The Mountain West Conference, like other leagues, has experienced several changes over the past five years. Utah (PAC 12), BYU (Independent) & TCU (Big 12) have left the conference, while Hawaii, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Utah State, & San Jose State (all from the now defunct WAC, Western Athletic Conference) have signed on the dotted line and joined the MW Conference! The MWC is widely considered the second best conference in the Group of Five (GF), looking up at only the American Athletic Conference (AAC). Here is their breakdown for the 2014 season!
Air Force: The Academy has elected not to schedule a Power Conference (PC) in 2014. The Falcons play three teams from the GF, @ Army (IND) & Georgia State Sun Belt Conference (SBC) and then welcome Navy (IND) to Colorado Springs. They round out the Non-Conference (NC) at home against Nicholls State (SLC)
Boise State: The Broncos take on Ole Miss (SEC) at a neutral site, the Georgia Dome. BSU plays 3 GF teams, BYU (IND), Louisiana (SBC) both of these games are on the Blue Turf, while they travel to U-Conn (AAC) to tame the Huskies. Boise does not play a team from the Football Championship Subdivision. (FCS)
Colorado State: The Rams take on 2 PC’s, @ Boston College and open their season at a neutral site, Sports Authority Field @ Mile High Stadium, against in-state rival, the Golden Buffaloes of Colorado. CSU plays one GF team, Tulsa (AAC) @ Home and 1 FCS club, UC Davis, from the Big Sky Conference.
New Mexico: The Loboes play one PC, Arizona State (PAC-12) at home and 3 opponents from the Group of Five (GF) @ UTEP (University of Texas El Paso … C-USA) & @ UTSA (University of Texas San Antonio also in C-USA) and welcome in-state rival, New Mexico State (SBC). UNM does not line up against a FCS squad in 2014!
Utah State: The Aggies travel to SEC Country / Rocky Top (Good Ole Boys singing about the Good Old Days … lamenting about the loss of the Tennessee country-side to urban sprawl… what?) to take on Tennessee and then welcome Wake Forest (ACC) to Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah! USU plays one GF opponent, Arkansas State, Sun Belt Conference (SBC) on the road and complete their 4 game non-conference schedule against Montana, a FCS team from the Big Sky.
Wyoming: The Cowboys have a tough NC run against PC’s, @ Oregon (PAC-12 … speed everywhere) & @ Michigan State (B-10 … bust U up everywhere) and battle one GF, Florida Atlantic (C-USA) at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. I think the most interesting FBS v FCS game is between Montana @ Wyoming. In fact, I was quite surprised to see that the Cowboys have never lost to the Grizzles, 13-0, from 1951 through 1997!
Nevada: The Wolf Pack may have the toughest NC schedule in the MWC, Washington State (PAC-12) @ Home & @ Arizona (PAC-12) for their Power Conferences encounters and then travel to Provo, Utah, to take on what may be the best team in all of the GF, BYU (IND)! Nevada rounds out its NC schedule by hosting Southern Utah (Big Sky) @ Mackey Stadium.
San Diego State University (SDSU): The Aztecs first head East to take on North Carolina (ACC) and then turn North to challenge Oregon State (PAC-12) to complete their two game schedule against Power Conferences in 2014. They have one date with the GF, Idaho (SBC … & under a NCAA post season bowl ban for failure to meet APR) , at home and welcome a FCS opponent, Northern Arizona, from the Big Sky Conference, to Qualcomm Stadium!
San Jose State University (SJSU): The Spartans play 2 PC teams, @ Auburn (SEC) & at Minnesota (B-10), set sail to battle Navy, at Annapolis, their one NC GF game, and conclude their Non-conference schedule at Home, against North Dakota, a FCS team from the the Big Sky!
University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV): The Rebels just received good news, they were banned by the NCAA from post season play in 2014 for failing to meet APR (Academic Progress Rate) in the class room. Then … upon further review .. the Rebels came up 6′s … and are now able to earn their way into the Bowl fray! They play one PC, Arizona (PAC-12), 2 tough GF, Northern Illinois (MAC) @ Home & @ BYU (IND), & 1 FCS, Northern Colorado in Sin City!
Fresno State: Remember when I said that Nevada had the toughest NC schedule … maybe not … as The Bulldogs play 3 PC’s opponents; @ USC (PAC-12) @ Utah (PAC-12) and then invited Nebraska (B-10) to LaLa land for an evening encounter. Ouch! They end their NC tilts at Home against, Southern Utah, a FCS team out of the Big Sky!
Hawaii: The Warriors, not to be outdone by Fresno, also elected to schedule 3 PC opponents. They welcome Washington (PAC-12) & Oregon State (PAC-12) to Aloha Stadium and then travel to the mainland to take on Colorado (PAC-12) @ Folsom Field! Hawaii play’s one FCS team, Northern Iowa, a team from the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).
Here is the breakdown for the MWC vs the Rest:
MWC vs Power Conferences: ACC, 3 Games; Big-12, No Games; Big Ten, 3 dates; P-12, 12 meetings; SEC, 3 Games; & ND, MWC does not play the Irish! A total of 21 games against PC opponents; 6 @ Home, 13 on the road, & 2 at neutral sites (Boise State & Colorado State)
MWC vs Group of Five Conferences: AAC, 2 games; C-USA, 3 tilts, MAC, 1 meeting; SBC, 5 dates, & IND, 6 contests. The MWC plays 17 games with their peers in the GF Conferences & Independant affiliates, 8 at Home, 9 on the road, and do not play any of these teams at a neutral site!
MWC vs Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Opponents: Southland Conference (SLC), 1 & done; Missouri Valley Conference (MVC,)1 date; & Big Sky Conference, 8 games! The MWC plays 10 games with FCS opponents … all at home.
Their 48 NC games are broken down as follows: 21 vs PC’s, 17 against GF’s, & 10 vs the FCS’!