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Is the Mountain West Conference tougher than we all thought?

This just in: Mountain West football teams may not be overrated after all.

The MWC is 3-0 thus far in bowl season, and Bronco fans who discounted TCU's perfect record thanks to a supposedly weak conference have to be rethinking things. Is the Mountain West tougher than everyone thought? Are BYU and Utah for real? Read after the jump for more, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

BYU over Oregon State

The Beavers were a fourth down stop or two away from reaching the Rose Bowl this season, yet they never stood a chance against BYU. The Cougars led 37-7 with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter before winning handily by a final score of 44-20.

Is this the same BYU that looked like it didn't belong on the same field as Florida State? Is this the same team that TCU embarrassed at home? Even worse, are the Cougars going to jump the Broncos in the final rankings if Boise State loses?

Utah over Cal

The Utes had failed to earn a quality win all season long with losses to their three toughest opponents - BYU, TCU, and Oregon. And then the Poinsettia Bowl happened. Utah fell behind early 14-0 before reeling off 27 unanswered points and winning by a final of 37-27 over the Cal Bears, the same Cal Bears who were preseason favorites to challenge USC at the top of the Pac-10.

Does a win over Cal impress you? Was this by far Utah's best win of the season? 

Wyoming over Fresno State

Boise State fans enjoyed bragging about Fresno as one of the country's toughest teams that no one knows about. The Bulldogs played close with Wisconsin and Cincinnati, and they gave BSU one of its toughest games of the year. And then they go and lose a bowl game to 6-6 Wyoming.

What does it say about the WAC that one of its best schools cannot beat a MWC also-ran? Was this a case of Wyoming playing great, Fresno playing poorly, or the inevitable swoon of a Pat Hill team? Seriously, Wyoming?

Better luck next year in Bowl Pick 'Em

Thanks the Mountain West's dominance thus far in bowl season, my pick 'em entry is a sad, pathetic 1-4, which ESPN is kind enough to remind me ranks 269,232nd overall. Anyone else had a rough go of it so far?

At least some people are doing well in OBNUG's Pick 'Em group. Here is the top ten after the first week of games:

  1. 7398Jacob 1, J. Hammond
  2. willymonkey32 1, J. Williams
  3. Kevan Lee is my Hero!, O. Intern
  4. Mr. Fisker's Opus, R. Oliver
  5. BSUINTHENC, J. Rigby
  6. Jimmy MacElroy, T. Dalling
  7. BroncoZAG 1, B. Connolly
  8. adscottam 1, A. Miner
  9. pickemgoodz 1, J. T
  10. bronconationeast, I. Smythe

Check out the official group page for the full standings.

TCU's strength of schedule looking better and better

As Drew and I debated earlier this week, part of the hope that Bronco fans can take from the TCU matchup is that the Horned Frogs are simply a product of an overrated Mountain West Conference. Well, now I'm not so sure.

If you were basing confidence on the fact that TCU easily defeated some not-so-good BYU and Utah teams, you might have to rethink that stance now. TCU's wins over the Utes and Cougars look far better now than they did a month or two ago. Are the Utah and BYU from bowl season the same teams that the Horned Frogs dismantled? Could it be that they both looked so poor because TCU made them look that way? At this point, it is at least something we all have to consider.

Think any higher of the Mountain West after their big bowl wins?

What is your take on the MWC and TCU's schedule now? Are you giving the Horned Frogs more credit for their in-conference wins? Think BYU and Utah's bowl wins were a fluke? Share your thoughts in the comments.