Mountain West Football: Football Outsiders Reveals 2021 Preseason F/+ Rankings
What do the advanced metrics have to say about how the 2021 Mountain West football season could unfold?
Who could come out on top?
The 2021 Mountain West football season is shaping up to be one of a kind, which makes the usual practice of preseason predictions all the more intriguing.
Football Outsiders, best known for their work in NFL analytics, recently released their annual Almanac and, in doing so, unveiled their projections for the 2021 college football season using F/+, a combination of Brian Fremeau‘s FEI rankings and Bill Connelly‘s SP+ rankings.
How do the numbers stack up for each Mountain West team? Here’s a brief breakdown:
33. Boise State – projected for 8.4 mean wins, 24% chance at 10+ wins, 38% to win the conference
Unsurprisingly, the Broncos are poised to be the Mountain West favorites after last year’s trials. On paper, the Mountain division doesn’t look like it will be quite as rough and tumble as the West since Boise State’s conference strength of schedule is the second-weakest of any team ranked in the F/+ top 50.
More interestingly, the Broncos are also the only team in the conference given a probability to go undefeated. Granted, it is only 1% but as Jim Carrey famously noted, it says there’s a chance.
62. Air Force – projected for 7.9 mean wins, 14% chance at 10+ wins, 15% to win the conference
At first glance, it may seem like a surprise that the Falcons have the second-best overall projection of any team in the conference. When you remember that they held up surprisingly well despite some very unusual COVID-related circumstances (yes, more unusual than everyone else) and get back a host of key playmakers from 2020 turnbacks, however, the picture starts to make a lot more sense.
Like Boise State, the Falcons also project to have a very reasonable schedule to contend with as it ranks 121st overall by F/+. If everything holds, their October 16 clash on the blue could end up being one of the Mountain West’s most important games of the year.
67. San Diego State – projected for 7.8 mean wins, 11% chance at 10+ wins, 10% to win the conference
The Aztecs will have their work cut out in what is shaping up to be a very competitive West division, but they emerge through F/+ as its leading contender. However, those hopes could be dashed by one of the system’s most extreme splits between offense and defense, where San Diego State projects 118th and 10th, respectively.
69. Wyoming – projected for 8.1 mean wins, 16% chance at 10+ wins, 12% to win the conference
If F/+ is to be believed, no team in the Mountain West projects to face a cushier slate than the Cowboys, whose strength of schedule ranks 120th overall. That would go a long way toward explaining why Wyoming projects for more mean wins than the two teams immediately above them in this preseason ranking.