clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Week One Fan Guide

Can the Mountain West make a statement?

Frisco Bowl - Boise State v North Texas Photo by Emil T. Lippe/Getty Images

The true opening weekend of college football is upon us and it features some exciting contests against some big time foes. As the season progresses, the fan guide will typically feature a “who you should root for” section. But it is in the best interests of the Mountain West if each of its institutions has a strong showing in non-conference play, so we will wait until conference play starts to add that in. Let’s take a quick look at each match-up this weekend and what to expect.

Stanford @ Hawaii

This might be the most intriguing game of the weekend. The Rainbow Warriors will be coming off of a quick turnaround after playing a late Saturday game against Vanderbilt in Tennessee. The Rainbow Warriors were impressive in defeat and looked like a team that has made significant strides after a rough 2022 season. Stanford is coming off of their worst season in recent memory and should be on upset alert this Friday.

Utah State @ Iowa

I was a little surprise to see that the Aggies were 25 point underdogs to a Hawkeye squad that isn’t exactly known for its offensive firepower. This is a good opening weekend gauge of where this team stands. If the Aggies hope to return to their 2021 form, they need to be able to keep these kinds of games interesting. I will be keeping a close eye on the Aggies run game. If this offense is going to be elite, they will need to have a consistent run game.

Fresno State @ Purdue

The reigning MountainWest champion will be breaking in a new quarterback in UCF transfer, Mikey Keene. This game is shaping up to be one of the conference's best chances for a win over a Power Five foe. The Bulldogs are only four point underdogs and have a defense that is capable of slowing down the Boilermakers.

Robert Morris @ Air Force

The Falcons are one of the few Mountain West teams to have a tune up game opening weekend. I will be keeping a close eye on how this team replaces Brad Roberts and Haaziq Daniels. Do they have the offensive firepower to contend for a conferece championship?

Boise State @ Washington

This is arguably the most anticipated opening week match-up for the conference. Boise State is the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West, and Washington is a potential playoff team with one of the best offenses in the country. It is rare to see the Broncos as two touchdown underdogs, but with a questionable secondary and a Huskies offense led by Michael Penix Jr., this game has the potential to be a shootout. The Broncos need to establish the run game early and dominate time of possession to have a chance in this one.

Bryant @ UNLV

The Rebels are receiving some preseason hype as a potential bowl team this season. If the Rebels are going to be in the top half of the conference this year, they can’t struggle against teams like Bryant. This should be an easy win for the Rebels on their quest to play in the postseason.

Nevada @ USC

This is a brutal opening week match-up for a team that is looking to rebuild its foundation. Nevada hit the transfer portal hard this offseason. It will be interesting to see if the team can be better passing the ball and if head coach Ken Wilson can build a solid defense. This game won’t be close, but if the Wolf Pack can make some plays on the defensive side of the ball against one of the best offenses in the country, I will feel optimistic about Nevada having an improved 2023 season.

New Mexico @ Texas A&M

Not what I would want in my first game of the season if I am a Lobos fan. This team needs to show significant growth, or they could be facing some major changes this offseason. If I’m a Lobos fan, I just want to see my team cover the 38 point spread and put up a good fight.

Washington State @ Colorado State

The Rams are coming off of a very disappointing season. This is a good test to see if this team is taking steps in the right direction. Washington State will likely be in the bottom half of the PAC 12 this season. If the Rams hope to emerge as a bowl team, they should be able to keep this one close.

Texas Tech @ Wyoming

Wyominng has received a fair amount of praise this offseason and is viewed as a potential contender for the Mountain West Championship. This team is notorious for slow starts. We will quickly see what this team is made of, as they get the rare opportunity to host a Big 12 team at home. The Cowboys are 14 point underdogs, which feels just about right.

Idaho State @ San Diego State

This should be an easy win for the Aztecs. Keep a close eye on their offense. They struggled to move the ball against Ohio last weekend. Was it just first game jitters, or will the offense hold this team back yet again?

Oregon State @ San Jose State

The final Mountain West game of the weekend features a rare home game against a PAC 12 foe for the Spartans. San Jose State is 17 point underdogs. Maybe they will be able to jump out to a quick lead with the first game jitters behind them, but this is a talented Oregon State squad that is well coached. I will be keeping a close eye on the Spartans defense in this one, they really struggled against a talented USC team. If they can keep the Beavers under 30, they might have a chance.

Which game are you most looking forward to? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.