Mountain West Preview

Mountain West Preview


Observe: We had been merrily rolling together with our season preview collection when each the Huge Ten and Pac-12 introduced that they might solely play in-conference schedules. That, after all, impacted the Group of 5 in flip, wiping out a number of would-be non-conference video games. As a result of schedules are so, so up within the air at this point, our Mountain West preview will eschew the conventional document predictions, although the ordering of groups stays based mostly on how we see the convention unfolding.

The case for: The Broncos shall be a favourite for the Mountain West crown this fall. That’s merely inevitable barring key accidents or, you recognize, a pandemic. The actual query is whether or not this BSU group has it in them to crash the Playoff ceiling, which might be a first-ever for the Group of 5. And granted, it is a tall milkshake of a activity. Boise State’s group upside, as with each G5 program, is artificially capped by the ballot masters. However dream with us for a second.

For Boise State to shoot the moon and make the Playoff, it’ll require a Herculean season from former four-star QB Hank Bachmeier. Bachmeier’s 2019 freshman marketing campaign might greatest be described as incomplete as a result of damage. However when he hit, he flashed fairly properly. Suppose his 407-yard efficiency towards FSU in his first ever collegiate sport, or his 299-yard, two-touchdown efficiency towards UNLV. 

Ought to Bachmeier take a sophomore leap, he’ll be doing so with Boise State’s regular bevy of skill-position expertise. That goes for the receiving corps, with vets like CT Thomas and Octavius Evans coupled with do-everything jitterbug Khalil Shakir, and it additionally goes for a working sport headlined by – however not restricted to – George Holani.

What makes this Boise State offense oh so harmful if Bachmeier can discover himself is that it’s versatile and it’s deep. That’s a potent mixture. If solely Bachmeier can discover himself, if solely Bachmeier can discover himself. We have seen Boise State rack up double-digit-win campaigns with under-armed signal-callers like Brett Rypien and Kellen Moore. Which is what makes Bachmeier’s ceiling that engaging. What does BSU appear to be if it has an arm that Energy 5 groups had been scrambling after? We’ll see if he can begin to scratch a few of his potential in earnest this fall.

The case towards: Properly let’s dive slightly deeper into Mr. Bachmeier, lets? The signal-caller did begin out his profession with a increase towards Florida State, little doubt. A pair of accidents restricted him considerably from the top of September onward, although, with controversy ensuing late after Bachmeier’s mother took to social media to criticize the obvious wholesome benching of her son within the MWC title sport. 

For all his expertise, Bachmeier wasn’t irreplaceable final season. BSU received with Chase Twine and with Jaylon Henderson, too, and so they received with Bachmeier unavailable for half the marketing campaign give or take. His ultimate numbers — 62.6 p.c completions, a 9/6 TD/INT ratio, a PFF passing grade of 69.3 — had been shrug-worthy fantastic. In brief, he largely performed like a real freshman. A proficient true freshman, sure, however a real freshman all the identical.

None of that is to low cost the potential of a giant season from the quarterback. Once more, every kind of expertise, right here. What’s questionable is Bachmeier’s improvement. In a brief offseason it’s not a assure. And a part of the irritating half about making participant projections, in any respect, is that the whole lot this offseason has been torched by the pandemic. Boise State has losses to make up for — they have to substitute T Ezra Cleveland and EDGE Curtis Weaver — however Bachmeier’s ascendency would make a variety of issues simpler to take care of. We simply gotta see.

The case for: Low-key one of the enjoyable FBS groups within the nation. Not like a triple-option group akin to Military, which thrives on choking the life out of the clock like a boa constrictor, the Falcons are very happy to tango in scoreboard-scorching affairs. They scored at the very least 40 points in 5 video games final season. 

