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Outside Look at the MWC: Jack Johnson

Welcome to a new short summer series here at MWCConnection. I had the thought a few weeks ago that myself and others on the team here have formed thoughts and opinions over the years from following and writing about the Mountain West. But what does an “outsider” think about the Mountain West? So on Thursdays going forward, hear from different bloggers, reporters, coaches, and others as we ask them a few questions to get their perspective on the MWC. Enjoy.

Today’s post features: Jack Johnson

Can you introduce yourself and where you fit in the world of sports?

My name is Jack Johnson, and I’m a senior at Arizona State University. I cover ASU sports for House of Sparky.

How often do you watch Mountain West sports?

I’d say I watch MWC sports semi-regularly during football season. There’s a lot to love about late-night matchups on CBSSN when you’re Saturday night is winding down. Also, I always keep tabs on San Jose State football since that’s Dad’s alma mater.

Can you name all 12 football-playing schools (without looking it up)?

Really putting me on the spot here. This is tough because I grew up with the WAC and I know they kind of merged with the MWC a few years back. So my conference compass is a little out of calibration in the mid-major west now.

Here’s what I got off the top of my head.

San Jose State

Hawaii

Boise State

Fresno State

UNLV

Nevada

San Diego State

Wyoming?

Air Force

Utah State

Definitely missing two that I’ll kick myself for later. But that’s the best effort I can give.

Is there one sport where you think the conference is known for or excels in?

Football. I know TCU isn’t in the MWC anymore but how many mid-major conferences can say they have a Rose Bowl victory? That was a great team, I like to wonder about how they would fare if there was a CFP in those days.

What do you think are the strengths of the conference and what do you perceive as the growth areas?

I think many of the strengths in the conference lie in their teams. I know ASU fans don’t like seeing SDSU roll into town, on the football or the basketball side. There’s also been so many great players to come out of the conference. Obviously, off the top of my head, you have to start with Kawhi Leonard, but Andy Dalton and others certainly have claims to that top 5, too.

What do you think the Mountain West needs to improve or change in order to be more competitive?

Best place the MWC can improve is by strengthening their competition level. In my eyes there are three tiers of college conferences, and the MWC sits in tier two. So can they do the nation a favor and pull Gonzaga up from the WCC? That would make their conference must-watch during hoops season.