Mountain West Conference voters apparently are not too worried about Chris Petersen’s departure from Boise State, nor are they too worried about Fresno State losing its quarterback in Derek Carr.
The Broncos were voted the preseason favorite to win the conference and were expected to beat Fresno State in the conference championship game, according to news reports.
In the Mountain West Mountain Division, Utah State, who won the division last year, was picked to finish second to Boise State. Colorado State finished third and was the only team in that division receiving a first place vote.
With the Bulldogs expected to win the Mountain West West Division for the second year in a row, San Diego State came in second. Nevada was third.
None of these predictions are that shocking because of who’s returning, but I thought Utah State would get the nod over Boise State to win the division. True, the Broncos did beat the Aggies last year, but it was the game after superstar quarterback Chuckie Keeton went down with a season ending injury. Keeton is back this year, and the Aggies still won the division without him last year. Both teams also lost their coaches but keep their quarterbacks.
But looking at Utah State’s roster, the Aggies lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Also, the Broncos were a 1-point loss to conference champion Fresno St. and an overtime loss at San Diego State from being in the title game. Taking all that into consideration, it’s not too far-fetched to make Boise State the Mountain Division favorite.
On the other side of the division, it made sense for San Diego State and Fresno State to be close, but I was a little shocked that San Diego State didn’t get the nod to win the division.
The Bulldogs might miss Derek Carr severely, and the Aztecs have plenty of returning talent, including at quarterback, after only losing the division last year due to an overtime loss to the Bulldogs. However, that looks like the game that will decide the division again.
Chuckie Keeton Heisman Campaign
Utah State players, fans, and coaches have begun their Heisman campaign for quarterback Chuckie Keeton, which you can read about here. Keeton was in the midst of an incredible season through six games last year, throwing for 18 touchdowns and 1,388 yards and rushing for another 2 touchdowns and 241 yards. Perhaps the best stat is he only had 2 interceptions.
However, this campaign might be a bit premature. A torn anterior cruciate ligament might not be the easiest injury to bounce back from, and the Aggies don’t have time to get back into the groove of things. They play Tennessee right out of the gate on the road.
If I’m an Aggies coach, I would simply focus on Keeton being fully healthy rather than trying to promote a Heisman campaign.
Craig Bohl is FBS Ready
As he took the stand at Mountain West Media Days to talk about his Wyoming Cowboys, Craig Bohl talked about a new mindset, new attitude, and new style of football out west. He said there will be a “trademark of Cowboy football.” And as he spoke and made his rounds, it was obvious he felt right at home.
After coaching North Dakota State to three straight FCS championships, Bohl is in the perfect place to make a name for himself in FBS. Wyoming is a school where he can generate significant fan interest in football, but the expectations are low enough right now that he’ll have plenty of time. Not to mention, a move from North Dakota to Wyoming isn’t too bad, and he’s already very familiar with recruiting the area.
Bohl has already shown what he can do with unprecedented success at the FCS level, to a point that makes you question why he wasn’t hired sooner. There’s no reason that with time he can’t do the same thing at Wyoming, and his decision to bring junior defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and senior wide receiver Dominic Rufran as the players to represent the Cowboys for the media days, despite neither of them having any significant playing experience, shows that he’s not kidding around when he’s talking about a change.