The Cowboys will host the San Diego Aztecs in the fourth edition of the Mountain West Football Championship Game. Let’s take a look at some of the stats about this game to see if there are any trends (although there is a very small sample size) that might help us predict a winner on Saturday night.
Home Team Record: 3-0
This is obviously good news for Wyoming as they will have the advantage of playing the Aztecs at War Memorial Stadium. The home field advantage could be a big factor in this game as not only do the Aztecs have to deal with the altitude they have to play in cold weather as well. Game time temps are expected to be in the 20’s with a wind chill factor that could be in the single digits, not ideal for a team from California. Bundle up Aztecs, bundle up!
Best Scoring Offense Record: 2-1
Teams with the best scoring offense have put together a 2-1 record and those two wins come from schools who had the number one ranked MW scoring offense in the year they won the Championship Game. Those schools were Fresno State in 2013 (43.5 ppg) and Boise State in 2014 (39.7 ppg) in 2015 it was a match-up between the second and third rated offenses with the Air Force 33.8 points per game and San Diego State at 32.1 points per game which isn’t much of a difference. That is similar to this upcoming game with Wyoming ranked number on at 38.2 points per game and San Diego State at number three with 36.0 points per game.
Best Scoring Defense Record: 2-1
Defense wins championships right? Well, that saying has stayed true in the 2014 and 2015 MW Championship Games but not in the inaugural edition of the contest when the number one ranked Utah State defense allowing just 17.1 points per game gave up 24 in a loss to Fresno State. In 2016 San Diego Sate has by far the better defense given up a league-best 20.8 points per game compared to Wyoming’s 35.5 points per game.
Turnover Margin Winner Record: 1-2
Surprisingly though the short history of this game the winner of the turnover margin has a 1-2 record. You would think in a game of this magnitude turnovers would have factored in more but to date they haven’t. When looking at this year’s match-up the edge goes to the Aztecs who had a league-best +10 turnover margin compared to Wyoming’s +3 which isn’t too bad either. Both teams will be looking to minimize turnovers in order to hoist that trophy after 60 minutes of football.
Kick Returns For A Score: 0
There has been no kick or punt returns for touchdowns in the previous MW Championship Football Games. I only bring this up because San Diego State had two kickoff returns for a touchdown against Wyoming on November 19th. Special teams will be an important part of this game and a kick return for a score could be the difference between winning and losing.
There has only been one rematch in the history of the MW Football Championship Game and that was in 2014 when Boise State defeated Fresno State. The two teams played each other in the regular season and Boise State came out on top in that game as well 37 to 27 in a game played on the blue turf in October.
As you can see above there are no real trends except for home teams being undefeated so far (mostly due to the lack of a long history of this game) and you can look at any statistic and bend it to your liking. I would say if you are a Cowboy fan, grab on to the stat that makes you sleep the best at night as we approach the Mountain West Championship Game in Laramie on Saturday.
Mountain West Conference Football Championship Game History
|2013||#24 Fresno State||24–17||Utah State||Bulldog Stadium • Fresno, CA||31,362||Notes|
|2014||Fresno State||14–28||#22 Boise State||Albertsons Stadium • Boise, ID||26,101||Notes|
|2015||San Diego State||27–24||Air Force||Qualcomm Stadium • San Diego, CA||20,959||Notes|
|2016||San Diego State||–||Wyoming||War Memorial Stadium • Laramie, WY||Notes|