Each team has played six games for the Mountain West, so now is a good time to see how all the preseason projection here at SB Nationhave been wrong and time to hand out some mid-season awards. The biggest error in judgment is that Wyoming was picked to finish last in the Mountain West, but there are sitting pretty at four wins and a real chance to get to a bowl game for the first time since the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl.
Then there is New Mexico who is not just the worst team in the Mountain West but is one of the worst teams in all of college football. They ranked 100 or below in every major offensive category, oh and their coach split the lip of an assistant coach by punching him in the face.
The midseason has pretty much gone according to plan with BYU, TCU, and Utah at the top of the standings and the Mountain West is looking to snag an at-large berth bid to the BCS. The league has three teams in the top 20 in the BCS standings which is as many as the SEC, Big 10, and ACC for the most top twenty teams. Having three teams this high in the BCS standings is huge, since these standings are a main part of the BCS evaluation cycle.
As for the midseason awards the offensive player of the year is an odd choice, but they have the best stats which is a difference from the MVP. Also, the coaching choice may be odd, but I feel this team has done the most with the least.
The Falcons have done what they normally have done the past five years, and are on pace for another bowl appearance. Besides the conference title the Falcons always want to win the Commander-in-Chief award; something they have not done in seven years, because of an overtime loss to rival Navy.
The quarterback play comes into question because Tim Jefferson is the starter, but he has been suffering an ankle injury which has hindered his play, but backup Connor Dietz has been an admirable replacement. Whoever is at quarterback has been solid, but choosing one the rest of the way could shape the season. The second half schedule for the Falcons is tough with road games at Utah, Colorado State, and BYU.
The Cougars 6-1 record is not a surprise, but the real surprise was that the single loss was not to Oklahoma, but rather a blowout loss at home to Florida State. QB Max Hall is the teams most valuable player, but he is near the top in the nation with ten picks, but has thrown zero in the last two games. The defense is still a concern, because against FSU they gave up over 300 rushing yards, and then the secondary is questionable as well with last weeks win over San Diego State; the Cougars gave up over 300 yards and three scores.
The season is going as planned -- record wise-- and a BCS shot is still in play if they win out and get a little help from Boise State. The main thing the Cougars need to do the rest of the way is to run RB Harvey Unga there have been too many times when he has the hot hand, but the coaches want to be balanced.
That 3-0 start seemed such long ago. The season started great with a quasi-upset over rival Colorado on opening day and then won two more. Since then the Rams have lost four straight to Idaho, BYU, Utah, and TCU; but the good news is that is the toughest part of their schedule is long gone and some cupcakes start appearing.
This is the worst year for New Mexico football, as mentioned above Mike Locksley punched an assistant, and is sitting out this weekend's game against UNLV. Locksley made believers out of people including me that they would be competitive this year, but 0-12 looks like at least a 50/50 shot.
San Diego State
The new coach Brady Hoke came to town made the move from Ball State to reviatlize the Aztec program, and while the wins are not there the Aztecs are getting better. This year has been tough because Hoke runs a pro style offense in comparission to the spread that former coach Chuck Long. It is cliche to say that Hoke does not have the players, but it is true especially up front in the line because lineman in the spread offense are more quick and are more of a pass blocking group, while the pro-style offense needs the line to run block more.
QB Ryan LIndley is still the offensive MVP for the Aztecs, and while he is still near the national lead in picks with nine, but his yards are up there and is able to keep his team in the games. WR Vincent Brown is a stud reveiver and is leading the MWC in nearly every receiver category and it is not even close.
The Horned Frogs are following up last years top 10 finish in hopes of finishing in a BCS bowl for the first time in school history. The offense has nearly caught up to the their defense by being in the top 10 nationally in scoring points. The running game is there with multiple backs splitting the carries and two being either a redshirt or true frosh in Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker. The defense is still lead by AA candidate DE Jerry Hughes who is near the top nationally in sacks and tackles for loss. The two biggest games of the year are upcoming with BYU this week, and then Utah a few weeks later. The key player for TCU the rest of hte way is WR/PR/KR Jeremy Kerley who is second in receiving and a player in special teams.
In what was to be a surprise season has turned into traditional Rebel football. The team has no defense what so ever, and the offense is inconsistent. One week they play Oregon State down to the wire and the next they get blown out by Utah and BYU. A bowl berth was expected, but now seems like a long shot. Mike Sanford may gone unless the team shows extreme progress the second half.
The Utes are a mere under thrown pass from being undefeated in that Oregon. The Utes have had their share of injuries the main being stud RB Matt Asiata who tore his ACL in the Louisville game after he stood up from a touchdown run. The early season quarterback battle left the Utes with JUCO transfer Terrance Cain as the starter, and he has progressed as the season goes along. He is a dual threat player and is running more with Asiata out, but his passing is suspect; especially on the deep balls. Utah is still in the hunt for a potential BCS bid -- with help-- and the MWC conference champ if they take care of business.
The Pokes are the surprise team this year in MWC play. The beginning of the year was tough with three players vying for the starting quarterback position. The position is now in control from a true freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels who is another dual threat quarterback and possibly could lead the Cowboys to a bowl bid. They are currently 4-3 with winnable games against rival Colorado State and then San Diego State. Wyoming also had a great turn around from their turnover margin last year which was 119th last last year to 11th in the nation.
Most Valuable Player
Max Hall, QB, BYU Cougars
Offensive Player of the Year
Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State Aztecs
Defensive Player of the Year
Robert Johnson, DB, Utah Utes
New Comer of the Year
Terrance Caine, QB, Utah Utes
Coach of the Year
Dave Christensen, Wyoming
Go ahead and comment on who you should have been voted where.