Mountain West Football: Ranking The 2022 Non-Conference Games, #10 to #1
The Mountain West has 49 non-conference games to play in 2022. These ten contests are the best of the best and will be worth your time.
You won’t want to miss these games.
Finally, our countdown of Mountain West football’s top non-conference games reaches the cream of the crop. There are plenty of rivalries and opportunities for top teams in the conference to score some big resume wins, but did we get it right?
If not, let us know on Twitter or Facebook. And if you missed any previous part of our rankings, you can check out our picks for #49 to #40, #39 to #30, #29 to #20, and #19 to #11.
10. Navy Midshipmen vs. Air Force Falcons
Why the game might be a drag: The Middies weren’t particularly good last year at the one thing they do most often, run the ball, and now they also have to replace their top defender, as well. It could be a long day in Colorado Springs, then, much to the delight of Falcons fans everywhere.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Yes, Diego Fagot has moved on, but Navy’s defense could be improved with a number of younger contributors like Colin Ramos and Rayaun Lane stepping up into larger roles.
One player worth tuning in for: Navy QB Tai Lavatai
Tai Lavatai would not be denied. pic.twitter.com/5mH7Glq3Lq
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 11, 2021
9. Boise State Broncos at Oregon State Beavers
Why the game might be a drag: Oregon State broke through with a powerful running game in 2021, but now they have to replace their top running back and a couple of offensive linemen from a unit that was a Joe Moore Award finalist. Against what looks to be a very good Broncos defense, that could be a tall order.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Boise State has struggled to find big plays consistently in recent years and now has to do so without Khalil Shakir. Add to that the reality that Oregon State was a very tough out at home last year, going 6-0 at Reser Stadium, and this could be a game where both sides are capable of landing a few haymakers.
One player worth tuning in for: Oregon State AP Jack Colletto
@BeaverFootball Stay Hard! pic.twitter.com/j54Kj8G4s7
— Jack Colletto (@Jackcolletto) March 7, 2021
8. Colorado State Rams at Washington State Cougars
Why the game might be a drag: Wazzu may not have a great defense on paper, but they have a few more proven entities on that side of the ball than the Rams do and could comfortably hold serve at home as a result, even if Fort Air Raid finds the end zone a few times.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Then again, what if they don’t? Both teams poached personnel from some of last year’s most explosive passing offenses, so if you like points, this game could be right up your alley.
One player worth tuning in for: Washington State QB Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward was on 🔥 today. Was 21 of 28 for 261 yards and four TDs. pic.twitter.com/bbMuPh6vIu
— Kevin (@Daboys_22) April 24, 2022
7. Wyoming Cowboys at BYU Cougars
Why the game might be a drag: BYU looks well-stocked on offense and could turn this game into a shootout that Wyoming simply can’t match.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: The Cougars still have to figure out exactly how they’ll replace Tyler Allegier and the Cowboys could solve their pass-rush questions enough to give Jaren Hall a headache and turn the game into a slog.
One player worth tuning in for: BYU LB Ben Bywater
BYU LB Ben Bywater with a massive stop on 4th and 1! Backside OT just missed the scoop!!!! Huge stop! pic.twitter.com/EZgcU5Yfm8
— Hans Olsen (@975Hans) October 2, 2021
6. Oregon State Beavers vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Why the game might be a drag: Oregon State was a lot like that Swole Doge/Cheems meme when it came to playing at home and on the road last year. At Bulldog Stadium, this game could just be a repeat of every other trip there.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: The offenses could turn this one into a track meet, especially if the Beavers have identified a worthy successor to departed running back B.J. Baylor.
