The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 12, 2022

Mountain West Conference Preview

The Mountain West Conference is the only Group of 5 league that didn’t have realignment issues in the past 12 months. Rumors abound that Boise State, Fresno State, and San Diego State could be on the radar screen with either the Pac-12 or Big 12 Conferences, but those are just rumors for now.

The MWC has enjoyed quite a bit of success in the last decade. Last year, eight MWC teams earned bowl bids. Two of the bowl games were cancelled due to Covid, but in the six bowl games played, MWC teams went 5-1. In the history of this league, MWC teams have won 57% of their bowl games. Only the SEC and the Sun Belt have better bowl game winning percentages in that time.

2022 should be another banner year for the league. Three teams have a chance to compete for the lone New Year’s 6 Bowl Bid.

Mountain West PiRate Ratings

Mountain Division
Boise St.106.0104.9106.9105.9
Air Force100.9100.8102.3101.3
Utah St.95.495.896.695.9
Colorado St.88.589.889.089.1
New Mexico80.381.079.080.1
West Division
Fresno St.103.2102.5104.5103.4
San Diego St.97.497.497.897.6
U N L V88.485.988.087.5
San Jose St.86.887.287.987.3

Mountain West Preseason Media Poll

#Mountain1st PlaceOverall
1Boise St.14151
2Air Force10136
3Utah St.3122
4Colorado St.190
6New Mexico029
#West1st PlaceOverall
1Fresno St.20160
2San Diego St.8148
3San Jose St.0105

The PiRate Rating are designed to be used for the next week of football games and not meant to be used to predict won-loss records. Nevertheless, here are the projected won-loss records.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Boise St.8-010-3
Air Force6-210-2
Utah St.6-28-4
Colorado St.3-55-7
New Mexico0-82-10
Fresno St.7-110-3
San Diego St.6-29-3
San Jose St.4-46-6

March 15, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Texas SouthernTexas A&M–CC3.9
OklahomaMissouri St.5.7
North TexasTexas St.8.1
XavierCleveland St.13.7
Texas A&MAlcorn St.19.1
Utah St.Oregon3.4
Washington St.Santa Clara4.3
ColoradoSt. Bonaventure4.4
Appalachian St.USC Upstate10.2
UTEPWestern Illinois6.6

Coming Around 4 PM EDT–Bracketnomics 2022, The Analysis to help you pick your brackets

March 13, 2022

PiRate Ratings FINAL Bracketology 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:35 pm
3TennesseePurdueTexas TechWisconsin
5ConnecticutHoustonProvidenceSaint Mary’s
6TexasLSUAlabamaColorado St.
7Michigan St.Ohio St.Boise St.USC
8TCUNorth CarolinaSeton HallSan Diego St.
9Murray St.MemphisCreightonMarquette
10San FranciscoIowa St.Loyola (Chi.)Virginia Tech
11Miami (Fla.)DavidsonRichmondIndiana
12South Dakota St.UABNotre DameWyomingTexas A&MMichigan
13VermontChattanoogaNew Mexico St.Akron
14Montana St.DelawareSaint Peter’sCal St. Fullerton
15YaleLongwoodGeorgia St.Colgate
16Jacksonville St.Norfolk St.Wright St.BryantTexas SouthernTexas A&M-CC

First 4 #16 Seeds: Wright St., Bryant, Texas Southern, Texas A&M–CC

Last 4 Byes: Iowa St., Miami (Fla.), Davidson, Indiana

Last 4 In: Notre Dame, Wyoming, Texas A&M, Michigan

First 4 Out: SMU, Xavier, Rutgers, Wake Forest,

Next 4 Out: BYU, VCU, Oklahoma, Saint Louis

March 2, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Wednesday’s College Basketball Spreads

