Bowl season is usually unpredictable, and the first week fit the bill. All three Mountain West contests were supposed to be competitive, and the match-ups were all somewhat favorable for the conference. Things did not go exactly as expected. Let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly moments of the first weekend of bowl season.
San Diego State
The Aztecs have struggled in bowl games in recent years. The New Mexico Bowl was a different ball game. The Aztecs were clearly superior on both sides of the ball, and the final score reflected that. I questioned whether Rocky Long still had it in him, but a 10-3 season is nothing to scoff at. With new transfer quarterback Jack Sears joining the Aztecs, it doesn’t look like they will be going anywhere.
All three of these games had one thing in common, they were difficult to watch. Utah State was disappointing all season long, and it felt like the Broncos were playing with fire nearly all season. The bowl games caught up with both teams, and unfortunately, the Mountain West is sitting at 1-2 with four contests left.
Any time a Mountain West team loses to a 6-6 MAC team, it is embarrassing. The Utah State defense looked completely lost and made the Kent State quarterback look like Tim Tebow. Utah State is in a unique position this offseason. Mike Sanford was brought in to run an offense that he did not have much experience with. I expect major changes on both sides of the ball. Aggie fans had high expectations heading into the season, and they did not pan out. Utah State once again has a tough schedule next year. They will be losing their best player on each side of the ball and might have a difficult time reaching bowl eligibility.
The Broncos looked outmatched from the onset of this game. The coaches played their personnel close to the vest, and we were all surprised to see true freshman Hank Bachmeier get the start and Sonatane Lui sitting the game out for personal reasons. Bachmeier had not started since November 2nd due to an undisclosed injury. Boise State’s offense had no answer for Washington’ s imposing secondary and unique blitz packages. The youth of the Broncos and injuries that occurred throughout the game left the Broncos with no chance in this game.
If there is anything encouraging to take away from this game, it has to be the fact that so many freshmen played valuable snaps. The future looks very bright for the Broncos with the tandem of Hank Bachmeier and George Holani ready to lead the way.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week we will be review the Hawaii Bowl and the Cheez-It Bowl.