Bowl season kicks off this weekend and the Mountain West will have some early representation in the opening slate of games. Bowl games have definitely lost some luster in recent years with the emergence of the transfer portal and players opting out to avoid injuries and prepare for their pro careers. While the games may be lacking some star power, they can give us an idea of what to expect next fall. Let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly matchups of the Mountain West bowl season
Isleta New Mexico Bowl (New Mexico State vs. Fresno State)
As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the most exciting games of the Mountain West bowl slate. Two high-powered offenses face off in the opening weekend of bowl season. I expect a lot of points in this one and some really good quarterback play. Fresno State’s absence of head coach Jeff Tedford may play a role, but the Bulldogs should have the edge in this one.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (James Madison vs. Air Force)
Air Force finished the regular season with four consecutive losses, but it sounds like the injury depleted Falcons could be closer to full strength for this game. James Madison will be without their star quarterback after he entered the transfer portal. It will be interesting to see how this game plays out, but I like Air Force’s chances.
EasyPost Hawaii Bowl (Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State)
San Jose State was quick to accept this tropical bowl invitation. In Chevan Cordeiro’s final college game, he gets to return home and play his last game in front of his family and friends. Coastal Carolina will also be playing their backup quarterback after Grayson McCall entered the transfer portal. The Spartans should win this one going away, but you never know during bowl season.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Kansas vs. UNLV)
I’m glad to see that UNLV was give a quality opponent and bowl game after a stellar season. This is one of the most intriguing bowl matchups for me. There has been some confusion as to whether or not Jayden Maiava was going to enter the transfer portal. UNLV’s offense was slowed down by Boise State in the conference championship game, can they find their spark against a solid Kansas squad?
Starco Brands LA Bowl (UCLA vs. Boise State)
This should be the main event of the bowl season for the Mountain West, but this game is going to be filled with guys who have not received much action. Both teams have quarterbacks in the transfer portal and UCLA has a few players that will likely sit out the game. Boise State will either be starting a true freshman or a walk-on at quarterback. Regardless of who starts, neither quarterback has attempted a recorded pass in a college football game. On the bright side, the Broncos will still have Ashton Jeanty and George Holani to carry the weight in the running game.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Georgia State vs. Utah State)
This is one of those games that doesn’t draw many fans outside of the two schools in it. Both teams narrowly qualified for bowls. However, both of these offenses are capable of making this game a lot of fun. Hopefully we get a shootout on The Blue.
Which bowl game are you most excited for? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.