Leading the charge is UNLV coach Mike Sanford, whose Rebels pulled off the biggest stunner of the weekend, a 23-20 overtime win over No. 15 Arizona State.
"I really believe that our conference is deserving of an automatic bid to the BCS," Sanford said during the weekly MWC coaches conference call. "I think that is something our conference should have. It shouldn't be a deal where you have to go undefeated to get into the BCS."
Currently, only champions from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern conferences have automatic berths in one of the major bowls - Fiesta, Sugar, Orange or Rose - or BCS National Championship Game. It will stay that way until at least after the 2009 season.
"The teams and coaches in our league already knew that for the last three or four years, our conference has been as good or better than a couple of the BCS leagues, and we are willing to play those guys," said New Mexico coach Rocky Long, whose team knocked off Arizona. "They are not always willing to play us."
The much-debated topic has risen to the forefront again because four MWC teams - BYU, Utah, TCU and Air Force - are 3-0 and BYU and Utah are ranked.
However, the champion, even if it goes undefeated, might not get a berth if, say, a team such as East Carolina from Conference USA is also undefeated.
TCU coach Gary Patterson agreed with Sanford, but said the MWC shouldn't be the only non-BCS conference to get an automatic bid.
"I don't know that I would specifically just say the Mountain West, but I would say out of the non-qualifying conferences, every year there are two or three teams that are really good football teams that deserve the chance to play in one of those kind of ball games," he said."Every year, except possibly last year with Hawaii, they've shown pretty well. So I agree with him to an extent, but I wouldn't necessarily limit it to the Mountain West."
Sanford said the Mountain West has evolved into one of the top conferences in the country and it is time for people to start recognizing that.
"It is a good conference, and there is a lot of competition within our conference," he said. "It is hard to go undefeated because there are a lot of good teams beating up on each other."
Sanford described UNLV's locker room after the ASU win as "awesome" with an "unbelievable feeling, a great feeling of accomplishment." He was also glad the victory came in a place like Tempe, Ariz., rather than a cold-weather clime.
"I got doused by about four huge bath tubs of Gatorade," he said. "So that might be the wettest I've ever been in my life."
New Mexico's Long, who has coached in both the MWC and the Pac-10, said the difference between the leagues is depth.
"My take is the top 22 on anybody in our league can compete with the top 22 on anybody in their league," he said. "But there are several of those teams in the Pac-10 or Big 12 that have better depth."
Another big day
The key matchup in the MWC this week, of course, is the Utah-at-Air Force game Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo. However, Colorado State, TCU, UNLV and New Mexico will try to keep the league's nonconference success going as CSU hosts Houston, TCU travels to SMU, UNLV hosts the Big 12's Iowa State and New Mexico travels to Tulsa.