The league commanded attention and demanded respect after Utah posted an undefeated season, capped by the Utes' dismantling of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The MWC then placed three teams (No. 2 Utah, No. 7 TCU and No. 21 BYU) in the final Associated Press poll.
As the 2009 campaign approaches, that spotlight is about to get more intense as the college football world waits to see what the MWC does for an encore.
During the offseason, the MWC rocked the Bowl Championship Series boat with public protestations by commissioner Craig Thompson, who has been outspoken about his contention that MWC teams are performing at a level worthy of an automatic bid.