The 2018 Mountain West Preview with the Game of the Year, Players of the Year, top pro prospects, big-time players who deserve a bigger spotlight, and more.
Preview 2018: Mountain West Preview
All of a sudden, the Mountain West is all about the defensive side. How did that possibly happen?
The conference known for its inventive offenses and tremendous creativity has somehow managed to see the rise on the other side of the ball take over.
Really? Quarterback guru to the stars Jeff Tedford takes over Fresno State and it gets to the Mountain West Championship because its D finished 15th in the nation?
Really? The Buffalo Bills couldn’t be happier to land Josh Allen, and yet Wyoming came up with a huge season because the D led the nation in takeaways? And it did it by a relative mile, coming up with 38 on the year. UCF was second with 32.
San Diego State has made a habit out of being a Mountain West star thanks to its defense under Rocky Long, and Boise State won the Mountain West title with a defense that finished 21st in the nation.
Shock of shocks, Boise State, San Diego State, Fresno State and Wyoming are all going to be the favorites to do big things, mostly because their defenses are going to be amazing – again.
Nevada might have a fun Air Raid offense that should wing it around in Jay Norvell’s second season, but the problem is a D that gave up 471 yards per game.
UNLV has some terrific offensive stars, and Hawaii is going to go old school and start throwing it even more. Those two finished 114th and 115th in the nation in total defense, respectively.
Colorado State was supposed to be in for a big 2017 season, but it fizzled because – take a guess – it couldn’t play and D. San Jose State had the nation’s second-worst run defense, Air Force also couldn’t stop the ground game, and Utah State was 118th in the nation in run defense.
So if it’s all about the defense, can the conference be entertaining enough? Will a national audience be drawn in to see Group of Five teams slugging it out?
If the big boys do what they’re supposed to do against some of the Power Five teams on the slate, the college football world won’t have a choice. It’ll have to pay attention.
Mountain West Team That Will Surprise
The Cowboy defense will be every bit as nasty as the 2017 version that allowed just 228 points in 13 games, and now there will be more of an offense. Josh Allen wasn’t able to do too much to get the attack going, but there should be a bit more pop with a little more consistency. Even so, the D will carry the team at times again. With Boise State having to come to Laramie, watch out.
Mountain West Team That Will Disappoint
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Can head coach Nick Rolovich’s move the run-and-shoot be enough to overcome a whole slew of issues, including losing QB Dru Brown and top receiver Dylan Collie to transfer? Yeah, the team should be more interesting, but the schedule is going to be sneaky-tough. With 13 games, they need to own the home field advantage to have a shot at turning things around and go bowling.