The Mountain West conference, like several leagues, was affected by conference realignment. The MWC loses the University of Utah to the Pacific 12 conference and Brigham Young University to Independence but gains a juggernaut of a program in Boise State. The Broncos have a solid history of crashing the BCS party and most of the fanbase expects them to run the table in 2011. Boise State is the epitomy of consistency. They have either won or shared the Western Athletic Conference title since they joining the conference in 2002, except for in 2007 (Hawaii.) Heading into this season, the MWC is still arguably the premier non-automatic qualifying conference in the country. Here are my top returning quarterback’s in the Mountain West Conference for the 2011 season:1. Kellen Moore, Sr, Boise State, 2010 stats: 273-383 (71%), 3,845 yds, 35 Td’s, 6 Int’s. Perspective: Moore returns for his senior season looking to end his Boise State career with a bang. Moore is one of the premier quarterback’s in the country and has a chance to be a heisman finalist if he can lead his Broncos to an undefeated season. Moore loses 2 of his starting receivers from last season squad but will still have enough talent around him to put up quality numbers and lead BSU to wins.
2. Tim Jefferson, Sr, Air Force, 2010 stats: 82-159 (52%), 1,459 yds, 10 Td’s, 6 Int’s; 154 car, 794 yds, 15 Td’s. Perspective: Jefferson returns looking to have a monster senior season for the Falcons. Jefferson is the perfect quarterback for the Falcons spread option attack. He also has the arm to be able to catch defenses off guard and complete long passes. Look for Jefferson to help Air Force battle for a Mountain West conference title in 2011.
3. Ryan Lindley, Sr, San Diego St., 2010 stats: 243-421 (58%), 3,830 yds, 28 Td’s, 14 Int’s. Perspective: While Lindley is back for his senior campaign at SDSU, he will have to make the adjustment to a new coach. Brady Hoke was hired as Michigan’s head man in the offseason and former UNM legendary coach, Rocky Long was hired. Long is more a traditionalist when it comes to offense. Less passing and more power running. This may affect Lindley’s passing numbers but could help him from an efficiency standpoint. This season will definitely be an interesting one for both Lindley and the Aztecs.
4. Pete Thomas, So, Colorado State, 2010 stats: 253-391 (65%), 2,662 yds, 11 TD’s, 13 Int’s. Perspective: For a freshman, completing 65% of your passes is not a bad accomplishment. Because of this, Thomas enters his sophomore campaign with some confidence in being able to run the Rams offense successfully. He now looks to take more of a leadership role and help CSU win more games, which will be a challenge in 2011.
5. Casey Pachall, So, Texas Christian, 2010 stats: 6-9 (67%), 78 yds, Td. Perspective: Paschall takes over the reigns of the TCU offense from Andy Dalton who had a great career for the horned frogs. Pachall has some big shoes to fill but has the talent to be a great quarterback for the frogs. In his limited playing time in 2010, Pachall showed some flashes of brilliance. I expect Pachall to have a solid year but it will take time for himself and the TCU offense to get back to the level they were at under Dalton.
1. Boise State
T-2. Air Force
4. San Diego State
5. Colorado State
8. New Mexico