Bronco Mendenhall asked his players this week if they happened to watch some of last Saturday's bowl games.

The Wyoming-Temple game was of particular interest to him. UW, a former Mountain West Conference all of the Cougars, was dominated in the New Mexico Bowl — the same game Mendenhall's squad dominated against UTEP last December.

What's it mean?

Mendenhall said the players who did watch the game quickly formed impressions of each program. It's a dangerous but true reality.

That's how lasting one game can be, even as it comes after about a month off (which some would say isn't exactly the most fair barometer of a team).

"It's important to have to play well in these games," Mendenhall said Tuesday afternoon.

The Cougars will practice through Friday in Provo before taking a few days off for the holiday, then traveling Monday to Dallas for the Dec. 30 Armed Forces Bowl against Tulsa.

Mendenhall is 4-2 in the postseason, mostly accomplished in Las Vegas. He is happy to have a later bowl game so that his players didn't have to scramble to complete final exams. Christmas falls on a Sunday, so the team wouldn't have practiced then anyway.

He says there "may be more at stake now" for BYU in the postseason.

Remember, the independent Cougars are constantly on the look-out to lock down bowl opportunities for future years. Next year there's a trip to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego and the year after it's off to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco following the 2013 year.

***********************

Talk about a small world: BYU will already start next season against Washington State, coached by BYU graduate Mike Leach.

Now the Cougars will also face Hawaii, which announced longtime Cougar assistant Norm Chow will finally get his shot at being the boss.

Chow spent one year at his alma mater, Utah, as the offensive coordinator.

**********************

Jason Franchuk can be reached at jfranchuk@heraldextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter, @harkthefranchuk