- Boise State (+200 to win the Mountain West)
- Fresno State (+240 to win the Mountain West)
- San Diego State (+500 to win the Mountain West)
- Air Force (+600 to win the Mountain West)
- Utah State (+1000 to win the Mountain West)
- Wyoming (+1800 to win the Mountain West)
- Colorado State (+2200 to win the Mountain West)
- San Jose State (+2500 to win the Mountain West)
- Nevada (+3000 to win the Mountain West)
- Hawaii (+5000 to win the Mountain West)
- UNLV (+10000 to win the Mountain West)
- New Mexico (+20000 to win the Mountain West)
The NCAAF Mountain West division races might come down to the wire. Looking at the upcoming NCAAF season, what will the Mountain West Conference do for an encore after five teams finished within a game of a first place in the two divisions?
There were multiple head coaching changes which is pretty much standard operating procedure in a conference like the Mountain West.
Boise State is currently the favorite to return to the top of the conference standings after a bit of a difficult season; however, Fresno State, San Diego State, and Air Force aren’t far behind.
Boise State (+200 to win the Mountain West)
Quarterback Hank Bachmeier and running back George Holani are two of the top offensive players in the conference. Khalil Shakir is now with the Buffalo Bills.
The offensive line needs to play much better than it did a season ago when the Broncos struggled to keep the pass rushers away from Bachmeier and weren’t much better at opening holes for the running backs.
Scott Matlock and JL Skinner are players to watch on a rebuilt defense.
The college football betting money is coming in on Boise State topping the expected regular-season win total of nine.
Fresno State (+240 to win the Mountain West)
Jeff Tedford has walked into a nice situation as he returns to the Fresno State sideline. Quarterback Jake Haener threw for more than 4000 yards to go with 33 touchdowns while Jalen Cropper was unguardable at times. He is just one of a talented group of returning pass catchers.
Jordan Mims should see a larger role at running back after rushing for 710 yards a season ago.
Fresno will be led by defensive back Evan Williams and lineman David Perales on defense.
It could be a special team with Fresno State having -130 odds to exceed the expected regular-season win total of 8.5.
San Diego State (+500 to win the Mountain West)
Jesse Matthews is back after having more than 50 catches, but most of the other key offensive players have moved on. Will Haskell will have a chance to lead the offense.
The defense will be led by Jonah Tavai, Keshawn Banks, Caden McDonald, and Patrick McMorris.
It isn’t often that a punter is named as a key loss, but Matt Araiza was that good and such a key part of the Aztecs’ 12-2 season.
Air Force (+600 to win the Mountain West)
Three starters are back on the offensive line along with quarterback Haaziq Daniels and running back Brad Roberts who helped the Falcons lead the country with nearly 330 rushing yards per game.
Daniels averaged fewer than 10 passing attempts per game but he did connect on some huge plays through the air.
Air Force lost some key players from a team that was first in the Mountain West in scoring defense and total defense. Filling those holes will be key for Air Force to be in contention for a division title. Trey Taylor, Vince Sanford, and Christopher Herrera will lead the defense.
Air Force’s regular-season protected win total is 8.5.
Utah State (+1000 to win the Mountain West)
Logan Bonner made quite the impression after transferring in from Arkansas State. He threw for more than 3500 yards to go with 36 touchdowns. Utah State was 5-0 when Bonner threw for more than 300 yards a season ago.
Whether it is in the Mountain West or through the NCAA football world, Bonner has to be considered among the most talented passers in the country.
Many of his top receivers are gone. Brian Cobbs comes in from Maryland and Xavier Williams from Alabama.
The running NCAAF games schedule will be in great shape with the return of Calvin Tyler Jr., who ran for more than 900 yards despite missing two games. Multiple starters are back from the offensive line.
There were some key losses on defense. If the new starters get the job done, this is a team capable of winning the conference title. Utah State’s schedule begins with the Aggies being 28-point favorites in the season opener against UConn.
Wyoming (+1800 to win the Mountain West)
The transfer portal was not kind to Wyoming with quarterback Sean Chambers and Levi Williams, 1,000-yard rusher Xazavian Valladay and receiver Isaiah Neyor headed elsewhere. Utah State transfer Andrew Peasley showed what he could do when he was 10 of 15 for 195 yards and three touchdowns in a wild win against Air Force.
With leading tackler Chad Muma off to the NFL, Easton Gibbs is ready to take over after posting 90 tackles a season ago.
Colorado State (+2200 to win the Mountain West)
It isn’t often that a head coach changes jobs within the conference. That is exactly what former Nevada coach Jay Norvell did. Quarterback Clay Millen also made the move with Norvell. Trey McBride is off to the NFL but if receiver Dante Wright displays the form he did as a freshman in 2019, he can help make up for the loss of McBride.
Devin Phillips (33 tackles, four tackles for loss) and Dequan Jackson (84 tackles) return are among the players to watch on defense.
San Jose State (+2500 to win the Mountain West)
San Jose State was busy on the transfer portal adding quarterback Chevan Cordeiro from Hawaii as well as receivers Justin Lockhart from Hawaii, and Elijah Cooks from Nevada.
Most of the top defensive players return so that should be the strength of the team again. Cade Hall and Viliami Fehoko will continue to chase down opposing quarterbacks while Kyle Harmon is back after posting a team-high 135 tackles last season.
Nevada (+3000 to win the Mountain West)
Ken Wilson takes over as head coach and with quarterback Carson Strong as well as receiver Romeo Doubs embarking on pro careers, there is some work to be done.
Dom Peterson is back to lead the defense while running back Toa Taua is looking to lead the Wolfpack in rushing for the fifth season in a row.
Hawaii (+5000 to win the Mountain West)
Prolific former Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang returns as the Rainbow’s head coach. He will have multiple returning starters on the offensive line while Dedrick Parson could build on last year’s totals of 618 rushing yards and eight TD runs.
There’s plenty of work to be done after Hawaii ranked last in the Mountain West in total defense in 2021.
UNLV (+10000 to win the Mountain West)
This is another team that will be counting on transfers at the offensive skill positions. Quarterback Harrison Bailey and receiver Ricky White will add some playmaking potential for Nevada.
Losing linebacker Jacoby Windham hurt as he was a key player on a defense that has a lot of improving to do.
New Mexico (+20000 to win the Mountain West)
It is a long process, but New Mexico is getting better.
Running back Nathaniel Jones returns after missing last season. He had three touchdowns in the last two games in 2020 and nearly 100 yards against Hawaii that season.
The defense made impressive strides in 2021 and the Lobos return much of that unit.Follow us on Twitter