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Mountain West football: Comparing the 1-to-128 preseason rankings

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This could be little more than an exercise in outrage, but at least it'll be a *fun* exercise in outrage.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the college football season is upon our doorsteps, some intrepid writers have taken it upon themselves to release power rankings that encompass the entirety of the FBS. Naturally, Mountain West Connection was curious to see how the conference stacked up in the eyes of national scribes.

Here's what I found. High rankings are in bold italics, while low rankings are in (parentheses).

Team Bill Connelly Paul Myerberg Chip Patterson Orlando Sentinel Syracuse.com Range Median Average [conf. rank]
Air Force Falcons 77 68 (82) 69 79 14 77 75 [5]
Boise State Broncos (26) 5 20 21 20 21 20 18.4 [1]
Colorado State Rams 59 (73) 61 (73) 71 14 71 67.4 [4]
Fresno State Bulldogs (103) 97 96 78 89 25 96 92.6 [7]
Hawaii Warriors 116 105 119 122 (123) 18 119 117 [11]
Nevada Wolf Pack (101) 80 92 63 97 38 92 86.6 [6]
New Mexico Lobos 93 81 (101) 96 99 20 96 94 [8]
San Diego State Aztecs (76) 48 63 42 66 34 63 59 [3]
San Jose State Spartans 95 101 (110) 88 102 22 101 99.2 [9]
UNLV Rebels 123 126 118 (128) 121 10 123 123.2 [12]
Utah State Aggies (64) 42 50 54 63 22 54 54.6 [2]
Wyoming Cowboys (107) 94 103 106 96 13 103 101.2 [10]

Some interesting revelations from the chart:

  • Rightly or wrongly, Bill Connelly appears to be lower on most teams in the conference than everyone else. Please feel free to direct your anger here. Conversely, USA Today's Myerberg appears to be the biggest optimist (so direct your praise here), and it's intriguing that they diverge most widely on the teams considered the best contenders for the conference title: Boise State, Utah State, San Diego State.
  • The greatest gap between best and second-best belongs to Syracuse.com, while the smallest gap comes from the Sentinel.
  • The gap between the Broncos and the Aggies (#1 and #2, 36.2), is only slightly smaller than the gap between the Aggies and the Bulldogs (#2 and #7, 38)
  • UNLV, perhaps not surprisingly, was most consistently ranked as the MWC's cellar-dweller, though only Syracuse.com was cold enough to rank the Rebels dead last. Hawaii, too, was ranked even behind FBS newbie Charlotte. Cold.
  • Only three teams finished in the top half of the aggregated rankings: the heavily favored Broncos, the Aggies, and the Aztecs. Four teams are in the bottom 25%: SJSU, Wyoming, Hawaii and UNLV.
  • The rankings do skew heavily in the Mountain division's favor -- four of the top five will duke it out there -- but the widest divergence of opinions belong to the sleepers in the West: San Diego State and Nevada. For the Aztecs, it seems more about the difference between 9-10 wins and a middling 2015, whereas for the Wolf Pack it's about avoiding a significant decline.
  • Former conference member (and relatively frequent upcoming foe) BYU has an average ranking of 35.2, so start gunning for the talented and potentially star-crossed Cougars.
  • If you feel like your favorite team's rankings are too low, take heart: Among the different rankings, Power 5 programs ranked 110th or lower include Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest. Excuse me, supposedly Power 5. I suggest jabbing at them mercilessly until they improve.
Got any other observations? Criticisms? Be sure to leave 'em in the comments!