Mountain West Shows It Has Few Valleys, Mostly Peaks So Far

Nick UremovichContributor IDecember 24, 2009

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 22:  Manase Tonga #11 of the Brigham Young University Cougars gets by Suaesi Tuimaunei #28 and Anthony Watkins #47 of the Oregon State Beavers en route to scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cougars won 44-20.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

So far in this bowl season, the Mountain West has made other conferences look like foothills.

Wednesday night's Poinsettia Bowl gave the MWC three tallies in the win column for this bowl season when Utah came back from an early 14-0 deficit, beating Cal 37-27.  This added to the Maaco Bowl, where an Oregon State team, once only a few points away from a Rose Bowl berth, was trampled by a potent BYU team. Not to mention, Wyoming's victory over Fresno in the New Mexico Bowl. These wins would be eyebrow raisers across the nation, but some still question the legitimacy of this conference.

Consider this: of Utah's 9 consecutive bowl wins, two have come in BCS games, most notably last year Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.  Despite this record, the Utes are considered the 3rd best team in the conference this year.  BYU, a team that killed a near Rose Bowl-bound Oregon State team, was knocked off by a TCU team that will face Boise State (ironically, another historic BCS buster) in the Fiesta bowl (also ironically, where Boise State beat historic powerhouse Oklahoma).

Throughout this season, I have seen nothing but surprise on the faces of those who finally notice the worthiness of these Mountain West teams.  I am not surprised. And neither should anybody else be.