Hello everyone, its that time of the year. Football is back! I’m not talking about preseason NFL football either, college football’s regular season is officially here. Every year armchair coaches and passionate fans try to predict where their teams will finish. Then there’s always that person who comes up with the craziest of predictions that either makes fans happy or really upset. That person this time is me. These are the bold predictions of the 2019 season amongst Mountain West teams.
Bold Prediction 1: The conference championship will feature two different teams.
The past two years has featured Boise State vs Fresno State. A Fresno team that emerged out of nowhere in 2017 under first year coach Jeff Tedford. I personally thought it was a fluke but Marcus McMaryion and that Fresno offense ran rough shot all over the league in 2018. Throwing for over 3,500 yards with 25 touchdown passes. He also added another 8 touchdowns on the ground. The crazy thing is their defense only allowed 14.1 points per game. Much of that defense is back but that offense only returns two starters. The Bulldogs will compete, but I believe it will be a second place finish this year.
Boise State on the other end was a team expected to compete for a NY6 bid. In last year’s predictions I predicted they would finish undefeated and win most games by double digits. It looked that way the first couple games until a trip to Stillwater dashed those hopes. Their kryptonite over the years at times has been a gritty San Diego State team. Last year the Aztecs went in and upset the Broncos ending their NY6 hopes. However, the team finished strong winning their final seven games before losing an overtime thriller against Fresno State. This team will be looking to replace Brett Rypien who was a four-year starter. This team should still compete, but it won’t be to make it to the title game.
My predicted title game: San Diego State @ Utah State. Two teams that should be improved this year and Jordan Love will continue to go crazy against the conference that will gain the nations attention. The West will be a dog fight with the Aztecs ultimately prevailing.
Bold Prediction 2: UNLV will make a change at coach regardless of record.
Tony Sanchez has been with the Running Rebels for a while now. However, he is only 16-32 and no bowl appearances in four seasons. This is the last year at Sam Boyd Stadium as they will be moving to the new Allegiant Stadium with the Las Vegas Raiders. There’s been some minimal progress especially last year, but this is a make or break year for this team. With this team being in Vegas unless they miraculously finish 10-2 or better, I believe Sanchez will be gone. They will look to make a huge splash hire to excite the fans much like the Raiders did. The schedule is manageable but does this team have enough to make a major jump?
Bold Predictions 3: The second-place team in the Mountain Division will be…. Air Force
This is going to be the most controversial prediction, but the Air Force Falcons will jump Boise State and finish second in the division. The Falcons tend to have a couple seasons where they’ll be below the radar finishing 5-7 or 6-6. Then have a season where they’ll finish 9-3 or 10-2 out of nowhere. This could be one of those seasons due to a manageable schedule and a lot of starters back. Their top six rushers and four of their five offensive line returns. Their biggest question will be the defense. With a lot of passing teams will they be able to get a pass rush and get stops? I believe this team will finish 9-3 tied with Boise State but a head to head tie breaker will propel Air Force with a second-place finish.
Bold Predictions 4: The Bronze Boot will go to Fort Collins
The Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming has been a series of streaks lately. From 2019-2012 Wyoming won four straight with two blowout wins and two close wins. In 2013 Colorado State started a three-year streak in which all were dominant wins. In 2016 Wyoming used a dominant second half to take back the boot and has had it since. Aside from a blizzard game in 2017 in which Wyoming won 16-13, it has been comfortable wins for the Cowboys. Wyoming is replacing a ton of defensive pieces from last season. The offense could improve under a full season with Sean Chambers. However, Colorado State with Colin Hill being fully healthy after dealing with two separate ACL injuries should show stability for a Rams team that needed it last year. The defense will be improved as well. Look for Colorado State to win a close game to win the boot back.
Bold Prediction 5: Jordan Love will be finish in the top 10 for the Heisman Trophy
Jordan Love had a coming out party last season. He threw for over 3,500 yards and had 39 total touchdowns. Against San Jose State he went 32-42, 491 yards and five touchdowns. This season I expect him to keep it going. Aside from an early October road game at 6th ranked LSU, the Aggies have a very favorable schedule. If he has a big game against the Tigers, it could really put him in the spotlight. With the Heisman campaign that Utah State has started, you could count me in. I believe he will be a top 10 finisher but won’t get invited to New York. Bottom line is the rest of the country will know the Jordan Love name by seasons end.
Well there it is, the bold predictions of this season. Some will be happy; some will be angry. Take it with a grain of salt and enjoy this football season. Look out for the revisited predictions later in the season.