Teams from the Mountain West Conference finished with a record 30 wins against nonconference opponents last season, tying the mark set in 2014. Take a closer look at the teams in the Mountain West with the roughest path to success in 2017, with our ranking of the league’s nonconference schedules from toughest to easiest.
SAN JOSE STATE
Schedule: Aug. 26 vs. USF; Sept. 2 vs. Cal Poly; Sept. 9 at Texas; Sept. 16 at Utah; Oct. 28 at BYU
The Buzz: Brent Brennan should quickly get a sense of his new team thanks to a nonconference schedule that features not only five non-Mountain West games but three against teams from Power 5 conferences. The Spartans open a season at home for the fourth time in the past five years when they face USF. After hosting Cal Poly, the Spartans hit the road looking to snap a 10-game road losing streak to nonconference foes.
Schedule: Sept. 2 vs. Incarnate Word; Sept. 9 at Alabama; Sept. 16 at Washington; Nov. 4 vs. BYU
The Buzz: Brennan won’t get any sympathy from Jeff Tedford, whose first season will include two teams that played in the College Football Playoff semifinals last season (Alabama, Washington) as well as the Bulldogs’ home contest against BYU.
Schedule: Aug. 26 vs. Oregon State; Sept. 1 vs. Colorado (at Denver); Sept. 9 vs. Abilene Christian; Sept. 16 at Alabama
The Buzz: It’s been a decade since Colorado State last defeated a Pac-12 team in its true home opener (California in 2007). The Rams have lost three out of the past four meetings with in-state rival Colorado. Things don’t get much easier when Colorado State faces national power Alabama.
Schedule: Sept. 2 vs. Howard; Sept. 9 at Idaho; Sept. 23 at Ohio State; Nov. 11 vs. BYU
The Buzz: UNLV is 0-10 against teams from the FBS during the past three seasons, with the most recent win coming on Sept. 14, 2013.
Schedule: Sept. 2 vs. Troy; Sept. 9 at Washington State; Sept. 22 vs. Virginia; Oct. 6 at BYU
The Buzz: The Broncos hit the road looking to continue the program’s strong showing against teams from the Pac-12 (winners of nine out of the last 11 games). Boise State returns home to host a team from the ACC (Virginia) for the second time in four games before wrapping up against BYU.
Schedule: Sept. 1 at Wisconsin; Sept. 9 vs. Idaho State; Sept. 16 at Wake Forest; Sept. 29 vs. BYU
The Buzz: Utah State has lost 17 consecutive road openers and will look to avoid making 18 in a row when the Aggies travel to Madison, Wis., for the first time since 2012.
Schedule: Sept. 2 vs. VMI; Sept. 16 at Michigan; Oct. 7 at Navy; Nov. 4 vs. Army
The Buzz: Air Force has averaged at least four wins during the past three seasons over nonconference foes (12-3). The Falcons are looking for their first win against Michigan (0-2) when they travel to Ann Arbor in mid-September.
Schedule: Sept. 2 at Northwestern; Sept. 9 vs. Toledo; Sept. 16 vs. Idaho State; Sept. 23 at Washington State
The Buzz: Nevada is one of five teams in the Mountain West to face just two teams from Power 5 conferences, including a season opener against Northwestern. The Wolf Pack are winless on the road against Big Ten teams (0-3).
SAN DIEGO STATE
Schedule: Sept. 2 vs. UC Davis; Sept. 9 at Arizona State; Sept. 16 vs. Stanford; Sept. 30 vs. Northern Illinois
The Buzz: San Diego State won four nonconference games last season for the first time since 2011. To repeat the feat, the Aztecs will need to improve on a record of 9-43 all-time against Pac-12 teams, including a 0-27 record on the road.
Schedule: Sept. 2 vs. Abilene Christian; Sept. 9 vs. New Mexico State; Sept. 23 at Tulsa; Nov. 11 at Texas A&M
The Buzz: New Mexico has been bowl eligible each of the past two seasons despite struggling against nonconference foes (5-5). The Lobos haven’t beaten a team from a Power 5 conference since 2008. The team opens with back-to-back home contests, including a rematch with in-state rival New Mexico State, which snapped a six-game New Mexico win streak in the series last season.
Schedule: Sept. 2 at Iowa; Sept. 9 vs. Gardner-Webb; Sept. 16 vs. Oregon; Sept. 30 vs. Texas State
The Buzz: Wyoming opens on the road for the first time since 2013, with the team looking to improve on a 1-11 overall record in road openers. The next three games take place in Laramie, including a much-anticipated showdown with rebuilding Oregon.
Schedule: Aug. 26 at UMass; Sept. 2 vs. Western Carolina; Sept. 9 at UCLA; Nov. 25 vs. BYU
The Buzz: After road trips to Australia, Michigan, and Tempe last season, the Rainbow Warriors will keep the travel miles down with trips to Boston and Los Angeles.