with wins or losses against BYU and Utah.

BOTTOM LINE: BYU's No. 11 ranking in the USA Today poll is a key posturing position to be in ahead of East Carolina (15th) before official BCS standings are released in a few weeks.

MY TOP FIVE: 1. Southern Cal, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Florida, 4. Georgia, 5. Texas.


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