What differentiates Air Pressure from an Military-type is that QB Donald Hammond III (who, we’ll notice, just isn’t presently in good standing with the college) will really throw the ball occasionally. He received’t be confused with Joe Burrow any time quickly, however Hammond posted a pleasant little 13/6 TD/INT ratio finishing half his passes whereas averaging north of 11 YPA final season. And that’ll do for an offense like this, that’ll do. Pop them sometimes by the air — say to blisteringly-fast WR Brandon Lewis, who sat as a result of a guidelines violation in 2019 however returns for 2020

And trample them on the bottom. Hammond (perhaps?), Kadin Remsberg and Timothy Jackson work as the first ball-carriers in an offense which ranked second-only in common speeding output to Navy within the FBS final season. And the road brings again upperclassman expertise throughout the board. 

Conventional convention king Boise State might need barely extra upside on offense ought to soph QB Hank Bachmeier start to persistently play with the flash he did in an injury-shortened 2019 marketing campaign, however Bachmeier stays a projection. Air Pressure’s offense, counter to that, is as set as a well-chilled dessert. 

And one final secret edge for the Falcons. They really held spring apply. Largely. When the coronavirus shut down sports activities in mid-March, Air Pressure had already accomplished 13-of-15 practices. That’s large. The irony is that this program actually didn’t want it like some others. Once more, set as a calming pudding cup. Now take into account that this squad, with expertise to the hilt and a depth chart which received’t require a lot tinkering in August camp, will face Boise State on Sept. 12 at house. That’s spectacular timing and placement given the place Air Pressure is of their season prep.

 

The case towards: Truthfully, it’s troublesome to craft one. Or it was, at the very least, it was troublesome to craft one till Hammond’s standing went up within the air in July. We actually, actually preferred this squad earlier than then. Simply looking for potential cracks, the offense regarded near Teflon. However that’s all with Hammond. The equation adjustments — and probably adjustments significantly — ought to he show unable to play.

We’ll take that aforementioned sport towards Boise State as a possible stress point, as a result of whereas Air Pressure’s defensive entrance seven (particularly within the linebacker corps) is a robust unit, one which ought to proceed to bolster the Mountain West’s status as a convention of sick speeding defenses. The secondary, although, is much less set. And that’s the place BSU might conquer when the groups meet in mid-September. Air Pressure should break in three new starters within the secondary, giving just a bit wiggle room for water to seep into the ship if Bachmeier does open up clearly exhibiting he’s prepared for the bissextile year.

Wyoming Cowboys

2019 document: 8-5

NFL Draft prospect to look at: RB Xazavian Valladay

 

The case for: The Cowboys are a Jekyll and Hyde group, of kinds, placing on a captivating smile each time Xazavian Valladay totes the rock earlier than getting all angsty each time the ball is thrown. Like actual angsty. No returning Wyoming receiver caught greater than eight passes final season. That’s not nice. And we do not essentially anticipate a quantum leap ahead as a passing group this fall.

We’ll throw a caveat on there, although. Wyoming’s 2019 season was significantly difficult after QB Sean Chambers went down with a knee damage. Not that Chambers is a good passer, removed from it (foreshadowing for the part beneath). However Chambers was aces as a runner, on observe for a 1,000-yard speeding season when destiny betrayed his physique versus Nevada. And knock his passing all you need — and we’ll, simply you wait — however Chambers is an absolute headache when he takes off on a dash.

Chambers and Valladay will put opponents into next-day ice baths as soon as they get rolling. They may act, collectively, as the highest speeding unit in the whole convention. We would not put that previous them. The Cowboys will host Boise State for the division crown within the second-to-last sport of the marketing campaign. We think about HC Craig Bohl has been pondering that matchup over all offseason.

 

The case towards: So our sunnier facet would like to not take into account it, however right here’s actuality — Chambers is an terrible passer. Not like Josh Allen was an terrible passer. Means worse than that. For reference’s sake, in Allen’s ultimate yr with the Cowboys, he accomplished 56 p.c of his passes. That’s not good, however Allen additionally has all-time arm power and it’s labored out alright-ish on the NFL stage. So 56 p.c is unhealthy. What will we even say about 43 p.c? That was Sean Chambers in 2019. Chambers might do work on the bottom, however Wyoming’s aerial sport is near nonexistent, if not actively detrimental to the group.

