The additions of San Jose State and Utah State from the former Western Athletic Conference boosts the strength of the MWC. There are six teams projected to become bowl eligible, but Nevada and Wyoming are predicted to finish just outside the six wins needed for eligibility.
Boise State is projected to win the MWC championship, but the Broncos could easily falter along the way. In 2013, Boise plays on the road at Washington, Fresno State, Utah State, BYU, and San Diego State; those opponents had a home winning percent of over 90 percent last season (28-3). It looks very likely that they will lose at least one road game, most likely at Washington or BYU.
In conference play, Boise State at Utah State could be a game to decide the Mountain Division, but San Diego State also beat Boise on the Blue last season so the Aztecs are definitely a dangerous cross-division conference matchup. Another challenge for Boise State will be Fresno State, especially since the Bulldogs have possibly the best quarterback in the MWC.
However, the Broncos' schedule is ranked 83rd in the CFU strength of schedule rating so another double digit win season should be expected if they do not gather a conference title. Boise State coach Chris Petersen has a knack for developing winning teams. If Utah State could have kept Gary Andersen, the boys in blue would have a more certain test in the Mountain Division.
There is a lot of parity in the upper half of the MWC and the West Division could be tightly contested. San Jose State is projected to win the West, but San Diego State and Fresno State could easily contend in or win the West.
Nevada is a team that is not necessarily bad, but will likely struggle with bowl eligibility in 2013. The Wolf Pack is ranked 50th in the CFU strength of schedule rankings and play tough away games at UCLA, Florida State, San Diego State, Boise State, and Fresno State (27-6 combined home record in 2012). They also play a couple difficult games at home with BYU and San Jose State. Nevada could grind out a couple more wins than the projected 5-7 record, but it will be a tough road to get to a bowl game for the Wolf Pack. The departure of longtime coach Chris Ault is also bound to have an effect on Nevada in some way.