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Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
BYU isn't just the most-hated team in the Mountain West, it might be the most hated non-BCS team in the nation. That's because BYU has the one thing none of the other non-BCS teams have -- a national championship.
Because of the bitterness, jealousy and downright hostility, there have been varying degrees of appreciation for the Cougars' national championship campaign. Some say BYU had the best team in the country, some say it played an easy schedule that year, some are better off saying nothing at all. Regardless of how it was done, the Cougars accomplished a feat that no other non-BCS team may ever accomplish again.
According to BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's theory, the only way a non-BCS team gets a sniff at the national championship is if it goes undefeated or has one loss for at least three consecutive years. And even then, it would probably take a divine act for the BCS to allow that to happen.
BYU has an air of confidence knowing it's one of the few Mountain West teams with the credentials over the last two seasons to make a case for major conference expansion. BYU is one of two non-BCS teams to win at least 11 games in each of the last two seasons. Hawaii is the other, but it also plays an extra regular-season game every year.
Or perhaps BYU's confidence is really cockiness over being the team with the toy all the other kids want. That will spill over to this season as BYU figures to be the highest ranked non-BCS team in the country and the early favorite for BCS buster.