Wednesday’s Conference Tournaments
Big South Conference–1st Round
Charlotte, NC
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
RadfordNorth Carolina A&T1.2
UNC AshevilleCharleston Southern12.1
High PointHampton6.2
Northeast Conference–1st Round
Campus Sites
BryantCentral Connecticut14.6
WagnerSt. Francis (PA)13.2
Long IslandSacred Heart8.1
Mount St. Mary’sSt. Francis (NY)6.4
Ohio Valley Conference–1st Round
Evansville, IN
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Tennessee St.SIU-Edwardsville1.9
Austin PeayTennessee Tech-0.7
Wednesday’s Regular Schedule
St. John’sXavier1.3
AlabamaTexas A&M9.2
Seton HallGeorgetown15.4
MarshallWestern Kentucky-4.6
Louisiana TechOld Dominion7.9
CharlotteMiddle Tennessee-2.5
ClemsonGeorgia Tech9.6
Florida St.Notre Dame-0.8
Iowa St.Oklahoma St.2.8
Rhode IslandSaint Louis-2.6
La SalleSaint Joseph’s-1.0
George WashingtonDuquesne5.3
DavidsonGeorge Mason8.3
Southern Miss.UAB-19.2
New OrleansHouston Baptist10.3
LamarUT Rio Grande Valley-2.4
Texas A&M-CCNicholls St.-1.0
Mississippi St.Auburn-5.0
TulsaWichita St.-3.0
New Mexico St.Stephen F. Austin5.9
Wake ForestNorth Carolina St.10.8
Boston CollegeMiami (Fla.)-3.7
California BaptistChicago St.14.3

Tuesday’s Conference Tournament Results

Atlantic Sun
1st Round
Central Arkansas74Stetson73
Kennesaw St.82Eastern Kentucky73
Florida Gulf Coast81North Alabama72
Lipscomb74North Florida65
Horizon League
1st Round
Detroit79Green Bay62
Robert Morris77Youngstown St.73
Illinois Chicago80Milwaukee69
Patriot League
1st Round
American69Holy Cross63

February 8, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Florida AtlanticOld Dominion6.0
ClemsonNorth Carolina0.5
South CarolinaKentucky-12.5
Michigan St.Wisconsin4.6
Indiana St.Evansville9.6
St. BonaventureFordham10.3
TCUOklahoma St.1.7
West VirginiaIowa St.2.1
VCURhode Island6.0
La SalleSaint Louis-10.9
Ball St.Central Michigan9.8
Miami (O)Western Michigan11.6
Kent St.Bowling Green5.8
BuffaloEastern Michigan12.8
Texas A&MLSU-4.4
St. ThomasUMKC-2.1
TulsaEast Carolina5.0
Boston CollegeSyracuse-3.8
Northern IllinoisAkron-8.0
St. John’sVillanova-6.8
Central FloridaWichita St.1.2
WyomingUtah St.1.8
Penn St.Michigan-1.3
San FranciscoPortland17.4
Long Beach St.Cal St. Fullerton0.6
UNLVAir Force11.3
Santa ClaraSaint Mary’s-2.0
NevadaColorado St.-4.0

February 6, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Sunday, February 6, 2022

Ohio St.Maryland9.3
Purdue Fort WayneGreen Bay8.1
Missouri St.Loyola Chicago0.5
Saint Peter’sMarist4.0
Cleveland St.Milwaukee10.4
San Diego St.Nevada11.2
Miami (O)Akron-0.7
Fresno St.Wyoming2.0

