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2013 Pre-Preseason M-West MOUNTAIN Rankings
Boise State QB Joe Southwick
Boise State QB Joe Southwick
Posted Jan 23, 2013

The too early look at how good the Mountain West - Mountain teams should be in 2013.

CFN 2013 First Look Rankings

Mountain West - Mountain

2012 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-29 | Rankings 30-48 | Rankings 49-67
- Rankings 68-86Rankings 87-105The Bottom 19

FINAL 2012 Rankings By Conference
- ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA | Ind
- MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC
- Based On Opinion ... CFN 2012 FINAL Rankings, Top  25  

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It might seem way too early, but considering the returning starters and the teams coming back, where does everyone stand before Signing Day and spring ball? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for 2013 based on how good they appear to be at the moment. 

- CFN 2013 Pre-Preseason Mountain West Rankings - West
1. Boise State (11-2)

Is it safe to assume the Broncos are going to roll out of bed and come up with another double-digit win season? The defense that led the Mountain West and was so strong against the pass gets safety Jeremy Ioane, but loses both starting corners and has to replace linebacker J.C. Percy. The line should be terrific with Demarcus Lawrence and Sam Ukwuachu on the ends and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe on the inside. Quarterback Joe Southwick is back after surviving the first season taking over for Kellen Moore, and while he gets his main man Matt Miller to throw to, he loses running back D.J. Harper and three starters off the line. Fortunately, left tackle Charles Leno and center Matt Paradis are two of the league’s best blockers, and Jay Ajayi is a good-looking back who brings the thump.

2. Utah State (11-2)

With Gary Andersen taking his act to Wisconsin, new head coach Matt Wells will be in charge of trying to keep the success going after moving over from the WAC. The defense that was so dominant throughout last season – finishing 14th in the country in yards allowed and seventh in scoring D – welcomes back seven starters including linebackers Jake Doughty and Zach Vigil. Tyler Larsen is one of the nation’s best centers, anchoring a veteran line that returns all five starters. Flashy running back Kerwynn Williams is gone, but quarterback Chuckie Keeton is back. He’ll need to be sharp with the team’s two best receivers – Matt Austin and Chuck Jacobs – moving on. The special teams takes a hit losing punter Tyler Bennett and bunt returner Cameron Webb.

3. Air Force (6-7)

Losing a ton of starters is nothing new for Air Force – the program is built around a sort of apprenticeship. The offense will keep on rolling despite the loss of nine starters including quarterback Connor Dietz and all the top runners, but as the Falcons have shown over the years, skill players are replaceable. If just two starters are going to be back, it’s not a bad thing that they’re on the line with guards David Lore and Drew Kerber returning. The defense gets a little more talent back with five starters returning led by top pass rusher Alex Hansen. However, Alex Means and Austin Niklas are gone from a linebacking corps that has to be rebuilt.

4. Wyoming (4-8)

Can Wyoming turn things back around after a strange and disappointing year? After a disastrous 1-7 start, the team suddenly found itself – and an easier schedule – with three straight wins before closing out with a loss to SDSU. The run defense couldn’t slow anyone down, but it gets back eight starters including young middle linebacker Siaosi Hala’api’api and all four starters in the secondary. Quarterback Brett Smith is one of the league’s best all-around playmakers, but he needs more time to operate behind a line that loses three starters. Running backs D.J. May and Brandon Miller return along with receiver Dominic Rufran, but leading target Chris McNeill is gone.

5. Colorado State (4-8)

After all the drama throughout the 2011 offseason, and with a coaching change to deal with, the Rams struggled offensively and couldn’t get into the backfield on defense. The offensive front has been the main issue for the program over the last few seasons, but with four starters returning there’s no excuse to not be more consistent. Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke form a strong running back tandem, while top receiver Charles Lovett is back as a safety valve. Now it’s up to the quarterback situation with 6-5, 220-pound Conner Smith getting the first look after pushing for the job late last year. Nine starters return to a very young and very promising defense. The entire linebacking corps took its lumps with three underclassmen starting, and now Cory James and Max Morgan should be among the league’s top tacklers. In all seven underclassmen started last year on D, and now it’s time to grow up.

6. New Mexico (4-9)

Just when it seemed like Bob Davie found something in his first year as the Lobo head man, the team couldn’t seem to buy a break in a six-game losing streak to close things out. However, with running back Kasey Carrier returning to a dynamic rushing offense, and with four starters back to pave the way, it’ll be pound, pound and pound some more. Quarterback Cole Gautsche needs targets to help ramp up the rocky passing game, losing Ty Kirk and Lucas Reed. The defense that struggled down the stretch has a ton of work to do replacing eight starters including linebacker A.J. Butler and nose tackle Reggie Ellis. Linebacker Dallas Bollema will be the main man to work around.

- CFN 2013 Pre-Preseason Mountain West Rankings - West