Week two of the college football season is behind us and the Mountain West had two more teams in action. Hawaii took on BYU in the Hawaii Bowl, and Air Force took on Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl. Let’s take a look at how the Mountain West fared.
Whenever you beat BYU, you end up in the “Good” category. Hawaii’s offense and quarterback, Cole McDonald, were absolutely lights out in the first half with more than 300 yards through the air. BYU made some adjustments at the half and were able to slow the Rainbow Warriors down for most of the second half. Hawaii found their offense late in the fourth quarter and were able to score the go ahead touchdown with just over a minute to go in the game. Cole McDonald finished the game with nearly 500 yards through the air. Was this his last game in a Hawaii uniform? That remains to be seen.
What an impressive showing by the Falcons. They ran the ball at will against the Cougars; I thought they would need to throw the ball better to come away with a victory. They were excellent defensively in the red zone and got stops when they needed to. Their dominance in time of possession allowed their defense to do just enough to come away with the win. Air Force may lose the bulk of their starters, but bringing back Hammond and Remsberg will be a huge lift to their offense.
I knew this was going to be an interesting game. Neither team had the personnel to replicate the opposing offense in practice. Washington State could not stop the Air Force running attack, and frankly, they cost themselves with some suspicious play calling in the red zone. Their inability to finish drives was ultimately their downfall. However, the Cougars seem content with mediocrity as they keep extending Mike Leach.
It his hard to measure the season of an independent program. The Cougars had some signature wins over elite teams like USC, Tennessee, and Boise State. But, they also suffered losses against Toledo, South Florida, San Diego State, and Hawaii. It is hard to see BYU being anything more than what they currently are while trying to fight the independent battle. Sitake is an okay coach, but recruiting has taken a noticeable dip in recent seasons and they are falling behind the top tier of Group of Five schools. The time has come for BYU to cut their losses and join the American or Mountain West.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Stay tuned for next week’s edition of the third and final week of bowl coverage.