In the first week (including week 0) of the college football season, the Mountain West showed up to play and pulled off a lot of good wins. The question now is whether they can keep it up and prove to be the premier conference out of the “group of five”. How good is the Mountain West?
Week 1 (and Week 0)
Hawaii hosted Arizona in the second week of the FBS college football season. The Warriors were able to defeat the Wildcats in a close game to give the Mountain West their first big game of the season. Nevada followed that up with their upset win over Purdue. Boise State defeated Florida State on the road, while Wyoming took care of business at home against Missouri.
In all, the MWC lost just three games over week 1. Utah State nearly defeated Wake Forest on the road. Colorado State lost to their rival, Colorado, in Denver. Fresno State played USC tough, but ultimately fell. Even the losses weren’t so bad.
The MWC finished with a record of 9-3 for the first week. The Big 12 went 10-0, but no other “group of five” conference did as well as the Mountain West. They have the better record and the better wins, which bodes well for the rest of the season.
In the upcoming weeks, the MWC has some big chances to prove they are even better than most originally thought. For week 2, Boise State hosts a solid Marshall team. Nevada will travel to Oregon for a chance to follow up on their upset win. Fresno State and Hawaii host power five conference teams in Minnesota and Oregon State respectively. All of those teams have upsets already or have a chance to win the game.
Hawaii will get a shot to take on Washington in week 3. Wyoming can help the MWC assert its dominance over the AAC when they take on Tulsa. Utah State and NFL Draft prospect Jordan Love travel to LSU in week 6. Boise State travels to BYU in week 8. BYU plays Utah State later in the season.
The MWC does not need to win all of those games, but there are plenty of opportunities to add on to their successful start. The teams may beat up on each other in conference play, so the best way to show they are a good conference is to continue being successful in their nonconference games.
The most intriguing of the postseason possibilities is the chance of Boise State going to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. While UCF is ranked higher than them in the polls, Boise State should be the frontrunners to grab the group of five-spot in the most prestigious bowl games. The Broncos proved they can handle adversity by coming back to beat a talented Florida State team on the road.
Behind the Broncos there are several solid teams who can win bowl games if week 1 is any indicator of how talented they are. Fresno State has battled with Boise State the last few years for supremacy in the MWC. They should be able to beat a lot of teams if they make a bowl game, even after losing to USC in week 1.
Utah State, Wyoming and Nevada also look like they can win bowl games this season, especially because they will be matched up with lesser teams most likely. Don’t be surprised if the MWC jumps the AAC in terms of how they are perceived. The MWC might even have one of the best bowl records of any conference when the season is all said and done.
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