Overreacting to Week 1 Mountain West performances

·8 min read

Time to overreact

The Mountain West went 6-5 in Week 1

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Week 2 should provide more answers

Fresno State: Offense was a little too shaky

Week 1 performances can be a little difficult to judge. When an FBS team hosts an FCS program—as point 40 favorites—the expectation is that things will get ugly—early and often. For Fresno St., things weren’t really all that smooth as lowly Cal Poly forced two first-half punts and the Bulldogs also missed a short goal. The opening second act of the Jeff Tedford era wasn’t familiar by any stretch but struggling to score—at times—was a little concerning.

The Bulldogs will get a far more interesting test next weekend as they host Oregon St.—who pounded the preseason conference favorites in the Mountain West—on Saturday.

San Jose St.: It’s going to be a rough year for the Spartans

Is it an overreaction to say Thursday’s win vs. Portland St. signals that SJSU caught lightning in a bottle in 2020? No? Well, SJSU squeaked out a victory vs. FCS Portland St., 21-17, but were far, far from impressive in doing so. Dare I say it was almost a moral victory for the Vikings, who threw a pick late, and still had a chance to win the game in the fourth. The Spartans late touchdown, although it secured the victory, did little to raise the belief for the rest of the season.

The Spartans will head to Auburn next weekend to face off with a somewhat familiar foe—Bryan Harsin—in a chance to “right the ship” after the Week 1 near disaster.

San Jose State Spartans offensive lineman Anthony Pardue (74) reacts after a play on the goal line in the first half against the Portland State Vikings during an NCAA football game on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Lachlan Cunningham)

Utah St.: The Aggies took a step-back from last year’s conference championship

In no world did anyone really expect Utah St. to give the Crimson Tide much of fight. Considering ‘Bama was coming off a national championship loss, some drama in the offseason and a lot of key pieces returning, a route was expected. However, the Aggies did not put up much of fight and even worse—UCONN didn’t exactly look like world beaters vs. Central Connecticut St. It might be reading too much into two nonconference games but Utah St.’s either dealing with a championship hangover (if those even exist in college football?) or they took a step back from last year. From the outside, it looks like the Aggies took a fairly significant step back.

Weber St., who has been a playoff caliber FCS program in recent years, will travel to Logan this week before conference play begins.

Boise St.: It’s time to move on from Hank Bachmeier

Let’s just get one thing clear: Bachmeier is as tough as they come and a Boise St. loyalist. But, after last Saturday’s performance, it’s time to move on. Last year was suspect at times and there was a lot of finger pointing going on (O-line, coaching, quarterback play), but it seemed like most people around the program were comfortable giving Bachmeier another go round. Last Saturday made it clear that it’s time for the Taylen Green era to begin. I think Avalos is going to make the move, not just for the team’s sake, but his own sake because that seat will begin warm if things start going really south for the Broncos. It’s still too early to go full blown panic mode but if Green’s the better option from here on out, he’s got to get the start vs. New Mexico next week. There’s too much talent on this team to be held back by quarterback play.

Hawaii: Chang needs to be better

A lot has been made about how much Hawaii lost this offseason. New head coach Timmy Chang has been given some leeway, despite the 63-10 loss to Vanderbilt. But last week’s performance vs. Western Kentucky—especially the series below—should at least partly be blamed on Chang’s coaching.

Hawaii vs. WKU
Hawaii vs. WKU

Yes, Chang is brand new to this and will improve as the season goes on (well, at least that’s the hope) but he has to be better, or at least get the team to execute better. This week gets substantially more difficult for the Rainbow Warriors as they will travel to Ann Arbor for a date with the Michigan Wolverines. Yikes.

Nevada: Nevada still isn’t a very good team

2-0 Nevada might be the surprise of the Mountain West but the schedule has been very weak and the wins haven’t been the most impressive. New Mexico St. and Texas St. aren’t murder’s row by any stretch. How have the Wolf Pack been winning? They’ve forced four turnovers in each game. If Nevada can keep the turnover differential up, they might end up being the surprise team in all of FBS football but the chances of that happening are incredibly slim.

Colorado St.: This team might surprise in the Mountain division

On a surface level, losing 51-7 doesn’t necessarily scream optimism after Week 1. But considering the expectations in Fort Collins were relatively low this year with first year head coach Jay Norvell, putting up a respectable fight against an underrated Michigan squad provides quite a bit of optimism for the Rams faithful.

Both sides of the ball appear better for CSU this year and considering the state of the rest of the division, the Rams might be the surprise team in the Mountain West this year. Next, a visit from Middle Tennessee St.

Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

San Diego St.: The Aztec defense is headed for a down here

SDSU’s success in recent years have been reliant on a stingy defense. This year? Not so much, as they got carved up by an admittedly improved Arizona. Still, it seems as though there has been a substantial drop off in talent on the defensive side of the ball this year for the Aztecs.

Who knows, maybe it was just the heat wave that hit San Diego last week but things don’t look so bright for SDSU right now. They’ll get a chance to rebound this week vs. lowly Idaho St.

Wyoming: Craig Bohl bought himself a little more time

After the Week 0 blowout loss vs. Illinois, it looked like Bohl was starting the downward slide to unemployment. However, he bought himself a little more time with a win over Tulsa. Yes, it is only Tulsa but it’s something, especially considering how bad the Cowboys looked in Week 0.

Bohl’s job is by no means safe, but with Northern Colorado visiting this week, getting above .500 is well within reach and should provide some breathing room before things could potentially get really ugly in conference play.

Sep 3, 2022; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; Wyoming Cowboys head coach Craig Bohl leads his team out before the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Air Force: The Falcons are the class of the Mountain West

Maybe this is more of an overreaction to the rest of the Mountain West, but after Week 1, Air Force appears to be the class of the conference. The Falcons rolled through a traditionally strong FCS program in Northern Iowa and will get a shot at a home vs. Colorado this week.

Is this the year that Jeff Calhoun wins a Mountain West Championship? After Week 1, it sure seems like this could be the year.

Sep 3, 2022; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; Air Force Falcons quarterback Haaziq Daniels (4) in the third quarter against the Northern Iowa Panthers at Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico: This program is beginning to turn a corner

The Lobos looked great in a route of FCS Maine. Wait, the Lobos looked great? 

It’s true. That might be the first time in years that the collective opinion around the New Mexico program has been positive but it truly does look like it is starting to turn a corner. Kudos to Danny Gonzales.

The real test will come this week Friday night at Boise St. The Broncos struggled Week 1 and if the Lobos can hang around and potentially even pull an upset, it will signal a complete turnaround for the program and even a potential bowl game.

New Mexico wide receiver Luke Wysong scores against Maine during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Albuquerque, N.M. (Roberto E. Rosales/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)


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Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire