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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Mountain Division 2020

Many teams took a step back in 2020

Mountain West Football Championship - Boise State v San Jose State Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” I am going to focus on recapping the performances of each team in the Mountain Division. In most years, the Mountain Division is considered the deeper of the two Mountain West divisions. That was not the case in 2020, as a number of teams failed to meet the expectations that were in front of them. Let’s see how each team stacked up.

The Good:

Air Force

You probably look at the Falcons and wonder how a 3-3 record can justify a “Good” rating. That’s fair, but the Falcons broke in an inexperienced defense and were fairly dominant on that side of the ball outside of the Boise State game. I really thought the Falcons were going to struggle to compete; I was wrong. Their roster was also heavily impacted by COVID, and they should be an improved squad in 2021.

The Bad:

Boise State

I might get some flack for this selection, and that’s fine. But, Boise State has lofty expectations every season. As a whole, the team never looked right after the season opener agains Utah State. The Broncos were ravaged by injuries and COVID-related absences more than any team in the conference, and the quality of their play was noticeably impacted. 2021 needs to be a statement year for the Broncos who will be breaking in new head coach Andy Avalos. The Broncos will be returning most of their impact players and should be healthier in the trenches.

Wyoming

Wyoming came into this season with lofty expectations, and on their first drive of the season, their starting quarterback went down with a season ending injury. Wyoming’s offense never looked quite right. That loss to New Mexico is still a bit puzzling. It doesn’t appear like Levi Williams is the answer at quarterback, and one has to wonder if Sean Chambers will ever be able to stay health with his style of play. Do the Cowboys hit the transfer market?

New Mexico

Yes, they only won one game, and I could easily justify putting them in the “Ugly” category. But, Danny Gonzalez inherited a really bad football team, and they were decimated at the quarterback position. Yet, he had them playing a competitive brand of football throughout the majority of the season. The Lobos were competitive with San Jose State for most of the game and nearly beat both Nevada and Hawaii. If this team can work out some issues on offense, they have a chance to be competitive in 2021.

The Ugly:

Utah State

This football team was a mess everywhere. Players were transferring right and left, their starting quarterback was kicked off the team, and their head coach was fired. Given the circumstances, Utah State did show some improvement. There were some controversial comments that were supposedly made by the university president about interim head coach Frank Maile. Maile is now the assistant head coach at Boise State. The Aggies made a great hire in Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson and have been major players in the transfer market. The issues with transfers is that they are usually a short term solution, and the Aggies have a ton of holes to fill. But, Anderson is the kind of coach that can fix these problems.

Colorado State

Colorado State only played four games, so an “incomplete” grade might be more accurate. In the four games they did play, I am not sure if I have ever seen a team that was a bigger mess on special teams. It cost them the San Diego State game and gave them no chance against Boise State. Many of the players seemed disenchanted with new head coach Steve Addazio. It will be interesting to see if the Rams can take steps in the right direction in 2021.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week, I am going to be rating the performance of each team in the West Division. What changes would you make for teams in the Mountain Division? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.