With spring practice getting under way for some college football teams and shortly to start for others, this seems like as good a time as any to examine projections for where each school will end up in the new expanded Mountain West Conference standings.
Yes, these predictions are too early but gives us something to talk about as we move through spring practice. With two divisions now (surprisingly Mountain and West), there’s a new twist to the conference which will lead the two winners of the divisions to play in a conference championship at season’s end.
Here’s a quick breakdown and note of where each team will likely finish in their respective divisions.
1. Boise State – The Broncos have a couple of tough away games against non-conference opponents but that won’t stop them from winning the weaker of the two divisions; although, they may arguably have the toughest conference schedule.
2. Utah State – The Aggies probably have the toughest non-conference schedule with BYU to go along with two Pac-12 road games. Still, this program has evolved and their league schedule offers hope for an excellent year, which is their first as a Mountain West team.
3. Air Force – If the Falcons have their usual solid season, there’s no reason they can’t have another winning year.
4. Wyoming – The Cowboys shouldn’t have the disastrous year they had in 2012 and although this might be a stretch, if they can win their game at Air Force, they’ll probably go bowling.
5. New Mexico – The Lobos started off solid last season but faded. A second year under Bob Davie should see improvement though making it to a bowl might be tough.
6. Colorado State – They too should improve over last season but the Rams still don’t have the program ready to win more than four or five contests.
1. Fresno State – This division will be a very close and tough battle. However, with that said the Bulldogs have the talent to win 10 games and, at the very least, win this division.
2. San Diego State – Now established as a contender year-in and year-out, the Aztecs should have another winning season.
3. San Jose State – The schedule doesn’t appear to be too tough in their first year of Mountain West competition so the Spartans should win enough to get their second winning season in-a-row.
4. Nevada – The Wolf Pack's Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault has retired and that alone should slow down what otherwise was a solid program. That, plus a tough non-conference schedule might doom them to a losing record.
5. Hawaii – Second year coach Norm Chow is rebuilding the program so the Warriors might still be a year away from a winning season.
6. UNLV – Hunch here is they will win more than they have in the past. That’s not saying a lot since the Rebels have three straight two win seasons.
Sources: Mountain West Conference