We have made it to the second week of August and most teams are well into camp. The Mountain West football season is only two weeks away, and it is time to make some final predictions. In this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” I will give my final predictions for each team in the Mountain Division.
The reward for the toughest schedule in school history will be another Mountain West Championship. Boise State has a brutal out of conference schedule highlighted by trips to UCF and BYU and Oklahoma State visiting “The Blue.” The Broncos have the luxury of having two quarterbacks that would start for most teams. They have built some much needed depth at the running back position and will have the best defensive line they have had in years. Boise State will stumble once or twice along the way, but the king of the division will remain on the throne. (Final Prediction 10-2, 7-1)
The Falcons have a manageable OOC schedule with no Power Five games. Contests against Army and Navy are always exciting, but the Falcons should be favorites in both of those games. A perfect OOC is not out of the question. With many turnbacks returning after the COVID season, the Falcons should reload and give Boise State a run for their money. (Final Prediction 8-4, 5-3)
The Cowboys have the easiest OOC schedule of any team in the conference, with no Power Five games and their toughest contest will be against a good Ball State squad from the MAC. The conference schedule won’t be so easy with games against Fresno State, Boise State, San Jose State, and Hawaii. The Cowboys will be great on defense and will be effective running the ball, but will they have a reliable passing game? They will be solid but won’t be able to bring a title to Laramie. (Final Prediction 8-4, 5-3)
We are going to learn a lot really quick about the Rams. They face a great FCS team in South Dakota State and a really bad SEC team in Vanderbilt. Win those two games and you are a bowl contender; lose both and start thinking about 2022. I do think the Rams will be an improved squad this year, but questions at quarterback and some holes on defense will leave them hovering around .500 for the majority of the season. (Final Prediction 5-7, 3-5)
Like Colorado State, I think the Aggies will have an improved squad this year. But, the talent gap between this Utah State roster and the top of the Mountain West is significant. Blake Anderson is the right guy for the job and made some nice moves with transfers, but this rebuild is going to take a few years. (Final Prediction 4-8, 2-6)
Danny Gonzales was the only logical hire when he took this job. Can he lead this program out of the difficult situation he inherited? I think he will make New Mexico a respectable football program, but it will take a while. Be patient Lobo fans. You have a solid coach but 2021 won’t be your year. (Final Prediction 4-8, 1-7)
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” How do you see things playing out in the Mountain Division. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to check in next week when I give my final predictions for the West Division.