So, the July round table is being presented on July 31. that still qualifies as July. The latest is about the big games within and outside of the league.
I threw out a templete of these games to go over and after the jump are the responses:
Georgia vs. Boise State
Air Force vs. Notre Dame
Boise State vs. TCU
San Diego State vs. TCU
San Diego State vs. Michigan
Air Force vs. Boise State
San Diego State vs. Boise State
Air Force vs. TCU
Jacob (UNLV) -
1. Boise State vs. Georgia - This isn't as big of a game as last season's BSU-Virginia Tech game, but does carry some importance in terms of getting most of the monkeys off of Boise State's back who say that they can't compete with SEC teams.
2. TCU vs. BYU - BYU fans seem to think their team is good enough to finally take down TCU. I just don't see it happening and I really want to see BYU destroyed.
3. San Diego State vs. Michigan -
SDSU is returning Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman, that should be enough to break down Michigan's defense. Brady Hoke may have the defense in better shape, but he simply doesn't have the personnel to be able to stop their offense. I want San Diego State to make a big statement on national TV and say they are back by beating the Wolverines in the Big House.
Kevan (Boise State) -
I guess the bigness of the Boise State - Georgia game is relative to how you look at it. If Boise State loses that game, they are going to have an impossibly hard time cracking the BCS. We're talking Gary-Patterson-skinny-jeans levels of impossibility. So if that's how you measure bigness, then I think this year's season opener for the Broncos is as big as last year's season opener for the Broncos. Plus, I hate back monkeys. Helper monkeys on the other hand ...
I'm happy to see the Air Force - Notre Dame game on this list, mostly because I really want Air Force to take it to the Golden Domers. People are saying ND is Top 25-worthy. I think Air Force is Top 25-worthy. Let's settle this like men: On a football field with Tom Hammond narrating.
And obviously, the intraconference games will be huge. There's a Vegas Bowl at stake, for crying out loud. I would even go so far as to say that the lower-tier games (your Colorado States versus New Mexicos, or what have you) are uber-important for setting the tone for some of those teams making the jump into middle or upper tiers in coming years.
So my conclusion: Every game is important. I fear I am choking the life out of this roundtable.
Ben (TCU) -The Big Kahuna
The most important game of the year for the MWC is clearly the Boise vs. Georgia in the always delicious, err... entertaining Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic. I'm not sure there is a ton of instant credibility to be gained by beating the Bulldogs because every SEC fan is armed with and excuse-making "Magic 8 Ball" of sorts designed to discredit any team not in the "SEC Conference" as the Mensa card toting fans from the South like to call it. Which brings me to a quick side tangent:
Yesterday while waiting for my Peruvian housecleaners to finish up I decided to grab "a" beer (which of course turned into many whiskeys) at the new sports bar that just opened in my neighborhood, we're kind of a big deal. Much to my delight this particular sports bar also doubles as a teleportation portal because after walking through the doors I was seemingly transported from Colorado to somewhere in the deep South where I found myself discussing cfb with a bunch of SEC homers including a Georgia fan and an Auburn fan. Both basically dismissed Boise State & TCU as a joke and both said "SEC conference" repeatedly which normally I would ridicule someone for but one of these gentleman was an MMA fighter that looked like Brock Lesnar Jr. so I decided to laugh on the inside instead. However all of that self control went out the window when the owner of the bar came out of the back and hearing that we were talking cfb he started boasting "How bout 'dem Gators!" or some such nonsense as he proceeded to inform everyone in the bar he was from Gainesville and a proud Gator.
I glanced over at the guy and it seemed plausible enough he was from Gainesville as he was wearing a "wife-beater" presumably to show off his "sweet" prison tats but there was only one way to know for sure if he was truly a Gator so I proceeded to lean back in my chair to get a full view of this chucklehead and sure enough he was wearing a glorious pair of jorts (jean shorts). Aren't stereotypes fun!?!? I made some sort of dig about his jorts which he seemed puzzled and slightly angered by, I could sense that Brock Lesnar Jr. was weighing out the pros and cons of beating me bloody in the back room so I bought everyone a round and decided the best course of action would be to keep my mouth shut and sing the praises of the South.
And we're back, sorry about that. Anyway as I was saying beating Georgia will not bring Boise or the MWC the instant street cred that some like to think but a loss would most certainly take all the air out of the Boise hype balloon and as the MWC's newly anointed "poster boy" the perception of the conference will take a huge hit from a national perspective. You will hear cries of, "See I told you they couldn't handle the SEC!" from all angles and for the love of God that can... not... happen. What a win over Georgia would actually mean would hinge on how the Bulldogs finish in the SEC East, which I actually think they have a decent shot of winning.