Then there’s the defensive facet, the place Wyoming has actually scored dividends. Led by LB Logan Wilson, the Cowboys boasted one of many strongest defenses within the Group of 5 final season. Wilson’s gone, now. So is his former partner-in-crime LB Cassh Maluia. Additionally S Alijah Halliburton. 

Bohl isn’t going to fall flat on his face even working in new expertise, but when Wyoming doesn’t fairly rise to the highest of the division it’s going to as a result of not the whole lot’s fairly set.

Utah State Aggies

2019 document: 7-6

NFL Draft prospect to look at: S Shaq Bond

 

The case for: December 10 proved a fateful day for Utah State’s 2020 season. That was the day that QB Jordan Love declared for the draft. Additionally the day that South Carolina QB Jake Bentley transferred to Utah. Which in flip precipitated Utes QB Jason Shelley to switch to Utah State. And Aggies QB Henri Columbi to enter the switch vacation spot for points unknown. There’s all the time any person who will get disregarded in a sport of musical chairs.

Shelley was largely caught behind Tyler Huntley with the Utes, however we did see him beginning for the injured Huntley in a five-game stint again in 2018. The leads to that house — a 5/5 TD/INT ratio, three video games south of 225 yards passing (although he did put up 302 towards Northwestern in New 12 months’s Eve bowl motion) — had been precisely inspirational, however Columbi’s marks in backup motion didn’t scream diamond within the wings. And that Columbi selected to switch after Shelley’s entrance would possibly say one thing.

The great factor for Shelley is that for as proficient as Love was, it’s not like he left the Utah State bar at a super-high stage. As a group, the Aggies had been erratically OK however not significantly better than that. With an uber-experienced offensive line set to return, plus Jalen Warren and Devonta’e Henry-Cole (additionally coming over from Utah) main the best way on the bottom, there’s a nucleus of offensive expertise right here which might stability the scales of Love’s exit. Particularly if Shelley hits.

 

The case towards: Love may not all the time be according to that massive ol’ arm, however at the very least he’s a uncooked quarterback expertise. Shelley is simply uncooked, to the point that he spoke brazenly about with the ability to stick on the place with Utah State, however open to a place change if that’s the path the group selected to go. In that bigger pattern 2018 season, Shelley accomplished simply 58.Three p.c of his passes at a 6.9 YPA clip. That shall be problematic for a full marketing campaign. Particularly on condition that Shelley now not has Utah’s expertise supporting him. 

That goes particularly for the defensive facet of the ball, the place primarily everything of final season’s common beginning unit should be changed upcoming. All this with none actual kind of an offseason. Lots is driving on Shelley. We’re undecided if he’s able to taking that weight.

Colorado State Rams

2019 document: 4-8

NFL Draft prospect to look at: WR Warren Jackson

 

The case for: Whereas CSU fired HC Mike Bobo in December, changing him with Steve Addazio, the Rams shouldn’t be seen as a assured loser for 2020. Say what you’ll about Bobo’s lack of ability to rise above merely OK — by no means topping seven wins with this system — Colorado State persistently operated as this odd vortex for skill-position expertise below his eye, churning Rashard Higgins, Olabisi Johnson, Preston Williams, Michael Gallup out to the NFL. 

Subsequent as much as the plate, WR Warren Jackson. Jackson erupted for a 1,000-yard exhibiting in 2019 and we might be stunned if he’s not proper there within the 1000-1300-yard enviornment when all is claimed and executed this coming season. Now if solely Jackson’s quarterback might rise to fulfill him on the offensive summit. 

O’Brien managed only a 13/7 TD/INT ratio with 61.Eight p.c completions in 2019. And he merely needs to be higher than that, as a result of the protection — whereas bringing again beginning expertise — simply isn’t steady sufficient to carry video games with the quarterback turning it over both on downs or on subpar choices. If O’Brien can simply be slightly bit higher, it could go a methods towards bettering CSU’s outlook.

