The conference avoided any changes in the most recent rash of realignment. Last year, the conference expanded to 12 teams, split into two divisions, and staged a conference championship game with Fresno State downing Utah Sate 24-17 to claim the title.
The Congrove Computer Rankings had projected a San Diego State-Utah State championship clash with SDSU winning the title, but the Aztecs finished second in the West, behind the Bulldogs.
Boise State and Wyoming will operate under new head coaches this season as Chris Petersen left the Broncos for Washington, and Dave Christensen was fired from the Cowboys.
North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl was announced as the new head coach at Wyoming on December 8. In 13 seasons, he built the Bison into a national power. At the time of his hiring, North Dakota State was 12-0 and the No. 1 seed in the FCS playoffs, and Bohl was to continue his pursuit of a 3-peat of the FCS Championship before joining the Cowboys.
Christensen who was let go by Wyoming on December 1 after a 5-year tenure that produced a 27-34 overall record, along with a 16-22 Mountain West mark (Pete Kaligis was interim head coach in the 2012 loss to Boise State while Christensen served a one-game suspension for a profanity-laced tirade after a loss to Air Force). The 2013 season started off on a promising note with a 3-point loss at Nebraska, followed by victories in 4 of the next 5 games. But the Cowboys' schedule was more difficult in the latter half and Wyoming's only victory in its last six games was a 59-56 overtime affair versus then-winless Hawaii.
Bryan Harsin takes over at Boise State, accepting the job on December 11. The move made Harsin the third consecutive 1-and-out head coach of the Red Wolves. He was 7-5 in his only season at Jonesboro, following Gus Malzahn (Auburn) and Hugh Freeze Ole Miss).
Petersen was 92-12 in 8 seasons at Boise State with 2 BCS bowl appearances, 2 perfect seasons and 5 conference titles. Of his 12 overall losses, 5 came last season. He was 84-7 in his first 7 campaigns.
Even with a new head coach leading the charges, Boise State is projected to claim the MWC Mountain division and face rival Fresno State for the championship. The Bulldogs are 8.92-point favorites over the Broncos in the title game, and 2.93-point favorites in the regular season meeting at Boise on October 18. The Broncos are projected to go 7-1 in conference play, but 8-4 overall thanks to a fairly tough non-conference slate that includes opening vs. Ole Miss in Atlanta as an 8.40-point underdog. Forecasted non-conference losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and BYU at home are by less than a point.
Fresno State's only predicted loss comes in the season opener at USC. The Bulldogs are a double-digit favorite in 6 games, and at least a 6-point favorite in 4 other contests.