“You, peasant, go get some snow from the mountains,” Alexander the Great might’ve commanded many years ago, “and fetch a bit of honey and nectar while you’re at it!” Alexander enjoyed his ice cream, likely as much as he enjoyed his conquests of Persia.
Alexander The Great, Marco Polo, and George Washington all loved their ice cream. Hundreds of flavors have popped up in modern times that are favorites, such as vanilla and chocolate. Just like a football team, each flavor has its strengths and weaknesses.
Mountain West Football is comparable to your favorite ice cream parlor. There are the flavors that are your go-to for a quality snack, the riskier flavors, and the ones that you just flat out avoid. Funnily enough, most of these flavors apply to 2019 Mountain West Football teams. Let’s dig in!
The Flavors To Avoid
San Jose State – Pistachio Ice Cream
Besides your strange cousin who thinks USC will win the PAC-12, not many people are a fan of Pistachio ice cream- and rightfully so. It’s a bit too nutty for a hot summer day, and it always has to get replaced before it goes bad because nobody orders it.
Look, I hate to give them a bad rap. But SJSU’s coaching desperation is shockingly similar to the need to replace expired pistachio ice cream. Since 2010, SJSU has plowed through 3 different football coaches. The current coach, Brent Brennan, is a grand total of 3-22 in two years at San Jose State.
I’m sure Brent is a great guy, but so is the parlor worker trying to get you to sample Pistachio ice cream. Frankly, they’re both not doing their job well. 2019 won’t be a bounce-back year for SJSU. With another 0 to 2 win season, Brent’s job might expire and San Jose State managers may have to start the search for a different flavor.
New Mexico Lobos – Bubble Gum Ice Cream
This team has been tough to chew on in recent years. In 2018, Head Coach Bob Davie was suspended during the offseason for 30 days due to conduct investigations. Then, New Mexico proceeded to go 3-9, dropping their last seven games, and generally provided nothing for their fans to cheer for. To say that they were tough to chew on isn’t inaccurate. That’s why the Lobos remind me of Bubble Gum ice cream.
The idea of it sounds decent, sure. But when you go to try it and have to painfully gnaw through pieces of frozen bubblegum? Your jaw starts to hurt and your support starts to waver. That’s exactly what’s happening in Albuquerque, as attendance has bottomed out along with the winning. Don’t bet on things getting any better this season. If they don’t, New Mexico’s head honchos will likely spit out the frozen gum they’ve been chewing on and completely revamp the team.
Colorado State – White Chocolate Ice Cream
Mike Bobo and the Rams have been disappointing. From 2015-2017, the team seemed to be trending upward. 2015 was a solid 7-6 season. 2016 followed up with another 7-6 season, but Rams fans had reason to hope 2017 would finally be the breakout season. Instead? 7-6, again. Then everything came crashing back down to Earth. Last season for Colorado State was a terrible 3-9, another bad season in their new stadium.
The disappointing potential sums up the flavor of White Chocolate ice cream. Anything with the term ‘chocolate’ seems destined to be good. But just like Colorado State, white chocolate comes up short. Their defense was abysmal last season, and their offense was decent. Unfortunately, they lose tons of key pieces on offense and a few on defense.
Quarterback Colin Hill (the chocolate) will be carrying the team on his back, but the gross, disappointing flavor of what he’ll be carrying (White Chocolate) will weigh the team down.
The Flavors To Sample
UNLV/Wyoming – Coffee Ice Cream
And yes, this includes any iteration with “java” or “-ccino” in it. There’s always the flavor that your dad is in love with, but you’re a bit hesitant about. Coffee ice cream epitomizes that flavor. The bitterness can sometimes be too overwhelming, but if there’s a correct balance between sweet and bitter, the flavor starts to open up. In the case of the Cowboys and the Rebels, that is the situation.
UNLV was off to a hot start last season before quarterback Armani Rogers went down. If the Rebels can mitigate the bitterness of their defense and expand the sweetness of the offense, a six win season is within reach.
For Wyoming, their season is guaranteed to be more of a hit than UNLV’s. If QB Sean Chambers can come out of the gates hot and lead the run heavy attack to a couple of early wins, things will be looking up.
