There might still be a few games left to play, but the Mountain West has already clinched the Bowl Challenge Cup for a second straight season.
The non-automatic qualifying conference finished bowl season 4-1, which gives it the highest winning percentage of 11 conferences. The Sun Belt finished 2-1, and the Pac-10 is currently 2-1 with Oregon yet to play in the BCS national championship game. Even if the Pac-10 finishes 3-1, the MWC will still have the higher win percentage.
The Mountain West has now won four Cups. Not bad for a conference that has been derided for playing Little Sisters of the Poor competition.
Certainly not every Mountain West bowl game is played against an automatic qualifying opponent. The AQ conferences generally play each other. But the Mountain West did go 2-0 in its games against teams from the auto qualifying conferences -- Air Force beat Georgia Tech, and TCU beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
The Mountain West also won two games against AQ competition last season, and is 13-7 in bowl games against AQ opponents since the league began 12 years ago. If you want to read more about the misperception of the little guys, check out this column by Mick McGrane of the Mountain West blog.
With four bowl games left to play, the SEC still has three teams looking for a win. The Big 12 has one, Pac-10 has one, WAC has one, Big East has one and ACC has one. Here are the standings as of today:
Mountain West, 4-1
Sun Belt, 2-1
Big East, 3-2
Big 12, 3-4
Big Ten, 3-5