February 3, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, February 3, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am
OhioEastern Michigan14.5
Morehead St.Tennessee Tech9.5
UT MartinSoutheast Missouri St.0.4
Eastern KentuckyKennesaw St.2.6
GeorgetownSt. John’s-4.1
Central MichiganWestern Michigan2.6
Central FloridaSouth Florida12.9
Florida InternationalSouthern Miss.8.2
Florida AtlanticLouisiana Tech-2.6
CharlotteWestern Kentucky-1.3
St. Francis (PA)Bryant-4.2
St. Francis (NY)Fairleigh Dickinson5.6
Mount St. Mary’sMerrimack6.4
Long IslandSacred Heart7.6
Central ConnecticutWagner-14.9
WinthropNorth Carolina A&T8.3
IUPUIYoungstown St.-13.4
Northern KentuckyOakland-5.0
Wright St.Detroit2.3
Georgia SouthernSouth Alabama-3.1
Georgia St.Troy3.2
ElonUNC Wilmington-0.3
NortheasternJames Madison-0.2
William & MaryCharleston-7.7
Austin PeayMurray St.-14.5
Sam HoustonDixie St.9.0
Stephen F. AustinUtah Valley-0.4
Jacksonville St.North Florida13.3
Little RockLouisiana-5.4
Ohio St.Iowa2.6
Old DominionMarshall4.1
Northern ColoradoPortland St.6.9
Houston BaptistNorthwestern St.-0.2
Illinois ChicagoRobert Morris4.7
Arkansas St.UL Monroe8.1
Texas St.Appalachian St.2.2
UMKCSt. Thomas5.8
Oral RobertsWestern Illinois7.0
North Dakota St.Omaha16.4
North DakotaDenver-2.7
Incarnate WordNicholls St.-10.9
Tennessee St.Belmont-15.1
SIU EdwardsvilleEastern Illinois12.1
Texas A&M-CCNew Orleans3.2
McNeese St.SE Louisiana1.3
Central ArkansasFlorida Gulf Coast-7.3
San DiegoGonzaga-21.5
Utah St.San Jose St.20.9
WyomingBoise St.0.5
UtahOregon St.6.2
StanfordWashington St.-2.1
Weber St.Montana6.0
Southern UtahIdaho13.1
Grand CanyonSeattle3.6
New Mexico St.California Baptist10.7
Santa ClaraLoyola Marymount9.5
North AlabamaJacksonville-0.1
Long Beach St.Cal St. Bakersfield4.5
UC Santa BarbaraUC Irvine0.4
Cal St. FullertonCal Poly11.3
Cal St. NorthridgeUC San Diego-1.8
Sacramento St.Northern Arizona3.7
BYUSan Francisco3.3
Arizona St.USC-6.7
UC RiversideHawaii3.4
PortlandSaint Mary’s-13.4

January 25, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Rhode IslandRichmond2.2
IllilnoisMichigan St.5.4
Northern KentuckyWright St.-0.7
CharlestonWilliam & Mary13.2
Indiana St.Missouri St.-7.6
OhioNorthern Illinois16.5
Bowling GreenEastern Michigan6.8
Central MichiganAkron-11.6
Kent St.Western Michigan13.3
Ball St.Miami (O)-2.5
BaylorKansas St.14.6
North Dakota St.St. Thomas7.6
Loyola (Chi.)Southern Illinois12.3
KentuckyMississippi St.11.3
Colorado St.Nevada11.2
New MexicoFresno St.-4.9
Boise St.Wyoming5.1
Cal St. NorthridgeUCSB-7.3
San Jose St.Air Force-0.1

August 16, 2021

Mountain West Coast Conference Preview

Like every other conference in 2020, the Mountain West Conference was forced to make some eleventh hour changes, delaying the start of the season to late October.  One team, Colorado State, played just four games.  Several teams made it to six games.  A couple played seven times, and no team played double digit games.

Divisional play was cancelled last year, with the top two finishers facing off in the MWC Championship Game.  San Jose State finished first with a 6-0 league record, while Boise State finished a half-game back at 5-0.  In the MWC Championship Game, the Spartans bested the Broncos by two touchdowns.

Normalcy returns in 2021, as the teams return to divisional play.  At the preseason meetings the MWC Media voted their predicted order of finish for the season.  Here is how it turned out:

Mountain West Conference Preseason Media Poll
Mountain Division1st PlOverall
Boise St.23148
Air Force104
Colorado St.72
Utah St.47
New Mexico39
West Division1st PlOverall
San Jose St.5121
San Diego St.96
Fresno St.185

Here is the PiRate Ratings Preview for the MWC

Boise State breaks in a new head coach, after Bryan Harsin left for Auburn.  The Broncos return 16 starters including their starting quarterback and two excellent receivers.  New coach Andy Avalos needs to get more consistency out of the Boise State offense.  The defense is good enough to win games for the Broncos as long as the offense tops 30 points.

One of these years, Wyoming is going to put it all together and take the Mountain Division flag.  Coach Craig Bohl has what looks like his best team since he arrived in Laramie, and this could be the year the Cowboys challenge for the division title.  The Wyoming defense should challenge for the league lead in points allowed and total yards allowed.

