2021 CFN Mountain West Preseason Rankings: West
1. Nevada Wolf Pack
Quick Take: Look … out. If you thought last year’s Nevada team was a blast, this version should blow that away. QB Carson Strong and the passing game will be unstoppable, the defensive front seven is terrific, and there’s experience everywhere. The problem? At Cal, at Kansas State, at Boise State in the first four games.
Nevada Preview | Schedule
2. San Jose State Spartans
Quick Take: It’s not like the shockingly efficient machine of 2020 is going to slow down. The pass rush and defensive front will be unstoppable, QB Nick Starkel is back for his 19th year of college football, and there’s no real weakness anywhere across the board for the defending Mountain West champ.
SJSU Preview | Schedule
3. San Diego State Aztecs
Quick Take: The San Diego State D was the San Diego State D, but the O forgot to come along for the ride a bit too often. Brady Hoke has another killer defense, but the offense has to figure out how to score more than 21 points on a regular basis – and all without a true close-to-home home game.
SDSU Preview | Schedule
4. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Quick Take: It’s going to be an interesting team. From out of nowhere, last year’s version was able to rise up and take its game to another level. Now the team has to get used to a makeshift new home and try to be far more consistent. It’ll be a sneaky-good team in the Mountain West race.
Hawaii Preview | Schedule
5. Fresno State Bulldogs
Quick Take: Just how much can the offense keep it all going? The defensive front is among the best in the league, and the offensive skill parts are there to go ballistic, but the Bulldogs have to figure out how to beat a decent team. The opponents in the three wins went a combined 2-14.
FSU Preview | Schedule
6. UNLV Rebels
Quick Take: UNLV has been mediocre over the years, but 0-6 was another level of bad. Marcus Arroyo has enough decent talents in place to be far, far better in his second season, but the defense has to be night-and-day better.
UNLV Preview | Schedule