Our next conference is the Mountain West. Here are the 2017 Mountain West standings.
Troy Calhoun has been in charge at Air Force since 2007. During his eleven seasons in charge of the Falcons, his teams have finished with a winning conference record eight times despite never finishing higher than third in Net YPP. His teams have exceeded their expected conference record based on Net YPP by at least .100 seven times. Overall, his teams have averaged a winning percentage about .122 points higher than would be expected based on their YPP numbers. That equates to nearly one additional conference win over an eight-game season. The table below summarizes what I just said, listing the Falcons Net YPP finish each season under Calhoun as well as the difference in their actual winning percentage and expected winning percentage based on YPP.
Matt Wells have tended to under-perform relative to their Net YPP. Wells has been in charge in Logan for five seasons beginning with 2013. His teams have never finished lower than fourth in the conference in Net YPP (the top third in the twelve team Mountain West), and yet his teams
have twice finished with non-winning conference records (including a last place divisional finish in 2016). His teams have under-performed by at least .200 twice in five seasons and have over-performed by at least .100 just once. Overall, his teams averaged a winning percentage about .130 points lower than would be expected based on their YPP numbers. That equates to about one fewer conference win over an eight-game season. I have duplicated the previous table with the same stats for Wells’ teams.
Before leaving the Mountain West for the week, I wanted to mention San Jose State. The Spartans struggled in their first season under Brent Brennan, winning just one game against an FBS opponent while losing nine games by at least 20 points. The Spartans were bad, but their suckitude was amplified by their awful turnover margin. In conference play, the Spartans turned the ball over 25 times while gaining just eight turnovers of their own for a margin of -17. Since 2005, only four other teams have posted an in-conference turnover margin of at least -2 per game, including a recent Mountain West team. Those teams all improved substantially the following season.
Mountain West Championship Game tickets just yet were I a San Jose State fan, but the Spartans should be much more competitive in 2018.