 

The case towards: Steve Addazio was fired by Boston School all of 10 days earlier than he landed on his ft with Colorado State. To which we’d say, as gently as attainable, you would have executed higher, Rams. Addazio, like Bobo at CSU, by no means received greater than seven video games in a season whereas with the Eagles. Simply to throw out one most popular title that was rumored to be within the combine, right here, Butch Jones might have turned Jim McElwain West, following the identical P5-burnout-to-G5-winner turnaround that McElwain pulled off at Central Michigan. 

Steve Addazio is mainly Mike Bobo East. Swell. It’s not simply that Addazio’s stint at Boston School was forgettable. It was. And it’s not simply that we battle to see this as an improve. We do. The actual problem, in our eyes, is that Addazio is a sq. peg being crammed right into a spherical gap when it comes to offensive philosophy. Addazio is the man who recruited AJ Dillon and envisioned the massive man because the focal point of his group. 

CSU doesn’t have an AJ Dillon on roster, or something near it. CSU could be very a lot targeted on aerial fireworks. And perhaps Addazio adjusts. However we battle to see it. He didn’t at Boston School, in spite of everything.

New Mexico Lobos

2019 document: 2-10 

NFL Draft prospect to look at: N/A

 

The case for: The brand new head coach, right here, is likely to be Danny Gonzales, former ASU DC, however the true star energy in our minds comes with defensive coordinator Rocky Lengthy. The Lobos actually shouldn’t have been in play for Lengthy in any respect. However the longtime SDSU chief stepped down from this system this offseason, solely to resurface with the poor, hapless Lobos. It shouldn’t have occurred, nevertheless it did. And that might find yourself a program-turning rent.

Calling Lengthy’s defenses at SDSU suffocating towards the run underplays it. They had been persistently among the many high groups not simply within the G5, but additionally the P5, in stopping opposing floor video games. It’s going to take work to put in that form of protection, to erase the poor habits that had been primarily hardwired into this system at a sure point below former HC Bob Davie (they misplaced 9 straight to finish the 2019 season, so yeah).

It’s not honest to anticipate Lengthy and Gonzales to right away reform a defensive which gave up almost 40 points a sport final season. Incremental enhancements. Child steps.

 

The case towards: Every little thing apart from Rocky Lengthy, kind of. As a lot as we respect the veteran coach, he has nearly no instruments to work with. And simply as problematic as an absence of defensive playmakers, this was an offense which struggled to crack 21 points final season. And that’s most likely not instantly getting higher, both. 

Compounding issues, if the schedule stays as presently constructed in-conference, New Mexico faces an outright gauntlet down the stretch, with their November consisting of Hawaii (street, for now), Boise State (house), Air Pressure (street) and Wyoming (house). Air Pressure and Boise State are most likely the 2 greatest groups within the convention, and the ping-ponging back-and-forth between street and residential video games, on the finish of a protracted (already tense) 2020 does them no favors.

Can’t sugarcoat this one. New Mexico simply doesn’t have the expertise on roster for greater than three or 4 wins, at greatest.

West Division

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

2019 document: 10-5

NFL Draft prospect to look at: Rico Bussey Jr.

 

The case for: After 4 seasons constructing as much as final yr’s 10-win marketing campaign, Nick Rolovich took his go away of the Warriors, hitting the Energy 5 with decidedly landlocked Washington State. Trying to keep on Rolo’s profitable methods on the islands, enter previous acquainted Todd Graham. We’re glad to have him again in our lives.

Graham disappeared from the teaching ranks following his firing at Arizona State two seasons again. His ASU groups would possibly as nicely have been known as the Arizona State #Pac12AfterDarks as a result of his teaching model completely embodied the concept. Aggressive as all get all. That goes on offense, and that goes on protection. Graham blitzed at a maniacal stage at ASU and we don’t anticipate that he’s mellowed after petering out within the desert. 

