Here is Campus Confidential's Mountain West preview.
Opening kickoff: The evolving Mountain West looks different this season and will look vastly different in 2012. BYU (independent) and Utah (Pac-12) are gone, and Boise State joins from the WAC. TCU leaves for the Big East after this season, and Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada join the Mountain West in 2012. But let’s focus on this season, which should be a good one as Boise State and TCU are the heavy favorites. The Broncos have senior quarterback and Heisman contender Kellen Moore and running back Doug Martin returning. Plus, defensive tackle Billy Winn returns to anchor the defense. TCU will have a tough time replacing quarterback Andy Dalton. But the Horned Frogs should have one of the top defenses in the country, led by linebacker Tank Carder. San Diego State is a team to keep an eye on. The Aztecs won nine games and beat Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl last year. Quarterback Ryan Lindley (3,830 yards and 28 touchdowns last year) and electric running back Ronnie Hillman (1,532 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman) are back. San Diego State has to go to Michigan, but gets Boise State and TCU at home. We’ll know more about Air Force after a tough October with games at Navy, Notre Dame and Boise State. Plus, the Falcons play San Diego State at home in October. After those four teams, there is a big drop off with the rest of the conference in terms of success this season.
CC’s predicted order of finish
- Boise State
- San Diego State
- Air Force
- Colorado State
- New Mexico
CC’s preseason offensive player of the year: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
CC’s preseason defensive player of the year: Tank Carder, LB, TCU
Best game: TCU at Boise State, Nov. 12
Why Boise State will win the Mountain West: Boise State has Kellen Moore and TCU doesn’t have Andy Dalton. It’s that simple. Moore wins games. I think TCU will take a bit of a step back without Dalton, who meant a lot to the offense. TCU’s defense will be strong, but Boise State will also have a very good defense. In the Nov. 12 game against TCU, the Boise State home crowd and Moore’s history of winning games will be the differences.