Mountain West Media Days were supposed to be this week. With media days, we see many predictions. The Mountain West went ahead and released their preseason awards and standings. The favorites are currently Boise State and San Diego State. Is that how it will play out? Or will we see something different? (If we have a season) Let’s take a look at my good, bad, and ugly predictions of the 2020 season.
Boise State Represents the Mountain Again
The Broncos received 20 of 21 first place votes for winning the Mountain Division. They return most of their skill talent, but have some questions in the trenches. This will be the year that the elite recruiting classes of 2018 and 2019 will really shine. Boise State has three first team selections on offense and five on defense. The next closest competitor had four total. Boise State has the talent to repeat again, and I think they will go undefeated in conference play once again.
San Diego State and Fresno State Will Decide the Championship
This will come as a surprise to some. I have seen a lot of people dismiss the Bulldogs after this past season. One of the bigger surprises from last week was seeing Hawaii ahead of Fresno State. I was also surprised that the Aztecs received 19 of the 21 first place votes with their uncertainties on offense. I think the West Division is wide open. I also think Fresno State and San Diego State have the best squads this year.
Fresno State Will Be the Most Improved Team in the Conference
Fresno State may have been 4-8 last year, but they have one of the most talented rosters in the conference. DeBoer will rejuvenate that offense, and Jake Haener will be a significant upgrade at the quarterback position. I think the Bulldogs will have an excellent chance of competing for a division title late into the season.
Nevada Will Not Meet Expectations
I’m just not sure where all of the love for the Wolf Pack is coming from. They have some really solid individual talent, but as a whole they have some major question marks. Jay Norvell has done a great job making this program respectable. But this is a 7-5 squad, and I just can’t see them competing for a title.
Air Force Struggles To Be Bowl Eligible Without Hammond
Donald Hammond III is the most important football player on this Air Force squad. If he does not play this season, it will be a major hit. Air Force was considered a significant threat to Boise State this year; without Hammond, they have now fallen behind Wyoming. Air Force was a candidate to win 9 or 10 games; without Hammond, they will struggle to become bowl eligible.
UNLV Will Finish with the Worst Record in the Conference
When I started breaking down schedule for Mountain West schools, UNLV stood out more than any team. The news that some Power 5 conferences will not be playing out-of-conference games may have given the Rebels a little bit of relief. With that being said, I like what Arroyo is doing, but it is going to take a few years for him to get UNLV on the right track.
No New Year’s Six Again
If we have bowl games, the Mountain West will once again miss out on a big bowl game. Boise State has a good shot with their schedule, but there are a few AAC teams that will likely be placed ahead of the Broncos. Keep an eye on Memphis and Cincinnati.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week, we will continue previewing the upcoming season.