The Mountain West felt it deserved a spot inside college football's velvet rope and spend the offseason stating its case.
Now several of the conference's elite teams will get an early chance to impress voters, beginning with BYU facing Oklahoma at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday. TCU will meet two ACC teams in non-conference play, Clemson and Virginia.
"I don't think there is any greater or lesser pressure [on Mountain West schools] in these games," Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson tells USA Today. "But [rankings] should be performance-based, and if you win these games, there should be greater recognition."