Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Mountain West season with the team rankings.
Preview 2018: Mountain West Team Rankings
This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.
Please scroll down for the Mountain West rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 12.
Mountain West Rankings: Mountain
1. Boise State Broncos
Should be ranked here because … the team is good enough to be the front runner for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six spot. As good as QB Brett Rypien and RB Alexander Mattison are, the secondary might be the team’s biggest strength, and the D line isn’t far behind.
Should be ranked lower because … the receiving corps has to find a few new parts, and after he got knocked around last year, Rypien’s health will always be a concern.
2. Wyoming Cowboys
Should be ranked higher because … the great defense of last year is about to be even better. The Cowboys will load up the all-conference teams with defenders, starting with safety Andrew Wingard, linemen Youhanna Ghaifan, and end Carl Granderson. Even without Josh Allen, the passing game will be better – Tyler Vander Waal and Nick Smith are good quarterbacks, and the receivers are in place to do far more.
Should be ranked lower because … the offense still has to prove it can work. Yeah, it’s easy to dog Josh Allen and his lack of production, but he’s going to be a starting NFL quarterback this year. The O just didn’t click, and it starts with a line that needs to be better and a running game that has to improve.
3. Colorado State Rams
Should be ranked higher because … the passing game shouldn’t skip a beat, if all goes according to plan. The addition of grad transfer KJ Carta-Samuels from Washington-then-UCLA is a big help, and former Tennessee transfer Preston Williams has the upside to be the new receiving star. The special teams are among the league’s best.
Should be ranked lower because … the defensive line might be a big issue for a while. The linebacking corps is a plus, but the rest of the D is going to be a concern. The O line won’t be good enough to hold up against the Mountain’s better defenses.
4. Utah State Aggies
Should be ranked higher because … the offensive line should be good enough to get everything going. The receivers and tight end Dax Raymond are a plus, and there are at least two all-stars on the front five. The secondary is strong, too.
Should be ranked lower because … the offensive backfield has to be settled and better. Leading rusher LaJuan Hunt is gone, and Jordan Love has to be ready to be the new star quarterback to build around.
5. Air Force Falcons
Should be ranked higher because … as always, the running game will be great starting with veteran QB Arion Worthman getting it all going. Safeties Kyle Floyd and James Jones form the nucleus of a good secondary that should hold up against the better Mountain West passing games.
Should be ranked lower because … the lines have to be rebooted. The Falcons are used to having to undergo overhauls at key positions, they need to hope for both fronts to come together fast in fall camp.
6. New Mexico Lobos
Should be ranked higher because … after a nightmare of a season, and an even worse offseason, there’s a shot the program pivots right back and returns to being the devastating running team that was so good for so many years. RB Tyrone Owens and QB Tevaka Tuioti are good guys to start with.
Should be ranked here because … the lines aren’t that good – especially on the defensive front – and the run defense is going to be an early concern. And then there’s Bob Davie and the coaching situation that spent the offseason in turmoil.