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Peak Perspective: Mountain West Over/Unders

Boise State looks like the early favorite yet again

NCAA Football: Boise State at UNLV Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Our writers are coming together for this feature to discuss expectations for the team they cover this upcoming season. Betonline.ag recently released their over/under win totals for the coming season. Our writers are going to discuss whether their team will go over or under the predicted win total. Remember, championship games and bowl games do not count in the win totals.

Team: Air Force

Writer: NittanyFalcon

Over/Under: 8.5 wins

Analysis: My summary of the Falcon schedule a couple weeks ago had the Falcons with 8 wins. I’m torn with this 8.5 figure. I want to believe the Falcons will find a solution for the gaps left on defense. I’m pretty sure the offense will be just as good as last year. But in order to get to 9 wins, the Falcons will probably have to beat both Army and Navy, or beat Boise State or Purdue or Wyoming on the road. Army, Navy, and Boise know the Falcon offense and have found solutions to stopping it at times. Purdue is another case altogether. They are a Power 5 team with talent that almost never faces the option. The Falcons proved twice last year that they can beat middle to lower tier Power 5 teams with the option offense. Wyoming has had the Falcons number in Laramie. If they are able to take down one of those opponents, they have no room for a stumble in other games. So, for now, prior to fall camp, I have to go with my previous eight win prediction. Take the under.

Team: Boise State

Writer: Zach Ballard

Over/Under: 9.5 wins

Analysis: I’m going with the over. I feel like this year’s version of Boise State will be better than last year’s when all is said and done. With that being said, I think there could be some hiccups early in the season. Boise State will be breaking in a lot of new talent on both the offensive and defensive line. But there is more depth at those positions than there has been in previous seasons. Also, this is the deepest Boise State has been at the skill positions in a very long time. They will have the best wide receiver and running back units in the Mountain West. The Broncos will finish the regular season with 10 or 11 wins.

Team: Colorado State

Writer: Mike

Over/Under: 6.5 wins

Analysis: With a new coaching staff and some talent returning, anything can happen for the Rams in 2020. However, things don’t look that promising going off of what’s on paper. The Buffs have won the last five games against the Rams, and Oregon State is a team on the rise, so don’t count on wins there. Northern Colorado and maybe even Vanderbilt look like wins to round out the OOC season, but one out of four makes the most sense. New Mexico and UNLV should be victories, maybe Fresno State or an upset but there aren’t too many cases for other wins with Wyoming, SDSU, Air Force, Utah State, and Boise State closing out the season. I have a hard time seeing this team get past five wins in 2020.

Team: New Mexico

Writer: Mike

Over/Under: 3.5 wins

Analysis: The 2020 Lobos can’t be worse than the two-win 2019 version. Expect some improvements and more competitive games, but they still have an uphill battle. They have an extra game on the schedule this year thanks to Hawaii and that’s probably what allows them to get to four wins. They should be Idaho State, New New Mexico State and UMass in non-conference play. The rest of the schedule doesn’t look like easy wins, but I’ll say they can find a victory in one of the games against Nevada, SJSU, Colorado State, or Hawaii.

Team: Utah State

Writer: Zach Ballard

Over/Under: 5.5 wins

Analysis: There are so many question marks for this team. We learned with Wyoming, that you can’t magically replace a first round quarterback. It doesn’t help that the Aggies have a brutal non-conference schedule with games against Washington State, Washington, and BYU. There is a very real chance that this team starts the season 1-5 since their first conference games are against San Diego State and Boise State. They also have Nevada, Colorado State, Wyoming, Fresno State, and Air Force, those games are a toss-up at best. I’m only seeing 3 or 4 wins. Take the under.

Team: Wyoming

Writer: FatDuckUW

Over/Under: 6.5 wins

Analysis: This is probably a little low. Wyoming has a fairly favorable schedule this year as Wyoming will be playing many of their toughest games at home. That includes Utah, San Diego State, Boise State and Air Force. Of course, Wyoming likely loses a couple of those games. However. Wyoming does pretty well in Laramie. In 2019, Wyoming was 6-0 at home with wins over Missouri (SEC) and Nevada (bowl team). On the road, the Cowboys did not do so well as Wyoming was 1-5. While Wyoming lost to some good teams on the road (San Diego State, Boise State, Utah State and Air Force), they also struggled against lesser teams on the road with a loss to Tulsa (4-8) & a 9-point win over Texas State (3-9). Luckily, the road schedule is pretty light this season with games at Ball State, Louisiana, UNLV, Nevada, New Mexico & Colorado State. Wyoming returns some good experience on both sides of the ball and should be able to manage this schedule to get to 7 wins. Take the over.

Team: Fresno State

Writer: Mike

Over/Under: 5.5 wins

Analysis: For the record, I’ve never been able to predict the Bulldogs well, but here we are. In 2018, I thought for sure they were destined for some regression and they made me eat my words with a conference championship. In 2019 I thought they could still win the West again and we all saw how that turned out. All that being said, I’m likely to be wrong, but I’m taking the over here. Yes, anything can happen with the new coaching staff but I haven’t been high on their recruiting classes and this year will now have Tedford players in key roles. Idaho State, Colorado State, New Mexico State, and UNLV look like the wins which can be penciled in. On the other side of things, Colorado, Air Force, TAMU, and SDSU are sure to be losses. That leaves Nevada, Hawaii, Utah State, and San Jose State (or maybe replace SJSU with the Rebels) as the toss ups. I think they can win two out of those four and manage a six-win season.

