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Joe Southwick eludes the Fresno State pass rush in their October 2012 game in Boise

For the 2013 Mountain West football season there are some terrific games on the docket. The Mountain West is loaded with some of the best quarterbacks the country has to offer and those quarterbacks will provide hours of entertainment for fans, even if they aren’t a fan of either team playing. I’m going to recap the 10 games to look forward to this coming season. Let’s start with number 10 on the list..

10. Nevada vs UNLV – October 26
Why this game is important: The Wolfpack and Rebels are both coming off of seasons they wish would have turned out better. Nevada started the year red hot but really struggled down the stretch losing some games they should have won and lost a pretty thrilling game to Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl. The Rebels pretty much failed to get off the ground last year, their best win coming over Air Force in a pretty shocking upset. This isn’t a terribly sexy game if you’re looking for two great teams beating on each other. This game is important because it’s a rivalry game and they do battle for a pretty sweet trophy, the Fremont Cannon. The cannon is given to the winner of the Battle for Nevada. The winning school typically paints it in their colors and right now it’s a nice shade of navy and silver. This is the biggest and heaviest college football trophy. Nevada currently leads the series 23-15.

9. Wyoming vs Colorado State – October 19
Why this game is important: It’s the Border War! The game between the Cowboys and Rams is the 2nd oldest rivalry game West of the Mississippi. Not only that but their traveling trophy is a bronzed boot worn by a soldier in Vietnam. The Cowboys have won four in a row against the Rams. This game, like the one above, isn’t a sexy game, but it’s really important to both teams. The game ball is run from the visiting school to the Wyoming/Colorado border by the ROTC then delivered to the home school’s ROTC who run it back to the stadium. The Pokes won last year’s game pretty handily, 45-31 in Laramie and they get the game for a 2nd year in a row on the high plains. This year’s game looks like it will be a good one. Colorado State leads the series 55-44-5.

8. Air Force vs Wyoming – September 21
Why this game is important: This game likely won’t mean much in the Mountain West standings, however it features an interesting story line that became very public last season. In the 4th quarter of a very close game Air Force was driving for their eventual game winning touchdown. During the drive Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz went down with an alleged injury. Back-up quarterback Kale Pearson came in and ran for the game winning score on the next play. Dietz then returned to the field to hold the PAT. Wyoming head coach came unglued after the game and had a lot of words for Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun including calling him Mr. Howdy Doody. This year the game will be in Colorado Springs. What kind of reception will the Cowboys get?

7. San Jose State at Nevada – November 16
Why this game is important: This game will feature two of the Mountain West’s top two gunslingers, David Fales and Cody Fajardo. Both have gotten plenty of preseason accolades and figure to be in the top 5 passers in the league this year. Fales is a Mountain West newcomer, his Spartans will be playing their first season the MW this season. Fajardo put up impressive numbers last season in his MW debut. Both of these teams underwent coaching changes in the offseason with Chris Ault retiring and taking a job in the NFL and Mike MacIntyre taking on an enormous project in trying to rebuild the Colorado Buffaloes. At the point in the season this game will be played I would think that both teams will be operating as well as they’re going to be this season.

6. Boise State at San Diego State – November 23
Why this game is important: There’s been two pretty consistent teams over the last 5 years in the Mountain West and this game will feature them both. The Broncos are the reigning Mountain West champions but they also had to share that with San Diego State last season. The Aztecs are coming off of a 9-4 season, while the Broncos are coming off of a 11-2 season. The only conference loss the Broncos suffered last year was to the Aztecs in a close one in Boise. The Aztecs led by their running back Adam Muema will look to make it two in a row over Joe Southwick’s Broncos.

5. Fresno State at San Diego State – October 26
Why this game is important: These two West division powerhouses will be slugging it out in October for supremacy at the top of their division. This game very well could determine who will represent the West division in the inaugural Mountain West championship game. The Bulldogs will be led by their stud quarterback Derek Carr who looks like he could repeat as the MW player of the year, but they’ll have to get through Adam Muema and the Aztecs. Last season the Aztecs and Bulldogs decided to take the day off from defense and put up a combined 92 points, but the Bulldogs flat out crushed the Aztecs in total yards. With any luck we’ll see another track meet between these two teams.

4. Utah State vs Wyoming – November 30
Why this game is important: This game was not a very fun experience the last time these two teams met. The Cowboys were beaten on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and Utah State had their way with the Cowboys in a 63-19 victory in Logan. This time the game will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the Mountain West, Brett Smith and Chuckie Keeton. These two teams have a storied history against one another, having played 63 times, but only started playing each other again within the last decade. These two teams will be battling for their spot at the top of the Mountain division, hoping for a slip-up from Boise State to claim their place in the MW championship.

3. Utah State vs Boise State – October 12
Why this game is important: Another big game in the Mountain division of the Mountain West with both of these teams presumably battling for the top spot in their division. If preseason predictions pan out these two teams will fight to be in the championship game. Chuckie Keeton will be working with a new coaching staff this season after the departure of Gary Anderson to Wisconsin. The Broncos were nearly unanimous to win the Mountain division this season. Will Keeton’s Aggies put a stop to the Broncos? This game is played relatively early so a lot can happen after this one is played.

2. Fresno State at San Jose State – November 29
Why this game is important: The central California coastline is up for grabs here when the Bulldogs and Spartans meet up in late November in what will probably determine the West division champion. The game will also feature the Mountain West’s two prized possessions, Derek Carr and David Fales, the two senior quarterbacks who have eyes towards the NFL. These two could very well represent the two best QBs to ever come out of the MW and enter the NFL. Carr is the reigning Mountain West player of the year and Fales who finished as the 2nd leading passer in the WAC last year. This should be a terrific matchup with plenty of passing yards and points on the board. The last time these two played was a 3 point victory for the Spartans in Fresno.

1. Boise State at Fresno State – September 20
Why this game is important: This is the preseason Mountain West championship prediction. This game happens pretty early in the season but could very well shape the rest of the season for both teams. This game features the two elite teams from the MW. Last year the Broncos came out on top 20-10 in Boise. The return game in Fresno this year could be the first of two matchups between the two teams. If they can manage to go through the conference season unbeaten they could very well meet again in the Mountain West championship game, hosted at the venue of the team with the better record. If that’s the case this game could not only be the first of two, but also determine the location of the championship game. Quite a bit riding on a September matchup. Should be the best, or second best game of the Mountain West football season and I know we’re all looking forward to watching these two do battle.