AIr Force led the MWC in scoring defense last year, while the option offense was off and on.  When an option style team has a veteran quarterback, they usually perform a little better than the previous season.  However, even though quarterback Haaziq Daniels returns to start, he will play behind an offensive line that must replace all five starters.  The Falcon defense is going to need to come out with a lot of stalled opponent drives if AFA is going to compete for the division flag.

Colorado State has had a lot of turnover the last couple of seasons with three different head coaches.  Current coach and former Boston College head man Steve Addazio didn’t get much of a chance to coach in Fort Collins in his first year, going just 1-3.  He has an experienced squad returning, but the Rams have a tough schedule.  Competing for a winning record may be two seasons away at the least.

Utah State won just one time last year, a 14-point victory over New Mexico.  Once considered an offensive firepower, the Aggies are anything but that these days.  USU must break in a new quarterback, three new pass catchers, and a new running back, and the offense is going to struggle at times after averaging just 15.5 points per game last year.  The defense was mediocre in 2020, and it could be weaker this year, so the Aggies are not likely to enjoy a winning season.

New Mexico lost their first five games but was competitive in four of those games last year.  The Lobos ended the season with wins over Wyoming and Fresno State, and they return 14 starters.  They are a good quarterback away from contending for a bowl game this year.

In the West Division, the Nevada Wolf Pack clearly begins the season as the team to beat for the championship.  The Wolf Pack have the far and away best quarterback in the league and one of the top five in the nation in Carson Strong.  Give Strong a highly competent receiving corps, and Nevada should ride their version of the Air Raid offense to more than 35 points per game this year.  The good news for the Pack is their defense should be somewhat improved this year after surrendering just 23 points per game last year.  Keep an eye on this team; they have two road games against Power Five conference opponents, and they play Boise State on the road.  It would not be a shock if Nevada pulled off upsets in any or all of these games, assuming they count as upsets.

Nevada will have to compete with San Jose State and San Diego State for the West Division title, as both the Spartans and Aztecs are quite talented.  San Jose State went undefeated in the regular season and topped Boise State in the MWC title game, but they fell to a hot Ball State team in the Arizona Bowl.  The Spartans return their entire starting defense, while the offense returns the second best quarterback in the league in Nick Starkel, playing behind an offensive line that returns all five regulars.  Other than a game at USC in September, the Spartans have a chance to win the rest.  The November 6 game at Nevada might decide the division title.

San Diego State began to play defense in 2020 like the Aztecs were known for a decade ago, giving up 17.8 points per game and finishing third nationally in yards allowed at 283.5 per game.  SDSU doesn’t have the experienced quarterback like the other two contenders, but the Aztec defense should be even stronger in 2021.  

Fresno State had an off year at 3-3, and the Bulldogs concluded 2020 with a 49-39 loss to New Mexico.  Things weren’t as bad as they appeared to be for this team.  They suffered the most logistical nightmare of any team thanks to Covid.  The program totally shut down for more than six months, and after beating Utah State on November 14, they prepared to play for three weeks only to find out late each week that their game had been cancelled.  Additionally, after October’s home game win over Colorado State, they had to play their final four games on the road. Second year coach Kalen DeBoer welcomes back an experienced roster.  DeBoer went 67-3 in his previous stint as a head coach at NAIA power Sioux Falls.  Expect the Bulldogs to begin a trek back toward regular contention for the MWC championship.  Having to play at Oregon and at UCLA in September and then making a trip to Hawaii in early October could task the roster a tad too much, but FSU could easily sneak into contention .

Hawaii cannot be discounted as a dark horse in the West Division race.  Todd Graham guided the Rainbow Warriors to a 5-4 record that included a New Mexico Bowl win over Houston last year.  The UH offense was consistent, but the defense was not.  Expect a better defensive performance this year, and the offense should be strong once again.  UH will be handicapped a bit this year having to play seven road games, while their home games will be played in a retrofitted practice field on campus, while waiting for Aloha Stadium to be rebuilt.  The practice field will serve as the home field for the next three years.

