I’ve already given you predictions for some players and teams prior to camp beginning, but in this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” we are going to focus on the final outcome for each team in the Mountain Division. I am going to analyze schedules and predict wins and losses for each team. Instead of good, bad, and ugly, we are going to focus on good (bowl teams) and bad (sub .500 teams). With that being said...
The Broncos open the season with a steep test; they travel all the way to Jacksonville, Florida to take on the Florida State Seminoles. This will be a tough battle for the Broncos, who will be breaking in a new quarterback and running back. The defense will keep the Broncos in the game, but the Seminoles will squeak out a close victory. I think the rest of the season is manageable for the Broncos. They will go undefeated at home (Marshall, Portland State, Air Force, Wyoming, Hawaii, New Mexico). They will lose two games on the road. I’m going to go with Florida State and an unexpected loss. Will the Broncos have their first undefeated conference slate under Coach Harsin and host the conference championship game for the third year in a row? Final Prediction 10-2
I’ve been saying this for a while, and I am going to stick by this prediction: Wyoming is this year’s Utah State. An average team with an awful schedule, Wyoming opens the year with a tough test against a Missouri squad that is expected to improve with Kelly Bryant at the helm. Wyoming does host this game, and the elevation could play a role. I think the Cowboys will hang tough but ultimately fall behind in the fourth quarter. The rest of the non-conference schedule is manageable with games against Texas State, Idaho, and Tulsa. The Cowboys will win all three of those games and enter conference play 3-1. Wyoming will lose three games in conference play (San Diego State, Boise State, and Air Force). I am predicting a surprise win over Utah State and a second place finish for the Cowboys. Final Prediction 8-4
Jordan Love is a talented quarterback, and the Aggies have a solid front seven on the defensive side of the ball. But, the Aggies have a lot of struggles to overcome with an inexperienced offensive line and a lack of experienced players at the skilled positions. The Aggies will struggle early with a loss against Wake Forest. They will also drop non-conference games against BYU and LSU. The Aggies finish conference play 5-3 and sneak into a bowl game. Final Prediction 6-6
The Falcons are back, sort of. Air Force has struggled in recent years, but I expect them to have a bounce back season that results in bowl eligibility. It wouldn’t shock me if the Falcons beat Colorado, but I’m marking that one down as a loss. They will suffer another non-conference loss against Army, but beat Navy and Colgate to go 2-2. That trend will continue in conference play where the Falcons will finish 4-4 with victories over Wyoming, San Jose State, New Mexico, and Colorado State. They will lose to Hawaii, Boise State, Utah State, and Fresno State, but it will be a step in the right direction. Final Prediction 6-6
Colorado State was an interesting team last year. They beat Arkansas and should have beaten Utah State, but they had games where there defense looked like they were facing an NFL squad. Unfortunately, I think the Rams are going to battle with inconsistencies again. They will finish non-conference play 1-3 with their lone victory over an FCS Western Illinois squad and losses to Arkansas, Toledo, and Colorado. The conference slate does not look much better, as they will suffer losses to Utah State, San Diego State, Fresno State, Air Force, Wyoming, and Boise State. Wins will come against New Mexico and UNLV. Final Prediction 3-9
The Lobo football program is in a tough spot. They are transitioning between offensive philosophies and have been forced to rely heavily on junior college transfers. With that being said, the Lobos have a manageable non-conference slate, and I think they will go 2-2. I think the conference schedule will be a tough go for New Mexico. San Jose State may be their best chance for a victory, but I think the Spartans are going to be an improved squad. I think New Mexico goes winless in conference play. Final Prediction 2-10
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week I will be making my picks for the West Division.