We're about midway through the season, and there have been some high and lows for each team in this conference. There have been huge upsets and major letdowns, but this conference is still going to be a wide open ride to the finish. Who is going to emerge from the wide open ride, and play for the conference title? Here is your second half outlook for each team in the Mountain West.
Boise State - Talk about a Jerkyll and Hyde, this team goes from comfortably winning against a very good Colorado State team to a double digit loss to Air Force. Granted this team is a completely different team on the road because the smurf turf gives them a bit of an advantage. They still have games against Fresno State, BYU, San Diego State and a tough road game at Wyoming. The final game is a home game that could determine who wins the Mountain division against Utah State. My outlook is that too many tough second half games will cause this team to finish 3rd in the division and they will lose one of those games at home.
Utah State - After stumbling out of the gate to start the year this Aggies team has rebounded to get back into the title chase. After a big non conference win against BYU, granted their quarterback was injured during the game the Aggies are motivated to finish the season strong. The Aggies have a decent finish to the year having to travel to Colorado State and Wyoming which are very tough places to play. I believe they will finish tied for first in the division with another team but will miss the title game because of a head to head tie breaker.
Air Force - After a hard fought loss to Wyoming during week 2 the Falcons rebounded to pull off a huge upset against a good Boise State team. The Falcons also have an inside track to winning the Commander in Chief Trophy after winning a big game against Navy. The travel to West Point on November 1st in which if they win, the trophy will be theirs. In conference they still take on Utah State, Colorado State and Nevada otherwise they should be bowl eligible after a 2-10 season last year.
Wyoming - Very improved defense but they are very offensively challenged. Their defense has bailed them out otherwise they could potentially be winless right now. The Cowboys are still the only team in the FBS that hasn't scored more than 20 points all season. They're gonna need to score points to beat some good teams in the second half on their schedule playing Colorado State, Fresno State and Utah State who all can score. My outlook is that they will go Bohl-ing with a 6-6 record. They're going to need a win at New Mexico the final week of the season to become bowl eligible
New Mexico - I predicted before the season that the Lobos will make a bowl game this year. Finishing 6-6 and playing in their own New Mexico Bowl. Losing to UTEP to start the season took away all hopes because conference wins will be hard to come by for this team. Picking up a huge win at UTSA last week could push them in the second half but their defense needs to stop someone consistently. My outlook is now that the Lobos will finish at the bottom of the division with a 3-9 record.
Colorado State - After a big win in the Rocky Mountain Showdown the Rams were pushed around and bullied by Boise State the following week. Since then the Rams have been on a roll, including traveling to Boston College and pulling off a huge come from behind upset.. The same Boston College team that defeated USC just two weeks before. The Rams are a top 50 offense and defense and teams are catching them at the wrong time. My outlook for them is the Rams will win out with a couple of scares coming against Nevada and Utah State. They'll also host the conference title game to hopefully a packed house. The running game has to compliment the passing game in the bigger games to keep defenses honest.
Mountain Division Order of Finish:
Colorado State 11-1, Utah State 10-3, Boise State 8-4, Air Force 7-5, Wyoming 6-6, New Mexico 3-9