Mountain West Odds: 2012 Football Preview
The changeover of teams in the Mountain West continues this season with the addition of Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii from the Western Athletic Conference and the departure of TCU for the Big 12.
Editors Note: For 2013 conference preview, click here
The net result is a 10-team race for this season’s MWC title. The following is a look at a few of the top contenders in the Mountain West along with the odds to win the conference title for each team as provided by 5Dimes.
There is little doubt that with TCU gone the Boise State Broncos are now the class of the Mountain West. Unfortunately, this will be their last season in the conference as the school decided to join the Big East for football starting in 2013.
They have been opened as prohibitive -300 favorites to win the MWC this season despite the fact that a good portion of last year’s 12-1 squad is gone. Look for Joe Southwick to try and fill Kellen Moore’s shoes at quarterback while senior nose guard Mike Atkinson is the only returning starter from the defense’s front seven. The Broncos should still work their way to the conference title but they will not be nearly as dominant as they were last year.
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One of the teams that will try to chase down Boise State is the Nevada Wolf Pack, who are +550 second-favorites to win the MWC. They only managed a 7-6 record last season in the WAC, but went on an impressive 6-3 run down the stretch to salvage their season.
The Wolf Pack’s ground game was ranked eighth in the nation in total yards per game last season, but Lampford Mark and Mike Ball, who accounted for most of the production, are gone. It will be up to Stefphon Jefferson and Nick Hale to fill their shoes this year. The defense has numerous holes to fill as well with the exception of the secondary which remains pretty much intact.
The third-favorite to win the conference title at +800 is the Fresno State Bulldogs. They ended-up a disappointing 4-9 in their last season in the WAC after winning eight games in 2010. That paved the way for the arrival of Tim DeRuyter as the Bulldogs new head coach. He spent the past few seasons as Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator.
He will have his work cut out for him on that side of the ball given that Fresno State finished last season ranked 106th in the country in points allowed. The offense could be potent with Derek Carr returning as the team’s starting quarterback. Last season he passed for 3,544 yards and 26 touchdowns while completing 62.6 percent of his throws.
The next favorite is the Wyoming Cowboys as a moderate longshot at +1500. They actually finished third in the MWC last season with a 5-2 record in conference play and were 8-5 overall. The Cowboys are hoping that quarterback Brett Smith can continue to develop after taking over the reins last season.
He threw for 2,622 yards and 20 touchdowns but struggled at times with consistency. Wyoming is another team that has its share of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. Last year’s squad gave-up an average of 27.8 points a game.
The odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams in the Mountain West are Air Force and San Diego State at +2000, Colorado State +3500, Hawaii +7000, UNLV +7500, and New Mexico +12500