With the Warriors, Graham takes over all kinds of goodies recruited by Rolovich. The QB-WR duo of Chevan Cordeiro (taking on for Cole McDonald) and Jared Sensible (the newest in a line of Hawaii receiver standouts) ought to be the most effective within the nation statistically upcoming, with good offensive line depth to maintain the entire enchilada from getting soggy. And the addition of North Texas switch WR Rico Bussey provides a pleasant spice to this offensive core.

Graham’s a boom-bust coach. If he’s realized that, at occasions, discretion is the higher of valor, and may reign in his extra “I’m playing a video game!” tendencies we like his possibilities to maintain going what Rolovich began.

 

The case towards: The case towards each group, in an existential sense, is the coronavirus pandemic, however for Hawaii particularly, it’s an enormous drawback. As a result of even when the season does in some way get performed, groups aren’t going to be flying throughout the ocean to play soccer. That’s simply not going to occur. And so the place does that go away the Warriors, earlier than we even get to the precise ins-and-outs of the roster?

Properly for starters, their schedule was shredded by bulletins of deliberate conference-only schedules from the Huge Ten and Pac-12. That knocked out deliberate video games towards UCLA, Arizona and Oregon (all of which might have been enjoyable ones). A previously-planned tilt towards Fordham was additionally nixed, although Hawaii has since rescheduled that contest, to be performed towards Robert Morris, now. And that Sept. 26 contest towards Robert Morris is presently slated to be the SEASON-OPENER for Hawaii. 

You possibly can moderately assume that if season planning does proceed, Hawaii will determine some option to flesh out its schedule and received’t be beginning the yr primarily in October. The entire ball of wax is difficult sufficient earlier than taking into consideration potential in-conference journey complications.

And let’s loop again round to Graham to shut out, right here. Whereas his teaching model oozes aptitude and fireworks, it’s additionally one which labored to much less and fewer impact throughout his time at ASU. In his ultimate three seasons with the Solar Devils, his groups received a collective 18 video games, by no means greater than seven in a marketing campaign. This after his squads received a mixed 28 video games over his first three years main the cost.

San Diego State Aztecs

2019 document: 10-3

NFL Draft prospect to look at: EDGE Cameron Thomas

 

The case for: It’s all concerning the protection at SDSU. Rocky Lengthy — who abruptly stepped down as head coach over the winter, with DL coach Brady Hoke taking the reins, then subsequently landed as DC at New Mexico — was outright good as a defensive mastermind, particularly a defensive mastermind in clobbering down opposing working video games. 

Lengthy is gone, now, which does make us nervous (extra on that beneath), however Hoke is aware of the personnel and he is aware of the scheme. These two issues make his promotion a comforting one in method all these months later. As a result of SDSU isn’t ranging from scratch in the course of a world pandemic. 

Not ranging from scratch on the teaching employees, nor on the sector. San Diego State returns eight starters on protection, a unbelievable beat for Hoke on condition that there’s little pleasure on offense. Lengthy might now not be guiding from the sideline, however even sans the previous grasp, it is a group which can win or lose on its protection.

 

The case towards: When your humble writer was a small youngster dwelling within the wilds of Idaho, he as soon as went on a subject journey to Hell’s Canyon (the deepest canyon within the nation, in your subsequent JEOPARDY! sport). As a part of a guided tour, he was allowed to shoot a bow-and-arrow. Properly this shall be simple, he thought. It appears to be like simple within the motion pictures. It wasn’t simple. Seems, it takes a variety of apply to get good. Loopy. 

That’s how we consider Brady Hoke taking on for Rocky Lengthy. As a result of the factor of it, it’s important to be actually, actually good to win double-digit video games with the 112th scoring offense within the FBS (which Lengthy did final yr). It’s a must to be a bone-crushing defensive thoughts. That’s Rocky Lengthy, appropriately named. 

We don’t assume Hoke’s a catastrophe on the dimensions of his status, however we additionally don’t know if he’s prepared to easily step up, take the arrow and drive it house on the goal.

