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Mountain West Conference Football Preview and Predictions 2011
The Mountain West Conference adds a heavyweight in the form of Boise State this year, but losses equally strong members in Utah and BYU. They will lose TCU after this season. Upon their exit Boise State rival Nevada will enter the conference as well as California State (Fresno). Let's take a look at the 2011 Mountain West Conference which figures to be a competitive race.
Boise State Broncos - If not for a missed FG and other mishaps this team might have had an argument to play for the BCS Title last year. However, they slipped up against Nevada and lost all chance. The Broncos ended 2010 with a 12-1 record and a win over Utah (26-3) in the Nevada Bowl. That was quite an impressive win over a historically strong bowl team. HC Chris Petersen gets back 7 starters on each side of the ball for his team's inaugural season in the Mountain West. Most notable is QB Kellen Moore. The senior had a 35-6 ratio last year and could very well be the best QB in the NCAA. He needs just 8 more wins to become the all time winningest QB in NCAA history. Winning 8 or more is a virtually assured, but big time focus will be on taking down Georgia in the season opener. If they do that then Boise State could finally play for a BCS Title at the end of the year.
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TCU Horned Frogs - Gary Patterson's undefeated Rose Bowl winning team of 2010 will almost certainly regress from last year's 13-0 mark. The good news is that they enough talent and an easy enough schedule to win 11 games. The offense loses every starter, but RB Ed Wesley, WR Josh Boyce an, LG Kyle Dooley and K Ross Evans. The defense is still going to be tough and they are perhaps the best LB group in college football behind All Americans Tank Carder and Tanner Brock. It will be interesting to see how this team responds to losing most of its stars. Will they feel entitled to success or will they work for it? That will be the difference in winning and losing in 2011.
Air Force Falcons - This team soared high last year with a great mark of 9-4 and a win over Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl. They bring back 6 offense starters and 3 defensive starters from that team. Tim Jefferson will be a stud in his senior year playing QB. With a weak schedule rated at #99 in the country they may finally r reach double digit wins for the first time since 1998.
Colorado State Rams - Living through seasons like last year's 3-9 debacle isn't easy. Trust us, we know! The Rams get back 8 offense starters and 6 defense starters from that team. They are young and the offensive line is strong. They will have a winning record thanks to a schedule that includes trips to Utah State, New Mexico and home games against Northern Colorado and Wyoming.
San Diego State Aztecs - 2010 was just a great year to be an Aztec's fan as the basketball team dominated and this team wasn't too shabby either at 9-4. They return 8 offensive starters from that group and 5 on defense. They bring back second all time leading passer Ryan Lindley. He will be short on WRs this year, but thanks to his senior leadership they will improve as the year goes on. They are a wild card this year and could reach Bowl play with some luck.
Wyoming Cowboys - After winning the New Mexico Bowl in 2009 this team failed miserable in 2010 with a 3-9 mark. They get back 7 and 7 from that group and possess a very weak schedule. HC Dave Christensen isn't a spring chicken and knows what he is doing. Under his guidance this team could experience a resurgence in 2011.
New Mexico Lobos - Returning a bunch of starters is usually a great thing, but when your team went 1-11 the fact that they get back 9 on defense and 6 on offense isn't too reassuring. This team will act as a punching bag for teams like Arkansas, Texas Tech, Nevada, TCU, San Diego State and Boise State. The outlook is grim.
UNLV Rebels - This team returns 7 offense starters and 4 on defense, but like with New Mexico this isn't impressive as they were 2-11 last year. Tough games against Wisconsin, Boise State, Nevada, San Diego State, Air Force and TCU mean they almost automatically have 6 losses already.
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