This isn’t a definitive list. Here are some storylines in the Mountain West Conference, but of course there are more. It’s possible a storyline most relevant or appealing to you isn’t included here. But here are a few topics most on our mind right now. They will be listed briefly as teasers here but MWCConnection will be exploring these questions and more over the coming months in either our weekly roundtable posts, a future Peak Perspective, or both.
Now that Bohl has built a foundation, can he take the next step with the Wyoming program? Craig Bohl has made his Wyoming teams relevant, competitive, and good. He’s had tough defenses and offenses capable of big plays, but rarely at the same time. Now the next step is putting it all together and becoming a consistent bowl team year in and year out. Can he do it and if so, how so?
Has UNLV reached it’s high point or is there still room to grow? The Rebels are coming off their best three-year stretch since 2003, but haven’t had more than five wins. It’s hard to believe both are true but somehow they are. However, is there another gear for Sanchez and his Rebels? Does there need to be with all the good things coming there way in facilities?
Can Fresno State figure out a way to keep their success going? The Bulldogs under Jeff Tedford have been nothing short of a revelation. The challenge of keeping it going gets tougher in year three now, with the core of their defense graduating or leaving early. Plus, a good chunk of their offensive production has moved on as well. To add another complexity, a number of coaches got poached away. We know Tedford is for real, but he can reach magician status with another great season.
Will the Aztecs rebound? The wheels fell off in the second half of San Diego State’s season and they looked the opposite of what Rocky Long has built his program on. Now, they are disguising their running-attack with more spread formations and that will hopefully help their fortunes this season.
Can a MWC team get the group of 5 bid this upcoming season? It’s been ages in college football years since a Mountain West team (Boise State) played in a New Year’s 6 game. It’s actually been since New Year’s Eve 2014, which is still forever ago. Every year the American conference gets another bid is a year they lap them in being the top Group of 5 conference. Will the drought end this year? Which teams have the best chances?
Will Utah State repeat their success under new management? In case you’ve been living under a rock, Gary Andersen is back as Utah State’s coach and now he’s tasked with repeating the success of the Aggie’s 2018 season. They now have the target on their backs plus lose quite a bit of production. What will there season look like, many people are curious to find out.
What does Colorado State need to do to get back on track? The Rams were penciled in for 7 wins every season of the Bobo era so far, but then completely fell off the rails last year. Is this the new normal or was it an aberration? Is Bobo safe on or the hot seat? It will be interesting to see how they return for 2019.
Will San Jose State take a step forward in year three? This one has actually already been covered by Vic a few weeks ago in this post. But it’s still a big question. Year three is supposed to be the year where steps are made and potential is evident. The Spartans may have to make several steps in order to see the potential.
What to expect from Hawaii and Nevada after productive seasons? The Rainbow Warriors and Wolf Pack both had turn-around seasons ending in bowl berths. Now the question becomes were they one-year surprises or are the programs truly building towards sustained success? The offenses are in place but the defenses may still be holding them back. Time will tell for these teams.
Is this Boise State’s ceiling? To be fair, most teams (MWC or otherwise) would take 9-10 wins each year with a conference championship/major bowl win every few years in a heartbeat without questioning it. However, Bronco fans, players, and coaches strive for a bit more. It’s not that the Harsin era has been a disappointment, but it certainly feels like some wins have been left on the field and the low games have been puzzling. Do they have another level in them or are they are who they are the past five years?
Did the non-triple option work for New Mexico? In short, no. But the real question is was the Lobo offense better or worse than they were when they full committed to running the option? If Davie is truly trying to turn the program around (again) this season, he should be putting the team in its best chance to be successful. Is that chance the option or whatever that was in 2018?
What does the new AAC media deal mean for the MWC? The rich are getting richer so to speak as the American conference took another step to distance itself between themselves and the rest of the Group of 5. Now all eyes are pointing to the Mountain West and their upcoming media deal. It’s not one they can afford to get wrong but what are the right options to show games and how much money can they expect to get?
Your turn: What questions do you have about MWC teams or the conference as a whole? Drop a comment in the discussion section.