The Mountain West had a down year in 2015, and perhaps the fallout is still taking its toll as the Associated Press released its preseason Top 25 this morning.
San Diego State and Boise State, the conference's preseason favorites, both received votes but will begin their quest for the Group of Five's big money bowl on the outside, looking in. The Alabama Crimson Tide, defending national champions, begin the year at #1, while the Houston Cougars from the American Athletic Conference are the only G5 team to crack the rankings at #15.
The strength of the non-conference schedule for other Mountain West teams becomes a little clearer now, as well. Hawaii, for instance, will travel to #7 Michigan on September 3. The 10th is especially jam-packed with ranked matchups: Utah State heads to the Coliseum to face #20 Southern California, UNLV plays #16 UCLA in Pasadena, and Nevada battles #10 Notre Dame in South Bend.
Boise State and SDSU ended up back-to-back in the Also Receiving Votes section, beginning at #30 and #31, respectively. They'll both get their first cracks at proving the voters wrong on September 3, when the Broncos hit the road to play Louisiana-Lafayette and the Aztecs host New Hampshire.
Also Receiving Votes (in descending order)
Miami (FL), Texas A&M, Utah, Washington State, Boise State, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Auburn, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Texas, Nebraska, Navy, Northwestern, Western Kentucky, South Florida, Toledo