2012 Mountain West Conference Football Preview
The Mountain West has seen a number of teams come and go over the past few years and this season is no different with Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada coming over from the Western Athletic Conference while last year’s conference champion TCU has moved on to greener pastures in the Big 12. The bottom line is that 10 teams will square-off for this season’s MWC title starting this fall.
The following is a look at the top contenders in the MWC this season along with their current odds to win this conference.
The Boise State Broncos will play their final season in the MWC before joining the Big East for football only in 2013. They have been opened at -300 to make their final year a successful one with a conference title. The Broncos missed out on this honor last season with a 12-1 record overall and a 6-1 record in conference play, with the one and only loss being a 36-35 heartbreaker to TCU. They return just nine starters from that team and will look to junior quarterback Joe Southwick to replace the departed Kellen Moore, which will be no small task.
The second-favorite to win the MWC this season at +550 is the Nevada Wolf Pack. They wrapped-up their final season in the WAC with an overall record of 7-6 but went on a 6-3 run to close-out the year. Running backs Lampford Mark and Mike Ball are gone, so look to Stefphon Jefferson and Nick Hale to try and fill the void in a Wolf Pack ground game that was ranked eighth in the nation. Defensively, the secondary remains basically intact, but there are numerous holes to fill up front.
Another WAC team will try and make its presence felt right away as a +600 third-favorite to win their new conference. The Fresno State Bulldogs slipped all the way to 4-9 last season and 3-4 in conference play. New head coach Tim DeRuyter takes over the program after spending some time at Texas A&M as the Aggies’ defensive coordinator. The reason for optimism is the return of quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for 3,544 yards and 26 touchdowns while completing 62.6 percent of his passes. The Bulldogs defense was another story, after finishing the season ranked 106th in the country in points allowed.
The fourth team to watch in this conference is the Wyoming Cowboys, who have been opened at +1200 to win the MWC this year. This team went 5-2 in conference play last season and ended the year 8-5 overall. The Cowboys are banking off the continued development of sophomore quarterback Brett Smith, who took over the starting role last season and threw for 2,622 yards and 20 touchdowns. This is another team that struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone last year; giving-up an average of 27.8 points a game which ranked them 67th overall in the country in points allowed. To make things even more difficult, Wyoming lost its top two tacklers from last year’s squad.
The college football odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams in the Mountain West are Air Force and San Diego State at +2000, Colorado State +2500, Hawaii +3000, UNLV +5000, and New Mexico +7500
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.