Mountain West Football: Boise State, Fresno State Lead The Way In Preseason F+ Projections
The Boise State Broncos and Fresno State Bulldogs lead the Mountain West in efficiency projections for the 2022 college football season.
Big things are expected from the teams at the top.
Football Outsiders announced the release of its latest annual book this morning which, in addition to its primary focus on providing a perspective of the National Football League rooted in analytics, included a breakdown of the upcoming college football season in terms of F+.
The term F+ refers to the combination of Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings, which are a way of measuring play-by-play efficiency and are adjusted for tempo and opponent, and Brian Fremeau’s FEI metric, which provide a similar perspective but on a drive-by-drive basis. They are not, as Connelly frequently notes, a resume ranking but a reflection of which teams are seen as the likeliest to do things most strongly connected with winning games: create explosive plays, generate a strong havoc rate by getting into the backfield for sacks and tackles for loss, and so on.
As to how that pertains to the Mountain West in particular, the Boise State Broncos and Fresno State Bulldogs are out in front as the two teams projected to be the most efficient in the conference. A disappointing 7-5 campaign in 2021 hasn’t dissuaded the pair of measurements from taking a rosy view of the Broncos, who come in at 35th overall between LSU and Nebraska thanks largely to a defense that projects to be potent: Spencer Danielson’s unit has a defensive F+ projection that puts them at 19th, while the offense lands at 62nd.
The opposite is true of Fresno State, who won ten games last year and look to aim higher now that head coach Jeff Tedford is back on the sidelines after two years away. The Bulldogs check in at #42, wedged between Louisville and UCLA, with a much more balanced projection on both sides of the ball: 47th on offense and 45th on defense.
Lest you think there’s a big gap between those two teams and everyone else, however, the Air Force Falcons also project to be a top 50 team, checking in at 47th between another pair of strong Group of 5 teams, Appalachian State and SMU. The only other team in the top half of the F+ projection is San Diego State, who are 59th overall because of a massive forecasted split between the Aztecs offense (113th) and defense (11th).
One potential surprise? The Nevada Wolf Pack, who underwent a great deal of roster upheaval early in the off-season but have shored up their ranks on both sides of the ball thanks to the transfer portal and sneak into the top 100 just ahead of the San Jose State Spartans, who are themselves a popular pick to rebound from last year’s letdown. At the bottom of the Mountain West’s projections, the New Mexico Lobos must work to have an offense better than the one projected dead last in all of college football for 2022.
You can get a PDF copy of the Football Outsiders Almanac right now with the purchase of a FO+ subscription or you can wait to purchase a hard copy when it becomes available on Amazon at week’s end.
- 35. Boise State — #62 offense, #19 defense
- 42. Fresno State — #47 offense, #45 defense
- 47. Air Force — #40 offense, #60 defense
- 59. San Diego State — #113 offense, #11 defense
- 80. Utah State — #71 offense, #91 defense
- 88. Colorado State — #107 offense, #66 defense
- 92. Wyoming — #109 offense, #67 defense
- 96. Nevada — #95 offense, #92 defense
- 97. San Jose State — #118 offense, #65 defense
- 112. UNLV — #105 offense, #106 defense
- 115. Hawaii — #103 offense, #118 defense
- 125. New Mexico — #131 offense, #90 defense