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2023 Mountain West Opening Day

As the start of the season comes once again, we discuss the unique features of the Mountain West conference and what is has to prove this year.

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Colorado State Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Today begins another year of college football in the Mountain West. And what a year it is ramping up to be.

The Mountain West is really one of the most entertaining conferences in all of college football in the sense that it has everything a fan could want in a college football game.

It’s a conference with every offense under the sun. If you like passing, there is the air-raid and run-and-shoot, as well as the “Go-Go,” which is brand new to the MW. If a strong running game is more of your thing, it has the old-school triple-option and the still old-school power I formation that can feature a full-back! There are spread schemes and pro-style philosophies, and defenses have to prepare for a different one every week.

Speaking of defenses, the Mountain West boasts a number of great ones. Air Force and Wyoming figure to have two of the best in the country heading into 2023. Boise State, Fresno State, and San Diego State figure to have solid ones too. There are a number of different schemes within the conference on this side of the ball as well. The Aztecs and Lobos feature the 3-3-5, which was installed by the style’s architect, Rocky Long, who coaches at both schools. The MW also features a 4-3 style and several teams who run some variation of a 4-2-5.

Heading into the 2023 season, the conference and its twelve teams have a lot to prove.

After a three-year championship draught, Boise State has all the expectations placed on themselves to win the Mountain West this year and for the program to show they aren’t becoming “just another team.”

San Diego State has a target on their backs after their summer drama with leaving the conference and would love to prove to the rest of the conference that they are worthy of being in a Power 5 conference.

Utah State is out to show everyone that 2021 wasn’t just a one-year wonder and that Coach Anderon’s tenure has staying power in the conference.

Fresno State is out to demonstrate they can repeat as conference champs with a new core and that Jeff Tedford can win with his own players. Likewise, San Jose State is looking to prove to everyone they can consistently be at the top of the conference.

Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico are all trying to show some signs of life after being mostly lifeless in 2022.

UNLV needs to prove their new coaching hire wasn’t a misfire to the progress Coach Arroyo was making, and Colorado State is looking to take a step forward in the second year of the Air Raid.

Wyoming needs to demonstrate that Coach Bohl’s system can still survive in today’s game, while Air Force is looking to show Coach Calhoun’s system can still thrive despite new players and rules always making it harder.

Overall, the Mountain West conference as a whole desperately needs to prove they can maintain any sense of relevancy in the transfer portal era, where many teams' best players are constantly leaving, and the conference’s last major bowl game was ten seasons ago.