Another player worth tuning in for: Oregon State LB Omar Speights
*football noises intensify* 🔊
Spring Ball Mic'd Up 🎙️
ft. @omarspeights pic.twitter.com/ZAKwLCUoLv
— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) April 12, 2022
5. Utah State Aggies at BYU Cougars
Why the game might be a drag: A restocked Utah State defense might not be able to create many breaks against what looks like a pretty good Cougars offense, so the home team might be able to keep “little brother” at arm’s length as a result.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: There’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned rivalries and, after the Cougars decided to call the whole thing off until further notice, you can bet the Aggies are itching to hang on to the Old Wagon Wheel regardless of whether BYU changes its mind.
Another player worth tuning in for: BYU WR Puka Nacua
Baylor Romney with another bomb. This time to Puka Nacua. pic.twitter.com/HotpTgAMZe
— The Blue Brethren (@BlueBrethren) September 26, 2021
4. Air Force Falcons vs. Army Black Knights (in Arlington, Texas)
Why the game might be a drag: Army’s offense has a way of disappearing against the Falcons defense — the Black Knights haven’t managed their season yards-per-carry average in this rivalry game since 2017 — so a fully stocked Air Force rushing attack could have the upper hand.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: This one’s simple: These two teams do not like each other and, at least over the past four years, they tend to play extremely close and hard-hitting games. Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for hate.
One player worth tuning in for: Army LB Andre Carter II
A player who the draft community should get familiar with, starting tonight is #Army EDGE Andre Carter II. Possessing a explosive first step + favorable length, very disruptive. Had breakout 2021 season registering 14.5 sacks and 16 TFL’s.
Plays at top of the hour vs. #Missouri. pic.twitter.com/QNUJSYkQ0g
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) December 23, 2021
3. BYU Cougars vs. Boise State Broncos
Why the game might be a drag: Aside from the strangeness of their 2020 matchup, BYU hasn’t found much success on the blue. That game two years ago is the only one they’ve won in Boise, so why should 2022 be any different?
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: As they did with Utah State, BYU decided to put this rivalry on hold, too, with their imminent entrance to the Big 12 on the horizon. There’s no trophy to be won, but Boise State would certainly like to maintain its upper hand after clamping down on a top-25 Cougars team last year.
One last player worth tuning in for: BYU QB Jaren Hall
BYU QB Jaren Hall was a dog in this rivalry game.
Here's a 3rd and 1 keep on zone read.
Isaac Rex had a beautiful step and block.
Turn on your sound and see how Jaren made good decision after good decision.
He was fantastic in this game. pic.twitter.com/ZVV7zGfGzr
— Hans Olsen (@975Hans) September 13, 2021
2. San Diego State Aztecs at Utah Utes
Why the game might be a drag: San Diego State beat Utah so badly last year that Charlie Brewer quit the team.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Yes, the Aztecs got one over on the Utes last year, but it’s easy to forget that Brewer’s replacement, Cameron Rising, brought Utah back from a two-touchdown deficit in the second half and nearly won the game in overtime. Neither team is a joke and both could deliver some highlights.
One player worth tuning in for: Utah QB Cameron Rising
Way too early, but one QB that I will have my eye on this coming season is Utah Cameron Rising. He can fit the ball in tight spaces, gives his weapons a chance to make a play on the ball, athletic feet to help move around in pocket and extends plays! pic.twitter.com/zQLM6gKPjQ
— Robert Cardona (@CARDONAFAM29) April 17, 2022
1. Fresno State Bulldogs at USC Trojans
Why the game might be a drag: Boy, Lincoln Riley didn’t waste a lot of time pulling together a pretty strong offense, huh? Between Caleb Williams, Travis Dye, Jordan Addison, and others, even the Bulldogs might have a tough time matching the new-look Trojans touchdown for touchdown.
Why the game might be more interesting than you think: Williams, Dye, and Addison don’t play defense. Despite bringing in some familiar names like Solomon Byrd, USC still has to prove it can be better than the 6.37 yards it allowed per play last year.
One player worth tuning in for: USC QB Caleb Williams
Caleb Williams and USC… loading 👀 (via @USC_FB) pic.twitter.com/pfzGBppNLX
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 29, 2022