College Football

The Mountain West. A conference so good that BYU is trying to avoid it at all costs.

mwc_logo

Seriously.  This conference is the best of the Group of Five conferences.  Not by a lot as the American conference still has some very good teams that haven’t been snatched up by Power Five conferences (yet).  Then again, once Boise State gets a sniff of the Big XII or Pac-12 (which may still happen) all bets are off and who knows what realignment would bring.  And yet it’s not good enough for BYU.  Go figure.

For now, things are OK despite the fact there are a few relatively weak programs in the Mountain West.  Yeah, I’m looking at you Hawaii, UNLV, New Mexico, and San Jose State.  At least they have media markets that could be considered important (although San Jose is a dubious market to have at best).  These are four programs who, except for the rare time they catch lightning in a bottle (like Hawaii in that crazy Sugar Bowl season), are destined for another non-bowl season.  Which brings me to the predictions on conference standings since that bears out again this season.

                Conference                Overall
Mountain W L W L
Boise State 8 0 12 0
Utah State 6 2 8 4
Colorado State 5 3 7 5
Air Force 4 4 6 6
New Mexico 2 6 5 7
Wyoming 2 6 4 8
West
San Diego State 6 2 8 4
Nevada 5 3 7 5
Fresno State 4 4 5 7
San Jose State 3 5 4 8
UNLV 1 7 2 10
Hawaii 1 7 3 10

Notes

  • Is it Boise State being that good or the rest of the conference being a bit meh?  Probably a bit of both.  I see Boise potentially embarrassing their former coach Chris Petersen when Washington comes to town.  Beyond that their schedule looks a bit Marshall-like (not as bad since the conference schedule is obviously better but you get the idea).  Whether this gets them into the College Football Playoff or not (spoiler alert: I don’t think it does) is a different question altogether.
  • Who will be the lucky team to get the Boise Beatdown in the Mountain West Championship, now buried (somewhat) on ESPN2 during three other Power Five conference championships (good call there whoever decided that…the sarcasm should be dripping from that sentence)?  I am going with San Diego State with Nevada probably their only threat.  Yeah the Mountain West West Division is decidedly worse than the Mountain West Mountain Division this season again and try saying that five times fast.
  • Is Craig Bohl longing for the great times back in Fargo?  I can’t foresee his Cowboys being bowl-eligible again this season and to be honest, I can’t see them showing any positive moment up the league ladder either.  It would be quite the fall from grace if he was let go after next season (since I’m sure they wouldn’t shitcan him this year) after what he accomplished at North Dakota State.
  • On the other hand, we have Bob Davie at New Mexico.  I mean they’re improving…..slooooooooooooowly.  The amount of improvement each year means they should be in the Mountain West conference championship by 2028 no problem.
  • Troy Calhoun’s Air Force squad takes a bit of a step back but I think the sneak into a bowl again.  Quietly (other than two years there), he has been a very good coach for the Falcons.
  • Can UNLV improve with a coach who hasn’t coached other than at the high school ranks?  Short answer: no.  Longer answer: noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
  • List of out-of-conference upsets I predict this season for Mountain West teams:  0.
  • If Boise State had UNLV’s schedule to start the season (Northern Illinois, UCLA, Michigan) and still went undefeated would they then be considered for the fourth and final CFP spot?  My guess is they would get very strong consideration (depending on what else happens in the FBS).

As for the Mountain West Championship, I stated it above but I will state it again: Boise State should walk away with the conference title rather easily.  I don’t foresee any potential upsets like Fresno had two years ago with SJSU or Marshall had last year with WKU.  Then again, that’s why they’re called upsets.

I forgot to mention the MAC title game in the MACtion post last week.  Toledo (or whoever gets out of the west) should easily handle Bowling Green (or whoever gets out of the east).  The MAC East is that mediocre.

Still awaiting for the invite to North Dakota State to the Mountain West.  Just wondering who would join them since they obviously wouldn’t want to be at 13 teams.  Montana?  Could be a bit of a coup to get both of them.  And they would easily jump in and compete right away, a la Georgia Southern and Appy State in the Sun Belt.

Next up, the former Big East, the American conference with their shiny new divisions (thanks to Navy).  Conference USA will follow, ending the Group of Five predictions before we get to the more important (sorry but it’s true) Power Five conference predictions.

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