Top Non-Conference Mountain West Games in 2012

By James Gomez

As the 2012 Mountain West college football season inches closer and closer to kickoff I can’ t help but look ahead at the best non-conference games on the horizon.  Traditional powers from the Big Ten and PAC 12 loom but there are a handful of  under-the-radar  match-ups as well you have to set the DVR to.

August 31

Boise State at Michigan State:  The Broncos must replace several key starters on both offense and defense but should still be formidable.  An early test at Big 10 power MSU is too good to pass up.

September 1

Nevada at California:  This non-traditional border war could be a shootout as Chris Ault and company look to ramp up their passing with the addition of run-and-shoot coordinator from Hawaii Nick Rolovich.  The Bears need a springboard start to 2012 after two average seasons.

SDSU at Washington: The departure of Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley mean the Aztecs have their work cut out for them in Seattle.  If Rocky Long’s defensive personnel can catch onto the 3-3-5 system, it could be more of a game than Huskies fans would like.

September 2

CSU vs. CU (in Denver):  Jim McElwain gets the Rocky Mountain Shootout right out of the gate.  Ralphie beware, quarterback Garrett Grayson and running back Chris Nwoke are more than capable of avenging 2011.

September 8

Fresno State at Oregon:  Bulldogs fans are always quick to remind others of their non-conference upset ability.  By the half, we’ll know if first year head coach Tim DeRuyter has turned around a dreadful defense.

Nevada vs. South Florida:  After a trip to Cal the Wolf Pack must regroup quickly as Bulls dynamic quarterback B.J. Daniels visits Reno.

Air Force at Michigan:  The Wolverines draw Alabama in week 1 meaning all their off-season prepartion will be dedicated to Nick Saban‘s bunch and not the quirky flexbone option attack of the Falcons.  This game has upset written all over it.

September 15

Fresno St. vs. CU:  Buffs fans remember a certain signal caller named David Carr who pulled a shocker in Boulder back in 2001.  This year the younger brother Derek Carr can continue the tradition.

UNLV at Washington St.:  The Rebels were 90th in pass defense in 2011.  Mike Leach and his Cougar offense led by Jeff Tuel have to be salivating on this one.

September 22

Boise St. vs. BYU:  The Cougars have plenty to be excited about in 2012.  This showdown in Idaho should be just as delicious as grandma’s mashed potatoes.  Whoever wins on the blue turf could springboard a special year.

October 6

Air Force vs. Navy:  The winner will likely take home the Commander-in-Chief trophy and the Middies have to have that OT loss in 2012 in the back of their mind.


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