It’s almost game week! Week zero is nearly upon us and several Mountain West teams will be in action this weekend. Last week, I gave my final predictions for the Mountain Division and this week I will be doing the same for a West Division that is loaded with talent.
Nevada has received a ton of love this offseason, and many experts feel they are the favorite to win the Mountain West. They have a future NFL quarterback in Carson Strong and a great receiving corps, but questions in the backfield may hold them back. Their out of conference schedule is interesting with games against Cal and Kansas State. Both of those games are winnable, and if Nevada comes away with victories in both of those games, they will likely be ranked when they head to Boise. I think Nevada makes the championship game thanks to a favorable tie breaker. (Final Prediction 9-3, 6-2)
San Jose State
The Spartans are for real and return enough talent to contend for another conference championship. They will take a step back on offense with the departures of Tre Walker and Billy Gaither, but an improved running attack and a great defensive line will keep them in contention. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Spartans stack up against USC week one. (Final Prediction 9-3, 6-2)
The Bulldogs are loaded with offensive talent; I think they could finish the season leading the conference in total offense. Their biggest issue is in the trenches where they will need to show major improvement. If they can be average on both sides of the line, they will be in contention late in the season. (Final Prediction 7-5, 5-3)
San Diego State
We know what the Aztecs have been the past decade or so: a great running team with an elite defense. Can they figure out the passing game? I don’t think they have a quarterback on their roster that can lead them to a championship season. The Aztecs will have another solid season but be out of the championship picture before Boise State visits the day after Thanksgiving. (Final Prediction 7-5, 4-4)
It feels odd saying this, but the Rainbow Warriors are going to be anchored by a good defense this year and will likely be a spoiler when teams visit the islands. Chevan Cordeiro will look to take the next step at quarterback and should have a great season. Calvin Turner, Jr. emerged as one of the most exciting players in the Mountain West and should be poised for another big year. Hawaii will be a fun team to watch, but they won’t be repeating their 2019 success.
The Rebels have improved their recruiting under Marcus Arroyo, but now it is time to see if he can improve their on field product. The Rebels have some nice young talent at wide receiver and a reliable running back in Charles Williams. Will true freshman Nick Dimitris be able to contribute early on the defensive line? UNLV has some exciting young talent that will be fun to watch; unfortunately, that won’t result in many wins. (Final Prediction 1-11, 0-8)
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” How do you see things playing out in a loaded West Division? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.