Mountain West Football: Wyoming Rises, Nevada Drops In Updated 2023 SP+ Projections

Mountain West Football: Wyoming Rises, Nevada Drops In Updated 2023 SP+ Projections

The first update to Bill Connelly’s efficiency metric shuffles the outlook for a number of Mountain West football teams this fall.

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The conference still has some improvements to make.

After revealing the first set of preseason SP+ rankings back in February, ESPN’s Bill Connelly updated those projections this morning to account for roster updates.

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SP+, which measures efficiency on both sides of the ball (success rate, explosiveness, and more) and is adjusted for tempo and quality of opponents, reflects returning production, overall recruiting, and recent history into its ratings. What has changed in the last few months across the Mountain West?

  • 132. New Mexico — #129 offense, #107 defense (no change from February)

  • 124. Hawaii — #114 offense, #119 defense (+7)

  • 118. Colorado State — #127 offense, #77 defense (+1)

  • 116. Utah State — #111 offense, #110 defense (+2)

  • 113. Nevada — #119 offense, #95 defense (-6)

  • 108. UNLV — #98 offense, #109 defense (+1)

  • 97. San Jose State — #97 offense, #93 defense (+6)

  • 92. Wyoming — #121 offense, #62 defense (+9)

  • 85. San Diego State — #110 offense, #56 defense (-5)

  • 81. Air Force — #122 offense, #33 defense (-4)

  • 68. Fresno State — #85 offense, #58 defense (-1)

  • 62. Boise State — #70 offense, #57 defense (+6)

As you can tell, things are still not ideal overall but they are definitely different. At the top of the projections, Boise State leap-frogged defending champion Fresno State thanks to a modestly improved outlook on defense, climbing six spots from 63rd to 57th. The gap between the Broncos and Bulldogs and the next two teams, Air Force and San Diego State, also got a little wider because of slight downgrades to offensive projections for both the Falcons and Aztecs.

The most interesting shakeups are in the middle of the pack. San Jose State enjoyed a bump in its projection at this juncture for the second straight year and Wyoming, after suffering a dip in last year’s first update, made the biggest climb of any team in the Mountain West with a more optimistic projection on defense (68th to 62nd). This may provide a glimpse at the teams SP+ expects to compete for a bowl bid, at the very least.


Farther down the projections, Hawaii got a bit of separation from the FBS cellar with a positive bump on both sides of the ball, an increase of 11 spots on offense and eight on defense. Conversely, Nevada slid behind rival UNLV after plummeting nine spots on offense, suggesting that a quicker resolution to some of last year’s problems, namely at quarterback, will be the key to success.

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Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire