Mountain West 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

Mountain West 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

Mountain West

Mountain West 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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The 2019 early rankings, depth chart lookaheads, and projections for the Mountain West.


Contact @PeteFiutak

These can and will change after spring ball and going into the season, but for now, as a starting point, welcome to your pre-everything early ranking of all the Mountain West teams.

MOUNTAIN WEST: MOUNTAIN

6. New Mexico Lobos

The Lobos have to find an identity again, and it starts with hoping for QB Tevoka Tuioti to be past his shoulder injury. New stars have to emerge at running back and receiver, but the O line returns almost intact. The defense loses its top six tacklers and eight of the top 11. In all, seven starters have to be replaces, with the secondary the biggest early concern.

Final 2018 Record: 3-9 (1-7)
2018 MW Mountain Finish: 6
2018 Prespring Mountain West Conference Ranking: 12
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Offensive Line
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Back

5. Colorado State Rams

QB Collin Hill is back, but who will he throw to? Preston Williams left early for the NFL, and Olabisi Johnson is done. Leading rusher Izzy Matthews is gone, too, along with three starters up front. The defensive line is fine, but the secondary has to replace three starters. In all, four of the top six tacklers are gone.

Final 2018 Record: 3-9 (2-6)
2018 MW Mountain Finish: 5
2018 Prespring Mountain West Conference Ranking: 6
Biggest Issue To Fix: Turnover Margin
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Defensive Tackle
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Wide Receiver

4. Wyoming Cowboys

The defense that carried the team over the last few seasons has to replace the irreplaceable safety tandem of Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps, and four of the top seven tacklers are gone, but there’s enough returning to be okay. The offense that’s been struggling so much gets back starting QB Tyler Vander Waal, but more pop is needed from the receivers. RB Nico Evans is gone, but three starters are back on what should be a decent line.

Final 2018 Record: 6-6 (4-4)
2018 MW Mountain Finish: 3
2018 Prespring Mountain West Conference Ranking: 4
Biggest Issue To Fix: Passing Efficiency
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Safety

3. Utah State Aggies

Gary Andersen has enough pieces for a good season, but there’s a lot of rebuilding to do. The O line is gutted with four starters gone, and the loss of Darwin Thompson early to the NFL takes away the top running back – Gerold Bright is the man now. The receiving corps loses the top three wide receivers along with TE Dax Raymond. Six of the top nine tacklers are gone, with the biggest issue at safety. The corner situation is solid, and two starters are back in the front three.

Final 2018 Record: 11-2 (7-1)
2018 MW Mountain Finish: T1
2018 Prespring Mountain West Conference Ranking: 8
Biggest Issue To Fix: Penalties
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Cornerback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Tackle

2. Air Force Falcons

After all of the problems and inconsistencies last season, the returning experience might just be a shot in the arm. The quarterback situation is okay with a few veteran options, almost all of the top running backs return, and the line welcomes back four starters. The receiving corps is all bust starting over, but it’s Air Force – that’s okay. Four of the top five tacklers are back, and the starting 11 should be fine. However, after those top five, the next six top tacklers are gone.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (3-5)
2018 MW Mountain Finish: 4
2018 Prespring Mountain West Conference Ranking: 5
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Rush
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Wide Receiver

1. Boise State Broncos

Who’s going to take over for Brett Rypien? If Chase Cord’s injured knee is okay, he’s the starter, but he’ll be pushed hard for the gig. Star RB Alexander Mattison is leaving early, but the receiving corps will be okay despite losing top targets Sean Modster and AJ Richardson. The team’s biggest positive? All five starters are expected to return up front.

But for any of the issues on offense, just erase them away because of a defense that gets back 11 of the 13 starters. The defensive end situation is a wee bit of a concern – at least that’s where the holes are – but all of the top linebackers return, the tackles are strong, and the secondary should be among the Mountain West’s best.

Final 2018 Record: 10-3 (7-1)
2018 MW Mountain Finish: T1
2018 Prespring Mountain West Conference Ranking: 1
Biggest Issue To Fix: Punting Game
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Offensive Line
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive End

NEXT: MOUNTAIN WEST: WEST

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