5. Troy Calhoun, Air Force
Yeah, Air Force has more to deal with than most programs when it comes to bringing in the right talent to fit what the school and the program needs, but the bar is set much higher than two straight 5-7 seasons. Calhoun managed to take the Falcons bowling nine times in his first ten seasons, and this year has has the team to pull up out of the nosedive.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 5
– 2019 Air Force Preview
4. Jay Norvell, Nevada
It might not exactly be the high-octane offensive thrill show it was expected to be when Norvell took over a few years ago and put his coaching staff together. but after a rebuilding 2017 season, he pulled off a nice 8-5 campaign with a bowl win. It’s a tough defensive-minded team that’s still rising back up on his watch.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 9
– 2019 Nevada Preview
3. Rocky Long, San Diego State
The bowl game problems over the last two seasons stings, and Fresno State has turned into the star in the West, but Long keeps on rolling for a program that no one could seem to figure out for years and years. With eight winning seasons in his eight campaigns, three Mountain West titles, and with 71 victories, he’s been special. The team is in place to keep it all going.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 4
– 2019 San Diego State Preview
2. Bryan Harsin, Boise State
The 42-year-old hasn’t quite been in the mix for the bigger gigs, but that’s coming. For now and the foreseeable future, he has his Boise State program rocking and rolling with four double-digit win seasons in his five years, two Mountain West titles, four appearances in the title games, and with three bowl wins in his four trips – we’ll just ignore the cancelled SERVPRO First Responders Bowl.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 1
– 2019 Boise State Preview
1. Jeff Tedford, Fresno State
After a five-year break from head coaching world, Tedford pulled off a fantastic ten-win first season, and followed it up with a 12-2 Mountain West championship campaign. Throw in the two bowl wins, and it’s been a nearly-perfect start to his run. Maybe it’s time to take things one step further with a New Year’s Six bowl appearance, but in another bit of a rebuilding season, being a player in the Mountain West race again would be good enough.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 3
– 2019 Fresno State Preview