With the one-year alignment of Boise State and TCU in the Mountain West Conference, college football fans get to see the top two BCS Busters of the past decade battle it out for underdog supremacy.
Only Boise State Heisman Trophy contender QB Kellen Moore stands alone as a sure fire fantasy first rounder – or does he? Here’s a look at the top signal callers in the MWC.
1. Kellen Moore, Boise State – The Broncos score an insane amount of points each year, no reason to think that will chance this season despite the move up in competition from the WAC to the MWC. Sure the top 2 pass catchers depart, but Boise has become a fantasy factory. The one knock on Moore would be the offense being TOO potent, i.e. just as likely to have an RB or 2 rush for 6 scores as they are to have Moore pass for 400+ on any given week.
2. Ryan Lindley, San Diego State – Also loses his top 2 pass catchers, but as is the case with Boise, the Aztecs have a potent ground threat in Ronnie Hillman that will keep defenses honest.
3. Pete Thomas, Colorado State – With BYU’s Jake Heaps moving out of the conference, Thomas might just be the best pro prospect left in the MWC. He was a very under-the-radar signee for the Rams in 2010 who had some growing pains after focal point RB Ray Carter digned up most of the season, missing several games and at times ineffective in others. Working behind a patchwork OL Thomas still managed to throw for 2,600+ despite being under near-constant duress. This year with Carter back and the offense a little better all-around, Thomas should have no problem cutting down on this 13/11 TD/INT ratio, and that likely means an uptick in yardage as well, he should be a 3,000-yard passer with room to spare.
4. Tim Jefferson, Air Force – Don’t let this seasoned vet go under your fantasy radar. Seniors running the triple option always fare well, and Timmay is celebrating his 5th year in the offense. He could approach 20 scores and 1,000 yards on the ground, combine that with the passing numbers and he should be a 2,500+ yardage guy but might have 30 or more scores.
5. Casey Pachall, TCU – A sophomore with little game experience, Pachall should be more of a steward of the offense in typical underclassman fashion. Possibly not even a 2,500 yard guy, as he hasn’t exactly solidified the starting position (freshman Matt Brown will push for time).
6. Adam Pittser, Wyoming – A sleeper pick, the true freshman might not even be on campus yet. Last year’s QB and projected 2011 sure-fire starter Austin Carta-Samuels decided to take his ball and go home, leaving the program somewhat suddenly this offseason. This spring was a bit of a scramble to find a replacement on short notice, of which 2 emerged on top as co-starters: Brett Smith and Emory Miller. These two didn’t exactly set the world on fire this spring, the general feeling seemed to be ‘well, we have to name someone starter…’ Things got more interesting when Miller also decided to leave the program in June. Enter young master Pittser – an off-the-radar national QB recruit in 2011 who no one but even the most diehard-of-diehard recruitniks have even heard of. Still, he was good enough to be invited to several prestigious national QB camps his senior year in high school, including the famed Elite-11 passing camp, and vetted himself quite well. If he doesn’t win the job outright in fall camp, tough to see Pittser not having the starting gig before too long and he should be the QB of the future.
NOTE: on top of having dismal fantasy outlooks in general, both New Mexico and UNLV appear to be involved in the dreaded QB by Committee approach, at least to start 2011. Stay away until the starter situation becomes more clear.
QB Keeper Notes: Most of the QB prospects in the MWC are youngsters, but the likely stars of 2012 not listed above are: Joe Southwick, Boise State, soph and Jacob Bernards, SDSU, frosh