The Mountain West is loaded at the top heading into the 2021 season, featuring several teams with win totals north of seven in Boise State, last year’s champions San Jose State, Nevada, and Wyoming.
All four bring back a ton of production and will face competitive teams in San Diego State, Air Force’s triple option, and emerging Fresno State, among others.
Which team are we going over at the top of the MWC and which mid-tier team is going to go under their win total?
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Nevada was awesome last year, led by quarterback Carson Strong and stud receiver Romeo Doubs, who had over 1,000 receiving yards in nine games.
The Wolfpack also put together a strong run game with Toa Taua, who averaged nearly six yards per carry. Overall, it was a 7-2 campaign for Jay Norvell's team.
All three are back as well as four starting offensive lineman.
On defense, pretty much every single key contributor will return and should hold up their end of the bargain.
The schedule is challenging, but I remain bullish on Nevada and have them as the highest rated team in the conference.
They have two Power 5 road trips to California and Kansas State. They enter as 3.5-point underdogs to Cal in Week 1 and I expect a similar line against K-State depending on how the season starts.
Nevada is live to win at least one of those games, and get San Jose State at home. They do have to go to Boise State on October 2nd, but get a bye ahead of that one, and should be a small underdog to San Diego State on the road, if not favored.
I see Nevada as considerable favorites in the remaining seven games. If they take care of those, just one win of the aforementioned four roadies and they clear this win total.
This is an explosive offense and a defense that allowed 23 points per game last season. I'm banking on Mountain West title game appearance at the end of the year, get on board.
The middle of the Mountain West is competitive and it’s tough to parse through which team can rise and which team can fall.
One team that may struggle is SDSU, who face a ton of question ahead of this season. Yes, they will get stud running back Greg Bell back, but who is playing quarterback?
Currently, Georgia Tech transfer Lucas Johnson is listed as the starter after getting limited reps last season. Behind him and in the mix is former JUCO transfer Jordon Brookshire, who also saw time in 2020. Brady Hoke hit the transfer portal and got Jalen Mayden from Mississippi State and signed recruit Will Haskell.
It’s unclear who will start, or if they can keep the job, but it’s tough to get too excited about the offense even with the explosive Bell.
The Aztecs like to win ugly and lean on their defense. The team kept longtime coach Rocky Long’s famed 3-3-5 defense and it worked to much success, but I’m still not counting on the offense to capitalize. They went 4-4 last season and I expect a similar .500 result this year.
To be fair, the non conference slate is promising. They get New Mexico State and Towson at home and have to go to Arizona for a winnable game. However, they face a likely loss at home to Utah.
In MWC play, they have to go to San Jose State and Air Force (tough place to play) while playing host to Nevada and Boise State.
Even if things break right for Hoke and co. this looks like a six win team at best, so I’ll grab the + money under.