NCAA Previews

MW Mountain Football Preview

Broncos and Falcons Fight for Top Spot

MW Mountain football preview for 2019 - Boise StateOur MW Mountain football preview for 2019 is betting on the Boise State Broncos to be first. This MW Mountain football preview also sees the Air Force Falcons as being very competitive. We project that both teams will get bowl invites. The Utah State Aggies are the other football team that should secure a postseason berth. In our 2019 MW Mountain football preview, we conclude the remaining three teams, the Wyoming Cowboys, Colorado State Rams, and New Mexico Lobos, will have to wait until next season to go to one of the many postseason contests. This is a conference with a fairly wide divide between the top three and bottom three football teams. Here’s how we see the season playing out.

Our 2019 MW Mountain Football Preview

MW Mountain football preview for 2019 - Air Force rushIn our 2019 MW Mountain football preview, we find that the Boise State Broncos are the best all-around football team in the division. On offense, they have a fine line and group of receivers, while their defense includes a premium D-line and very fine group of defensive backs. With the Broncos in first, the fight for second place will be between an improved Air Force Falcons team and a competitive Utah Aggies club. The Aggies broke through last season. Although the Aggie defense is sound, and their offense is run by quality QB Jordan Love, Utah State has major issues on their offensive line. The Air Force rush attack will be tough to stop, their premium offensive line will be a major asset, and the team’s D is solid. We project that the Falcons will finish second and the Aggies third in the MW Mountain division.

The Wyoming Cowboys come into the 2019 season with a strong defense, but an offense that has challenges in just about every area. They’ll finish fourth, while the Colorado State Rams, who are severely challenged on defense but fairly solid on offense, look to take fifth place. Finally, sixth place will go to the New Mexico Lobos who have question marks at quarterback and the weakest defense in the division.

1. MW Mountain Football – Boise State Broncos (10-3)


MW Mountain football preview for 2019 Utah State logoIn 2018, the Broncos were 18th in passing yards (292.0) and 20th in points (35.4 PPG). In overall yardage, they were 21st. Boise State will turn to highly-ranked recruit and true freshman Hank Bachmeier to take over the QB spot left vacant by the prolific Brett Rypien. Bachmeier has a group of experienced and talented receivers, including John Hightower.

Hightower caught 31 passes and scored six times last season. The Broncos lose 1,400-plus yard RB Alex Mattison. It’s hard to say who will replace him. The O-line is experienced and deep and the best in the conference. They’ll give the offense a shot at it.

Defense and Special Teams

The Broncos allowed 22.1 PPG (T-30th) and just 122.9 rushing YPG (20th). They ranked 70th on defensive yards allowed (233.0 YPG). We expect that to change. The D-line sees three starters come back, including Curtis Weaver. In 2018, Weaver nailed 9.5 sacks and 5.5 TFL. This is a strong unit. The LBs, who are anchored by Riley Whimpey, see five-of-seven top players return. Junior corner Avery Williams, who had two picks and nine PBU, is the cornerstone of a defensive back unit that looks to step up in 2019. Safety Kekaula Kaniho returns after posting three INTS and four PBU. Special teams must replace the punter and kicker. Williams, who averaged 7.0 YPR on punts, and Hightower, who was good for 20.1 YPR on kickoffs, are both back.

See our comprehensive preview of NCAAF #23 Boise State in our College Football Top 25 Guide for 2019.

2. MW Mountain Preview – Air Force Falcons (5-7)


MW Mountain football preview for 2019 - Falcon fogOur MW Mountain football preview sees the Falcons moving up in the division. Last season, they averaged 30.3 PPG (55th) and were third in rushing yards (283.5 PG) and tied for 124th in passing (131.3 YPG). Expect the same in 2019. The team has two solid rushing QBs, Donald Hammond III and Isaiah Sanders. Both are experienced but Hammond is a better game field general. Last season, he averaged 4.5 YPA and ran for nine TDs while throwing for five more.

Despite losing top RB Cole Fagan, there’s still plenty of rushing power with junior Kadin Remsberg at TB and senior Christian Mallard at FB. Senior WR Geraud Sanders, who caught 14 passes for 236 yards, leads an inexperienced receiving unit. Four starters return to the best O-line in the conference.

