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Peak Perspective: 2020 Mid-Season Grades

It’s that time of year again.

We are right around the mid-point of the season, which is following week four this year, so even though it feels like the season just started, let’s hand out some midseason grades.

The grades are based on a system we started last year and are continuing. For each team, we list two grades. The first is an objective grade, meaning a grade based on how each team is in relation to the rest of the teams in the country (a more traditional grade). The second is an adjusted grade, which is based on how the team is performing in relation to itself and its own expectations. This hopefully will provide a more well-rounded depiction of each team, as some teams can be doing well compared to expectations but not well overall. Similarly, a team can have a good record but not be meeting their own expectations.

As far as grades go, the A range is exceptional, Bs are very good, a C grade means average, D range is disappointing/not doing well, and Fs are awful.

Check it out below, and don’t forget to comment on what you agree or disagree with (just state what you would do differently).

Air Force

  • Objective Grade: C
  • Adjusted Grade: C-

The “Covid season” has hit the Falcons hard. When the season was postponed, they allowed several turnbacks. When the season was resumed, it was revealed their only returning defensive starters were part of those turnbacks. This was already without their likely preseason MWC OPOY quarterback. The season itself has featured key players missing games (likely due to covid) and two cancelled games to date. Air Force was flying high after their 11-win season and saw a potential championship game appearance. Their adjusted great could be lower, but it’s safe to say things have not gone according to plan.

Boise State

  • Objective Grade: A
  • Adjusted Grade: B

The Broncos have a similar story to last year. They look like the strongest team in the Mountain West yet again, but their (embarrassing) out of conference loss means they won’t reach the lofty expectations both themselves and others set each year. That is why there is a reasonably big disparity between the two grades. Once again, they look to be a top conference team that should not be confused with the country’s top teams.

Colorado State

  • Objective Grade: C-
  • Adjusted Grade: C-

The Rams weren’t expected to go anywhere this season. Similar to AFA, they had quite an interesting offseason. A new coach who was already a questionable hire made some unfortunate headlines as rumors and whispers surfaced about playing treatment within the program. Then their best player declares for the NFL, and other top players entered the transfer portal. The coaches convinced many of those players to stay, and it’s allowed them to make it through half the season with no issues or grumblings that have made it to the media. All in all, CSU is right in line with where they should be.

Fresno State

  • Objective Grade: B
  • Adjusted Grade: B

The Bulldogs were a bit tricky to grade, mainly because after last year and then getting a late start to camp due to Covid, not to mention a coaching change, there weren’t many clues as to how the team would be. They seem to be in a nice middle ground between 2017/2018 and 2019 and have recovered nicely from their season-opening loss. They have a pretty balanced offense, and the defense is holding their own after losing the MWC preseason DPOY to transferring. It’s a bridge year for the Bulldogs, and they are making it a pretty good one.

Hawaii

  • Objective Grade: B-
  • Adjusted Grade: B-

Similar to above, the Rainbow Warriors were an unknown entering the season. A late coaching change, plus no time to install no schemes, plus the “normal” Covid challenges. They were due for some regression, but it’s been a pretty soft fall back to earth, all things considered. Their QB, and likewise their offense, and likewise their team, are all inconsistent, but it’s hard to make an argument they should be playing differently than they are. If there is an all or nothing team in the conference, it appears to be them as no team has looked as dominant in their wins and as lost in their losses.

Nevada

  • Objective Grade: A-
  • Adjusted Grade: A

The Wolf Pack were a trendy preseason pick over the summer as a team that could play in the MWC championship. After back to back bowl seasons, it made sense. After four games, it seems those predictions were right. Nevada has a high-power offense, and their defense looks the best it ever has in the Norvell era. They reclaimed the Canon for the first time in a few years, and everything is going right for them. The Wolf Pack are in the exact position they want to be.

New Mexico

  • Objective Grade: F
  • Adjusted Grade: C-

The Lobos have yet to win a game; thus, they get a failing grade. The winless season does not tell the entire story by any means. They have been competitive in the games they have played, have been able to execute on offense, and appear to have some promising young players who can gain valuable experience and develop during this time. There’s a lot to like here in the moral victory department.

San Diego State

  • Objective Grade: B+
  • Adjusted Grade: B+

Going into the season, the Aztecs figured to be one of the best teams in the conference with a strong chance to play for the MWC championship. Halfway through the season, the Aztecs are one of the best teams in the conference with a strong case to play for the MWC championship. They rely on their tried and true formula, which keeps them from being truly dominant, but it also allows them to be an annual contender.

San Jose State

  • Objective Grade: A
  • Adjusted Grade: A+

No team has been a bigger surprise than the Spartans. Opinions were mixed on if they would maintain their mediocre 2019 form or revert back to the horrid 2017-2018 version. Apparently, the answer was closer to neither, as they have appeared to have taken another step forward in the program’s development. After a senior-heavy team last year, their talent seems more evenly spread throughout the classes. SJSU looks the part, and they are defying expectations.

UNLV

  • Objective Grade: F
  • Adjusted Grade: C-

Without a win to their name, it’s hard for their grade to be any higher. They haven’t done enough right to have more going for them. However, this is where adjusted grades tell more of the story. The Rebels are more or less playing as expected. They are only a few games into a new coaching regime and figure things out while looking better each game. Playing competitively is a big plus as well.

Utah State

  • Objective Grade: F
  • Adjusted Grade: F

There’s no sugar-coating this one. Things are ugly for the Aggies, no matter which way it’s looked at. While many outside the fanbase didn’t expect them to be good this season, many of their fans did, making their fall in the standings ever harder. Not only are they not good, but they also haven’t even been competitive. It’s hard to find any bright spots here.

Wyoming

  • Objective Grade: C
  • Adjusted Grade: D+

The Cowboys are trending in the wrong direction. This was the year they wanted to cement themselves as a real conference contender, taking the next step as a perennial bowl team. Thus far, they look like neither. The opening OT loss to Nevada was a great game where one team had to lose. The Border War against Colorado State was much less forgiving. Wyoming isn’t a bad team by any means this year and still has four games to go to end the year as a pretty good team. However, they have failed to show they are a great team, which is why their adjusted grade is low.