We all know that Boise State won the Mountain West Championship in convincing fashion, but there is still plenty to talk about after an eventful week. This week we are going to tackle the championship game, coaching news, and bowl games. Let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly moments of championship week.
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was efficient. Jaylon Henderson started the year as Boise State’s third string quarterback and finished the year as the offensive MVP of the championship game. His touchdown run and stretch across the goal line was one of the best moments of the season. Henderson’s story is special ,and he has earned all of the recognition he is receiving.
John Hightower and Khalil Shakir
At the risk of frustrating a lot of people, I’m going to go ahead and say it. Hightower and Shakir were the two best receivers in the conference, and I don’t think it was particularly close. Hightower and Shakir both finished the year with close to 1,000 yards and did it with three different quarterbacks and a ton of depth at the receiver position. Their ability to run the ball and line up anywhere on the field makes them special. I’m not sure this team comes close to a championship without these two guys.
Boise State’s Defensive Line
This was a special unit for the Broncos. They started three seniors, and they all made a significant impact throughout the game. Lui was the defensive MVP and came up with the strip sack that sealed the victory. The only junior on the defensive line, Curtis Weaver, will likely be a first round pick in the NFL draft.
Jeff Tedford Out at Fresno
Whether you are a fan of the Bulldogs or not, this was awful news. 2019 was rough for Fresno State, but Jeff Tedford has done a great job with that program and likely would have had it back on track. Our thoughts and prayers are out to Coach Tedford and his family as he deals with his health issues.
The Mountain West has already lost four head coaches (three fired, one stepped down). It is becoming an epidemic in college football. With that being said, all of these coaches had ample time to turn their programs around, and some were fortunate to keep their jobs last year. Can these schools find capable replacements? I think Colorado State and UNLV have the resources to be successful, but I can’t say the same for New Mexico.
Hawaii on 4th Down
Rolovich has received plenty of criticism for taking points off the board, and that goal line stop completely changed the momentum of the game. With that being said, I think Rolovich made the right call going for it every time he did. Hawaii had been strong on fourth down over the course of the season, and they weren’t going to beat the Broncos with field goals.
Maybe the injury to Cordeiro was worse than we thought, but McDonald’s decision making cost the Rainbow Warriors. There are a couple of key plays that stick out to me. The first is the goal line stop; it sure looked like Hawaii would have gotten the touchdown if McDonald had extended the ball. The other play was the interception by Kekoa Nawahine. That pass had zero chance of being successful, and to make a throw like that on second and one was extra foolish. Hawaii is going to be in quite a conundrum next year. Does McDonald stick around and risk playing musical chairs at quarterback again or does he move on? It is hard to believe the McDonald and Cordeiro will both be suiting up for the Rainbow Warriors next season.
Mountain West Bowl Tie-Ins
I know this is a problem for all Group of Five schools, but there is no way that a 12-1 conference champion should be playing a 7-5 school. I was glad to see that Air Force was able to secure a game (Cheez-It Bowl) with a Power Five program, but teams like San Diego State deserve better. Hopefully, the upcoming television deal isn’t as bad as the bowl games the Mountain West have to play.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Stay tuned next week, as I will be looking over each bowl game for the Mountain West.