2010 Mountain West: Looking Ahead

David HedlindAnalyst IIMay 29, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 14:  Ryan Christian #18 of the TCU Horned Frogs gets past the Utah defense to score a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Utah Utes at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Lately the question about Mountain West bowl games has been, "which BCS bowl will they get to?"

Then there is "can they get to the Championship game?"

I also wonder if a one loss champion can get into a BCS game. Maybe not the championship game just yet but the Fiesta or Orange maybe.

The bowl order has changed a little.

Vegas is still the top destination if for some reason a BCS bowl is not in the cards. The Poinsettia Bowl is the still number two.

The new addition is the Independence Bowl against one of the last few selections from the ACC.

The Armed Forces and New Mexico Bowls are the last couple bowls to select.

The Humanitarian Bowl is no longer affiliated to the Mountain West.

The conference only brings in one new coach this season.

Bobby Hauck takes over at UNLV after leading Montana to seven first place finishes in the Big Sky Conference. They made an appearance in the FCS playoffs each year. They made it to three championship games. Unfortunately they went 0-3 in those games.

UNLV showed promise starting the season at 2-2 last year, with the two losses by a combined five points. They finished the season with a 5-7 record.

My question is how the handful of coaches that will now be entering year two in the conference will do? 

Brady Hoke at San Diego already increased the competitiveness of the team and doubled the teams wins from 2008 as well as a few close losses.

Dave Christianson at Wyoming got the Cowboys to a bowl game and closed the season by winning it.

New Mexico might be in trouble with Mike Locksley. The Lobos only picked up one win and a couple of off field incidents leave me questioning the program's direction with him at the helm.

Although the topic of expansion is getting exhausting, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about it.

The Mountain West has already been rumored to possibly make the first move in expansion. They are continuing to try and bolster the conference in order to earn a BCS automatic bid. The not so surprising rumor is that an invitation will be extended to Boise State from the WAC.

There is also talk that two more schools such as Fresno State, Houston, SMU are all on the radar as well in case the conference decides to go to 12 in order to stage a conference championship game.

This would be a preemptive move in order to entice the members to stay with the Mountain West in case expansion by the other conferences spills over into members receiving invites to the Pac-10 or Big 12.

I think TCU is the favorite among most again this coming season and it is pretty much impossible to argue. All the other potential contenders have way too many questions.