Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson has been known as a playoff proponent for years and during his state of the conference address at Mountain West media days Thompson mentioned how a playoff is a "watershed moment."
Thompson has always wanted a college football playoff and now that it is here he is very excited about the possibility of the Mountain West earning a bid. Getting into one of the four spots will be extremely difficult, because history shows us that the only Mountain West team who had a shot was the Rose Bowl winning TCU team back in 2010. Outside of that no team from a non-power conference has been all that close.
Thompson is extremely bullish by saying that if there is a 12-0 Mountain West team they will be "in [the] discussion" for one of the four spots. While that would be great if an undefeated Mountain West team gets in the playoff, the odds are stacked against the league.
It will take multiple years of being very good to just maybe get the respect to be in the discussion. An undefeated Mountain West team is likely assured one of the New Year's Day bowl games as the non-power conference representative, but a playoff spot will take time to build up credibility.
The only likely way a Mountain West team will earn a playoff bid is if the field expands beyond four teams, and that could be a long ways off since College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock is adamant that the playoff will stay at four teams for the duration of the 12-year agreement. However, money rules all and the playoff is already paying hand over fist for just four teams, so it seems that it will increase before the contract is over.
Adding more teams whether it may be six, eight or 12 teams is the only way that a non-power school will get a look at earning a playoff berth.
While Thompson can be excited that a playoff is here, he needs to hold off on saying an undefeated Mountain West team will get a look at making the college football playoff in its current format.