San Jose State Spartans

2019 document: 5-7

NFL Draft prospect to look at: WR Tre Walker

 

The case for: We’ll simply be sincere — we’re slightly intrigued by SJSU’s offense. Tre Walker is without doubt one of the high extensive receivers within the convention (it could be good if the group might get him greater than final season’s two touchdowns, although), buttressed by clean vet Bailey Gaither. And including slightly further kick is switch Arkansas QB Nick Starkel. There’s a contact of poetry on that on condition that San Jose State beat the Razorbacks final season.

Starkel by no means developed into The Man whereas within the SEC, pushed out by Kellen Mond with the Aggies after which enduring regardless of the Razorbacks had been purported to be final season. That Starkel solely began 5 video games for that misplaced marketing campaign doesn’t instill confidence, however hey, we love P5-to-G5 drops.

 

The case towards: And as with so lots of these G5-to-P5 QB strikes, Starkel is extra title than sport. There’s a purpose Arkansas benched him. He involves San Jose State on the heels of a completely putrid marketing campaign in Fayetteville, one wherein he posted a 7/10 TD/INT ratio whereas hitting on below 55 p.c of his passes. Starkel’s not going to be dealing with the SEC this fall. However that doesn’t make him a great quarterback. He doesn’t get pleasure from doubt on that entrance.

A No. 98 scoring protection from 2019 — no monumental change approaching the horizon — ensures that if Starkel doesn’t discover himself proper off the bat, on his third group in as a few years, in a truncated offseason, it may very well be a protracted yr for the Spartans.

Nevada Wolfpack

2019 document: 7-6

NFL Draft prospect to look at: DT Dom Peterson

 

The case for: Whereas Nevada HC Mike Norvell was unable to match his eight-win 2018 season final fall, there’s actual purpose for optimism that his squad may very well be in play for eight or 9 wins upcoming. That’s as a result of Nevada brings again each their major beginning offense and protection. Particularly on the defensive facet, the place .’s Invoice Connelly calculates that 73 p.c of the group’s 2019 manufacturing is coming again for extra.

All of that issues in a brief offseason — and a possible brief season. Zooming into the particulars of the expertise on board, what would assist immensely for an on-field enchancment this coming season is a maturation of beginning QB Carson Sturdy. Sturdy managed simply an 11/7 TD/INT ratio whereas working largely with brief passes (6.2 YPA) in 2019, however these numbers got here fully inexperienced. Sturdy had not tried a cross previous to final season. 

He additionally accomplished 63.Four p.c of his passes. If Sturdy can stretch it slightly extra this fall, if he can reduce down on questionable choices, Nevada has an opportunity to be frisky harmful within the Mountain West. 

 

The case towards: Frisky harmful? That’s most likely pushing it a contact, since you’re asking for lots from Sturdy. Like quite a bit, from a man who doesn’t gouge the sector a lot within the deep to intermediate ranges. And whereas Nevada’s group continuity in our pandemic-upended offseason is completely a plus, it’s not essentially that for Sturdy. As a result of a man like Sturdy — only one yr beginning, clearly not an all-around quarterback but — is the precise form of man who would profit most from a full offseason. That’s the place he would make the leap.

To hit the bottom working after which fly past that could be a massive, massive cross. And whereas Nevada does convey again productive cogs to this machine, an offense which ranked 111th within the FBS in scoring final season simply has to step up if it’s to legitimately be greater than a gnat within the convention.

Fresno State Bulldogs

2019 document: 4-8

NFL Draft prospect to look at: RB Ronnie Rivers

 

The case for: Whereas the sudden resignation of HC Jeff Tedford after the season, as a result of well being points, got here as an actual shock, this program’s subsequent part may very well be a enjoyable one (in time, if not perhaps instantly), Fresno State made a robust substitute rent in bringing Indiana OC Kalen DeBoer out to the Cali solar. 

