Mountain West Football: Ranking The 2022 Non-Conference Games, #39 to #30
The Mountain West has 49 non-conference games on the schedule this season. These ten games could be mildly interesting.
Every game has a little something to watch.
We’re ranking the Mountain West’s non-conference slate over the next several days, so if you missed the beginning of our mini-countdown, be sure to get caught up.
39. Weber State Wildcats vs. Utah State Aggies
Why the game might be a drag: The Wildcats faltered a bit in 2021 and fell to 6-5 while the Aggies are motivated to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Weber State’s defense was one of the FCS’s toughest a year ago, so while they’re replacing a handful of all-conference performers, it’s not inconceivable they create some headaches for a Utah State offense breaking in numerous new weapons.
One player worth tuning in for: Weber State CB Eddie Heckard
— Weber State Football 🏈 (@weberstatefb) March 13, 2021
38. Portland State Vikings vs. San Jose State Spartans
Why the game might be a drag: The Viks were decent in Big Sky play last year, but a suspect defense could keep them from remaining competitive against a restocked Spartans offense.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Portland State will have to figure out Davis Alexander’s replacement at quarterback, but the Viks offense could be potent if head coach Bruce Barnum makes the right decision.
One player worth tuning in for: Portland State WR Beau Kelly
— Portland State Football (@psuviksFB) November 20, 2021
37. New Mexico Lobos at LSU Tigers
Why the game might be a drag: The Lobos are 0-6 against the SEC going back to 1983, losing by an average of four touchdowns. LSU might be transitioning under new head coach Brian Kelly, but that kind of past precedence doesn’t bode well for New Mexico’s chances.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Sure, the Tigers will have a substantial talent advantage, but the cupboard was fully stocked last year, too, and LSU finished 12th in offensive yards per play. If they fall into a quarterback carousel, the Lobos could have a fighting chance.
One player worth tuning in for: LSU WR Kayshon Boutte
— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 21, 2022
36. UConn Huskies vs. Utah State Aggies
Why the game might be a drag: The first game of the Jim Mora Jr. era at UConn will feature a Huskies team that is much different from the one that limped to a 1-11 record last year, but it’s hard to see how an experience Aggies team won’t begin their conference title defense with a runaway victory.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Maybe Mora puts some of his key offensive pieces in a position to succeed and hits on a few big plays against a retooled Utah State defense. And if the offense falls back into the slow starts that defined the first half of 2021, it could get uncomfortable in Logan
One player worth tuning in for: UConn RB Nathan Carter
— Nathan Carter (@_natecarter5) May 11, 2021
35. Texas State Bobcats vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Why the game might be a drag: The Bobcats haven’t had a winning season since 2014 and were below average on both sides of the ball in a forgettable 4-8 campaign last year. If Nevada hasn’t figured things out by the time this matchup rolls around, it could be a snoozefest.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: There’s always the chance that both teams do find some answers, especially on offense. With a pair of intriguing transfer quarterbacks potentially in play, the game might end up being a pleasant and exciting surprise.
One player worth tuning in for: Texas State QB Layne Hatcher
34. Fresno State Bulldogs at UConn Huskies
Why the game might be a drag: You saw last year’s season opener at Bulldog Stadium, right?
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Traveling to the east coast is always tricky for a west coast team. While the Bulldogs will get a bye before heading to Connecticut, there’s also a non-zero chance they deal with the emotional hangover of facing USC two weeks prior.
Another player worth tuning in for: UConn LB Jackson Mitchell
— Brendan Hill (@860_productions) January 14, 2022
33. Nevada Wolf Pack at New Mexico State Aggies
32. Hawaii Warriors at New Mexico State Aggies
Why the games might be a drag: It’s hard to say with much certainty how good the New Mexico State offense will be given they have to identify a new QB1, RB1, and multiple new pass catchers. In other words, the same old Aggies may not be much of a draw.
Why the games might be more interesting than you think: The Aggies might quietly have some intriguing pieces to improve on defense. If they avoid coughing up as many big plays as they did in 2021, NMSU could cause trouble for these pair of rebuilding offenses.
Two more players worth tuning in for: New Mexico State CB D.J. McCullough and LB Trevor Brohard
— D.J. McCullough (@0beenit) January 1, 2022
12:18, 1Q | 𝐓𝐎𝐔𝐂𝐇𝐃𝐎𝐖𝐍 𝐀𝐆𝐆𝐈𝐄𝐒 ‼️
Trevor Brohard scoops up a wildcat fumble and takes it 25-yards to the 🏠
— New Mexico State Football (@NMStateFootball) November 20, 2021
31. Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Air Force Falcons
Why the game might be a drag: Air Force typically doesn’t have much trouble dispatching its customary FCS opponent. The Falcons are actually undefeated against such foes under Troy Calhoun, so why expect anything different?
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: The Panthers aren’t exactly the typical FCS opponent that Air Force usually faces. Though they went 6-6 last year, they made the playoffs and were 1-3 in one-score games, which included nearly toppling Iowa State.
One player worth tuning in for: Northern Iowa CB Benny Sapp III
— UNI Football (@UNIFootball) September 12, 2021
30. UTEP Miners vs. New Mexico Lobos
Why the game might be a drag: UTEP took a big step forward in 2021, a journey which included a victory over these very same Lobos, and they’d seem to have the upper hand with more certainty at quarterback, running back, and on defense.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Historically speaking, this regional battle has often been pretty exciting. Going back to 1993, ten of the last 15 games between the Miners and Lobos have been decided by eight points or fewer, so the potential for high drama is there.
One player worth tuning in for: UTEP RB Ronald Awatt
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) August 29, 2021