Also I disagree with Kevan that a loss would take Boise out of the BCS race, I think if the Broncos were to lose the opener then win out they would most definitely find themselves in a BCS game. Boise is going to start in the 5-7 range and a loss to Georgia would drop them to 20 at the very worse, win out and the Bronco's will blow right past the 12 spot needed for a BCS auto-bid, you can take that to the bank.
The Big Stage
After the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff classic then next most important hurdle for the conference is Air Force's back to back nationally broadcast games against Navy on CBS and Notre Dame on NBC. If the Falcons can win both of those games it will do wonders for the conference as people will have actually seen the Falcons and hopefully come away thinking they are for real. It's the whole if a tree falls in the forest does a bear crap in the woods scenario, or something like that I am not great with analogies.
Boise's First Conference Test
The most intriguing conference game in my opinion will be when the Falcons head to the Blue. It will be very interesting to see how the Bronco's handle the triple-option when facing it for the first time ever and it will be a good litmus test to see how Boise actually stacks up in the MWC. If the Broncos steamroll the Falcons it could signal that the Broncos are going to own the new MWC for years to come much like they owned the WAC. I have gone on record in saying that I believe Air Force comes out of the blue with a victory and gives a nice reality check to Bronco nation.
Lastly the conference will have a strong rooting interest in how Utah fares in the Pac 12 and how BYU handles an independent slate. The Utes and Cougars can both finally give the MWC some ammo in the time honored "week in & week out" argument that is constantly used to discredit the non-AQ's if they can show well in their first seasons away from the Mountain West and possibly show that we can hang if given the chance to prove it.
Matt (Wyoming) -
The crazy thing to think about here is that New Mexico would be atop the Mountain West standings if they beat Colorado State in Week 1.
I think everyone has done a great job of going over the key games that will gain national attention. What I'll do is point a few of the key games for Wyoming this year. BTW, anyone else ready for SEC media days to be over with? The cloud of smug just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Here we go...
Nebraska at Wyoming
A Cowboy victory here would not only do wonders for Wyoming it would also be a giant boost for the Mountain West. Jim Delaney would lose the rest of his hair and it would be glorious. Obviously the Pokes will likely be double digit underdogs in this one. A statement victory like this would put Cowboy nation into a frenzy.
The two big swing games this year are road trips to San Diego State and Air Force. Wyoming has split with the Aztecs the last two years and a victory here would that Wyoming may no longer be a middle or bottom of the conference team. Or it may just show that Rocky Long is not a great head coach.
Ever year Wyoming plays Air Force tough and comes up short. Time to finally get over the hump and take one from the Falcons. This would be a huge win for Wyoming and it's fans.
That would be a site to see New Mexico a top the standings. I don't see them getting past Colorado State, but seeing the Rams there would be a little less awkward. Also, impressive that was sent from your cell.
There are three other non-conference games that I am looking forward:
Georgia vs. Boise State
San Diego State vs. Michigan
Air Force vs. Notre Dame
Boise State needs to smack the loudmouth SEC and Georgia fans by winning this game. Everyone is aware of the debacle six years ago where Boise was smoked on the road. This time around Boise is more experienced with a great quarterback, running back and defensive line. As Kevan said if Boise loses they can pretty much say goodbye to their BCS hopes and forever be mocked by SEC fans for losing to Georgia.
No one has mentioned SDSU vs. Michigan yet, I think this is a big for obvious reasons because of Brady Hoke and Al Borges on the other sideline. I think even with the recent injuries suffered at wide receiver by the Aztecs that they will still shred the swiss cheese defense that Michigan has. This will be a blow to Michigan, but I could see this game being a shoot out.
As for Air Force Notre Dame I think Air Force can win because Tim Jefferson is much better then the former Navy quarterback Rick Dobbs who shredded the Domers two years in a row. Plus, I want Air Force to stick it to the Domers.
An under the radar game that could determine bowl eligibility could be the Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming meet at the end of the year. Wyoming needs seven wins since they are playing two FCS teams and it is a possibility because Wyoming has a nice early season schedule against two FCS teams, Utah State, Bowling Green and UNLV. The only for sure lose (sorry Matt) is against Nebraska but the Pokes could be 4-2 or 5-1 and a bowl game would be on the line in the Boarder War. The Rams have a similar easy first half schedule and have an easier path to a bowl game, but it could all come down to the season finale.
Kevan (Boise State) - There is definitely a bowl bid to be had among the lower-tier teams in the Mountain West, and that will make those games fun to watch. Relatively speaking, of course. I'm not going to cancel plans or anything to get to a Buffalo Wild Wings.
That ends July's belated round table. Camps start this week, so football is back!