Mountain West Announces Schedule Rotation For 2023-25 Football Seasons
The Mountain West Conference is dropping its two football divisions after 2022. This is what comes next.
A new normal in the conference.
After it was announced back in May that the Mountain West Conference would eliminate the Mountain and West divisions to better position themselves for New Year’s Six bowl contention in the future, the question became what would replace it. Now, we know.
The new format operates under what is called a “2-6” formation, meaning that each team will have two guaranteed opponents and then face six other teams who are shuffled in and out annually as part of the rotation. For example, Air Force will play Colorado State and Wyoming as its guaranteed opponent, securing the future of the Ram-Falcon trophy and an in-state rivalry at that. This is reflected in other guaranteed opponents, as well: The Border War, Valley Trophy, Ninth Island Showdown and Fremont Cannon are all part of this same category.
That change isn’t universal for all of the conference’s traditional rivalries, however. The contest for the Bridger Rifle between Utah State and Wyoming, for instance, won’t take place in 2023; the Battle for the Milk Can between Fresno State and Boise State has an off year in 2024, as well, and the contest for the Old Oil Can between Fresno State and San Diego State is off in 2025.
The upside? According to the Mountain West, this will enable every team in the conference to see each other more often overall as “all teams will face nine of 11 opponents at least twice, once at home and once on the road, and two opponents in each of the three years.” It also means the end of potentially lopsided division races, as in 2014 when a Fresno State team that would finish 6-8 won the West while four Mountain division teams won ten or more games, including three who finished with a better conference record than the Bulldogs.
Guaranteed Opponents For Each Mountain West Team
Air Force: Colorado State, Wyoming
Boise State: New Mexico, Utah State
Colorado State: Air Force, Wyoming
Fresno State: Nevada, San Jose State
Hawaii: San Diego State, UNLV
Nevada: Fresno State, UNLV
New Mexico: Boise State, San Jose State
San Diego State: Hawaii, New Mexico
San Jose State: Fresno State, New Mexico
UNLV: Hawaii, Nevada
Utah State: Boise State, San Diego State
Wyoming: Air Force, Colorado State