The 2023-24 college football season is swiftly approaching. The Fresno State Bulldogs are eager to begin their Mountain-West-title-defending campaign. The conference received a major shakeup following the decision to eliminate its football divisions, instead sending the top two programs in the conference standings to the Mountain West Conference Football Championship Game.
The futures market for the impending campaign has been defined. BetOnline recently updated their odds for the 2024 Mountain West winner. The odds shake out as follows:
- Boise State (+180)
- Fresno State (+325)
- Air Force (+400)
- San Diego State (+750)
- Wyoming (+1100)
- Colorado State (+1400)
- San Jose State (+1400)
- UNLV (+1600)
- Utah State (+2500)
- Nevada (+5000)
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: BOISE STATE
Boise State was defeated 28-16 by Fresno State in last year’s Championship Game. It marked a disappointing conclusion to an impressive 8-2 campaign. Head coach Andy Avalos has the program heading in the right direction.
Starting quarterback Taylen Green is a rising star. A dual-threat playmaker, Green accounted for 2,628 total yards of offense and 24 touchdowns (14 passing, 10 rushing) in 2022. Green will once again spearhead one of the conference’s most successful offenses.
Green’s top three receiving options from last season all returned for 2023. The defense lost several starters to the 2023 NFL Draft, including JL Skinner and Tyreque Jones. Several incoming transfers should help offset the departures. Boise State is a strong frontrunner to hoist the Mountain West Championship this season.
THE DEFENDING CHAMPION: FRESNO STATE
It was a dream-like campaign for Fresno State in 2022, which captured its first conference title since 2018. Head coach Jeff Tedford is facing a monumental challenge, however. The Bulldogs lost several talents to the 2023 NFL Draft and transfer portal.
Quarterback Jake Haener, wide receiver Jalen Cropper, and running back Jordan Mims departed for the NFL. Evan Williams (Oregon) and Bralyn Lux (Texas Tech) are among the exits via the transfer portal. Such is life in today’s NIL-dominant college football landscape.
Replacing that much talent is never a straightforward process for a non-blueblood program. UCF transfer Mikey Keene and last year’s backup Logan Fife, who momentarily played in relief of an injured Haener, are in contention to replace Haener as the starter. Either one has massive shoes to fill.
THE UNDERDOG: AIR FORCE
Air Force continually finds ways to keep the program rolling. The 2022 campaign was a success as 17th-year head coach Troy Calhoun led the Falcons to a 10-2 record. Air Force defeated Baylor in the Armed Forces Bowl, and then beat Army and Navy for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.
The offense will continue leaning on a run-heavy attack. Last year’s No. 1 ranked rushing offense averaged an astounding 327 yards per game. John Lee Eldridge is tasked with replacing Brad Roberts as the team’s go-to ball carrier.
The defense will be aided by a dominant time-of-possession offense. Air Force possessed the top-ranked defense in the country while allowing a stingy 254.4 yards per contest. Projecting similar success is straightforward thanks to eight returning starters.
Air Force is talented enough to contend with Fresno State and Boise State in the Mountain West.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 22, 2023