Two plusses on the DeBoer rent. First, he’s a lot well-versed in Tedford’s philosophies, having labored as offensive coordinator below Tedford from 2017-18. Second, and extra importantly for this group’s future, DeBoer confirmed quite a bit at Indiana, serving to the Hoosiers to eight wins and the 42nd scoring offense within the nation, all regardless of working by two beginning quarterbacks. 

DeBoer might want to convey slightly of that artistic gumption with him to the left coast, as a result of oh boy, he’s inheriting what’s at greatest a flawed offensive roster. And at worst a downright problematic one. DeBoer has one main skill-position participant to construct round in RB Ronnie Rivers, who might probably crack 1,000 yards speeding if the whole lot peaks proper for an ideal storm. Inventive gumption. Let’s see it coach.

 

The case towards: Shedding Tedford hurts. He introduced a base Bulldog professionalism to the gig, profitable 22 video games over his first two seasons earlier than Fresno State dropped again for simply 4 victories final season. And as a lot as DeBoer is likely to be an intriguing rent, this shall be his first head-coaching gig within the FBS and his first head-coaching job, in any respect, since he led the best way with Sioux Falls again within the mid-2000’s.

And Michael Penix and Peyton Ramsey aren’t stepping by the door of that Fresno State quarterbacks room. As an alternative, Ben Wooldridge and Washington switch Jake Haener. You can perhaps squint and discuss your self into Haener being one thing, simply since you belief Washington, however that’s a squinting projection. And it’s not going to matter if Fresno State can’t mend an offensive line which simply misplaced Man of Stone Netane Muti and is coping with difficult-to-make-up turnover from the protection — notably LB Mykal Walker, although Justin Rice stays studly. 

DeBoer’s simply working with slightly little bit of a short-stack on the roster to start out with. 2020 may not be the yr (nicely, it may not be the yr for anyone), however Fresno State might grow to be an attention-grabbing squad if DeBoer is ready to unfold his wings as a head coach.

UNLV Rebels 

2019 document: 4-8

NFL Draft prospect to look at: RB Charles Williams

 

The case for: This capsule would seemingly have targeted on QB Armani Rogers earlier than Rogers, you recognize, entered the switch portal simply after the July Fourth Weekend. We’ll spin that as greatest we are able to, although. As a result of Rogers was by no means greater than the sum of his elements at UNLV. He struggled as a passer, he struggled to remain wholesome (showing greater than six video games simply as soon as, again in 2017), he ended up way more flash play than flashy participant. Great distance of claiming that perhaps the Rebels don’t find yourself lacking him as a lot as you would possibly initially assume.

And filling in for an injured Rogers throughout a lot of the 2019 marketing campaign, Kenyon Oblad confirmed a prospect to be molded. Too many interceptions (9), too low a completion share (54.2), however identical breath, his 18 landing passes matched everything of Rogers’ UNLV aerial profession. For actual. Rogers brings extra moxie on the bottom, however Oblad’s already a greater passer (if nonetheless engaged on it, himself). There may not be sufficient expertise on-hand for a real enchancment on final yr’s outfit, however neither will we a wholesale faceplant.

Even when Oblad wobbles, if nothing else, UNLV has one of many convention’s greatest working backs in Charles Williams (1,257 yards, 11 touchdowns in 2019). Williams ought to be in for an additional unbelievable statistical marketing campaign this fall, whatever the uncertainty round him. 

 

The case towards: UNLV was already going to be up towards it earlier than Rogers cut up for the switch portal. Now they’re actually, actually going to be up towards it. For as erratic and flawed as Rogers is as a passer, he introduced an actual dimension to the sector along with his legs and his general athletic expertise. Oblad isn’t inept, however he stays a younger, variable participant.

Then there’s new HC Marcus Arroyo, who took over a listless program this offseason solely to see a pandemic fully foul his first-year preparations. Applications like UNLV, with first-team head coaches on the Group of 5 stage simply have a lot floor to cowl, in so little house. Realistically, Arroyo wants a full offseason to arrange his wares. 2020 might find yourself a sunk yr.

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