Monday, July 31, 2017

Mountain West 2017 Projections

The overall projection of the league is dragged down by the perceived weakness in the West Division. The issue is that the perception is very real, and there are only two spots in the West that are guaranteed. The Mountain is incredibly strong, but can it carry the league as a while?

1. San Diego State: The run game and a stiff defense will be the primary catalysts once again, and with the West being severely down, the Aztecs should have no trouble riding the legs of Penny and Washington in the backfield to another conference title game birth.

2. Hawaii: Dru Brown emerged in the funky "mix it up" offense that Nick Rolovich rolled out last season, and Hawaii jumped big time. Rolo still sees the Warriors as being well short of where he wants them, and is driven to get to the top.

3. UNLV: This is a big year for Tony Sanchez and the Rebels. It may be bowl bid or bust in year three, as a new AD is in town. Recruiting has shown major gains, but now it all needs to translate into improved play.

4. Nevada: Jay Norvell comes on board after Brian Polian could not get it done in Reno. Norvell has been an assistant so long that one wonders why this is his first gig, and why did it take so long? Those are not comforting questions.

5. San Jose State: Brian Brennan returns home after formerly working as a Co-OC in San Jose. He has his hands full with an apathetic fan base, and a local media group that does not even want to cover the program on any real level.

6. Fresno State: The Bulldogs took the retread approach with Jeff Tedford to try to fix the burning dumpster fire that Tim DeRuyter left behind. There are no quick fixes for this once proud program.

1. Boise State: If the Broncos can mirror the intensity of their head coach, they should be able to go a long way in 2017. Last season's falling short of a conference title still resonates in a nuclear way, and the Broncos have to hold off Wyoming and Colorado State in what should be one of the tougher divisions in G5 football.

2. Wyoming: Josh Allen is a top five NFL draft pick prospect, and is doing everything right, on and off of the field. Andrew Winguard returns to lead what should be an improving defensive unit. The Cowboys look primed to make another run at a conference title in 2017.

3. Colorado State: The Rams open a brand new on campus stadium, and QB Nick Stevens is stoked to get things rolling in front of what he hopes is a rowdy and raucous student section. The Rams and head coach Mike Bobo may have just enough going this season to energize them to push to the top of the division.

4. New Mexico: After sharing the division title in 2016, the Lobos have major question marks on defense heading into the season. If the defense falters, and gives up a ton of points, can the triple option offense afford to get into shootouts on the field?

5. Air Force: The Falcons have a ton of questions on defense, and lost more stars than an imploding galaxy. Look for a fall back for at least this season.

6. Utah State: The Aggies have been in a slide for two seasons now, and the slide looks to continue. Matt Wells has got to find some answers, but I am not sure there are any immediate answers available.

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