Team: Hawaii

Writer: Jeremy Rodrigues

Over/Under: 6.5 wins

Analysis: Goodness, this is tough. COVID-19 has influenced just about everyone in some form or another, and Hawaii football is no exception. Nick Rolovich left Hawaii for Washington State in January. That was a setback. Cole McDonald declared pro. Spring football, where installation of Todd Graham’s system was set to take place, was outright cancelled. So Hawaii, assuming there is a football season, will be cramming installation along with the rest of fall camp ahead of a daunting schedule. On top of that, Hawaii ranks 103rd nationally in returning production according to ESPN’s and formerly SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. Hawaii has some good players, but I can’t help but feel this is the perfect storm for regression. Put me down for 6-7 or 5-8.

Team: Nevada

Writer: MattHanifan_

Over/Under: 6.5 wins

Analysis: I’ll take the over. In my way-too-early season prediction, I had Nevada with eight wins. That included postseason play, but I still eclipsing at least seven wins is definitely an attainable goal. To start, the Wolf Pack have a light non-conference schedule. Arkansas — led by Florida transfer Feleipe Franks and former Last Chance U running back Rakeem Boyd — is Nevada’s only non-conference opponent to crack the Top-85 of ESPN’s preseason FPI rankings. Nevada should handle its two non-conference home contests versus UC Davis and UTEP handedly. With South Florida as the Pack’s only other non-conference road game other than the Razorbacks, there is a world where Nevada captures three victories in its four non-conference games. The Pack have a very manageable road conference schedule with Hawai’i, New Mexico, San Jose State and UNLV. Their home slate is much more difficult — where they will host San Diego State, Fresno State, Utah State and Wyoming. The Pack have another year of Carson Strong, Toa Taua and Elijah Cooks offensively to lead the charge. On the defensive end, Nevada retains Tyson Williams and Dom Peterson, but will still undergo multiple changes both schematically and personnel-wise. Still, if Nevada wants to create noise within the conference because of their very manageable schedule, this is the year to do so. And because of that, I’m sticking with the over.

Team: San Diego State

Writer: Mike

Over/Under: 7.5 wins

Analysis: I’ll take the over here. The Aztecs are pretty automatic to get 8-9 wins nearly every season (2018 didn’t happen). Sac State and Toledo are good warm up wins and although UCLA may not be a gimme, they beat them last year and compete well against the PAC12. Same with BYU, so take one of those two games as wins. Looking at conference play, Nevada, UNLV, SJSU, and CSU should be easy victories. And at least one win can be assumed out of Fresno State (especially if it’s the 2019 version), Hawaii, Wyoming, and Utah State. Yes, SDSU is a good bet to lay an egg at some point during the season, but there is a lot of wiggle room to get to 8 wins.

Team: San Jose State

Writer: Vic Aquino

Over/Under: 5.5 wins

Analysis: I’m comfortable going with the over. In year four with head coach Brent Brennan, the stability, the momentum and the trend of the program is solid. Though the first four of five games of 2020 have the Spartans running the gauntlet through Central Michigan, Penn State, Boise State and Air Force, no one’s expecting to be on the positive side there. But how they persevere from the front-end of their schedule; meaning if they remain healthy, play competitively and aren’t getting completely blown out, will set the tone and expectations for the remainder of the schedule, because the Spartans can surely compete against teams like Nevada, UNLV, San Diego State, and Hawaii. Brennan’s tenure is laden with a number of coulda-shoulda-woulda wins and his program has earned a level of respect already. So not too many folks will be that surprised if they hit the over; only more surprised if they don’t. Offensively, the big question is the QB spot, as the offense is still loaded like 2019. Former Arkansas Razorback Nick Starkel would seem to be the leading candidate to keep the wheels rolling just based on experience and comfortability he’s established already with the program. Starkel also has a great ally in former Spartan QB Josh Love, so some x-factor mix is certain to be shared.

Team: UNLV

Writer: Alex Wright

Over/Under: 3.5 wins

Analysis: Marcus Arroyo does not get any breaks in his first season at UNLV with the non-conference schedule. California, Arizona State, Louisiana Tech, and Iowa State all made bowl games last year and are a tough schedule for any team. UNLV could easily go 0-4 to start the season, but UNLV always wins a game they have no business even being close in. If I had to pick one game they could pull off an upset, it would be the home opener against California at Allegiant Stadium. In conference, UNLV faces four teams with new head coaches. The first four games in October look promising, the Rebels play San Diego State (who they have played close the past few years) and have a winnable three-game stretch against Wyoming, at San Jose State, and Colorado State. UNLV should win two of those four games. In the final four games, UNLV plays on the road at Boise State (a loss) and they have another three-game stretch to end the year to win games. They host Fresno State, go to Hawaii, and play UNR in the final game of the year. The first two games feature teams with new head coaches and they have beaten UNR the past two seasons, so the Rebels should win two of its last three games. After that long-winded examination of the schedule, I predict UNLV will win five games, thus making the over. Arroyo has brought in a solid recruiting class and has some good pieces returning from last year’s team, if everybody stays health (and if they get an adequate time to get ready for the season), UNLV will turn some heads this year under Arroyo’s first year.

Your turn: What are your thoughts on the teams? Who are you taking the over and under on for 2020?