2011 M-West Spring Preview - Early Rankings
New Mexico CB Emmanuel McPhearson
New Mexico CB Emmanuel McPhearson
Posted Mar 4, 2011

2011 Mountain West Spring Preview - Early Rankings For All The Mountain West Teams

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

Early Rankings - M-West

Click on each team for the 2011 Spring Preview
- Air ForceBoise State | Colorado State | New Mexico
- San Diego State | TCU | UNLV | Wyoming

2011 Mountain West Spring Preview
- 2011 Mountain West Team-By-Team Schedules 
- 2011 Mountain West Composite Schedule & Week Rankings 
- 2011 Mountain West Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Mountain West Big Spring Questions 
- 2011 Mountain West Early Buzz 
- 2011 Mountain West Positions To Watch  
1. Boise State
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 5
2010 Record: 12-1
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 8
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2009 Final Ranking: 3
2008 Final Ranking: 6

Sorry college football world; Boise State isn't going away. The move to the Mountain West won't mean a stop in the momentum as good years of recruiting will restock the shelves in a hurry. Heisman finalist Kellen Moore is back, as is bruising RB Doug Martin and three good starters up front. The defense gets back just enough veterans to be more than just solid, but the biggest key will be the receiving corps. Can the attack replace Austin Pettis and Titus Young right away? Moore has to make everyone around him better, and he will.

2. TCU
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 2
2010 Record: 13-0
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 7
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2009 Final Ranking: 5
2008 Final Ranking: 8 

TCU rebuilds as well as anyone, but it has a huge, HUGE task ahead to replace Andy Dalton and eight starters from the 2010 attack. The linebackers, led by Tank Carder, should be terrific, but too many starters are gone from the nasty defense to expect another No. 1 ranking. Yeah, this might be too low … give it a few months before the replacements can show what they can do.

3. San Diego State
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 36
2010 Record: 9-4
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 83
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2009 Final Ranking: 96
2008 Final Ranking: 111 

Is former New Mexico head man Rocky Long really the man to keep the Brady Hoke momentum going? The new Michigan coach left the shelves stocked with QB Ryan Lindley and RB Ronnie Hillman leading a strong offense that should be great if it can find receivers. The defense returns all the key parts of the back seven.

4. Air Force     
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 31
2010 Record: 9-4
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 62
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2009 Final Ranking: 40
2008 Final Ranking: 46 

The Falcons get back QB Tim Jefferson and three offensive linemen, but with eight starters back on defense, including LB Jordan Waiwaiole, they should battle with TCU and Boise State for the Mountain West title.

5. Colorado State  
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 106
2010 Record 3-9
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 101
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2009 Final Ranking: 101
2008 Final Ranking: 55

The 2010 team had to work through the growing pains of a true freshman quarterback. As Pete Thomas goes, so go the Rams. Former UCLA RB Raymond Carter leads the ground attack, while CSU gets back seven starters on defense including most of the back seven.

6. Wyoming    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 104
201 Record: 3-9
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 107
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2009 Final Ranking: 75
2008 Final Ranking: 103

Just when it seemed like Wyoming was going to rebound from a disastrous 2010, and possible get back to its 2009 bowl form ... BOOM. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels texts head coach Dave Christensen that he's leaving for the JUCO route to a bigger program. If UW can quickly find a replacement this spring, with redshirt freshman Emory Miller the odds-on favorite, the rest of the pieces are there for this to potentially be the Mountain West's surprise team. Nine starters are back on defense including the entire front seven.

7. New Mexico    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 120    
2010 Final Record: 1-11
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 108
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2009 Final Ranking: 117
2008 Final Ranking: 80.

If the Lobos are going to break through under Mike Locksley, this has to be the year with 18 starters returning including most of a defense that has to start stopping someone on a regular basis. All the top skill players are back, but there's still a major talent gap between UNM and the rest of the Mountain West.
8. UNLV    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 113
2010 Record: 2-11
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 79
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-8
2009 Final Ranking: 88
2008 Final Ranking: 93

Seven starters are back on an offense that couldn't find an identity in Bobby Hauck's first season, as he tries to bring some of his Montana magic to the Rebels. The defense that couldn't stop anyone and was steamrolled on a weekly basis might be the real problem with no experience returning and the entire linebacking corps needing to be replaced.