We have spent the last few months looking back at the 2021 season. Now, with less than 80 days until college football starts, we are going to start previewing the upcoming season and looking at how we expect things to play out this fall. In this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” we are going to take a look at some of the broader expectations for the conference entering the 2022 season.
Fresno State Finishes With a Top 10 Offense
The Bulldogs have one of the most talented offenses in the nation and are absolutely loaded at the skill positions. Jake Haener will get all of the preseason hype and will undoubtedly be the preseason offensive player of the year. The biggest question for this team lies on both sides of the trenches. Do the Bulldogs have enough talent to walk away with the conference title?
Boise State Bounces Back
The Broncos have a slightly more favorable schedule this fall. They host BYU, Fresno State, San Diego State, and Utah State. The toughest road tests will come against Air Force and Oregon State. This schedule is tough enough to build some national hype if the Broncos can go on an early run of wins, but not so tough that anything short of nine or ten wins should be expected.
The Falcons Fly
Air Force has a ton of returning talent. If history proves anything, that is when the Falcons are the most dangerous. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels and running back Brad Roberts return to lead what should be the best running back in the nation. We will likely have a good idea of how the season will play out for Air Force by October 22nd. The Falcons will have already played five conference games including contests against Utah State and Boise State. Win both and they are likely playing in the conference championship game; lose both and they will likely spend the month of November positioning themselves for a better bowl game.
San Jose State Contends
I really like the roster moves that the Spartans made this offseason. They made significant gains at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. My biggest concern with this team is whether or not they will be able to establish a consistent running attack. I think this team has the ability to make things interesting with San Diego State and Fresno State, and it wouldn’t shock me if they knocked one of those teams off.
2021 Division Champions Have Strong Seasons But Take a Step Back
I like what Utah State and San Diego State bring back. The Aztecs should have the top defense in the conference, but I’m not sure they have the offensive firepower to make another run at the conference title. I also think their schedule is going to make things really tough. The Aztecs have to travel to Boise and Fresno while hosting San Jose State and Air Force.
Utah State is an intriguing team. They benefit by playing one of the easiest schedules in the conference, but they lost some really important players on both sides of the ball. Logan Bonner will need to work on being a little more consistent behind center and will have to figure out how to replace his top target in Deven Thompkins. The Aggies finish the season by traveling to Boise. Could this game be for a spot in the Mountain West title game?
Wyoming Starts to Question the Future
This Cowboys roster is in rough shape. Outside of Nevada, Wyoming was hit hardest by the transfer portal. I think Andrew Peasley is a slight upgrade at quarterback over Levi Williams, but expectations for this team should be low this season. I think a bowl game would be a successful season for this squad, but the Cowboys have a much tougher non-conference schedule this season with games against Illinois, Tulsa, and BYU. It is hard to see this team getting to six wins.
UNLV Doesn’t Meet Preseason Expectations
If UNLV doesn’t make a bowl game this season, I’m not sure when it will ever happen. The Rebels do have to replace Charles Williams at running back and lost some talented players to the transfer portal, but they have enough returning production to make a run for a bowl game. Unfortunately, I think the Rebels will fall short and UNLV’s administration will be left questioning whether or not changes need to be made in the football program.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” What expectations do you have for your football program this fall? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.