Bowl season is upon us today, and along with the non conference schedule leagues have the chance to showcase how good their league is. As for the Mountain West they are arguably somewhere between the fourth to sixth best conference this season. The league went 5-1 against the Pac-10 and 10-4 overall against BCS leagues.
Most of that was forgotten once conference season came into play and people forgot how good the MWC did in BCS non conference games. Respect was earned because there was a time that a two loss MWC team would struggle to make the the top 25, but this year there are currently three schools the most in league history are in the top 25.
Now, this bowl season the MWC has two matchups against the WAC who battles the MWC for the premier non-BCS league, plus one Pac-10, one C-USA, and then Alabama from the SEC.
This time of the year is when the league needs get the chance to pound their chest by saying 'We are better then your league.' The MWC must win at least four of these bowl games, in my opinion, to keep getting talked about and out of all the bowl games the MWC is favored in 3 of them even though somehow BYU is a 3 point underdog.
The big game is obviously the Sugar Bowl which will be tough for Utah to pull off, but if the Utes win along with a few other bowls the league will get some more respect. Also, a reason to continue the leagues success is because this is year one of the four year cycle that determines what leagues get auto bids to the BCS. Those rules are very loosely based, but the MWC needs to perform well in this bowl season and the next few seasons for a chance to be even considered for the league to get an auto bid for the BCS.
For a great breakdown of the numbers and statistical analysis check out this post at BCS Guru. This is an interesting post with the data gathered from 2005-2008, with the exclusion of the bowl games. In those years the MWC is ranked 7th in conference order and is not close, but since 2008 is the near year of the cycle this year the MWC is rated 5th ahead of the Pac-10 and Big East. I highly recomend checking out that article.