Defense and Special Teams

In 2018, Air Force allowed 25.8 PPG (56th) and 244.0 passing yards per game (84th). They ranked 16th versus the rush (116.9 YPG). Two-of-three starters return to the line, including DE Jordan Jackson. In 2018, Jackson nailed 54 tackles, four sacks, and 8.5 TFL. The LB unit is strong with top contributor Kyle Johnson returning. Last season, he notched 70 tackles, seven TFL, and three QBHs. The defensive backs are experienced and deep. Senior safety Jeremy Fejedelem, who led the team with 104 tackles and three picks, anchors this group. Special teams include senior Jake Koehnke takes on both the punting (41.6 YPP) and kicking (32-33 Extra Pts, 9-12 FG) chores. Both return men have to be replaced.

3. MW Mountain – Utah State Aggies (11-2)


In 2019, the Aggies scored 47.5 PPG (2nd) and passed for 294.2 YPG (17th) while rushing for 203.2 YPG (31st). They were 11th in total yards per game with 497.4. Utah State features junior Jordan Love at QB. Last year, Love completed 64.0% of his passes for 3,567 yards and 32 TDs. He put up just six interceptions.

The big issue on offense this season is the receiving group, which loses its four top starters. Plus, the offensive line is depleted, which will hurt both the pass and ground attacks. Senior RB Gerold Bright, who ran for 888 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 6.3 YPA, takes over for 1,000-plus yard RB Darwin Thompson.

Defense and Special Teams

The Aggie defense was ranked 33rd in points allowed (22.2 PG) and 51st in total yards (379.5 PG). This team struggled versus the pass, allowing 236.5 YPG (77th). They were ranked 41st versus the run. USU’s line is big and experienced. The LBs return two All-MW players, David Woodward, Aggie’s top tackler (134), and Tipa Galeai, who led in sacks (10.5). Each had two interceptions. The secondary loses experience and is vulnerable. Senior D.J. Williams, with four picks and 11 PBU, anchors this group. Punter Aaron Dalton, who missed last season, is back. In 38 starts, he’s averaged 40.5 YPP. Exceptional senior placekicker Dominik Eberle hit all 75 extra points and nailed 22-of-28 field goals, including three-of-five from 50-plus. Savon Scarver returns kicks. He ran two back for scores last season, averaging 33.7 YPR. Jordan Nathan is on punts, averaging 8.3 YPR and running one for a TD.

See our comprehensive preview of NCAAF #22 Utah State in our College Football Top 25 Guide for 2019.

4. MW Mountain Football – Wyoming Cowboys (6-6)


MW Mountain football preview for 2019 Cowboys logoWe anticipate Wyoming, which averaged 20.7 PPG last season, to improve on that number. The Cowboys had the 39th-ranked rush attack; they were tied for 124th in passing. Their 330.8 YPG in total offense ranked 118th. In three starts last season, freshman Sean Chambers hit 60% of his passes and tossed three TDs and no INTs. He ran for two scores, averaging 5.6 YPA. He starts.

Senior WRs Raghib Ismail and Austin Conway return having made 24 and 32 catches respectively. As a freshman last year, RB Xazavian Vallady rushed for 396 yards and three TDs, while averaging 5.6 YPA. He takes over for 1,000-yard rusher Nico Evans. The O-line is the strongest unit on this side of the ball. The Cowboys could be difference-makers this season, especially due to the fact that they possess some five talent.

Defense and Special Teams

The Cowboys defense allowed 22.0 PPG (T-28th). They were ranked 25th versus the rush and 32nd against the pass. Wyoming allowed 326.2 YPG (19th) in total offense. In front, DE Garrett Crall, who recorded 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two TFL, is the only returning starter. This unit will struggle. Senior Logan Wilson leads a sound LB unit. In 2018, Wilson was the top tackler with 103; he also made two picks and nine TFL. The secondary loses essential starters and anchors Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps. Senior corners Antonio Hull and Tyler Hall, who combined for three INTs and 17 PBU, need to step up. PK Cooper Roth, 28-28 extra points and 16-17 FG, is back. Punter Tim Zaleski, who missed most of 2918, returns healthy. Hall averaged 22.4 on kick returns.

5. MW Mountain Preview – Colorado State Rams (3-9)


Rams logo MW Mountain football preview for 2019The Rams ranked 107th in points (22.8 PG). They were 13th in passing but 123rd in rushing. They possess a solid offense, but need to get the ball across the goal line more. The O-line is improved a bit, but it’s still the weakest unit on this side of the ball. QB Collin Hall, who missed 1.5 seasons due to two ACL tears in his left knee, will start.

