Finally, the college football season has arrived with the start of camps last week at Utah, Utah State, BYU and Weber State. Now comes the agonizing three-week wait for the games to begin.
Here are a few items to chew on with 24 days left until Utah and Utah State kick off the season:
The Mountain West should be thrilled to have three teams in the preseason top 25 for the first time ever, even if it might not seem fair for TCU to be a spot behind Boise State, which it beat in the Poinsettia Bowl last year, and for Utah to be 13 spots behind Alabama, which it beat in the Sugar Bowl.
The MWC has as many teams in the top 25 as the Big Ten and one fewer than the Big 12, Pac-10 and ACC. The SEC leads the way with five teams in the top 25, all in the top 13.
And how about that powerful Big East Conference? The BCS league has zero teams in the top 25, with Cincinnati the top-ranked team at No. 29 in the "others receiving votes" category.
In order for the Mountain West Conference to eventually become a "BCS" school, it needs to prove itself against BCS schools, particularly the big programs.
That's why all MWC fans should be rooting for BYU to knock off Oklahoma next month when the two teams meet in Dallas. Unfortunately, a lot of Utah fans, as well as fans of other MWC schools, will be rooting against BYU, which doesn't make sense if they want something that eventually might benefit their own team.
Just don't complain when the MWC keeps getting left out of the BCS because it doesn't win enough games against BCS opponents.
This year, the MWC has 14 games against BCS opponents. And unless the league steps up big time, it's going to have a losing record against the BCS.
In fact, the league could very well be 0-5 after the first weekend alone. Only one MWC team has a home game and that's Wyoming against No. 2-ranked Texas. That's a definite L for the MWC and who would pick BYU over Oklahoma, New Mexico over Texas A&M, Colorado State over Colorado or San Diego State over UCLA?
Of the other nine games, only three are home games for the MWC — BYU against Florida State, Utah against Louisville, and UNLV against Oregon State.
If the MWC can split and win seven of the 14, I think it will be a tremendous accomplishment.
Utah supposedly has a three-way battle for the quarterback spot. But all the talk about true freshman Jordan Wynn being the Ute QB this fall seems ludicrous to me. In Corbin Louks you have a speedy quarterback who seems well-fit to run the spread offense, which, under new offensive coordinator Dave Schramm, should resemble the one run under Urban Meyer five years ago. In Terrance Cain you have a JC all-American, who can also run and pass.
Some folks say the fact that Louks hasn't been named No. 1 yet means he's not very good. But even if he were the best player coming out of spring, why name Louks the starter? Not naming a starter keeps everyone motivated and keeps the coaches from having to switch, if the named starter doesn't play well in August.
To me coach Kyle Whittingham is playing it perfectly, leaving the job open to all three and letting one guy win it on the field during fall drills. If it happens to be Wynn, he must be awfully good.
Barring a phenomenal turnaround, Utah State isn't going to a bowl game this year. But I'll bet the Aggies surpass last year's win total of three.
Gary Andersen was an excellent defensive coach at Utah and had a knack for motivating his players, which should be good for at least a couple of wins.
I expect the Aggies to move into the middle of the WAC pack this year and gradually work its way up the ladder. With no other dominant team in the league besides Boise State, there is a lot of room for someone to jump into the top half of the league.
Some people can't figure why Ron McBride's Weber State team is picked behind Montana in the Big Sky preseason rankings after the great season in 2008 and with the league's best quarterback in Cameron Higgins and the best running back in Trevyn Smith returning.
Two reasons: First the Wildcats must play Oct. 31 at Missoula, where they lost in the FCS playoffs last December.
Second, we're talking about Montana, which has won or shared 11 straight Big Sky football titles and made the playoffs for 16 consecutive years.
Still, look for Weber State to make the FCS playoffs again even if the Wildcats can't pull off the upset on Halloween Day.