East Carolina beat two middling ACC teams and pummeled the dregs of the American before crashing and burning immediately after getting anointed as the front-runner, but nobody else has had any serious November disasters. Memphis gave UCF everything it could handle in last year’s AAC title game, and they simply weren’t in the same class as Temple and Houston (who had a tough defensive bout in the title game) in 2015. Boise State disappointed in the Cactus Bowl against Baylor but otherwise had just a one-score loss to Air Force.
The more obvious thread, however, belongs to those teams who started ranked and ultimately claimed the bid: UCF and WMU were perfect in the rest of the regular season, while UH had only a seven-point loss to Connecticut. But even then…
The best of the Mountain West has often had sensational Novembers.
The Broncos, of course, became the first Group of 5 bid winner in 2014 after fighting their way to the top of a Mountain division that had four ten-win teams. The 2015 Aztecs had already played their way out of contention with a lackluster September, but the eventual conference champions allowed 14 or fewer points eight times in a ten-game win streak to close out the year and had a similarly dominant (if shorter) stretch in 2016.
So what does all of this mean for 2018’s Mountain West contenders? We’ll look at each team individually.