Mountain West Preview

Projected Records & Standings
1. TCU                10-2  (7-1)
2. BYU 9-3 (6-2)
3. UTAH 9-3 (6-2)
4. AIR FORCE 9-3 (5-3)
5. UNLV 5-7 (3-5)
6. COLORADO STATE 6-6 (3-5)
7. SAN DIEGO STATE 6-6 (3-5)
8. NEW MEXICO 4-8 (2-6)
9. WYOMING 3-9 (1-7)
Champion: TCU
I’m not sold on the offense and QB Andy Dalton, but TCU has never been about offense. The defense is what rules for Gary Patterson’s squad, and with players like DE Jerry Hughes, LB Daryl Washington, and CB Rafael Priest coming back the Frogs should be as formidable as ever. Keep an eye on potential game-changer Jeremy Kerley on offense and special teams. He could be an important cog in the offense if he takes another step up in his development.

Question the Hype: BYU
BYU quarterback Max Hall returns to guide one of the nation’s most highly touted offenses. Look a little bit closer, though, and you’ll find that the Cougars padded their offensive numbers against inferior opponents. Remember that this is the same team that needed a horrible call from the officials to beat winless Washington a year ago, and also got throttled in their biggest games against TCU (32-7), Utah (48-24), and Arizona (31-21).

Could Surprise: SAN DIEGO STATE
I considered putting Air Force in this spot, but decided that it wouldn’t really surprise anyone if Troy Calhoun guides the Falcons to 9 wins. I almost put New Mexico here, but I’m not sure if new coach Mike Locksley (along with his OC, former North Texas head coach Darrell Dickey) has enough experienced players outside QB Donovan Porterie to put together a breakthrough season yet.

Instead I went with San Diego State. The Aztecs have long been sitting on an untapped gold mine, and I believe Brady Hoke might be the coach to harness that potential. He brought in some excellent assistant coaches to help him out too. With Al Borges running the offense and former New Mexico head coach Rocky Long running the defense, the future could be bright in San Diego – and why not start the future in 2009?

Faulk Trophy Candidates:
OT-Zane Beadles, Utah
QB-Omar Clayton, UNLV
WR-Rashaun Greer, Colorado State
QB-Max Hall, BYU
DE-Jerry Hughes, TCU
QB-Tim Jefferson, Air Force
FS-Robert Johnson, Utah
DE-Jan Jorgensen, BYU
PR/WR-Jeremy Kerley, TCU
QB-Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
TE-Dennis Pitta, BYU
QB-Donovan Porterie, New Mexico
LB-Stevenson Sylvester, Utah
QB-Karsten Sween, Wyoming
WR-Ryan Wolfe, UNLV
RB-James Wright, New Mexico

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