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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Revisiting Preseason Predictions (Mountain Division)

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You win some, you lose some, here is to hoping for more wins

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Air Force vs Washington State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” I will be revisiting my predictions for Mountain Division. While I was pretty close on most of the predictions, there was one that I missed badly. Well, you can’t win them all. Let’s revisit my predictions and discuss where those teams are headed moving forward.

The Good:

Boise State

The one thing that I wanted to see from this Boise State team was the one thing that had plagued them since they joined the Mountain West. That is an undefeated record in Mountain West play, and the Broncos did just that in 2019. Boise State hosted the conference championship game for a third consecutive year and won their second Mountain West Championship in that time. While their bowl performance was disappointing, this season was a success for the Broncos. They started three different quarterbacks, relied heavily on true freshmen at key positions. Boise State will face plenty of challenges in 2020, as they will undergo a facelift on both sides of the trenches. With that being said, the Broncos will be more experienced at skill positions. Will that be enough to propel the Broncos to their fourth consecutive Mountain West Championship appearance?

Wyoming

Our team predicted a resurgent year for the Cowboys. While they didn’t quite reach my 8-4 regular season projection, they did win their eighth game with a solid bowl victory over Georgia State. I knew that Wyoming would have their issues offensively, but it was much worse than I expected. The injury to Sean Chambers was a game changer for the Cowboys, but the emergence of Levi Williams will make for a fun quarterback battle in the Spring and Fall. The Cowboys should be right in the thick of the division race in 2020.

Utah State

The trendy preseason pick seemed like a fraud from the beginning, while I expected the Aggies to barely be a bowl team. People were underselling how difficult it is to replace an entire offensive line and Jordan Love’s biggest weapons. I predicted a 6-6 finish for the Aggies; they finished 7-5 (7-6 with the bowl loss). Utah State will now look to replace a quarterback that is headed to the NFL and will have their third offensive coordinator in three years. It is hard to see this team finishing any better next year.

New Mexico

Nailed it! I predicted a 2-10 finish for the Lobos. It is hard to see anything changing for this program, especially considering the state of their athletic program. They looked like a team without an identity on offense and were clearly lacking leadership as the writing was on the wall with Bob Davie. I really like the Danny Gonzales hire. I think he has what it takes to be a good football coach, but does he have the resources he needs to be successful?

The Bad:

Colorado State

I predicted a 3-9 finish for the Rams, and they finished 4-8. While that is not a bad guess, the Rams were actually a much better football team than I expected. They were competitive in the majority of their contests and gave the top teams in the Mountain a run for their money. I am skeptical of their hire of Steve Addazio as the new head coach. I don’t think he is the guy that will take Colorado State to the next level. I think this program will continue to have a low ceiling under his leadership.

The Ugly:

Air Force

The Falcons deserve a special shout out. I did predict an improved season and a 6-6 finish for Air Force, but they blew my expectations out of the water: an 11-2 finish with wins over both of their in-state rivals and a bowl win against a Power Five opponent in Washington State. Troy Calhoun is a phenomenal football coach, and this year may have been his best job. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons fare next year. Their biggest offensive weapons, Donald Hammond III and Kaden Remsberg, return, but they will lose nearly their entire defense. With that being said, I expect the Falcons to be a strong contender once again.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What surprised you about the Mountain division in 2019? What do you expect in 2020?