UNLV wore the collar in 2020, going 0-6 in Coach Marcus Arroyo’s first season.  The Rebels will be interesting to watch this year, even if the total level of talent isn’t ready to compete in the MWC.  While 10 starters return to the weakest defense in the league, and a couple of  players that missed 2020 will be back to make the defense stronger, the focus will be on the offense, namely at quarterback.  

Tate Martell was the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.  Martell took a circuitous route home after committing to multiple colleges and playing for both Ohio State and Miami of Florida.  He has one year to show NFL scouts that he is worthy of being drafted.  If he can live up to expectations, Martell could challenge Starkel as second best passer in the league.  If not, UNLV could struggle to win a conference game this year.

Here are the preseason PiRate Ratings for the MWC

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Boise St.103.9103.3104.3103.9
Air Force96.496.396.996.5
Colorado St.88.888.889.389.0
Utah St.85.686.685.285.8
New Mexico85.886.285.285.7
West Division
San Jose St.100.8101.199.0100.3
San Diego St.100.699.9100.2100.2
Fresno St.93.795.796.795.3
U N L V85.884.384.684.9
MWC Averages94.494.594.594.5

The PiRate Ratings are designed only to predict the next game for each team and not to look forward past that game, but just for fun, here are our predictions for 2021.

MWC MountainConf.Overall
Boise St.7-18-5
Air Force4-47-5
New Mexico3-56-6
Colorado St.2-64-8
Utah St.1-73-9
MWC WestConf.Overall
San Jose St.6-210-3*
San Diego St.5-38-4
Fresno St.3-55-7
* San Jose St. wins MWC Championship Game

August 13, 2018

2018 Mountain West Conference Preview

Note: The preseason ratings you see in the previews may not be the same as the ratings you see for the first game. We update every team’s rating based on player injuries, changes to the depth charts, and other factors that may change during preseason practice.

Some of our Group of 5 Conference won-loss predictions were figured before the beginning of August preseason practices. Thus, it could be that a player or players on some teams have already suffered season-ending or multiple game injuries or have left their teams, and these won-loss predictions no longer accurately reflect our ratings. We hope that by the time we preview the Power 5 conferences, we will know who is not going to be available (players and head coaches).

For a few seasons, it looked like there would be a changing of the guard in the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State went from the top of the league to the bottom, which brought former California coach Jeff Tedford on board. Quickly, the Bulldogs returned to the top of the West Division, topping the previous king in San Diego State.
In the Mountain Division, Boise State fell back a notch for a couple seasons, but the Broncos appear to be on the precipice of returning to the same dominance that former head coach Chris Petersen guided the school.
One thing that never changes in the MWC is the wide variation of playing styles. If you go on a caravan to see all 12 teams play during the season, you will see three types of option-style football with UNLV, Air Force, and New Mexico; you will see a standard power-style offense like Alabama and Georgia with Colorado State and San Diego State; you will get a nice sampling of the West Coast offense from Fresno State and Wyoming; you will see the wide-open Air Raid offense with Nevada; and then you will see an all over the map offense in most other places.
While the two historic powers resume their spots as tops in the league, this is a really fun conference from top to bottom. The MWC could very well provide more bowl eligible teams this year than they have bowl agreements, and whoever gets shipped to an alternate site is sure to provide an exciting game for that bowl.

Boise State and Fresno State hooked up in back-to-back weeks last year, with FSU winning the regular season finale 28-17. A week later Boise got revenge by winning the MWC Championship Game 17-14. The win allowed the Broncos to head to sin city, where they topped Oregon 38-28 to finish 11-3. With most of their very good defense returning this year, Boise must be considered a top contender to nab the NY6 Bowl bid. The Broncos return top quarterback in the league Brett Rypien as well as 1,000-yard rusher Alexander Mattison, and BSU might run the table if they can score 30 points every week. A tough opener at Troy in the Alabama heat and another tough game at Oklahoma State may keep the Broncos from going 13-0, and at 12-1, they may have a difficult time finishing ahead of the AAC champion.

