Which team will win the Mountain West Conference in 2015?

On Wednesday and Thursday we started our discussion on the MWC and it concludes today. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey and special rotating guests in our weekly roundtable discussing all things college football.

Earlier this week we discussed players to watch and surprise teams in the MWC. Today we end our Mountain West Conference roundtables as we are joined once again by Jeremy Mauss of Mountain West Connection and David Frerker of San Diego Sports Domination.

Question: Who do you expect to be the Mountain West champ?

Jeremy Mauss:

On Twitter @JeremyMauss

The odds on favorite has to be Boise State. They return nearly everyone on offense and defense but they do have to replace their starting quarterback Grant Hedrick and running back Jay Ajayi. Those are two key offensive positions to replace, especially with Ajayi who is arguably the best Boise State running back ever and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins. There is depth at running back to be close to equaling that output, but there is a little more concern at the quarterback position. Ryan Finley is awaiting a trial for under age drinking and running away from the police, and he is the likely starter, but he has very little experience. The other quarterback that Boise State could start is true freshman Brett Rypien, who is the nephew of former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien.

Their defense should be able to help out the offense while the two most important positions on offense get settled in.This unit will once again be the best in the Mountain West with eight returning starters. Their schedule plays out nicely for them to repeat and their toughest stretch is a pair of back-to-back road games against Colorado State and Utah State. Those are the other two contenders — no one from the West Division has a real shot — but Colorado State has a new quarterback, running back and head coach. Utah State will have a defense near what Boise State will bring to the table but the Aggies have not yet shown they can compete with the Broncos since the two joined the Mountain West, so Utah State can’t be seen as a contender until they can get past Boise State..

David Frerker:

On Twitter: @DavidFrerker

Who do I believe will be the Mountain West champion? That is a hard question to answer as a San Diego State fan. Of course I would like to see SDSU versus Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game. I do believe that San Diego State has a chance to win that game this year simply because we actually have a quarterback. San Diego State’s running game will also be very hard to stop this season as the Aztec offense line is one of the biggest in school history. I believe that game would come down to Boise State losing J Train and not being able to stop the clock.

Bart Doan:

On Twitter @TheCoachBart

Understanding that I have the tendency to hype Boise State annually like your buddy that swears the waitress at your local watering hole is as hot as hell in July when really she’s just a pretty good looking waitress … Boise State will get it done this year in spite of a dirty out of conference schedule (which doesn’t matter here) and trips to potential contenders Utah State and Colorado State.

They return their top three pass catchers and entire stinking (meant as a compliment, like “how do you keep making all of these stinking putts!? ARRRGH!!”) offensive line, which includes two all-conference performers. It all starts there. The team is another year into the Bryan Harsin era, and no one may have more passion for Boise State football in the history of the city than Harsin. The hard thing will be managing expectations that will quickly become national talking points if they get out of the pre-MWC season unscathed. That’s always the hard part … when everyone starts wanting to watch to see if you can fail.

I project large things for Boise this year, maybe beyond the MWC. Sometimes, your buddy is right and the waitress is just plum, stinking hot.

Kevin Causey:

On Twitter @CFBZ

I really want to pull the trigger on Utah State. They have 15 returning starters from a team that went 10-3 and they also return Chuckie Keeton. They even get Boise State at home.

The problem? The Aggies haven’t beaten the Broncos since 1997 and have lost 12 straight with the last one not being close.

I have Boise State in my pre-season Top 25 and until somebody steps up and knocks them off the throne, they will be my pick.

Terry Johnson:

On Twitter @SectionTPJ

Boise State will win the Mountain West Conference.

Once again, the Broncos are loaded. Sure, the offense loses Jay Ajayi and Grant Hedrick. But, it returns all five starters – highlighted by first-team All-MWC Marcus Henry and second-team All-MWC Rees Odhiambo – from a veteran unit (95 career starts) that averaged 5.20 yards per carry in league play last season. In addition, the receiving corps will welcome back four of its top five targets from 2014, including reception leader Shane Williams-Rhodes (68 catches) and yardage leader Thomas Sperbeck (883 yards).

Defensively, Boise is in even better shape. Eight starters return from last year’s squad, which finished second in the conference in sacks, second in tackles for a loss, and first in opponent third down conversion percentage. The pass defense might be the best in the league, with top pass rusher Kamalei Correa (led league with 12 sacks) and the combination of S Darian Thompson (7 INT) and CB Donte Deayon (6 INT, 9 PBU) coming back this fall.

With so many key cogs returning on both sides of the ball, I don’t see anyone beating Boise State this fall.

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.