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The Mountain West has some good teams in it and is a competitive conference. It is just a notch below the quality of the AAC, but there are several teams you don’t want to play if you are one of the “big boys” from the power conferences.
Nevada is one of the teams claiming they are the best in the conference overtaking Boise State but that is debatable. The Wolf Pack return six all-conference offensive players and will bring back 10 starters from last year’s defense and are looking for their first appearance in the MW title game. The thing that is lacking on Nevada’s resume is a signature win against a Power-5 team.
San Jose State is the other team that can claim they are the best after winning the MW title in 2020 soundly beating Boise State 34-20. They return most of the key contributors from that team and they are primed for a repeat in 2021. But, they also are lacking a big-time marquee win.
The aforementioned Boise State, has most of their top guys back including six all-conference selections. They have a new coach and he must prove himself but at the end of the season they are still the best in the Mountain Division.
Another team to keep an eye on is Wyoming. The Cowboys have a run-oriented offense that can be tough to handle and has one of the best defenses in the MW. They are well-coached and if things break right, they could be a factor.
The other possible contender would be Fresno State. The Bulldogs have elite talent at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. The key will be shoring up a defense that gave up a ton of big plays in 2020.
The rest of the teams are pretty evenly matched and will be interesting to watch as to who will emerge out of the pack. San Diego State will give people fits and will spring an upset or two and no one enjoys going to Colorado Springs to play Air Force. Hawaii has a veteran quarterback plus a home field advantage when teams trek to Honolulu where it is hard to focus on football. Conversely, it isn’t easy for the Rainbows to play on the road either. Colorado State and New Mexico are taking the right steps to climb to respectability while Utah State and UNLV are still struggling to find their way.
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