Mountain West Football: ESPN’s Bill Connelly Releases Final Preseason SP+ Rankings
How does the Mountain West stack up in Bill Connelly’s adjusted preseason college football rankings?
How does the conference stack up?
With less than three weeks to go before college football season begins, ESPN’s Bill Connelly this morning debuted the final edition of his preseason SP+ rankings, which are a “predictive” and “forward-facing… opponent- and tempo-adjusted look at the most sustainable and predictive aspects of college football”, primarily recruiting, returning production, and recent history.
The off-season’s first set of SP+ projections came out in early February and were probably destined for some fine-tuning with the upheaval brought on both by the one-time “super senior” rule, which allowed football athletes to retain a year of eligibility, and movement through the transfer portal to a degree never before seen. Having already accounted for their impact on returning production, how does Mountain West football rank nationally?
The 2021 Mountain West Preseason SP+ rankings
39. Boise State
67. Nevada (previous: 74)
73. San Diego State (previous: 84)
77. Wyoming (previous: 80)
82. Fresno State (previous: 78)
84. San Jose State (previous: 81)
94. Colorado State (previous: 96)
95. Air Force (previous: 93)
97. Hawaii (previous: 105)
114. Utah State (previous: 121)
121. New Mexico (previous: 124)
122. UNLV (previous: 123)
While projected Vegas favorite Boise State doesn’t see any movement at all, most of the rest of the conference sees a slight uptick in their overall standing. They are perhaps buoyed as a whole by the fact that, as a conference, the Mountain West returns 82% of its overall production from 2020, surpassed only by the MAC.
Individually, the San Diego State Aztecs benefit from the biggest overall jump in the standings, moving up eleven spots, while the Hawaii Warriors move up eight spots and the Nevada Wolf Pack and Utah State Aggies each move up seven.
Not many teams took a step back in these revised rankings, but those that did are perhaps mild surprises. Fresno State had the biggest “drop” of all, four spots altogether, while defending champion San Jose State dropped three and Air Force fell by two.