2013 Mountain West Conference Football Season Preview & Predictions
Boise State has been the “mid-major” darling for several years, but they don’t have the same level of talent they had a few short seasons ago. Still, they have the team to beat in the Mountain West according to the oddsmakers. This is one of the best conferences in the nation in college basketball. In college football, there are a lot of bottom-feeders here.
BangtheBook is going to be looking at several of the major college football conferences in the next couple weeks. We’ll look at teams that have a chance to be in contention for the conference crown and make a selection at the end of each preview. All odds listed are from Bookmaker.
Boise State (+150)
The Boise State Broncos are going to be listed as the favorites until someone proves they can take them out. Boise State finished 11-2 and 7-1 to sit atop the conference along with Fresno State and San Diego State last season. How good has Boise State been of late? The Broncos are 84-8 in their last 92 games. Chris Petersen is still here and that means this team still has one of the best coaches in the business. Joe Southwick didn’t light it up as quarterback, and he’ll have to be a little better this year. The Broncos won’t have D.J. Harper in the backfield anymore, and that will definitely hurt. Expect this team to lean more heavily on its defense, which is very good. Still, you have to wonder if there is enough talent here to win the conference yet again.
Fresno State (+255)
Tim DeRuyter did a nice job in his first year at Fresno State. He is a defensive-minded coach first, and the Bulldogs defense improved by leaps and bounds last season. Still, this team has plenty of room for improvement. In their last game last season, Fresno State was beaten 43-10 by SMU in the Hawaii Bowl. This team should use that game as motivation to come back stronger than ever this year. Derek Carr is a great college quarterback who should have a terrific senior season at Fresno State. He is arguably the best player in the Mountain West. He has three great receivers in Burse, Harper, and Adams. Fresno State has the best secondary in the conference, and that could be a huge plus in conference play. The Bulldogs get to host Boise State, which is a major boost to their chances.
Utah State (+600)
Utah State was an extremely good team last year. Admittedly, they played a very easy schedule. Still, Utah State was a couple plays away from being unbeaten. They should have beaten Wisconsin on the road, and they could have easily beaten BYU as well. Losing Gary Andersen is definitely a bummer, but this Aggies team still has a ton of talent. Chuckie Keeton is right up there with Derek Carr for Player of the Year honors in this conference. He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. The Aggies front seven on defense is definitely the best in this league. The linebackers are scary good. This team is going to be good once again, but they are taking a step up in class in moving to the Mountain West.
San Diego State (+750)
Rocky Long has done a nice job keeping the ball rolling at San Diego State. This program got started under Brady Hoke, but Long’s adaptability has taken this team to the next level. This year will be a challenge for them as they have a big question mark at the quarterback spot. The running game should be very good, but they’ll have to be able to throw it some. The 3-3-5 defense should once again be near the top of the Mountain West in total defense.
San Jose State (+900)
Mike Macintyre engineered an impressive turnaround at San Jose State, but he is now the head coach at Colorado. Can the Spartans keep it going in 2013? David Fales and Noah Grigsby give the team two great play makers on the offensive end. San Jose State managed to win a lot of games last year despite having no running game, but I don’t think they can do that again this year. If they don’t get anything else from their running attack, the Spartans are going to have a disappointing season.
2013 Mountain West Conference Championship Odds
Boise State +150
Fresno State +255
San Jose State +950
San Diego State +750
Utah State +600
Air Force +4000
Colorado State +4500
New Mexico +10000
Mountain West Conference Pick: Fresno State (+255)
The Fresno State Bulldogs have the most talent on paper of any team in this conference, and it isn’t really even close. Utah State is a nice underdog pick too, but the Aggies will likely stub their toe a bit moving up in class. I like the Bulldogs balance on both sides of the ball. It doesn’t hurt that they have a favorable schedule.
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