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How I became a fan of the Mountain West

Why our tagline is “we are biased against your team.”

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed Mountain West Connection! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin and let us know why you love your favorite Mountain West team.

Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

“Hope you guys like the new look”, says the author as he ducks flying digital rocks from the few who are not a fan.

As for myself, Jeremy Mauss, I have a very unique story as to why I like the Mountain West. The beginning is probably pretty similar to most fans of your preferred school as you enter college you latch onto that school as “your” school of choice to root for in the various sports, or you grew up in the area and loved that team and root them on even if you went to school somewhere else.

I am a guy who is from Houston, Texas, went to school at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, then took an unexpected turn out West to eventually graduate from the University of Utah.

Yeah, I went to Utah. That is why it is humorous, to me at least, when we get tweets, emails, Facebook messages and a lot of other communication about how I hate their team. That is why we started the tagline in the podcast that “we are biased against your team.” It is a joke and it is great when people get that and we have fun with it because biased can be positive or negative. To be honest, I don’t have a true rooting interest favoring one team or another, but rather like the stories, coaches, sticking up for the league when necessary and then there is drama that comes from the league from time to time to spice things up.

I ended up at the University of Utah — you know they used to be a Mountain West team — at the best time possible for football in 2003. That year they had Urban Meyer as their head coach and the Utes won the Mountain West and finished with a 10-2 record and then the following year led the Utes to the Fiesta Bowl as the very first BCS buster back in 2004.

Those were great times with my first experience with college football. My prior school had just non-scholarship FCS football and I was on the water polo team and that season was at the same time of the year so college football was not a priority. Growing up in Houston there was not great college football — both Rice and Houston were terrible — and just a handful of times growing up would go to either a Texas or Texas A&M game since it was a drive that was not extremely long.

Back to the Mountain West and Utah fandom, I ended up going to more football games and the Utes were still solid after the Meyer years and I even went to the Fort Worth game while working for the student radio station, and there are stories from that. The big one was not to hustle home to Houston from the airport to get home for Christmas, and man my wife was upset with that as my flight was delayed.

I was a casually observer of the entire league but when I was interning at a local radio station back in 2006 I decided that league was not getting the publicity it deserved with some pretty good teams like Utah, BYU and TCU at the time so I decided to start writing about the league on a little old WordPress site that is still around if you look hard enough -- please don’t as the early few years was not that great.

I noticed there was a want for this coverage in addition to the local outlets that covered the teams, so I started to do that and ended up enjoying the entire league.

The BCS bowls with Utah going back in 2008 beating Alabama, TCU winning the Rose Bowl over Wisconsin on a well defended two-point conversion by the second best name in Mountain West history in Tank Carter — Weston Steelhammer is number one until further notice -- and Boise State making their runs in the league.

Even when expansion came calling for Utah and TCU, plus there was BYU going independent, but that didn’t phase my fandom for the league — it did change a it a bit by not having “my team” in the league. These changes brought in new blood was great to get to know more about these teams and stories, and my initial goal of bringing more awareness to the league I have followed and enjoyed for years was still there.

To be honest, the Mountain West is not a power league but a few tweaks here or there and things MIGHT have been different, but that doesn’t matter to me one bit about the status of the league.

There are dozens of other reasons why this league is great. For one, FOOOOOOTBAW BOB!!!!!!! is out doing great things in New Mexico, there is a potential first-round quarterback in Laramie, Wyoming, San Diego State football is where it should have been all a long and a whole lot more.

Share your story with us in a Fan Post or drop a cool story about your fandom in the comments.

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