Along with a not-as-good-as-normal 1-4 record for existing MW teams in the postseason, we need to factor in a pair of wins - and likely Top 25 BCS finishes - for Utah State and San Jose State as well. The Aggies and Spartans will be new members of the conference next fall, and their late-season performances have to be strongly considered when you look at next season's league race. Then again, both those schools - along with Nevada - will be breaking in brand new head coaches too, so there's that to consider.
First, now would be a great time for a tip of the cap to the Wolf Pack's Hall of Fame Coach Chris Ault, the inventor of the "pistol" offense and the school's all-time winningest head coach. All Ault did in Reno during his 40 years as the head coach was win 10 conference titles and go to 10 bowl games, while winning 233 games. Already in the College Football Hall of Fame, Ault is retiring, and turning over a loaded roster to his yet to be named successor.
At SJSU and USU, they'll also be replacing coaches. What none of those guys have to worry about is replacing standout quarterbacks. At the start of the season, the Spartans didn't know what they had in transfer David Fales, but by the end of the year, they had the nation's leader in completion percentage, a guy who threw for over 4,000 yards and was the MVP of the Military Bowl win over Bowling Green. That should make things a little smoother for new coach Ron Caragher.
Aggies new coach Matt Wells will hand the keys to dual threat standout Chuckie Keeton. All Keeton did this year was pass for 3,373 yards and rush for 619 while accounting for 35 touchdowns. Nevada's new head man will be able to count on junior Cody Fajardo, who threw for 2,786 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He also rushed for 140 yards in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
And don't sleep on Brett Smith of Wyoming - if he can stay healthy. Smith and the Pokes had a snake-bit kind of season, but the conference's Freshman of the Year from 2011 did his fair share of damage when he was on the field this fall. Fair to expect a big year out of Smith in 2013.
And oh yes, the MW's Offensive Player of the Year will be back under center at Fresno State. Based on the talent (and head coach Tim DeRuyter) returning, you'd probably make the Bulldogs the pre-season MW favorite next season. Their star quarterback David Carr is slated to return to continue his assault on the Bulldogs (and conference) record book, and he'll have some talent receivers to throw to. Can Carr better his 4,104 passing yards and 37 TD's next fall?
If what we saw in 2012 is any indication, there's the potential to see some serious offensive explosions during Mountain West play in 2013.