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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Breaking Down the Best and the Worst of the Non-Conference Schedule

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Which teams scheduled the best games?

NCAA Football: Boise State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

With each new football season comes criticism of the schedule. Oftentimes, Group of Five programs are under the scheduling microscope. Did the team schedule well enough to be considered for a New Year Six game? Or is their record a product of a poor schedule? Let’s take a look at the best and the worst of what the Mountain West has to offer.

The Good:

Boise State (Florida State, Marshall, BYU)

The Broncos have historically done an excellent job of securing solid, out of conference schedules. 2019 is no different with a match-up against one of college football’s biggest names in Florida State. The Seminoles are expected to make a return trip to “The Blue” in 2020. The Broncos also have a rivalry game with BYU and a match-up against a respected Group of Five team in Marshall. Obviously, it would be better if they weren’t playing Portland, but this is a rare FCS game for the Broncos who try to avoid those kinds of match-ups.

Utah State (Wake Forest, BYU, LSU)

Last year the Aggies had a weak schedule. The 2019 schedule is much different, as Utah State will travel to LSU and Wake Forest and will host BYU in a November showdown. I’d like this schedule a lot more if the Wake Forest game was in Logan, but you can’t fault the Aggies for having the guts to make two, long road trips.

Colorado State (Colorado, Arkansas, Toledo)

The Rams have put together some solid out of conference schedules in recent years, and 2019 is no different. Even in a down year, the Rams managed to defeat Arkansas last year and hope to do the same this season. The most important game on this schedule is their showdown with the Buffaloes. It is great to see this becoming a yearly rivalry again. Hopefully the Rams can find a way to get the win.

Air Force (Colgate, Colorado, Army, Navy)

For the most part, you know what you are getting with the Air Force schedule. They always play Army and Navy and usually have an FCS team on their schedule. The games with Army and Navy go beyond the records and results on the field. Air Force also managed to secure a solid, in-state game with the University of Colorado.

Hawaii (Arizona, Washington, Oregon State, Army)

Hawaii might have the best schedule of any team in the Mountain West. Three PAC-12 games, and two of them seem winnable on paper. Getting these teams to come to the islands is a huge accomplishment. We will know plenty about the Rainbow Warriors a few weeks into the season.

Fresno (USC, Minnesota)

I wasn’t quite sure where to put the Bulldogs. Getting USC and a home game against Minnesota is great, but the contests against New Mexico State and Sacramento State leave a lot to be desired. Ultimately, two Power Five teams put the Bulldogs in the “Good” category.

San Diego State (UCLA, BYU)

SDSU has a very similar schedule to Fresno State. A PAC-12 game with UCLA that should be very winnable and a respectable showdown with BYU. Like Fresno State, the Aztecs play New Mexico State and an FCS foe in Weber State. Weber State is a respectable FCS program, but it is still an FCS program.

The Bad:

Wyoming (Missouri, Idaho, Tulsa, Texas State)

The Missouri match-up is intriguing. The Tigers are going through some transitions, and this might be a winnable game for the Cowboys. Other than that, there isn’t really an intriguing game on the schedule. But hey, the Cowboys should go at least 3-1 with this schedule.

UNLV (Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Arkansas State, Southern Utah)

On paper, this looks like an okay schedule, but there really isn’t a who lot to be excited about. Northwestern is an intriguing game, but the rest of schedule is kind of blah.

Nevada (Oregon, Purdue, UTEP, Weber State)

Look! It’s Weber State again! Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, that might be a tough game. Oregon is great; Purdue is alright. But for a team with a ton of question marks, I think this schedule is going to be rough.

The Ugly:

New Mexico (Sam Houston, New Mexico State, Liberty, Notre Dame)

New Mexico State is a rival, so I will give the Lobos a pass on that one. They have a pay out game with Notre Dame, but the rest of that schedule is rough. Maybe Davie will be able to save his job if he can swing a 3-1 record.

San Jose State (Northern Colorado, Arkansas, Tulsa, Army)

It is already difficult for Spartan fans to get excited about their football squad. This schedule does nothing to help with that. Maybe the Spartans will be able to get two wins out of this. That would be considered a positive.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week we will go back in time as we take a look at the best and worst of the 2018 football season.