The Mountain West is a conference for familiar faces. Fresno State and San Diego State are currently run by head coaches in their second respective tenures there (Jeff Tedford in Fresno, Brady Hoke in San Diego). Boise State is run by former Bronco linebacker Andy Avalos, Air Force by former Falcons quarterback Troy Calhoun, Nevada by former longtime assistant Ken Wilson, New Mexico by former Lobo linebacker (and punter!) Danny Gonzales and Hawai'i by former million yard Warrior quarterback Timmy Chang.
This is more "fun tidbit" than "useful quality indicator," of course. These familiar faces couldn't stop the MWC from an all-time low average SP+ ranking last season. But they add an extra layer of narrative interest to the proceedings, at least.
One of these familiar faces will likely win the conference this fall, too. Tedford did so last season, and at first glance it looks like a potential rematch between his Bulldogs and Avalos' Broncos could await in the 2023 MWC championship.
Can Fresno State repeat despite key changes on offense? Can SDSU disrupt the path toward a rematch? Can a high potential San Jose State make a charge after a couple of stagnant years? Did UNLV make the right choice in firing a coach as he was making visible improvements? What happens after full-on Year Zeroes for Nevada and Hawai'i?
We previewed the six teams in the former MWC Mountain last week; this week, let's look at the six teams formerly known as the MWC West.
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 133 FBS teams. The previews will include 2022 breakdowns, 2023 previews and burning questions for each team.