Debate time is back for the 2021 season! Yeah I know some people aren't too fond of the series that I create, and I didn't post at all besides the start of the 2020 season, but hopefully this comes back to being a weekly thing. Let's save the garb for the end. Time to start big and strong, and why not do it for all 12 teams!
At any time, comment down below and give me your take on this! Any comments are open and welcome, especially if you think the "magic 8-ball" needs a shaking on your team...
Let's start with what I'm about to do after the first week (or two weeks if you include week 0).
As a kid, I loved showing the magic 8-ball to my family and friends because I wanted to see what my future would be like. And while all of the answers weren't great (it told me I wouldn't be famous and it was absolutely right), it was a lot of fun.
But what happens when you put the answers on a magic-8 ball to the 2021 season for the MWC Teams? Well you get something like this...Let's start with the Mountain Division
Air Force: Concentrate and Ask Again
Air Force will kind of always be like this because they're a service academy team. Much is the same with teams like Navy and Army. But Air Force recently has been good. Last year they led the nation averaging 306 rushing yards per game. Their game against Lafayette should be good momentum as they put up 370 yards of rushing and averaged 5.5 yards per rush. But that was against Lafayette. Their next game is Navy which should be more of a challenge as they would go head to head in rushing, but Navy did lose 49-7 against Marshall, so the Falcons have the better momentum by a long-shot. If they can put up a similar total to their last game, then this 8-ball can move in a good direction for the academy, but they just have to concentrate against the Midshipmen, and then you can ask again.
Boise State: Most Likely
Don't hate me Broncos fans, I could've given them a "Yes Definitely" had it been Bryan Harsin still at the helm. But now we have a bunch of changes, from Andy Avalos becoming the new head coach to new offensive coordinator Timothy Plough. This could be something that turns into gold though. But last Thursday, the gold mine was not discovered yet as they took a fall to UCF 36-31. What concerns me is not the score, but the offense's efficiency. You managed to score 24 points on offense but only got 283 yards and went 4-14 on third downs against the Knights. I will give both Avalos and the Broncos the benefit of the doubt because I consider this a transition game, and it wasn't like the game was a blowout. While I'm not saying it's certain yet, this is Boise State, and it's most likely that they will move forward from this and still be in the top half of the conference.
Colorado State: Outlook Not So Good
I was going to give Steve Addazio a break because he inherited a team that was a bottom half conference team in 2018 and 2019. The Rams got a 1-3 overall record in 2020 but that's not going to say much in a pandemic year...but then their game against South Dakota State happened. I'm not saying that South Dakota State is bad by any means, they've made the FCS playoffs since 2012, so I'm not leaving them short...but it's the FCS. I think most would believe that an FCS team beating an FBS team is an upset, but losing by 19 isn't an upset, that's just getting outplayed. Sorry Rams fans, this isn't looking good right now. Obviously this can change, but if you start your season losing to an FCS team...then that outlook is not so good.
New Mexico: Very Doubtful
Sorry to the Lobos fans, but it's not positive here. Yes you got a win, but who was it against and by how much? It was against an FCS team named Houston Baptist and you won by 10. And the stats didn't look all that well either. 3-13 on third down, 308 yards of offense, your special teams letting up a punt return for a touchdown...this is not looking great. I will give Danny Gonzales a little break though. His first season was 2020, year of the pandemic and they played in Las Vegas half the time. But this season will truly be a test of will for Gonzales and the Lobos. I honestly don't mind shaking this 8-ball prediction later, but they have to prove they're better than a 10 point win against an FCS school, otherwise I'm very doubtful of this team.
Utah State: Cannot Predict Now
The Aggies are a breed that is not predictable. Last year, they didn't do well going 1-5 for the season. But this past weekend, they got a win in an unlikely place: a power-5 school. Ok, so it was against Washington State and the whole coach Nick Rolovich ordeal probably had something to do with the Cougars losing in Pullman. But Utah State winning in the house of a power-5 school is not to be taken lightly. They had a great game on both running and passing, going over 200 yards each. The 8 penalties for 78 yards and 2 turnovers is concerning, but I'm willing to let that slide. The only reason that I don't put them higher is because of last year, but I think this 8-ball will shake in a good direction soon, I just cannot predict it right now.
