Freshmen are arriving on campus and summer workouts are in full swing. We have only two months until week zero and there is plenty to talk about leading into the season. This week we are going to focus on expectations for the Mountain West this fall.
A Lot of Teams Go Bowling
The Mountain West will have eight bowl eligible teams. Air Force, Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, Hawaii, and Fresno State will all meet the threshold of wins. Whether or not there are enough bowl spots for these teams will be the concern. But, eight bowl eligible teams would be a huge success for the conference.
Only One Team Stands Out
The winner of the Boise State/Nevada game will be that team. The two teams have an early season showdown on October 2nd. The winner of this game will be the favorite to walk away with the conference title. Both of these teams also have the ability to make some noise with tough non-conference schedules. If Boise State leaves Orlando with a win and can be competitive against Oklahoma State, they will likely be ranked. Nevada will probably need wins over both Kansas State and Cal. One team that might enter this conversation is San Jose State, but I’m not sure they have the talent at the skill positions to get the job done.
No New Year’s Six Bid...Again
The Mountain West has not been to a New Year’s Six game since 2014, and nobody outside of Boise State and maybe San Diego State has come close. The only teams with a schedule that will even warrant consideration are Boise State, Nevada, San Diego State, and maybe San Jose State if they can pull off an upset over USC. Those teams will probably need to go undefeated, and I’m not sure any team in the conference will finish with less than two losses. Wyoming’s OOC schedule will keep them out of the discussion if they somehow become a contender in the Mountain Division. Nevada can make some noise with winnable games against Kansas State and Cal. Even if they win both of those, they aren’t making it through the conference slate unscathed.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Next week we will take a peek at some potential surprises this coming season.