CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017: Mountain West Rankings
The 2017 CFN Preview ranking of all the Mountain West teams.
Where do the Mountain West teams rank going into the season? This is NOT a ranking of how the teams are projected or predicted to finish. This is a ranking of how good they all appear to be going into the fall.
Preview 2017: Mountain West Rankings
12. San Jose State
New head coach Brent Brennan is going to need a little while. The kicking game has the potential to be the best in the Mountain West, but the players aren’t in place on either side of the ball to make a whole lot of noise in the conference chase. It’s going to be a fight for this defense to stop anyone.
The excitement will be there after a breakthrough first season under head coach Nick Rolovich, and the results should be better than the talent level. There will be times when it all works and the offense blows up – sort of like it did in the 52-35 bowl win over Middle Tennessee – but it’s going to be a weekly struggle to overcome the mediocre D.
10. Fresno State
Baby steps. New head coach Jeff Tedford doesn’t have the talent in place to do what he might like on both sides of the ball, but he has a good quarterback in Chason Virgil to start cranking up a good passing game – the receiving corps should be the team’s biggest strength. It’ll need to be amazing to keep up in a slew of shootouts.
9. Utah State
The secondary has the potential to be solid, but can the defensive front seven get back to being the killer it was a few years ago? Kent Myers is a great veteran quarterback, and the receiving corps is good, but the firepower might not be there to keep up with some of the Mountain West’s offensive machines.
Is this finally when this all starts to work under Tony Sanchez? The offense might be fantastic if Armani Rogers turns into the quarterback everyone is hoping he’ll be. Devonte Boyd is one of the league’s top receivers, the backfield is great, and there might be a little bit of D this year, too.
Get ready to have a little fun. Nevada wasn’t totally miserable, but it wasn’t at a Mountain West title level. Now it’s getting a big tweak under new head coach Jay Norvell, with Alabama transfer QB David Cornwell leading the Air Raid offense that’ll wing the ball all over the place. It’ll need to with a defense that won’t exactly be a rock.
The hype will be off the charts with a franchise NFL quarterback in Josh Allen who’ll get all the attention – and rightly so. The rest of the team is shaky – the defense won’t stop anyone with a decent ground game – but Allen just might be good enough to carry the defending Mountain Division champs back to the title game.
5. New Mexico
This could be the best New Mexico running game yet under Bob Davie – and it’s been one of the best running games in the country over the last few years. The offensive.backfield is absolutely loaded behind another great line. Ball control is a must to overcome a shaky D.
4. Air Force
The linebacking corps and defensive front has the potential be great, but there’s a whole lot of work to do on both sides of the ball to fill in the gaps. It’s Air Force, so the running game will be outstanding – the O line should be the team’s biggest strength – but the receiving corps needs to find a few gamebreakers.
3. San Diego State
The defending two-time champion has some rebuilding to do, but the pieces are in place to be in the thick of the chase again – if not threepeat. Even without Donnel Pumphrey, Rashaad Penny and the running game will be a killer. And, as always, the defense will be fantastic, even if it needs to replace a ton of key parts.
2. Colorado State
Can the defense do its part? As long as it just holds serve – and the Rams have the linebacking corps to do it – the offense will do its part. QB Nick Stevens won’t get a whole lot of love in a conference with Josh Allen and Brett Rypien, but he might end up putting up comparable numbers with Michael Gallup to throw to. The running game will be unstoppable at times.
1. Boise State
It’s not a given anymore that Boise State is the best team in the conference or the lock to win the Mountain West title, and it’s going to be in for a fight to simply win the division – which it hasn’t done for the last few years. However, with dominant offensive talent, and a solid defense led by a fantastic pair of safeties, the Broncos have everything in place to finally get back on top.