Last season's adjustment in schedule lengths and bowl-eligibility made seven the new six: non-BCS teams are unlikely to go bowling unless they have seven wins. The Mountain West has ties to only four bowls, meaning five teams are likely to sit at home for Christmas, unless they can come up with seven wins, making them more eligible for an at-large bid than a 6-6 BCS team.
Which MWC teams are likely to get seven or more wins this year? TCU, BYU, and Utah are all but certain to. UNLV, SDSU and Air Force are all but certain not to. In the mushy middle sit Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado State. Of the three, Wyoming seems the most likely to achieve seven wins: Virginia, Utah State, Ohio, and Boise State are all winnable OOC games for the Cowboys. In conference, a .500 record is a possibility. Wyoming's tight defense is probably going to be improved in '07, and their star QB, Karsten Sween, won't be so shiney and new.
New Mexico also returns a rising star at QB- Donovan Porterie- but will be building a new offensive line to protect him and Rodney Ferguson, a terrific runningback. Look for the Lobos to start the year slowly.
Colorado State hopes Kyle Bell's return will spur new life into its offense, which went lifeless in the second half last year. Coach Lubick, who is feeling heat, is trying to get more physical play from his team. If he gets it, the Rams will be bowling again in 2007.
Look for Wyoming to place fourth or tie for third in conference, with New Mexico and Colorado State coming in next.