MWC Mountain college football preview: Projections, burning questions for every team

You can generally distill the Mountain West Conference Mountain division race down to "Boise State vs. somebody." Since divisional play began out west in 2013, the Broncos have reached the conference title game five times (winning three), tied for first in the Mountain once and finished one game back three times.

The latter happened in 2021, as BSU beat Utah State and Fresno State by a combined score of 67-17, but finished a game back of USU because of a pair of home upsets and a late loss to San Diego State. Blake Anderson's Utah State team was the happy beneficiary: After some tight early wins, the Aggies charged to 11-3, with five of their last six wins coming by at least 20 points.

USU looked so good late in the season that it's fair to wonder if the division's balance of power has at least temporarily shifted in the Aggies' favor. We'll see. They have a lot of stars to replace, and on paper, BSU's general recruiting advantages (and the upside they showed in last season's big wins) puts them back atop the preseason pile.

Every week through the offseason, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 exclusively for ESPN+, ultimately including all 131 FBS teams. The previews will include 2021 breakdowns, 2022 previews and burning questions for each team.

Earlier previews: MWC West