Even without all-time running back Pumphrey I think the Aztecs still have enough to win the West division. They have a fairly soft schedule outside of the conference so I think they'll bring in a pretty solid record to the end of the year. It's Wyoming however that I think everyone is sleeping on. I think they lose to Iowa and Oregon and then run the table, including beating Boise State on the Smurf Turf.
Here's how I think it goes....
|Wyoming||10||2||San Diego State||9||3|
|New Mexico||6||6||Fresno State||3||9|
|Utah State||2||10||San Jose State||1||12|
|Wyoming over San Diego State|
|Others:||San Diego State|
|Most Overrated:||Boise State|
|Coaches on Hot Seat:||New Mexico|
|San Jose State|
The easy road is to pick Boise State as the champion, but I think they're overrated this year. Still, it's hard to pick them coming in lower than second considering the relative lack of strength in the conference overall.
I see Wyoming beating San Diego State in the Championship game. Despite losing Pumphrey SDSU is bringing a LOT of firepower back, defense will be a worry though, which is why I'm picking Wyoming to best them. Wyoming lost their star RB but they have a good crop of WR's, a solid, experienced offensive line and a defense that's going to turn some heads. They also have one of the best coaches in College football in Craig Bohls.
The interesting thing to watch in the Mountain West this year will be to what extent Colorado State, UNLV and New Mexico improve. If I were going to pick a team to beat out Wyoming in the Mountain, it wouldn't be Boise State it would be the Rams, and I think UNLV, with new QB Armani Rodgers gives head coach Tony Sanchez the play maker he's been needing on offense. I think that all three make bowl games this year.
I expect Hawai'i to be better as well, and to also qualify for a Bowl game, giving the Hawai'i Bowl a home team again which should help ticket sales.
Much like in the Sun Belt, the bottom of this league is harsh. Air Force is in a total rebuild while Fresno State, Nevada, Utah State and San Jose State will muck around the fringes of ESPN's bottom 10 for most of the season.
OPOY: Josh Allen (Wyoming)
DPOY: David Moa (Boise State)
COY: Tony Sanchez (UNLV)