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The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Storylines from 2021 (Part 1: Mountain Division)

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We take a look back at a major storyline that impacted each team in 2021

NCAA Football: LA Bowl-Oregon State vs Utah State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 football season is officially over for the Mountain West. It ended with mixed results, as the Mountain West had the best bowl record finishing 5-1 but had two bowls cancelled due to COVID issues within the Boise State and Hawaii programs. For the next three weeks, we are going to focus on major storylines from each team and the conference as a whole. This week, we focus on the good, bad, and ugly storylines that impacted teams in the Mountain Division.

The Good

Utah State Strikes Gold in the Transfer Portal

Logan Bonner, Calvin Tyler Jr., and Justin Rice were all impact players for the Aggies this year and all three of them came to Utah State via the transfer portal. Blake Anderson hit all of the right buttons in his first season in Logan, leading the Aggies to a Mountain West title in his first season. Anderson has continued to hit the transfer portal hard this season. Will he find the same good fortune with this group of transfers?

Consistency in a World of Chaos Helps Air Force Find Success

Air Force won’t feel the impact of transfers and NIL like other schools in the Mountain West. The Falcons are who they are, and they always develop in the trenches. Building from the inside out has allowed Air Force to become a fixture atop the Mountain West. If it weren’t for an early season slip up against Utah State, they would have won the division. The Falcons are going to be preseason favorites with some experts heading into the 2022 season.

The Bad

Uncertainty at the Quarterback Position Continues to Plague the Cowboys

Outside of a couple seasons with Josh Allen, the quarterback position has been a major concern for the Cowboys under Craig Bohl. Sean Chambers and Levi Williams shared time at quarterback this season, and Wyoming finally settled in on Williams late in the season. Outside of a spectacular showing in the Potato Bowl, Williams struggled to perform at a high level. Now, both Chambers and Williams have entered the portal (Williams is headed to Utah State), and the quarterback position will continue to be an area of concern heading into the 2022 season.

Injuries and Uncertainty Slow the Lobos Down

It is hard to put a finger on where the Lobo program is headed. Early in the season, it looked like they could be a possible bowl team, and they even had a solid victory over Wyoming. Outside of that game, league play was an absolute nightmare for New Mexico. Their closest game was a 14-point loss to UNLV. The revolving door at quarterback and a changing offensive scheme plagued the Lobos this season.

The Ugly

Boise State’s Woes on the Offensive Line Continue

As a Boise State alum, this continues to cause me nightmares. This team finished 7-5 and each loss was close. But, in almost every loss, there were major issues on the offensive line. If the Broncos are going to return to elite status any time in the near future, the offensive line has to pull itself together. At this point, I am shocked that quarterback Hank Bachmeier can still walk upright.

Coaching Chaos Dooms Colorado State

I remember being in utter shock when Colorado State hired Steve Addazio as a head coach. For a program that needed a coach that could awake a sleeping giant, the hiring of Addazio was nothing short of odd. Addazio seemed like a coach looking for a way out much of the season: a loss to an FCS team, a poor decision that cost them a victory over Utah State, and being ejected in his final game. Luckily for Ram fans, they have a new coach that should be able to turn things around in Jay Norvell.

That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Which moments from the 2021 season stood out to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.