Bowl season starts Saturday with four MW teams in action

A record seven Mountain West football teams made it to bowl games. The old record was six in 2013.

Four of those teams will play their bowl games Saturday, the first day of the bowl season. Here’s who I think will win and why. As the other bowl games with MW teams approach, I will pick those as well. As always, your feedback is encouraged.

New Orleans Bowl — Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana (8-4), 9 a.m. MT (ESPN)

This is basically a road game for Nevada as it plays the in-state school that is playing in this game for the fourth consecutive year. The Ragin’ Cajuns won the previous three.

The two teams are evenly matched. Nevada averages 31.3 points per game; Louisiana (8-4) averages 30.6. Nevada allows 28.2 points per game; Louisiana 27.9. Both teams also have dual-threat quarterbacks: Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and Louisiana’s Terrance Broadway.

Nevada is good enough to win this game, but I am sticking with Ragin’ Cajuns as it will have the definite home-field advantage. Plus, Nevada will kickoff this game at 8 a.m. PT on their own time clocks. It may take the Wold Pack a while to wake up.. Louisiana 34, Nevada 28.

New Mexico Bowl — Utah State (9-4) vs. UTEP (7-5), 12:20 p.m. MT (ESPN)

UTEP averages 212.7 rushing yards per game, and Utah State allows only 129.3 rushing yards per contest. Utah State also is a more well-rounded team offensively and defensively.

UTEP has allowed 46 touchdowns this season, compared to 33 for Utah State. The Aggies may take a little time to get going on offense, but their defense will carry them to an easy victory. Utah State 38, UTEP 20.

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Thoughts on QB Thompson leaving UW for Utah

First it was Brett Smith, now it’s Jason Thompson.

Wyoming has lost its top two quarterbacks heading into the 2014 season. Smith declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft on the final Friday of 2013. On the first Tuesday of 2014, Thompson transferred to Utah.

Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson

Thompson, who would have been a redshirt sophomore this season, wasn’t guaranteed the job for first-year coach Craig Bohl. But he was the most experienced player on the roster having played six games and starting one in 2012. He redshirted in 2013 to hone his quarterbacking skills.

Is it ironic that Thompson is going to Utah where his former coach — Dave Christensen — if the offensive coordinator? Probably not. To think that didn’t play a factor would be naive.

In fact, Christensen was officially introduced as Utah’s offensive coordinator Tuesday. Here are some links to what he said, and some stories by the fine folks at The Salt Lake Tribune.
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Christensen hired as Utah’s offensive coordinator

Former Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen was hired Friday as Utah’s offensive coordinator.

Not a big surprise.

Christensen and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham are long-time friends and colleagues. Both were assistant coaches at Idaho State in the early 1990s.

Former Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen was hired as offensive coordinator at Utah Friday.

Former Wyoming football coach Dave Christensen was hired as offensive coordinator at Utah Friday.

“As one of the pioneers of the spread offense, Dave Christensen is an innovative coach and was the architect of one of the top offenses in the country during his time at Missouri,” said Whittingham in a statement from the school Friday. “We feel fortunate he was available and interested in joining our program, and he will be a great fit with our staff. We want an explosive offense and that’s been a trademark of Dave’s throughout his career as an offensive coordinator.”

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