Utah State was an upset winner of the Mountain West Championship game, romping to a 46-13 win over San Diego State for its first MWC title. The 13 points were the fewest SDSU scored all season, and the 46 allowed were the most points they've given up since 2016. It is the first win over a AP top 25 program since 2015 when they beat #21 Boise State, 52-26. SDSU was ranked 19th by the AP with an 11-1 record.
The game was played in Carson, California which served as the temporary home of the Aztecs. This year, SDSU will christen Snapdragon Stadium, a 35,000-seat venue that was built next to San Diego Stadium (AKA Jack Murphy Stadium). The first game in the new digs will take place on Labor Day weekend when the Aztecs host Arizona.
San Diego State rebounded from the conference title loss to defeat a 12-1 UTSA team by a 38-24 margin in the Frisco Bowl as the Aztecs completed a 12-2 campaign and a No. 25 final ranking in both the AP and the Congrove Computer Rankings. Utah State would go on to defeat Oregon State in the L.A. Bowl by a 24-13 count to conclude an 11-3 season and a No. 35 computer ranking, but no votes in the AP Poll.
The Mountain West led all conferences in the bowl season with a 5-1 record.
Fresno State defeated UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl, Air Force beat Louisville in the First Responder Bowl, and Wyoming outscored Kent State in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Nevada was the conference's lone loser, falling 52-24 to Western Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Boise State had to cancel its trip to the Arizona Bowl for Covid issues.
For 2022, the computer has Fresno State winning the West for the first time since 2018 when the Bulldogs beat Boise State in OT to capture the MWC title. San Diego State and San Jose State are projected to to tie for second, two games behind.
Likewise, Utah State takes a step back in the Mountain division where Air Force is forecast to go unbeaten and knock off Fresno State to win its first MWC Championship.
The Falcons last won a conference championship as a member of the WAC in 1998 under the legendary head coach Fisher DeBerry. Troy Calhoun replaced DeBerry when the latter retired and has maintained an almost similar win percentage with his 111-75 (.597) mark next to DeBerry's 269-109 record.
Nevada on December 10 named Oregon co-defensive coordinator Ken Wilson as its new head coach after Jay Norvell quit earlier in the week (December 6) to fill the same the position at Colorado State. The Ram's job became available when Steve Addazio was fired on December 2 after a woeful two-season record of 4-12, including 3-9 in the Mountain West. Meanwhile, Norvell's Nevada squad was 8-4 and he leaves Reno with a 5-year records of 33-26 overall and 23-17 in the MWC. Running backs coach Vai Taua was named interim head coach for the Wolf Pack's Quick Lane Bowl game against Western Michigan on December 27 which Nevada lost 52-24.
Former Hawaii record-setting QB, Timmy Chang, was announced as the school's new head coach on January 22. He most recently served as a receivers coach at Nevada and was going to follow Jay Norvell to Colorado State. According to Wikipedia, Chang holds NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision all-time records for total plays (2,587), passes attempted (2,436), and interceptions (80). He ranks second in total offensive yards (16,910) and career passing yards (17,072) and is eleventh in touchdown passes (117).
Hawaii became a late rider, and the 29th over-all, on the coaching carousel after Todd Graham resigned on Friday, January 14, amid allegations that included verbal abuse, incompetence and favoritism, from former and current players. Details were presented at a Hawaii state senate hearing earlier on Friday. A large number of players on the 2021 roster - 19 in all - have entered the transfer portal since November. The group included the teams' staring QB, as well as its leading rusher. Regardless, the administration had stood by Graham and the coach, in a statement, said he was not forced out but was stepping aside for the good of the program and his own health. A December 6 article on SFGate.com brought the allegations to light. Hawaii was 6-7 in 2021 and had secured an invitation to play Memphis in the Hawaii Bowl, but that game was canceled, reportedly due to Covid issues in the Hawaii program. However, the SGGate.com article alleged its investigation concluded that a "not insignificant contingent of players" had no desire to play another game for Graham. As one current player told SFGATE, “A lot of players want him fired, especially the starters.” Graham was 11-11 over-all in his two seasons leading the program. Over-all, he is 106-72 in a career that has also seen stints at (in order) Rice (1 season) Tulsa (4), Pittsburgh (1) and Arizona (6).
|2||48||San Diego State||MWC-W||67.20||44.80||8||4||5||3||111|
|3||71||San Jose State||MWC-W||58.04||33.86||7||5||5||3||128|
|*Air Force hosts and defeats Fresno State in the MWC Championship game|