But if he sputters a little and the defense struggles to replace a couple of key secondary departures from last year? Everything could go south, real quick.
The key for both teams is making sure the sweetness of their quarterbacks and offensive attack outweighs the potential bitterness of the defense.
Just A Single Scoop, Not A Double
Nevada/SDSU – Brownie Batter Ice Cream
Both of these teams, like their corresponding flavor, are SO close to being a slam dunk. But just like Brownie Batter ice cream, they lack the dynamics to push them over the top.
Nevada, while likely to have another good offensive season and a decent defense, will have their potential capped at bowl eligibility. A new QB and a tough schedule almost guarantee that.
SDSU is similar in that their run game will be excellently paired with a brutal defense. However, the lack of a true passer at QB plus a ‘meh’ receiving core means that this team is likely to have an average to above-average season yet again. Each of the teams has potential, don’t get me wrong. Yet until a little caramel is added to spice em’ up, Brownie Batter won’t be sold out at the parlor this season.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors – Rocky Road Ice Cream
These guys should be a special treat this time around. Everything about their team is interesting, from the head coach to the defense. That’s why Rocky Road is the perfect characterization of Hawaii Football. Head Coach Nick Rolovich is entering his third season, and he’ll have a dynamite offense at his disposal.
Quarterback Cole McDonald is excellent, and he’ll have a decent arsenal of weapons too. On defense, they return almost everyone- but that ‘everyone’ also gave up gobs of points last season.
At the very least, this team will be a ton of fun. Whether it can fly past the childhood favorite Rocky Road and its fun flavors to a more consistent classic is yet to be seen. I’m just saying; if you see Hawaii on TV, tune in. They’re going to be fun.
Order The Full Sundae
Boise State/Utah State – Cookie Dough Ice Cream
When we talk about the ‘Blue Bloods’ of Mountain West Football, two teams are frequently brought up. Boise State and Utah State. There’s one delicious, fan-favorite flavor that pairs with those two teams: Cookie Dough. The flavor encapsulates the simple excellency of creamy vanilla ice cream, then pairs that with the sweet texture of pieces of cookie dough.
Like the two football teams, Cookie Dough ice cream has the excellent base and history through Vanilla, then has it’s modern superiority in the form of cookie dough itself. Utah State and Boise State are a combined 85-45 over the past 5 seasons. They’ve also appeared in a total of nine bowl games out of the past 5 seasons. That’s excellent football.
Both teams aren’t likely to let up this coming season, with Utah State returning their star QB in Jordan Love, and Boise returning some of the best talents in the trenches the nation will see this college football season. Cookie Dough has been a favorite for a long time and will continue to be represented by these two powerhouse programs.
Fresno State/Air Force – Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
When Cookie Dough is sold out, settling for another flavor – Cookies and Cream – is more than acceptable. This upcoming season, both Fresno State and Air Force will likely play second fiddle to Boise and Utah State.
The Bulldogs have been excellent lately, but some regression is predictable. They lose their star QB, Marcus McMaryion. Also gone for the season is RB Jordan Mims, who recently went down to injury. Even if they lack the Cookie Dough, they’ve still got the cream in coach Jeff Tedford and a solid defense.
The team in Colorado Springs will be looking at a similar situation. The QB room will likely be more certain though, with Donald Hammond III leading the charge. Multiple close games prevented the Falcons from bowling last season- but that was largely due to injuries and bad luck.
Nail-biting losses to Boise State, Utah State, Nevada, Wyoming, and SDSU were rough, but expect a few of those to change to wins this season that’ll send Air Force to a bowl game. That’s especially the case if the QB can stay healthy, and paired with the frustrating triple-option attack, they’ll certainly surprise some teams this year.
- Boise State (11-1, 8-0)
- Utah State (10-2, 7-1)
- Air Force
- Colorado State
- New Mexico
- Fresno State (9-3, 6-2)
- Hawai’i (8-4, 5-3)
- San Jose State
Conference Championship: Fresno State at Boise State
Conference Champion: Boise State