clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Boise State, Utah State headline preseason Mountain West S&P+ Rankings

It’s never too early to start thinking about next season

NCAA Football: Utah State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

With the second national letter of intent day in the rearview mirror, college football fans are officially turning their attention to spring football and the 2019 season that will come in the fall. SBNation’s Bill Connelly kicks off that excitement by releasing his preseason S&P+ projections.

Bill notes his methodology with the following passage:

”The preseason S&P+ projections are a simple mix of three factors: recent history, returning production, and recruiting. To come up with 130-team projections for all of FBS, I create projected ratings based on each factor.”

For further explanation, check out his work at this link.

Along with that, last week Connelly released a more accurate way to assessing returning production from the previous season. Not everyone’s returning starters are created equal, and his system gives us a better guide for early expectations for returning experience (or lack thereof, in the Mountain West’s case).

Some things that stand out for the 2019 Mountain West:

-Boise State comes in at #24, despite losing quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison. That #24 was the highest ranking given to a Group of 5 team, Memphis and UCF coming in at #26 and #27. The Broncos do return a bunch of starters, have recruited very well recently, and win 10+ games annually, so this should surprise nobody. The Broncos rank 120th in returning production on offense, but 22nd on defense. It’s no secret: the progression of the quarterback and running back positions will be a huge talking point for the 2019 Broncos.

-Utah State was the next in line for the Mountain West, coming in at #42. Quarterback Jordan Love figures to be the poster boy for the Mountain West in 2019. Despite his presence, Connelly’s math has Utah State ranked 110th in returning production on offense. Shocking considering Love will be back in 2019, but the Aggies do lose eight starters to attrition on offense, including four on the offensive line. That is factored in. That aside, if these rankings are to believed, the Aggies will be a prime contender in the 2019 Mountain West race.

-The obvious observation next: where is reigning champion Fresno State? The Bulldogs come in at #51, which feels like a fair compromise. The success of the 2017 and 2018 Fresno State teams is undeniable, but Connelly’s math has the Bulldogs ranked 127th in returning production on offense, 121st on defense. Ouch. The Bulldogs are the highest-ranked West Division team, with San Diego State trailing just behind at #54. The Aztecs rank better than most in the conference in terms of experience, 57th on offense and 51st on defense, but dealt with a slump in 2018.

-After the top four contenders, unsurprisingly a bit of scrolling is required to find the next Mountain West team on the S&P+ projections. Nevada comes in at #83, Air Force at #90, Wyoming at #92, #Hawaii at #94. I found the projection for Hawaii fascinating. Hawaii ranks 34th nationally in returning production on offense, 9th on defense. Good for 9th overall In the returning production rankings nationally, but come in at #94 on the S&P+ projections? Bill’s numbers are not sipping the Hawaiian Kool-Aid.

The statistics are below. What are your thoughts and expectations? Do Bill’s projections make you more or less optimistic about your 2019 team? Neither? Don’t care and just glad we’re talking football? Feel free to add your two cents in the comments section.

2019 Preseason Projected S&P+ Rankings (national ranking in parenthesis)

1. Boise State (24)

2. Utah State (42)

3. Fresno State (51)

4. San Diego State (54)

5. Nevada (83)

6. Air Force (90)

7. Wyoming (92)

8. Hawaii (94)

9. UNLV (100)

10. Colorado State (109)

11. New Mexico (115)

12. San Jose State (117)

2019 Returning Production: Offense (national ranking in parenthesis)

1. UNLV (17)

2. Hawaii (34)

3. Nevada (40)

4. San Diego State (57)

5. San Jose State (68)

6. Air Force (72)

7. New Mexico (80)

8. Wyoming (102)

9. Utah State (110)

10. Boise State (120)

11. Colorado State (126)

12. Fresno State (127)

2019 Returning Production: Defense (national ranking in parenthesis)

1. Hawaii (9)

2. Boise State (22)

3. San Diego State (51)

4. Utah State (68)

5. San Jose State (72)

6. Air Force (74)

7. UNLV (87)

8. Colorado State (96)

9. Nevada (98)

10. Wyoming (113)

11. New Mexico (117)

12. Fresno State (121)