The opening week of the new college football season is just around the corner. Last year saw some big changes in the Mountain West conference, with 6 teams having changed head coaches, and a further 2 teams doing so this year. Sadly, due to the impact of COVID-19 last year, none of the new coaches really got a chance to show what kind of a stamp they put on their teams.
But the current upcoming season is planned to return to a normal, full-game regular season, with possible postseason games for those who rank high enough. So with the disruptions last season, it’ll be the first full uninterrupted season in charge for 8 of the 12 coaches in the conference. So games may be a little more difficult to predict this year than normal.
Still it hasn’t stopped many people offering out college football odds on the teams they think will be favorite to top the Mountain West Conference. So let us take a look at the opening season fixtures and make some predictions of our own, as well as highlighting some key players to watch out for.
Opening week fixtures
So for those who are not aware, the Mountain West conference is split into divisions. The Mountain West: Mountain division, and the Mountain West: West division. Colleges will play teams from both divisions, as well as matches against teams outside of those divisions too in some pre-season games.
Here are the opening week fixtures for all 12 sides that make up the Mountain West Conference:
Top of the tables
Having considered the form of past seasons, the changes to coaching staff and lineups, and the fixtures that lie ahead, we have 3 teams that could potentially end up in the top spot of their conference. When it comes to the Mountain West: Mountain division, we see no one other than the Boise State Broncos returning to the number one spot that they occupy almost every year. They’re definitely one of the most talented teams in the conference, and we don’t see many teams standing in their way of lifting the 2021 conference championship.
In the Mountain West: West division though, we see things being a much closer contest. Both the Nevada Wolf Pack and San Jose State Spartans have interesting lineups this year, and both could easily compete for the top spot in the division. But it may well come all the way down to a tiebreaker. This would mean their head-to-head results would come into play to determine who would claim top spot, so it may all come down to that one game where they face-off.
Players to keep your eye on
The Wolf Pack’s Carson Strong is one player to keep your eye on for the 2021 season. Last season, the QB racked up some impressive stats after throwing over 2800 yards, with 27 passing touchdowns and only 4 picks for a 70.1% completion rate. And that was without his main partner in crime Elijah Cooks being available due to a season-ending injury. With both playing this season, you can expect to see Strong padding his stats even further this time round.
Next up we have WR for Boise, Kahlil Shakir. Last year was full of career bests for a player who is now entering his senior year. He started his season strong having caught seven passes for a career-high 123 yards and two touchdowns against Utah, and ended well too with a career-best 11 catches for 130 yards and two scores at Hawai’i. If he keeps his form up, he could be a key player in helping Boise to secure the conference championship.