Behind the Broncos, Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, and Utah State should compete for second place in the division and bowl eligibility. Wyoming returns a lot of quality talent from a team that went 8-5 a year ago. If not for the probability that a freshman will be under center, the Cowboys might be a serious threat to Boise’s potential run this year. Coach Craig Bohl’s Cowboys will succeed because their defense might be the best in the league with a top-flight defensive line returning intact and a linebacking corps that takes a backseat to no other team in the league.

Utah State will have significant experience returning this year from a team that beat the weaker teams on their 2017 schedule and didn’t compete all that well against the better teams. Expect the Aggies to be tougher against the better half of its schedule this year, and USU should make a run at eight or nine wins. The opener at Michigan State could be rough though, and the Aggies close the season on the road against Colorado State and Boise State.

Mike Bobo faces somewhat of a rebuilding job at Colorado State this year. The Rams enjoyed a decent year as they christened their new on-campus stadium. An overtime loss to Boise was all that kept CSU from playing in the conference championship game, but with massive losses on both sides of the ball this year, Bobo will be lucky to get his squad bowl eligible.

Air Force typically plays a lot of seniors, so in most years, it will appear as if they face a rebuilding project, when they have seasoned veterans ready to assume leadership roles. The Falcons’ unique offense always causes trouble for opposing defensive coaches and personnel, as most defensive linemen today are built for pass rushing and stopping the run in their gap or gaps. Having to basically read and react to the quarterback’s reads means these players might be a tad slow making the right choice. Air Force has more than usual defensive experience returning, and Troy Calhoun has won big with about the same amount of returning experience in the past. The key is keeping quarterback Arion Worthman healthy. The Falcons’ schedule gives them a chance to play Boise State in Colorado Springs with first place on the line.

New Mexico is at a crossroads with Coach Bob Davie. The shotgun spread option continues to give the Lobos one of the nation’s top running games, but UNM didn’t score a lot of points last year after the offense clicked in 2016. Don’t expect much improvement from the offense this year, as untested players will start at quarterback and most of the offensive line. The Lobos don’t get to practice against high-quality passers, and it hurts their pass defense. This could be the end of the line for Coach Davie if his team finishes in the basement a second consecutive season.

The West Division race should be a two-team fight between Fresno State and San Diego State. SDSU was the overwhelming pick to win last year, but FSU surprised the nation by beating the Aztecs in San Diego. Jeff Tedford’s Bulldogs combined solid running with excellent short passing, and the defense frequently held opponents to three and out following long Bulldog drives. When a team can score a touchdown on a 10-play drive that consumes more than six minutes and then get their defense off the field three plays later, it is not only demoralizing for the opponent, the ensuing fatigue caused by the short rest can hurt a defense for an entire half. If quarterback Marcus McMaryion improves as much this season as he did last year, he could be looking at a high draft pick selection next Spring.

San Diego State went 2-0 in the Pac-12 last year, but they didn’t win the West Division of their own league. The Aztecs topped Arizona State in Tempe, which signaled the beginning of the end for Todd Graham. More impressively, they knocked off Stanford a week later. SDSU was 6-0 and in the catbird’s seat for the NY6 Bowl bid until back-to-back losses to the eventual two division champions ended all hopes. After holding Air Force’s and New Mexico’s option running attacks in check during the regular season, the Aztecs had no answer for Army’s potent offense in the Armed Forces Bowl. The future of this program is up in the air, as they will be seeking a new stadium on campus. There are no guarantees, and their lease runs out at SDCCU Stadium, which lost the Chargers last year. There will be an issue on the November ballot whether or not to fund an on-campus stadium that can be used for multiple purposes. There even was a remote option that old Balboa Stadium, home to the Chargers in the 1960’s could be remodeled and built into a new football venue for the Aztecs.

Nevada and UNLV should compete for third place in the division plus a bowl bid. Both teams have strong offenses but suspect defenses. Neither is strong enough to go 7-1 in the league, but on any given Saturday both could pull off a big upset that decides who will win the division title.

Nevada punishes opponents with their Air Raid offense led by quarterback Ty Gangi, who is able to pass the ball for more than 300 yards per game this year.  UNLV followed the lead of dual threat QB Armani Rogers and the running acumen of tailback Lexington Thomas, and both return this year behind a capable offensive line. The Rebels couldn’t stop the run last year, which kept UNLV at 6-6 when they could have been 9-3.

