We have reached the end of the roundtable, which means we have reached the end of the offseason. The Mountain West is in action tomorrow for Week 0. This week’s question is short and to the point: which team will win the Mountain West Conference this season?
Zach: I think there are eight teams that can say they have a shot. There is a lot of parity in the league this year. But I’m going with Boise State. They have a ton of depth on defense and are loaded at the skill positions. It all comes down to quarterback play. But the Broncos will be in the championship game for the fifth consecutive year and will hoist the trophy for the third time in that period.
Rudy: I think San Jose State proved you can come from somewhat nowhere to win the title, but I think that served to put everyone on alert. I am going to come down a bit from Zach’s eight teams and say that six teams have a legitimate shot, but when the dust settles, the Broncos from Boise State will be the team still standing. They have the most solid depth, have two solid quarterbacks to hopefully guard against injury/uneven play, and just think the new coaching regime has truly brought back the “Blue Collar” ethic and a new confidence.
Alex: This is probably the most wide-open the Mountain West has been in a while. And there are a few teams that have legitimate chances, but as of right now, I am picking the team with the best quarterback, Nevada. They are not an overwhelming favorite and I am not willing to bet the farm on the Wolf Pack, but they are the team I am the most confident in at the moment. I think San Jose State will take a step back and not be as dominant as they were last year. And Boise State could come out of the gate slow with a new coach. That does not mean Boise State or San Jose State could win the Mountain West, but I am more confident that Nevada will run the table and take the Mountain West this season.
Tyler: With San Jose State winning it all last year, it is accurate to believe most teams in the Mountain West Conference have a shot at being the best this season. I believe a couple teams have the ability to go undefeated or have a single loss in conference play. I agree with Alex that SJSU will take a step back, and this year’s Mountain West Conference is definitely up in the air with high hopes of success for at least 6 teams. I do expect Boise State and Nevada to have the top two offenses in the conference, utilizing multiple weapons on both sides of the field. With Nevada having its toughest competition on the road and Boise State’s historical dominance in the conference, I see the Broncos taking home the title this season.
Mike: I have a long-standing precedent of picking last year’s champ as my de facto pick for this coming season. I also have a long-standing precedent of being wrong pretty much every year. I’ll stick with the formula and go with San Jose State. There is a strong reason to believe they can become a repeat champ. Their defense should be just as strong as last season and they return the DPOY in Cade Hall. The offense has some question marks at wide receiver but are strong at QB, tight end, and the offensive line. Plus, there is talent at running back. For the record, I think SJSU, Nevada, or Boise State is talented enough to win the conference (and don’t count out Air Force either), but I’ll go with the Spartans here.
NittanyFalcon: It’s pretty much the same answer for me every year. Boise State will take the championship, but I foresee some struggles as they adapt to the new system. That plus last year’s struggles and this year’s conference-wide talent and experience should produce a very competitive year. Boise, Wyoming, Air Force, San Jose State, Nevada, Fresno, and San Diego State (just barely) all have a shot. Today’s choice of Jordan Brookshire as the Aztec quarterback doesn’t strike me as a good sign that someone has been able to really stand out as the answer to the Aztecs weaknesses.
Matt Hanifan: Alex took the words right out of my mouth — this conference is wide open. This exercise hurt my brain; it would’ve been much simpler to pick co-champions, or three co-champions (which occurred in 2012). But the title game eliminates such possibilities, obviously. I foresee three teams potentially winning it: Nevada, Boise State and San Jose State, with Wyoming and San Diego State not far behind. I’ll toss Fresno State, a team I’m high on, into in there as well — though the Bulldogs’ schedule is arguably the toughest amongst the aforementioned programs. All that said, I’m choosing Boise State as my Mountain West title champion — giving them their third title in five years and the fourth since the Championship game was implemented in 2013. I expect Andy Avalos, entering his first season as Boise State’s head man, to get the defense back to where it was prior to his departure in 2019. The Broncos return all their best skill position weapons, so their ceiling will depend on their quarterback stability and how quickly they’ll get accustomed to a new scheme. Recent history also suggests they’ll hoist the trophy because it’s an odd year — unquestionably the most important factor here.
Graham_Gibson: I’ll take Boise State. Simple and to the point. Boise State has made the conference championship four straight times and is 3-2 in those games overall (they also went in 2014). The 2019 version of the Broncos was very underrated and they redeemed an overtime loss to Fresno State in the championship game in 2018. The Broncos aren’t the type of team to lose twice in a row, especially in a championship game. They bring back a lot of important talent on both sides of the ball and they also look to have a very good defensive line. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll go undefeated, the schedule is up there in difficulty level, but I think this team is similar to the 2019 version, just with more depth this time around. They are installing a new system on offense, but word is that they are really starting to click and communicate. Remember that in years past the Broncos haven’t rebuilt, they’ve reloaded.