NCAA Football Conference Preview: Mountain West Conference

The Mountain West Conference in football is seeking to be one of the most underated again in 2014. Last year the conference was ruled by Boise State and Fresno State. The conference is separated into a Mountain Division and a West Division. It appears the Mountain Division is typically best, as they boast Boise State and Utah State, who should be the teams to beat this season. The season will get rolling the final week of August, and teams out of the Mountain West are preparing to catch the Broncos and Spartans, along with the Bulldogs. It will be interesting, as it is every year in the MWC.

Boise State was 11-2 a season ago, but lose their head coach Chris Petereson to Washington. Former defensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, from Arkansas State is the new head coach. Boise State returns 12 starters, but the Broncos have several conferences on both lines. It appeared the Broncos were not as deep as they needed to be a season ago. Boise State is not ranked real high nationally, but part of that has to do with losses to Utah State and Fresno State. After Boise State, Utah State is second. The Aggies welcome back quarterback Chukie Keeton from a torn ACL of a year ago. Colorado State lost their big center and running back, but are expected to finish third in the division. The Rams do return Garrett Grayson behind center. The rest of the Mountain Division is Wyoming, Air Force and New Mexico. Wyoming is excited about their hiring of Craig Bohl.

In the West Division, the Fresno State Bulldogs are the favorites. Despite losing Derek Carr, the Bulldogs appear to have the most returning; highlighted by receiver Josh Harper and 8 defensive players. Ater that, the Aztecs of San Diego State and Wolf Pack of Nevada should be in the mix. San Diego State has a tough road schedule, so matching 8 wins from a season ago could be a challenge. Finally, the Running Rebels of UNLV will be improved under Bobby Hauck, but they are banned from postseason play.

Some key dates in the Mountain West include AUgust 28th when the Boise State Broncos take on Ole Miss. Boise State starts their MWC play on September 6th against Colorado State. The Broncos play Fresno State October 17th and Utah State on November 29th. Utah State starts the season at Tennessee. Their first conference game comes on October 11th against Air Force. Their games on November 21st and November 29th against San Jose State and Boise State should be quite a challenge before their bowl game. Fresno State, who led the country in passing yards per game a season ago will start the season on August 30th at USC. The Bulldogs start their MWC test on September 26th at New Mexico. They also have to travel to Nevada on November 22nd. Finally, Colorado State starts their season in a rivalry game against Colorado. The Rams also play non conference games against Boston College and Tulsa.

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