The Mountain West has not gotten off to a great start. They having an overall losing record 16-18, only one win against a Power 5, which was not against a traditional powerhouse (Air Force over Colorado), against 14 loses. When playing other mid-majors they have 6 wins and 2 loses and against FCS teams they are 9 and 2 with Nevada losing the Incarnate Word and Utah State losing to Weber State. We will leave it to other to do a power ranking, as this week on Stats Corner we are going to rank how well the teams have done when compared to pre-season expectations. This is not looking at wins and loses in the traditional sense and the top teams are not necessarily the best teams, just the ones who have met or exceeded pre-season expectations.
1) New Mexico
I know, people are thinking “a ranking with New Mexico at the top?” If looking at expectations, the Lobos have over preformed. They have two games where they are exceeded expectations. A 41-0 win over Maine where they had a 74.2% chance of winning. They were expected to win, but not by that much. The second game was against UTEP, they were the underdogs with 42.1% chance of winning, but they pulled off the upset 27-10. Even their loss to Boise State at 14-31 was in line of expectations as they only had a 9.2% of winning. Even though the results have not been great, they have exceeded preseason expectations, which is a good sign for the future, meaning the top overachievers in the Mountain West are the Lobos.
Close behind the Lobos are the Rebels. They have over-achieved in one game, beating North Texas 58-27 when they were the underdogs at 42.8%. They met expectations with a 52-21 win over Idaho State, where the chance of winning was 93% and while they did lose to Cal, they only had a 18% chance of winning and the game was close at 14-20, much closer than what was expected. Allowing UNLV to overachieve their pre-season outlooks.
Slightly over achieving
The Cowboys have won two games they were not suppose to, Tulsa 40-37 with a 47.4% chance and Air Force 17-14 at 39.4%. The Northern Colorado was as expected winning 33-10 with an initial 96.3% chance of victory, they should have won by a few more points, but not a bad showing. The only game they underperformed was Illinois, while they were not expected to win it, 24.9%, it was not expected to be 6-38.
4) Boise State
Boise State has met expectations against New Mexico 31-14 after a 90.8% of winning and UT Martin 30-7 with a 97.7% chance of winning. While Oregon State was supposed to be a toss-up 50.2%, the final score was under what the Broncos were expected to od 17-34.
5) Air Force
A couple great games against Northern Iowa and Colorado. While the Falcons were expected to win both 87.2% against Northern Iowa and 63.1% against Colorado they defeated their opponents by more than expected 48-17 and 41-10 respectively. Then there is the underachieving game where they were supposed to beat Wyoming, 60.6% and lost 14-17.
6) Fresno State
The Bulldogs started good, beating Cal Poly 35-7 as a 96.6% chance of winning would predict. However, their last two games at Oregon State and USC as slightly concerning. Oregon State was a toss-up which 32-35 would so, but at 51.6% the Bulldogs were expected to win. They were not expected to beat USC, 19.9% but a 17-45 blowout was more than they should have given up.
7) San Jose State
With only two games played, San Jose State is slightly below expectations. They definitely exceed against Auburn, as they only lost 16-24 against a 3.7% chance, but with a 92.4% chance of beating Portland State a 21-17 victory is too close. It is the smallest sample size in the conference, with one above and one below expectations, but the Spartans are slightly under overall.
Not playing to expectations
The Wolfpack started well, 23-12 over New Mexico State and 38-14 over Texas State against decent chances 78.2% and 62.4%, respectively, both slightly exceeded expectations. However, losing 41-55 to Incarnate Word after a 97.6% of winning is one of the worse conference losses this season, see #10 soon. Iowa was not supposed to be a win, 9.6%, but should have been much closer than 0-27. Two bad games move the Wolfpack into the not play to expectations.
9) San Diego State
The Aztec were supposed to have a great season, they started as favorites against Arizona at 67.1%, then lost 20-38. A beatdown of Idaho State, 38-7 against 97.5% was good, but losing 7-35 to Utah at 9.8% was bad. One good win, against two losses below expectations is not the way the Aztecs should be going.
10) Utah State
The Aggies did beat UCONN, but at 90.6% the score should have been better than 31-20. UCONN hung around longer than they should have. While they were not going to beat Alabama, .8%, they should have come close to covering a 41-point spread. What puts the Aggies at the bottom of the not playing to expectations category is the 7-35 beatdown to Weber State. At 81.3% chance of winning, the game should have been an easy win for the Aggies. Their season is not over, and they can turn it around, but it has not started out as expected
Nothing is going right
Hawaii has underperformed in every game this season. It started with losing a game to Vanderbilt where they were favored, 72%, followed by a toss game against Western Kentucky, 46.8%, that turned into a blowout 17-49. As with Utah State and Alabama, Hawaii was not expected to beat Michigan, just 2% chance, but it should have been closer that 10-56. As with several MWC teams who beat FCS team a 24-14 victory at Duquesne at 97.8% of winning is too close and falls into the underwhelming category.
12) Colorado State
The Rams were not favored in any of their games, and they lost all of them. The reason though they are at the bottom of the rankings is they have lost by more than was expected in each game. Another game the MWC was supposed to win against Michigan, 2.4%, but 7-51 is too big a margin. A 40.9% chance of beating Middle Tennessee should have resulted in a score closer than 19-34, and Washington State 7-38 beat down does not represent a 20.3% probability of winning. The Rams are headed for a long season of underperforming.