For those who prefer their college football categorized and compartmentalized, it's "Mid-Major Week" at Yahoo! Sports, meaning programs not part of automatic-qualifying BCS conferences are receiving their annual complimentary kudos before being discarded as potential contenders for a BCS championship. On Thursday, we were presented with a peek at the Mountain West.
Perhaps it's a bit early to be honing the hatchet, but just so I'm clear here, does that mean TCU, which finished No. 2 in the nation last season after beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, is a "mid-major," a "mid-high major," a "better-than-average mid-major" or not a "mid-major" at all? What about Boise State, which enters the MW this year having finished with a mark of 12-1 last season and a ranking of No. 7 in the in the USA Today Coaches' poll and No. 9 in the Associated Press poll. The Broncos have spent have spent 37 straight games ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation.
Over the past seven seasons (including 2010), the "mid-major" Mountain West owns the best win percentage in bowl games among the 11 FBS conferences with a mark of 22-9 (.710). The SEC is second at 34-18 (.654), followed by the Big East and Pac-10 (both 20-14) at .558. Mid-major? Dispense with the designation --- and the denigration.
Butkus Award Nominees
New Mexico's Carmen Messina, San Diego State's Miles Burris and TCU's Tanner Brock and Tank Carder are among 45 preseason candidates for the Butkus Award, annually presented to the nation's top linebacker.
Messina averaged a MW-leading 9.6 tackles per game last season, while Burris led the league in sacks (9.5) and tackles for a loss (20.0).
Brock led the Horned Frogs in 2010 with 106 tackles (8.2 per game) and two fumble recoveries, while Carder posted 60 tackles, including 9.5 for loss. He totaled 3.5 sacks, five pass breakups and an interception for TCU en route to being named the 2010 MW Defensive Player of the Year.
New Look in Laramie
Wyoming's football team revealed its full line of new uniforms this week. Manufactured by Nike, the Cowboys' new wardrobe includes nine different jersey and pant combinations, as well as a brown helmet. Beginning in August, Wyoming fans will be able to vote online at WyomingAthletics.com for the home uniform they want to see the Cowboys wear in the 2011 season opener, Sept. 3 versus Weber State.
The new brown helmet features a flat finish with a glossy brown "Bucking Horse" logo, trimmed in dark brown and white, and a matching, glossy single stripe down the center of the helmet. The last time Wyoming wore a brown helmet was 1975-76.