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Best of the 2000's Counting Down the Mountain West Top 10 Teams: Honorable Mention List

After a brief hiatus from the countdown we are back to countdown the top 10 teams of the decade.  The Mountain West is a young league as this was the eleventh year of the league and the past three years have seen the league improve exponentially.   Today we discuss the teams that almost made the cut for the top 10 list, and for a hint the top 10 is lead by TCU, Utah, and BYU.

2003 Utah Utes

This was the precursor to Utah's undefeated 2004 team.  The Utes that year went 10-2 finished the season with two shutouts that were against their rival BYU and then Southern Miss in the Liberty, and finished with a modest 21st national ranking.

This year so the emergence of QB Alex Smith who took over for Brett Elliot who broke his wrist in the Texas A&M game that the Utes lost.  Well, the rest his history as the only game Smith lost as a starter was against New Mexico, and that game featured up and coming Coach Urban Meyer who gave a Tim Tebow-esque speech about how that he would not have a performance as bad as the Utes played that day.

2006 TCU Horned Frogs

This team went 11-2 with their only loses to BYU and Utah as they finished the season ranked 21st and 22nd in both polls.  That year the team was lead by QB Jeff Ballard and RB Aaron Brown, and of course the Gary Patterson stone cold defense.  That year TCU capped their season by defeating Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl 37-7.

2009 Utah Utes

This is an impressive team that ended up in the top 20 and nearly had an outside shot at a BCS bowl (even though that was unlikely).  This Utah team was supposed to rebuild with two new coordinators, a rebuilt offense, and most importantly they lost Brian Johnson.  This years Utes was able to be in a game against Pac-10 champ Oregon as well as take BYU to overtime.  For a team that was in a rebuilding phase a 10-3 record is not too bad.