Back in August, we released our team votes for the order of the Mountain West offenses heading into the 2023 season. Now that the season is over, the team voted again, and we compiled the votes and are posting the results in today’s post.
There was a pretty big consensus amongst our voters in the rankings. In fact, spots 1, 6, 11, and 12 were all unanimous.
Note: for team stats, they obviously do not include the impending bowl games for teams playing in a bowl game. Although bowl games do count toward season stats, they have yet to be played, so the numbers won’t be completely accurate.
All team stats are per the Mountain West official website.
2023 stats: 34.3 ppg, 179.5 rushing ypg, 235.2 passing ypg
The “Go-Go” offense definitely lived up to the hype. While it took a game or two to fully get up to speed, few offenses were faster or produced as many explosive plays. They made great use of their personnel, spread the ball around to many different playmakers, blended a strong rushing attack with lots of vertical passes, and didn’t miss a beat when they needed to switch quarterbacks.
2) Boise State
2023 stats: 32.9 ppg, 214.8 rushing ypg, 229.3 passing ypg
Boise State started with a good offense and it got better as the year went on, turning into one of the best units in the conference. They definitely relied on their star power, and they had a lot of stars to spread the ball around to. The strength of the offense was a dominant run game, with three players capable of putting up big yards behind a tremendous offensive line.
3) San Jose State
2023 stats: 33.3 ppg, 186.2 rushing ypg, 219.8 passing ypg
The Spartans were projected to be one of the best offenses in the conference and by the end of the season, they lived up to the hype, Few teams had a better balance of a dynamic running game with a great passing attack. San Jose State boasted an impressive 1-2 punch at running back, and combined them with the best quarterback in the conference. They were missing their best wide receiver all season, but still had a steady array of weapons in the passing game.
4) Fresno State
2023 stats: 29.9 ppg, 104.3 rushing ypg, 274.1 passing ypg
The Bulldogs lost pretty much all of their offensive playmakers from last year’s championship season, and in the early going, it looked liked they didn’t miss a beat. Whether it was transfers, junior college players, returning players or freshman, Fresno State featured plenty of production. There were some growing pains, and some injuries, but they were a good offensive team this season.
5) Utah State
2023 stats: 34.1 ppg, 186.6 rushing ypg, 259.8 passing ypg
The Aggies have been known for having explosive offenses under Coach Anderson and this year was no exception. They could run a bit hot and cold, but when they were hot, they were difficult to stop. Utah State had arguably the best wide receiver group in the Mountain West and they were able to produce no matter which of the three quarterbacks were playing.
6) Air Force
2023 stats: 27.6 ppg, 275.8 rushing ypg, 88.3 passing ypg
The Falcons were a team of two halves in many ways this season and offensive production was definitely one of them. They still had one of the best offensive lines in the conference and the country, and they didn’t miss a beat at quarterback, while breaking in a new starter. The triple option ran pretty well, but Air Force had a harder time putting up points later in the season. While some of that can be explained by injuries, other parts of it was plainly losing battles or lacking execution.
7) Colorado State
2023 stats: 26.1 ppg, 92.8 rushing ypg, 306.5 passing ypg
The Rams offense struggled mightily last season and the consensus was they had nowhere to go but up. Inconsistent quarterback play led to a change at the position early in the season and that helped everything click. The passing game was legit and they had one of the best offensive players in the Mountain West. It’s safe to say the Air Raid offense was living up to its name this season.
2023 stats: 26.3 ppg, 157.5 rushing ypg, 167.3 passing ypg
Everyone knows the Cowboys will have a stout running game and they did once again, although they did battle lots of injuries at the position. However, in a surprise to many, the passing game held its own and in some games, it was even a strength. They finally had a quarterback and weren’t one-dimensional on offense, which helped the team become more complete overall.
2023 stats: 21.4 ppg, 75.4 rushing ypg, 276.4 passing ypg
The Rainbow Warriors returned to the famed run-and-shoot offense, and it helped them become more competitive in Year 2 of Coach Chang’s tenure. As the stats show, running the ball wasn’t much of a priority, but the passing attack came together well. Good quarterback play and a dynamic duo at wide receiver helped Hawaii put up their fair share of points, although it wasn’t as consistent as it could be. Still, the pieces are now in place and there is a lot of potential here.
10) New Mexico
2023 stats: 27.3 ppg, 192.7 rushing ypg, 217.9 passing ypg
The Lobos made significant strides on offense this season. The choice in scheme, quarterback, and at coordinator paid immediate dividends. They had plus players at quarterback and running back, allowing them to be balanced and keep defenses from honing in on them too much. Unfortuatnely, it didn’t help New Mexico in the win column too much, but their offense was competitive and fun to watch.
11) San Diego State
2023 stats: 20.5 ppg, 154.3 rushing ypg, 171.8 passing ypg
The Aztecs seemed prime to have a balanced offense that could put up enough points to aid their defense. That proved not to be the case, as the offense was pretty balanced but overall ineffective. The passing game was overall more potent but was still not dynamic and the rushing attack struggled as well. San Diego State had a rough year for many reasons and offense was one of them.
2023 stats: 17.3 ppg, 124.8 rushing ypg, 175.2 passing ypg
The Wolf Pack had lots of questions marks on offense last year and seemed to take a step back this season. They still ould not find an answer at quarterback, their running back transfers couldn’t match last year’s production and they still couldn’t establish an identity. Times were tough for Nevada during the 2023 season, and their paltry offense was one of the main reasons why.
Your turn: How would you rank the offenses and defenses in the Mountain West? What changes would you make? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.