2023 Way-Too-Early Mountain West Football Power Rankings
Who will be our staff top choice going into next year?
Remember, divisions are gone as well.
College football is officially over for the 2022 season which saw Georgia win back-to-back titles with a 65-7 thumping over TCU.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the 2023 Mountain West season and these absurdly early and likely wrong power rankings to start the year.
There is a lot of portal movement that has happened since the season has concluded and there will be one more time frame for players to come in go after spring football.
Also, there are players who are opting for the NFL Draft and the deadline for players to declare for the draft is Monday, Jan. 16.
One final note before we get to the rankings, this upcoming year will not have divisions for the conference, meaning it is the top two teams who will make the conference championship game.
12. New Mexico (12 points)
The Lobos are still in rebuild mode under Danny Gonzales as he enters his fourth year. Gonzales will be entering 2023 with new coordinators which includes replacing his mentor Rocky Long who is now the defensive coordinator at Syracuse.
That is a big blow but Gonzales made a great hire on the offensive side of the ball by bringing on Bryant Vincent who was UAB’s interim coach and offensive coordinator.
New Year, New OC!
We can now officially welcome @bryantvincent44 as our new offensive coordinator! He comes after serving as the OC (and Interim Head Coach) at UAB, rewriting the record books in 2022 on the way to a Bahamas Bowl title!https://t.co/A3yRFezSCU#GoLobos | #WIN5 pic.twitter.com/PHcVGuWgfP
— New Mexico Football (@UNMLoboFB) January 1, 2023
11. Nevada (24 points)
The Wolf Pack have a lot to work with as they head into the second year under Ken Wilson. Their trenches must get better as does the passing game. It doesn’t help that they lose key players like Dom Peterson on defense and running back Toa Taua.
10. Hawaii (26 points)
Timmy Chang will have time to grow as a coach as he enters the second year of a big rebuild. They were in the bottom 20 in the FBS in points allowed and points scored. This Warriors team does need some consistency and improvement across the board.
9. UNLV (30 points)
New head coach Barry Odom replaces Marcus Arroyo to lead the ship in Las Vegas. The Rebels lost key players like RB Addin Robbins and WR Kyle Williams in the portal to power conference teams.
The one shining spot is that Brennan Marion is now the offensive coordinator. He fell into the Rebels lap after Bobby Petrino left after just a few weeks to be the OC for Texas A&M.
8. Utah State (38 points)
The Aggies were wildly inconsistent this past year. They started off terribly and then went on a nice run to qualify for a bowl game, but they then fell flat to Memphis losing by four touchdowns.
QB Cooper Legas is a nice start but the team loses a lot on defense and one of its best offensive players in running back Calvin Tyler, Jr.
7. Colorado State (43 points)
The Rams have a lot of potential to make the biggest leap with young talent that includes QB Clay Millen who had a great year completing passes. He does need to work on more downfield throws but expect Jay Norvell to get this team competing sooner than later.
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) November 25, 2022
6. Wyoming (44 points)
It is always the same story for Wyoming. They likely will finish with seven or eight wins and be a darkhorse to make it to the title game. They need better quarterback play out of Andrew Peasley, the defense will be near the top, and a good running game will be on the field.
Getting an at least average passing game could allow the Cowboys to make a leap.
5. San Jose State (60 points)
The Spartans are lower than my initial thought. They can make the case for having one of the best coaches in the league. They return the conference’s best quarterback in Chevan Cordeiro, but there will be some competition from a few other players in that category.
The running game and offensive line need to get better, and the defense loses a lot of production which will be hard to replace.
3. Air Force (63 points)
Troy Calhoun and the Falcons always seem to get the job done with his run-option attack. Next year will be interesting as Haziiq Daniels is in the transfer portal and fullback Brad Roberts has exhausted his eligibility.
Those are two huge losses but do not count out Calhoun to have this Air Force team competing at a high level.
3. San Diego State (1 first-place vote, 63 points)
The Aztecs may have found their quarterback after a tough 2022 go that saw three players line up under center. Jalen Mayden got the call after being a safety and did a great job relearning the positon he played in high school.
Jalen Mayden’s arm talent is getting better with every week. Still hard to believe he was a safety just a little over a month ago pic.twitter.com/rXKVKQr2zn
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 13, 2022
He should have a lot of growth going into next year and that will make him scary. One area that San Diego State surprisingly struggled last year was running the ball. If they get the ground game going to prior levels then this team could be conference champions.
2. Fresno State (4 first-place votes, 72 points)
This high of a ranking could be out of respect. The defending champions are losing a lot of talent on offense with QB Jake Haener, RB Jordan Mims, and WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper are all off to the NFL.
The Bulldogs also lost offensive coordinator Kirby Moore to the Missouri Tigers for the same position. Head coach Jeff Tedford has done miracles before and it might take another one if they are going to be in the conversation for another conference title.
1. Boise State (7 first-place votes, 79 points)
The Broncos bring back a lot of depth at the running back position with George Holani and Ashton Jeanty which could be the best combination in the conference.
Their quarterback play settled after a month with Taylen Green but he still has some work to do and he could use some help with more quality wide receivers to throw the ball to.