Mountain West Football Week 7 Overreactions
Three things to look at.
Time to get weird
Boise State will miss out on a bowl game
If Boise State fails to go to a bowl game it will be just the second time in since 2000. In 2020, the Broncos elected to not go to a bowl game during the COVID-19 season despite having a 5-2 record, and the other time was in 2001 the team was 8-4 but with fewer bowl games they were not chosen to a game.
In 2021, not going to a bowl game means that Boise State would have a losing record and if that happens it would be their first losing record since they went 4-7 back in 1997 which was just their second year at the FBS level.
Per ESPN’s FPI, Boise State has an 80.9% to finish with six wins and be bowl eligible, and they are favored to win three of their final five games. The odds are good enough for them to go to a bowl game. However, their running game is still having issues as is some bad injury luck from the offensive line and in the secondary.
Even with those players out, they nearly beat Air Force and are competitive against the top teams in the league. Their schedule the rest of the way is manageable but who knows.
If we are going to predict Boise State to not be bowl eligible we must take a look at the games they have left on the schedule.
Really, just two of the games look to be likely losses in Fresno State and San Diego State. Both are on the road but the Aztecs have been struggling at quarterback and that could be an issue for them in beating not just Boise State.
Fresno State seems to have too much for Boise State to keep up with and seems the most likely of losses on the schedule.
Being bold, the other two games that could be a loss are at Colorado State and hosting Wyoming. The Rams have turned things around and are 2-0 in league play and could be 3-0 if they can defeat Utah State this weekend. The Rams have never topped the Broncos in Mountain West play so that mental roadblock could be there.
Wyoming is another team where quarterback play is bad but its defense is good enough to stop what Boise State comes out with. The Broncos ground game is not good and that stems from injuries at the running back and offensive line positions. So, it will come down to Bachmeier likely throwing Boise State to victory.
@ Colorado State – L
@ Fresno State – L
Wyoming – W
New Mexico – W
@ San Diego State – L
Colorado State will go bowling
This seemed very far-fetched not only coming into the season but also after its first two losses, which one was against South Dakota State of the FCS ranks. Things improved and that included hanging and nearly upsetting then-No. 5 Iowa. Since that loss, the Rams have pulled off two conference wins in a row over New Mexico and San Jose State to be 3-3.
FPI gives them just over a coin flips chance to get to six games at 57.8%, and that is because the schedule does get progressively more difficult.
They do take on Utah State on the road and are barely a favorite to win that game. They also play Boise State, Wyoming, Air Force, Hawaii and Nevada. That is not an easy slate. The Cowboys and Warriors are not playing extremely well at the moment and are winnable games, so beating those two and Utah State would get them to six wins. Also, there is a decent chance they could top Boise State for the first time ever, if they do that then a bowl game is almost assuredly going to happen.
Brad Roberts wins offensive player of the year
A running back has been named the offensive player of the year just three times since 2010, the rest of been quarterbacks over the past decade-plus.
Part of the reasoning behind this is if Air Force wins the Mountain West because most of the time the team that wins the conference also gets this award. Also, typically the award goes to a quarterback on said team; last year, it went to QB Carson Strong of Nevada over QB Nick Starkel despite San Jose State winning the conference.
What makes Roberts a possible alternative is that his quarterback Haaziq Daniels guides a run-option attack. Daniels could be in the mix with Roberts but the fullback leads the conference in total rushing yards and yards per game. He is second in touchdowns with eight and one behind Daniels. His 5.20 yards per carry is second among any back with 50 or more carries this year.
Daniels will likely need to lead the conference in both touchdowns and rushing yards to have a chance. Plus, the Falcons winning the conference title will go a long way. He will have stiff competition from Strong going back-to-back or Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener.