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Mountain West football: Examining the 2016 1-to-128 preseason rankings

How does the Mountain West stack up in the grand scheme of things?

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the college football season is nearly upon us (shameless plug for our Hawaii vs. Cal coverage). This means, once again, 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 Campus Insiders CBS Sports Orlando Sentinel Phil Steele Power Poll ESPN Football Power Index Athlon Sports Football Outsiders F/+ Projection Paul Myerberg Range Median Average [conf. rank]
Air Force Falcons 75 70 45 41 55 (82) 51 81 54 41 55 61.56 [3]
Boise State Broncos (38) 33 28 33 31 36 34 29 19 19 33 31.22 [1]
Colorado State Rams 87 75 72 60 (97) 96 89 95 79 37 87 83.33 [6]
Fresno State Bulldogs 102 99 103 85 107 103 108 98 (117) 32 103 102.44 [9]
Hawaii Warriors (127) 100 121 121 117 118 121 121 121 27 121 118.56 [12]
Nevada Wolf Pack (94) 85 57 77 86 89 86 82 61 37 85 79.67 [5]
New Mexico Lobos 93 90 (101) 88 80 93 93 100 67 34 93 89.44 [8]
San Diego State Aztecs 43 43 37 49 45 (58) 36 49 13 45 43 41.44 [2]
San Jose State Spartans 95 91 79 91 87 74 (96) 94 86 22 91 88.11 [7]
UNLV Rebels 104 98 88 113 105 102 106 (115) 93 27 104 102.67 [10]
Utah State Aggies 85 81 (90) 72 84 87 82 73 46 44 84 77.78 [4]
Wyoming Cowboys (119) 95 115 117 112 107 114 113 107 24 113 110.44 [11]

Some interesting revelations from the chart:

  • Compared to last year, the gap between Boise State and the next best team is not quite as large as it was. San Diego State is considered the second-best team in the conference.
  • Hawaii had the least amount of change in their average ranking from 2015 to 2016. Unfortunately, the Warriors fell from 11th to last overall.
  • The gap between the Aztecs and Falcons (#2 and #3, 20.12), is only slightly smaller than the gap between the Falcons and Rams (#3 and #6, 21.77)
  • For the second year in a row, Bill Connelly was the low man on the most MWC teams. The ones in common in both years: Boise State, Nevada and Wyoming.
  • Only three teams finished in the top half of the aggregated rankings: the Broncos, Aztecs and Falcons. Four teams are in the bottom 25%: Fresno State, UNLV, Wyoming and Hawaii.
  • Once again, some perspective: Among the different rankings, Power 5 programs ranked 110th or lower include Iowa State, Kansas, Oregon State, Purdue and Rutgers.
Got any other observations? Criticisms? Be sure to leave 'em in the comments!