Where Does Phil Steele Rank Mountain West Teams?
The guru’s magazine is out!
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How many teams are in the top 40?
Phil Steele is a machine and if you don’t buy his magazine you are doing things wrong as a college football fan. He has a different and unique way to rank teams going into the season.
He will rank teams in a variety of ways. Steele does a 131 power poll that uses all nine sets of his ratings, and then a top 40 for how he thinks the teams will end up once the season is completed. So, the latter poll is basically an end-of-season poll.
First, we will quickly go through his 131 which is his preseason power poll using every single one of his metrics.
40. Boise State
46. Fresno State
47. Air Force
63. San Diego State
86. Utah State
99. Colorado State
108. San Jose State
120. New Mexico
There a quite a few surprises on this list and the biggest one is Wyoming which is 118th but also nine out of 12 in the conference.
There are some big losses for the Cowboys with who they lost in the transfer portal and to the NFL Draft, but it seems a bit of a reach to think a Craig Bohl team that usually is strong on defense will be that low in the league.
UNLV is a bit of a surprise on the surface. The team hasn’t been good in a long time and they rotated through many quarterbacks, but they also played in six games in which they lost by a single score. So, if the Rebels can win a few of those then they are fighting for bowl eligibility.
Top 40 Ranking + 20
29. Air Force
31. Boise State
40. Fresno State
48. San Diego State
53. Utah State
Steele actually adds 20 teams that missed the cut which is why San Diego State and Utah State make this list.
Steele has a number of rankings that seemingly contradict one another. In his Mountain West division projection, he has Boise State ahead of Air Force for the best team in the Mountain Division.
There are a number of factors where a team can be ranked higher nationally and not win their division. It comes down to non-conference scheduling. However, ranking teams nationally is a bit different than going within the conference itself.
The takeway from his top 40 plus 20 is that Steele feels that Air Force is going to be the best team in the conference and that the Mountain Division is much tougher.
Plus, with his different ratings sets which shows different teams in different 1-12 slots points to this upcoming Mountain West season will be very entertaining.