Unfortunately, the Rams lose star receiver Preston Williams. However, the receiving ranks are deep. WR Warren Jackson and TE Cameron Butler are solid. RB Izzy Matthews, the top rusher, is gone, but there’s talent ready to go, including junior RB Marcus McElroy who averaged 4.2 YPA.

Defense and Special Teams

Our MW Mountain football preview notes that CSU allowed 36.8 PPG (117th). They ranked 113th versus the rush (219.5 YPG) and 68th versus the pass (232.4 YPG). The Rams were 111th in total yards allowed. The defensive line is top-notch and includes BUCK Emmanuel Jones, who recorded 5.5 TFL and five QBHs, and NT Ellison Hubbard, who notched 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFL. The LB group should be better than it was last season, as two starters return and Troy graduate transfer Tron Folsom joins the team. SS Jamal Hicks and CB Rashad Ajayi return to the D-back unit. There’s experience on this group. Hopefully, they’ll improve. On placekicks, Braxton Davis, a fifth-year senior, will try to replace the Rams’ all-time scoring leader, Wyatt Bryan. Punter Ryan Stonehouse averaged 48.3 YPP and is back. On kick returns, Anthony Hawkins averaged 21.7 YPR.

6. MW Mountain – New Mexico Lobos (3-9)


The Lobos averaged 26.6 PPG (T-85th) and 330.4 YPG (119th). The O-line is experienced. That will help this team put some points on the scoreboard. Sophomore QB Tevaka Tuioti, who hit 55.8% of his passes and tossed five TDs and two INTs in limited action last season, starts. Senior QB Sheriron Jones, who tossed 13 TDs and 12 INTs and completed 54.5% of his passes last season, is also in the wings.

The Lobos have depth in the receiving ranks, as four-of-six top pass catchers return. New Mexico’s top two rushers leave, but there’s talent ready to move up. RB Ahmari Davis, a senior, averaged 3.6 YPA and scored four TDs on 51 carries. He could give this New Mexico Lobos football team an extra push. If he does, the Lobos could pull off a few unanticipated wins.

Defense and Special Teams

Our MW Mountain football preview notes that the Lobos allowed 36.2 PPG (T-113). They were 119th in total yards allowed. The top eight tacklers from 2018 are gone. The New Mexico line is this team’s best defensive unit with senior NT Aaron Blackwell providing leadership. The LB unit welcomes four junior college transfers, who should upgrade this group. MLB Alex Hart was lost for most of last season. He’s back and that will help. No starters return to the secondary, which is filled with question marks. Lobos punter Tyson Dyer, now a junior, averaged 44.3 YPP last season. In his frosh season last year, PK Andrew Shelley was 7-8 on FG, including a 53-yarder. He was 34-39 on extras. Premium punt returner Marcus Hayes has to be replaced, while kick returner Elijah Lilly needs to improve vastly.

2019 MW Mountain Football Preview

Bowl Projections

Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 21 – Boise State Broncos and USC Trojans
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Jan. 4 – Toledo Rockets and Utah State Aggies
Armed Forces Bowl, Jan. 4 – Purdue Boilermakers and Air Force Falcons

2019 MW Mountain Football Preview

Projected Best Bets

Aug. 31 – Sam Houston State @ New Mexico – Lobos win by around 15 points.
Sep. 7 – Western Illinois @ Colorado State – Rams take down WIU by 20.
Sep. 14 – Idaho @ Wyoming – Bet Cowboys at around -6.
Sep. 21 – Utah State @ San Jose State – Aggies win.
Oct. 5 – Boise State @ UNLV – Broncos go on scoring spree.
Oct. 11 – Colorado State @ New Mexico State – Bet the Rams.
Nov 2 – Army West Point @ Air Force – Take the Falcons.
Nov. 2 – BYU @ Utah State – We like the Aggies in this one.
Nov. 16 – Air Force @ Colorado State – Falcons soar by about six points over Rams.
Nov 30 – Boise State @ Colorado State – Broncos break away.

Utilize this 2019 MW Mountain preview to give yourself an added edge this NCAA football season. For more information on the MW, go to our MW West preview. You can access other conferences through our hub page.


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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