With camp underway and the season rapidly approaching, members of our team took the time to rank the offenses in the Mountain West. The top and bottom offense were both close to unanimous, while there was plenty of parity in between. Here are the results:
All team stats are per the Mountain West official website.
1. Fresno State
2021 stats: 33.38 ppg, 137.2 rushing ypg, 326.7 passing ypg
The 2022 version of the Bulldog’s offense will feature the league’s best quarterback and best wide receiver. They will pair a deep, wide receiver room with some productive running backs and a few intriguing tight ends. And their offensive line should be up to the challenge to ensure all the skill players can shine. Fresno State’s offense should be a sight to see this year.
2. Boise State
2021 stats: 29.17 ppg, 120.4 rushing ypg, 260.6 passing ypg
Boise State is accustomed to having one of the top offenses in the Mountain West, but that was not the case last season. In order for them to live up to their preseason votes and standing, they will need to reverse some bad trends, namely, health, struggling offensive line play, and inconsistency at quarterback. Scoring more points and having more dynamic plays would help as well. When healthy, they have the most talented players on the field at running back and wide receiver, and the potential is off the charts. All the pieces are there to succeed, but they need to play like they are capable of to justify this ranking.
3. Air Force
2021 stats: 31 ppg, 328.2 rushing ypg, 95.5 ypg
The Falcon’s offense has run like a well-oiled machine for many seasons, and this year should be no different. They return their two top rushers from last year, and while both are recovering from injuries, they should still be able to make the triple-option run efficiently and effectively. The offensive line looks nearly as good entering the season as they were during the 2020 campaign and should lead the charge, opening up huge holes once again. Air Force also boasts arguably the best tight end in the conference, and he should be a factor as a blocker and receiver. While they appear weak at wide receiver, they can afford to be compared to other teams.
4. Colorado State
2021 stats: 23.67 ppg, 163.9 rushing ypg, 251.8 passing ypg
It’s funny how much difference a year can make for the Ram’s offense. Well, a year and an entirely new coaching staff and offensive scheme and players. Out goes the methodically power-run scheme, and in enters the exciting air-raid. Coach Norvell brought in transfers and recruits who fit the scheme perfectly, and conventional wisdom says the offense will be completely transformed once the season starts. If his tenure at Nevada is any indication, they should have no trouble putting up points.
5. Utah State
2021 stats: 32.57, 142.1 rushing ypg, 303.4 passing ypg
One of the most dynamic offenses in the entire country is going to try to replicate the magic in 2022. The Aggies return their quarterback and primary running back but must replace a few wide receivers and other play-makers from last season. It would make sense for the Utah State offense to take a step back from last year’s pace, but there are sure to continue to be dynamic and preserve the ability to find the endzone as quickly as anyone else.
6. San Diego State
2021 stats: 27.36 ppg, 174,0 rushing ypg, 167.9 passing ypg,
The Aztec offense has been extremely run-heavy for as long as most can remember. However, they developed some resemblance of a passing game last season. A wide receiver or two has emerged, although the quarterback situation is still somewhat unknown. What is known is that San Diego State will have a strong running game, with many productive backs running behind a reliable offense line. The question for them is always: will it be enough?
7. San Jose State
2021 stats: 20 ppg, 120.5 rushing ypg, 219.7 passing ypg
After a magical 2020 season and a pedestrian 2021, it is clear the San Jose State offense goes as far as their quarterback can take them. When consistent and healthy, the offense is multiple and runs smoothly. When that position is hurt or in disarray, so is the rest of the unit on the field. After adding talented players at the quarterback and wide receiver positions, this offense could end up playing much better than their preseason ranking. Time will tell.
2021 stats: 28.77 ppg, 142.8 rushing ypg, 262.2 passing ypg
Hawaii is as big of a question mark as any team in the Mountain West this year, with roughly half of their roster being players who weren’t on the team last season. Getting everyone on the same page and learning an entirely new offense is no easy task. Even their coach has said a depth chart or expectations are anyone’s guess at this point. Will things run smoothly? Who knows. But will it be fun to watch? Most likely.
2021 stats: 25.38 ppg, 211.2 rushing ypg, 162.7 passing ypg
The 2022 version of Wyoming’s offense is on track to look a lot like the past few editions. It will feature a strong offensive line, a steady running game, and notable struggles in the passing game. Hopefully, the Cowboy’s offense won’t completely disappear for ten quarters like it did last season, but it’s hard to see the offense being better. Not after losing their top two quarterbacks, plus their top running back and wide receiver. While they did add an intriguing quarterback and have a great running back who should put up big numbers, it may not be enough to turn the tide.
2021 stats: 35.69 ppg, 77.4 rushing ypg, 347 passing ypg
Nevada had a high-flying offense last year, but all of that is out of the window for the 2022 season. It isn’t known what the Wolf Pack offense will look like, but it won’t resemble the air-raid of the Norvell era. It will probably struggle mightily as players get used to one another and coaches get used to executing their schemes and personnel. While it could take the conference by storm like Utah State last year, it will likely look more like UNLV in 2020. Speaking of...
2021 stats: 20.75 pp, 109.8 rushing ypg, 202.5 passing ypg
The Rebel’s offense has endured its share of ups and downs the past two seasons, but it’s safe to say it’s been more downs than ups. There were flashes of improved play last year, but it was few and far between. UNLV has to replace one of the best running backs in program history but has some talent at wide receiver and tight end. The inconsistency at quarterback has hindered them, and until that is addressed, there is not much hope for things to get better.
12. New Mexico
2021 stats: 12.17 ppg, 119.9 rushing ypg, 113.9 passing ypg
The Lobos had lots of things go wrong for them in 2021, but fire and foremost was scoring points. It’s hard to win games when averaging less than two touchdowns a game. The offense lacked an identity for the first half of the season and came out of the bye week running more option concepts with a run-heavy approach. It is unknown if New Mexico will have a set offensive identity this season or if that identity will be any good. Hopefully, things change heading into 2022, but that remains to be seen at this point.
Your turn: How would you rank the offenses in the Mountain West? What changes would you make? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.