NCF Nation: Andy Dalton Jerry Hughes

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

At the end of Mountain West media days in July, TCU's Andy Dalton and Jerry Hughes and BYU’s Dennis Pitta and Andrew Rich shook hands, hugged and exchanged phone numbers.

The four had spent a lot of time together during their few days in Las Vegas, got to know each other and even got to like one another. But even as they were laughing and talking about seeing each other in October, they had to know that when they met again, it wouldn’t be nearly as cordial.

TCU will travel to BYU this week in what is the biggest game in the Mountain West season so far. The winner not only will have a jumpstart on the race for the Mountain West title, but also in the BCS standings. At No 8 and undefeated, TCU has the best chance of reaching a BCS bowl should it stay undefeated, but it needs to boost its strength of schedule and voter confidence by beating a ranked team. BYU is No. 16 in the standings, but with one loss, it has only an outside chance of earning a BCS bowl berth.

“I think the only way that our conference will end up having the BCS bid is if someone’s able to remain undefeated,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “So, TCU has the best chance of that bid. Again, I don’t think our league has the respect yet of a one-loss team, however, our conference is stronger than the WAC and I don’t think there’s any argument about that. The teams that the top three teams have lost to or might lose to should all be good football teams. So, it might be the year and I could be surprised, but I’m still of the opinion you’re probably going to have to go undefeated to get in.”

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