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The Ultimate 2017 Mountain West Preview

2017 Mountain West Preview.

MOUNTAIN

T1. Boise State

In the short history of the Mountain West Championship Game, the Mountain division has sent a different representative every year (Utah State, Boise State, Air Force, and Wyoming). In fact, Boise State, despite their national success, has only won the Mountain West once in the history of the conference, including the pre-championship game years. This is the year the Broncos reclaim that title. With Brett Rypien developing into one of the premier quarterbacks in the conference as a sophomore, imagine what he’ll do with an added year of experience to his belt. Projected Record: 9-3 (7-1)
T1. Colorado State

Colorado State will have the attention from everybody across the football world as they open up the entire college football season on August 26th at 2:30 on the CBS Sports Network, opening up their new stadium to face Oregon State. Coach Mike Bobo went 7-6 in his first two years, and they bring back fourteen starters along with the #2 recruiting class in the conference. Colorado State avoids San Diego State from the West and gets Boise State at home, the Rams should contend in Year 3 under Bobo. Projected Record: 9-3 (7-1)

3. Wyoming 

Wyoming surprised everybody by winning the division last season, and they look to repeat that success this year. The Cowboys return 14 starters, most notably of which is NFL prospect Josh Allen at quarterback. Allen threw for over 3,200 yards last season, but finished under a 2-1 touchdown-interception ratio. The defense, which ranked 104th  last season, needs improving, but Allen and the offense will at least get the Cowboys to a bowl game. Projected Record: 7-5 (5-3)

T4. Air Force

Air Force is coming off of an incredible 10-3 season, but they lose much of their roster, returning just seven starters, making them the most inexperienced team in the Mountain West. The option offense will be formidable, but the Falcons return just one starter from the defense, draw San Diego State from the West, and have to play the top two teams in the Mountain on the road. A bowl is not a sure thing, even after a ten-win season. Projected Record: 5-7 (3-5)

T4. New Mexico

A 9-4 season in 2016 marks one of the best season in recent memory for the Lobos, as well as their first bowl win since 2007. New Mexico return just three starters to the defense, and has a one dimensional offense. Ranking best in the country in rushing, and 127th in passing last season. With San Diego State from the West and two of the top three teams in the division on the road, a third straight bowl appearance is a coin flip. Projected Record: 5-7 (3-5)

T4. Utah State

Utah State tries to avoid a third straight losing season, but will have to do so in the much tougher Mountain division, with the top three teams in their division at home, meaning most of their winnable games are on the road. The path back to a bowl game looks unlikely, with a non-conference schedule that includes games against Wisconsin and Wake Forest. Projected Record: 5-7 (3-5)

WEST

1. San Diego State

The West division of the conference is much weaker than the Mountain, as you can see, the #2 team in the West is projected to have the same overall record (5-7) as the lowest team in the Mountain. Despite that, the division has won three of the four Mountain West Championship Games. That is thanks to the San Diego State Aztecs, who, in the recruiting hotbed of California have turned into a Group of Five power. If you are betting on one team as a sure thing to make it to a conference title game, bet on San Diego State, there just isn’t any competition in the West. Projected Record: 9-3 (7-1)

2. Hawaii

Hawaii ranks as my 102nd-best team, but hey, they made a bowl last year (their first since 2010) and return quarterback Dru Brown, as well as 1,000 yard rusher Diocemy Saint Juste. The Rainbow Warriors do face San Diego State and Colorado State at home, which are likely losses, so they will need a few in-conference road wins to make it to back-to-back bowls. Projected Record: 5-7 (4-4)

3. Nevada

Nevada has yet to find a replacement for Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault (who is an incredibly nice guy, I met him back in 2011) Brian Polian went 23-27 in four years, and now the Wolfpack hand the reigns to Jay Norvell. With road games against San Diego State, Boise State, Colorado State, Washington State, and Northwestern, along with a tough home game against MAC favorite Toledo, a bowl game looks unlikely in year one. Projected Record: 4-8 (3-5)

T4. San Jose State

San Jose State is one of just two teams (The other being BYU) that will play 13 games this year under the Hawaii exemption. I don’t see a bowl game for Brent Brennan in year one, but with a young team, and a prime recruiting spot in California, I see big things for the Spartans in the future. Projected Record: 3-10 (2-6) 

T4.  Nevada-Las Vegas

Am I the only one that likes UNLV’s new logo? … I guess so. Tony Sanchez has done an okay job so far in his stint in Las Vegas, taking the Rebels from 2-11 the season before he got there, to a 4-8 record in year two. That earned him a pay raise, but I’m not sure a bowl game is in the cards (get it, because they play in Las Vegas) this year, as a defense that was already one of the worst in the conference returns just two starters. Projected Record: 4-8 (2-6)

T4. Fresno State

Fresno State was the West’s representative in the first two Mountain West Championship Games, but after a 4-20 record in 2015/16, the Bulldogs decided it was time for a change and brought in Jeff Tedford. With a nonconference schedule that includes Alabama and Washington, I don’t expect Fresno State to even sniff a bowl game, but they will definitely improve on last year’s one-win season. Projected Record: 3-9 (2-6)

MWC Title Game: Boise State over San Diego State

All-Mountain West Team and Awards

Offense

QB: Brett Rypien – Boise State
RB: Rashaad Penny – San Deigo State
RB: James Butler – Nevada
WR: Michael Gallup – Colorado State
WR: Cedrick Wilson – Boise State
TE: David Wells – San Diego State
C: Jake Bennett – Colorado State
OL: Austin Corbett – Nevada
OL: Dejon Allen – Hawaii
OL: Archie Lewis – Boise State
OL: Jeremiah Kolone – San Jose State

Defense

DL: David Moa – Boise State
DL: Malik Reed – Nevada
DL: Garrett Hughes – New Mexico
DL: Mike Hughes Jr. – UNLV
LB: Logan Wilson – Wyoming
LB: Jahlani Tavai – Hawaii
LB: Frank Ginda – San Jose State
DB: Andre Chachere – San Jose State
DB: Andrew Wingard – Wyoming
DB: Trayvon Henderson – Hawaii
DB: Asauni Rufus – Nevada

Special Teams

K: John Baron II – San Diego State
P: Michael Carrizosa – Sam Jose State

MVP: Brett Rypien, QB – Boise State
Offensive Player of the Year: Josh Allen, QB – Wyoming
Defensive Player of the Year: David Moa, DL – Boise State
Newcomer of the Year: David Cornwell, QB – Nevada

247Sports Recruiting Rankings

  1. Boise State
  2. Colorado State
  3. San Diego State
  4. Fresno State
  5. Hawaii
  6. Nevada
  7. Air Force
  8. San Jose State
  9. Wyoming
  10. Utah State
  11. New Mexico
  12. UNLV

Five Quick Questions

Team moving forward? Colorado State
Team taking a step back? Air Force
Best quarterback? Brett Rypien
Most underrated coach? Craig Bohl
Best new coach? Jeff Tedford

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