Hawaii and San Jose State will compete for fifth in the division. The Rainbow Warriors beat the Spartans last year, but they have the biggest rebuilding job in the conference–on both sides of the ball. SJSU finished last in the league on offense and defense and has a long way to go just to become mediocre. One reason why Hawaii might edge out SJSU is the schedule. Hawaii plays FCS member Duquesne the week before this game, while San Jose has to play at Oregon.

Here is how the MWC media voted in the preseason poll.

Mountain West Conference
Team Votes
Mountain Division 1st Place Total
1. Boise State 22 132
2. Wyoming 0 95
3. Colorado State 0 82
4. Utah State 0 78
5. Air Force 0 52
6. New Mexico 0 23
West Division 1st Place Total
1. Fresno State 16 126
2. San Diego State 6 116
3. UNLV 0 78
4. Nevada 0 72
5. Hawaii 0 45
6. San Jose State 0 25

The PiRate Ratings basically confirm the media’s preseason opinions, differing only in the middle of the pack.

Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 0-0 0-0 110.2 109.3 110.9 110.1
Wyoming 0-0 0-0 98.5 98.6 98.8 98.6
Utah St. 0-0 0-0 96.8 98.3 98.1 97.7
Air Force 0-0 0-0 91.7 91.7 90.9 91.4
Colo. State 0-0 0-0 85.6 87.1 86.1 86.3
New Mexico 0-0 0-0 85.7 87.6 85.3 86.2
West Division
Team MWC Overall PiRate Mean Bias Average
Fresno St. 0-0 0-0 107.0 105.4 106.7 106.4
San Diego St. 0-0 0-0 98.7 99.5 99.8 99.3
Nevada 0-0 0-0 92.4 92.5 92.6 92.5
U N L V 0-0 0-0 89.1 90.8 89.6 89.8
San Jose St. 0-0 0-0 76.6 77.4 74.8 76.3
Hawaii 0-0 0-0 74.4 76.4 72.2 74.3
MWC Averages 92.2 92.9 92.2 92.4

New Coaches

There are no new coaches in the Mountain West this year.  There are a couple of places where coaches need to produce successful seasons this year to keep their jobs next year.  Tony Sanchez needs to get UNLV into a bowl and win at least seven games.  Nick Rolovich needs to show some sign of progress after Hawaii sunk from a bowl team to a 3-9 team.  Matt Wells cannot afford a losing record at Utah State with the talent he has this year.  And, Bob Davie could be forced into retirement if New Mexico plays as weak on offense this year as they did last year.

Predicted Won-Loss Records

Note: We know that our won-loss records do not factor in any upsets.  There predicted records use the average PiRate Rating plus a set home field advantage to pick the winners.  All FBS vs. FCS games are automatically given to the FBS team.  Obviously, the season is not cut and dry like this, but we concentrate our efforts mostly on the next week of scheduled games and do not look forward past one week with our ratings.

Mountain Division
Team Conference Overall
Boise State 8-0 12-1 *
Utah State 6-2 8-4
Wyoming 6-2 8-4
Colorado State 3-5 4-8
Air Force 3-5 4-8
New Mexico 0-8 3-9
West Division
Team Conference Overall
Fresno State 7-1 10-3
San Diego State 6-2 8-4
UNLV 5-3 7-5
Nevada 3-5 5-7
San Jose St. 1-7 2-10
Hawaii 0-8 2-11

Bowl Tie-ins
The MWC sends its champion to the Las Vegas Bowl, if it does not qualify for the Group of 5 Conference’s automatic New Year’s 6 Bowl bid. The remaining bowl bids have no set pecking order. These are the bowls tie-ins for 2018.

1. Las Vegas Bowl in Las Vegas, NV
Arizona Bowl in Tucson, AZ
Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu, HI
Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, ID
New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, NM

The Mountain West Conference has an alternate bowl agreement to send a team to the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix, AZ.

Coming Tomorrow–The FBS Independents

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