In 2013, the Mountain West added San Jose State and Utah State as new members of the program and incorporated divisions since the league now had 12 members.
Since then, the winners of the two divisions — the Mountain and the West — have squared off in the conference title game. Of those 10 games, Boise State and Fresno State have combined for over half of the appearances, playing in a combined 11 MW championships.
Ten years after adding the divisions, they have been eliminated. Starting this year, the two teams with the highest winning percentages will play for the MW crown. Can this create more parity?
Outside of Boise State being a clear favorite to make it to the championship, it seems like the rest of the conference is wide open.
Odds To Win The Mountain West Via BetMGM
|San Diego State||+750|
|San Jose State||+1600|
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM!
Mountain West Win Totals Via BetMGM
|San Diego State||6.5|
|San Jose State||5.5|
Best Players In The Mountain West
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Chevan Cordeiro, SJSU QB — After four seasons suiting up for Hawaii, the change in scenery helped Cordeiro take his play up a notch. His 3,251 passing yards and 23 touchdowns paced the league and were career highs, while he also rushed for 265 yards and nine TDs. His experience and reliable wideouts should allow him to thrive for the second consecutive season.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Easton Gibbs, Wyoming LB — As great as the Cowboys’ linebackers have been in the Craig Bohl era, none have won MW Defensive Player of the Year honors. Gibbs can change that. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound pound junior led UW with 121 tackles last season, which was second in the league.
TOP NFL PROSPECT: Tory Horton, CSU WR — Horton is one of the best deep-threat wide receivers in the country. The senior led the league with 1,131 receiving yards, and his eight touchdowns ranked second. Each of those TDs were from 20+ yards. Horton accounted for eight of CSU’s 12 offensive TDs last season.
HERO Sports’ Mountain West Predicted Order of Finish
- Boise State
- Air Force
- Fresno State
- San Diego State
- San Jose State
- Utah State
- Colorado State
- New Mexico
Mountain West Championship Prediction Pick
All of the pressure is on Boise to win the Mountain West this year. The Broncos secured 28 first-place votes in the preseason media poll compared to Fresno’s five, which was the next-highest total.
There’s a lot within the league that’s going to develop in the first half of the season. It will give us a clearer picture of who separates themselves as legitimate contenders to compete for a MW title. As for right now, however, I’m going to give the edge to Air Force to play for its first championship since 2015.
The Falcons return seven starters from a defense that was tied for second in the FBS last season in PPG (13.3) and first in total defense (254.5 YPG). They also get Wyoming and San Diego State at home but play at Boise in the final game of the regular season. That contest could decide a title game berth. Air Force needs to replace its dynamic offensive duo from last season in Haaziq Daniels and Brad Roberts, but it should remain effective on that side of the ball.
As a lifelong Wyoming fan, I would like to pick the Cowboys to return to the title game for only the second time ever, but even with the best front six in the league, 10 returning defensive starters, and a ton of depth, it’s hard to trust the offense. The news that transfer and former MAC standout RB Harrison Waylee is injured also doesn’t help, even though he is supposed to return for conference play. Until its offense proves it can be competent, UW can’t be trusted.
Then there is, of course, SDSU and Fresno State. The Aztecs had a suspect offense at the start of last year but should rally around QB Jalen Mayden and be a title contender, as always. The Bulldogs must replace Jake Haener, but former UCF QB Mikey Keene should fill in nicely for Jeff Tedford’s offense. The Bulldogs also return seven starters from a stout defense and will be a threat to return to the MW championship.
The title race should be interesting, but it’s the Broncos’ race to lose.