There is only one MWC football game this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the rest of our team is left out of the fun. Today’s post features various writers (but not Zach or Matt) weighing in with their thoughts of who will be holding the MWC Championship trophy Saturday night. See what our team came up with.
Jeremy: The Mountain West championship game hasn’t been around for long, but the overall theme has been consistent: The largest ever margin of victory in the title game is 14, occurred during the 2014 championship game between Boise State and Fresno State, in which the Broncos won 28-14. That Broncos team was much, much better than that Bulldogs team, yet the game wasn’t a rout. History suggests whatever happens, Saturday’s contest will be close.
Only once has the road team won the championship game. That happened in 2016 when San Diego State managed to avenge their loss to Wyoming from a few weeks prior to the championship, so there is precedent here for Fresno fans to be optimistic about.
The weather forecast for this one is ugly, with a possibility of snow throughout the game. Bad weather, combined with these two teams being very familiar with each other, I think equals a low-scoring game. Fresno State owns most of the game and scares the daylights out of Boise State, but the Broncos find a way to win late. Boise State 17, Fresno State 14.
Isaiah: Although the snowy conditions and familiarity between the two teams make this game close, I believe Boise State ultimately pull away against a feisty Fresno State squad. The Broncos are on a roll as of late, their 33-24 victory over Utah State capped-off a seven-game winning streak during the regular season.
Led by senior signal caller Brett Rypien, the Broncos place 19th in the nation in total offense and 13th in passing yards per game. They’re also 25th against the run and haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since Oct. 19 against Colorado State.
With stability on both sides of the ball, I expect Rypien to make some key throws against the Bulldogs secondary late in the game to ultimately seal the deal. Boise State 31, Fresno State 23.
Alex: Oh the weather outside will be frightful, but the blue field shall be delightful. And since playing against Fresno: take the Broncos, take the Broncos, take the Broncos!
We’ve already seen this game a few weeks ago. Albertsons is a nearly impossible place to win in and the Boise State team in and of itself is very talented. Both Brett Rypien and Alex Mattison tore through the Mountain West all year and there’s nothing that leads me to believe it’ll be any different in this game.
Fresno is no pushover, however, as they definitely can get put points up and play with the best. It’s just unfortunate that they’re running into a blazingly hot Boise.
The first matchup was a close one, this one won’t be. Boise State 42, Fresno State 24
FatDuckUW: These two teams keep locking horns as we get ready for what will be Round 4 of Fresno State/Boise State since the start of the 2017 season. This game is back on the blue turf in Boise. The weather will be cold, and it could snow prior to the game on Saturday.
Fresno State has the 17th ranked total defense in the country while Boise State ranks 43rd. Boise State has the 18th ranked total offense in the country while Fresno State has the 44th. On paper, you can’t get a more even matchup than this.
In such a game, I’ve got to favor the home team. Also, in the cold and snow, I like the team that can run the ball. Fresno State is 94th in rushing offense in the country while Boise State is 70th. Another point for the Broncos. Expect another low-scoring game between these two. Fresno State 13, Boise State 20
Mike: This game could really go either way. The Bulldogs and Broncos are playing one another for the fourth time in basically a year. Boise State has the edge 2-1, but each game has come down to the wire and this one should end up the same way.
Boise State is tough to beat at home and have been playing great football. They finally found their run game after it went missing most of the season and Brett Rypien is playing great football, as he has pretty much all season. However, the wide receivers and the defense as a whole, while both being very productive, are also dealing with big injuries. They’ve been compensating for it so far, but will that last?
Fresno State on the other hand, has been mostly injury free. Their defense has been outstanding, with the longest streak in the nation at holding opponents under 30 points a game. This is highly unlikely to end Saturday as they’ve been successful at limiting the Broncos on offense. With the Bulldogs on offense, their tandem of Marcus Mcmaryion and Keesean Johnson was pretty automatic in the first game against Boise State and their receiving corps is full of firepower.
The battles to watch are: Broncos pass rush vs Bulldog OL, Bulldog passing game vs beat-up Bronco defense, and Bulldog DL vs Bronco rushing attack. Win two out of three and likely win the game. Like I said, could see either team winning by about a field goal, but I’ll say I’m a slight lean on: Boise State 24, Fresno State 21.
Tyler: This is a really tough one to call. And I have no doubt it will be one of the most entertaining Mountain West Championship we’ve seen, possibly ever. It is as good an example as you’ll ever see of an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Both teams look phenomenal heading into this matchup. Both teams have great offenses and defenses. I believe that it will come down to coaching. What kind of adjustments will each coach make? Has either side found any vulnerabilities that they can exploit?
I do not see this game making the over/under, which means that I expect both defenses to play well. Despite all that, I believe that with Brett Rypien at the helm, the Broncos find a way to find a victory. As much as I would love to be the contrarian and say Fresno State will pull it out, I just can’t put my money on the team facing a quarterback who has thrown for over 13,000 yards in his college career. Let alone a team that can count -- on one hand -- the number of losses at home in the last 5 years. Just can’t do it. Boise State 27, Fresno State 20