The San Diego State Aztecs have won two straight Mountain West Conference titles, but the Boise State Broncos are the favorite to win the conference title this season.
If you’re wondering whether the prohibitive favorites can live up to their status as conference favorites or whether there is another team or two that you should place some betting bucks on to beat out the Aztecs or the Broncos, then you’re in luck.
Thanks to this expert look at the favorites, my ‘smart’ pick and my top longshot to win the Mountain West Conference in 2017, you’re going to have a great idea of just what to expect out of the mid-major conference once the 2017 regular season gets underway.
Odds & Picks To Win The 2017 Mountain West Conference Title
|San Diego State||+250|
|San Jose State||+5000|
The Odds-On Favorite To Win The Mountain West: Boise State Broncos +150
Boise State averaged an impressive 33.8 points per game to rank 38th nationally in scoring but lost all-time leading receiver Thomas Sperbeck and gifted running back Jeremy McNichols. The Broncos also lost three starters on the offensive line but quarterback Brett Rypien is back and there is some talent at the skill positions waiting to replace the Broncos departed stars.
Boise State also ranked 29th nationally in points allowed (23.3 ppg), but they lose three key linebackers and two starters on the defensive line. More importantly, the Broncos need to improve on their inability to force turnovers a year ago. Still, head coach Bryan Harsin has continued the excellence of winning that predecessor Chris Petersen began and the Broncos will challenge for the conference crown even if they do look a lot different from last year’s team.
The Smart Pick To Win: San Diego State Aztecs +250
The Aztecs finished the 2016 season ranked an impressive 29th in scoring (35.2 ppg) but they lose the NCAA all-time leading rusher Donnel Pumphrey (6,405 yards). The good news is that they already have his replacement ready in senior Rashaad Penny after he rushed for 1,018 yards last season to help San Diego State become the first team in NCAA history to feature both, a 2,000-yard rusher (Pumphrey, 2,133) and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.
Quarterback Christian Chapman is back after tossing 20 TD passes and just six interceptions and he’ll look to get the ball to No. 1 wideout senior Mikah Holder. San Diego State was also outstanding on the defensive side of the ball in finishing 11th in total defense and 17th in points allowed (20.2 ppg) and the Aztecs have an experienced secondary that can rival any major school in the country, although the defensive line has question marks. Make no mistake about it, San Diego State will be tough to beat in 2017, making their +250 odds pretty attractive.
The Longshot Pick: Air Force Falcons +2500
The Falcons reached the double-digit win mark in 2016 by putting up a healthy 35.2 points per game to rank 30th in scoring nationally for head coach Troy Calhoun and have quarterback Arion Worthma back to lead an offense that averaged just 7.6 passes per game in 2016. The Falcons lost gifted wide receiver Jalen Robinette but return two starters on the offensive line, but have a gifted running back in Timothy McVey that will help to carry their offense in 2017.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons lost almost everyone as 12 of their top 13 tacklers from last year won’t be back in 2017. Air Force managed to limit the opposition to a respectable 26.2 points per game to rank 49th nationally, but they’ll have their work cut out for them if they want to stay close to those decent numbers.
Defensive end Santo Coppola, cornerback Marquis Griffin and safety Kyle Floyd are expected to lead an inexperienced defense that could be problematic this coming season. Still, Air Force has managed to win 28 games the last three seasons and will be there to pick up the pieces as a potential conference champion if either San Diego State or Boise State falters.