Wyoming: Outlook Not So Good
Unless the Cowboys were just waiting until the end of their game against Montana State to come alive, then the 8-ball will not move from here. They played badly against the Bobcats, only landing up with 2 touchdowns, but not one of them came in the first three quarters. Credit to Sean Chambers who led the team down the field and won it on a 21-yard pass to Treyton Welch to win it...but again, it's against Montana State. If it takes you 45 minutes to get a touchdown...sorry but this outlook is not so good. I'm not saying it can't, but something has to happen against NIU and Ball State for me to adjust it later.Now let's head to the West Division
Fresno State: You May Rely On It
The bulldogs are a threat. That's all there is to it. Putting up 45 points and shutting out UConn is one thing, going to Oregon and losing on a game winning TD with 2:57 is another thing, and a big one at that. Fresno almost took down the powerhouse of the Ducks and they score 18 unanswered points from the end of the second quarter till the middle of the fourth. If that doesn't scream threat in the MWC, I don't know what does. They may be 1-1 currently, but I see it as a 2-0 in terms of morality. They play UCLA two weeks from now, so if they can play like they did in Eugene, you may rely on the fact that this is a top 3 MWC team.
Hawaii: Reply Hazy, Try Again
I'm a Hawaii fan, and I will always have bias towards then, but not to the point where I think that they are a top half team. The Rainbow Warriors started in Week 0 dreadfully against UCLA losing 44-10. But the Bruins are a lot better than last year, as was evident in their game against LSU, so naturally I'm letting that one slide...but only by a little. But their game against Portland State was...not overwhelming. They got 49 yes, but they gave up 35 to an FCS team in Portland State. Yes, your offense gets 573 yards, which is great for a Todd Graham offense. But when your defense gives up 477 yards and a lot of big plays, that's where this reaction is hazy. Hawaii has been known to have a good offense and somewhat sub-par defense, so I won't say anything yet. But against Oregon State this week, I have a feeling that this 8-ball shakes up, which way I don't know.
Nevada: Outlook Good
The Wolf Pack are howling. I will keep making this pun until proven wrong. They go to Berkley and beat the Golden Bears of Cal 22-17. A power-5 win, not much else need be said, but we will anyway. Last year, they played all 8 of their regular season games and won the Potato Bowl over Tulane. The outlook is good when you can beat a power-5 school, even if it is Cal who last year didn't do well with a 1-3 record. But after that one game, we know where the Pack's strength lies. Carson Strong had a decent performance with 312 yards, but the receivers were very good. Tory Horton got 94 yards on 3 receptions and Romeo Doubs had 83 yards on 6 receptions. They keep it going, and Nevada's outlook might be better than good
San Diego State: Ask Again Later
The Aztecs got a win on the board. That's what matters to start. How they got it though is a different story. SDSU got itself a win, but never scored until the second half, so it was 10-0 at halftime. They also got had less yards for the game 374-363. Ignore the first half, and you have a solid team. Defense had a pick-six, and all of their touchdowns landed up being 18 yard runs or more. But the thing here too is...it was against New Mexico State, a team that has been a bottom team for a while, and probably will still be that this season. It was surprising not to see a score in the first half for SDSU, that's for sure. What I'm not so sure about is if they have another game like that first half...Ask again later after the Arizona game honestly.
San Jose State: Signs Point to Yes
Their first game was against Southern Utah and won handily, but then they lost to USC at Memorial Stadium 30-7. So they split 1-1 but that doesn't mean that they're average. San Jose State have slowly improved under Brent Brennan. In 2017, aka Brennan's start, they were 2-11. In 2020, they went 7-1 and won the MWC Championship. That's improvement, and I don't think that USC game justifies what they've done. San Jose State is still a threat. Go back to the Southern Utah game and see the weaponry on offense. Nick Starkel had a decent night and Charles Ross and Derrick Deese Jr. each had 3 receptions for over 70 yards, and Sam Olson had one reception for a 70-yard touchdown. So there are signs pointing towards yes, and it's in the hands of the offense.
UNLV: Don't Count On It
The question here is whether or not we give head coach Marcus Arroyo a pass. He got the team in 2020 and lost all six games they played, but it was a pandemic year. I was going to give him a pass...until I saw the UNLV vs. Eastern Washington game...I will give one player credit. Daniel Gutierrez, all props to you because you carried your team to overtime. Not a single touchdown scored until the fourth quarter AND needed a 2-point conversion to take it to overtime.The Eagles also beat the Rebels in yards 471-339 and EWU receiver Andrew Boston got over 100 reception yards on 6 receptions. I'm putting this game on the same line as Wyoming against Montana State, but put an L on the record instead of a W. Unless they come out and prove something against Arizona State and Iowa State, don't count on this 8-ball shaking the answer up.
Come on down to the comments below and give me who you think should have their 8-ball answer shaken up and why! It's the start of the 2021 season, so the fun is just beginning, so come on in and let's have fun!