Key players: QB Max Hall, Jr.; RB Harvey Unga, So. Returning starters: 10 offense, 3 defense.
Notes: Even with a rebuilt defense, BYU may simply overpower opponents with offense. Hall has four returning starters blocking for him on the line and three bruising running backs in Unga, Manase Tonga and Fui Vakapuna. ... The Cougars' 10-game winning streak is the longest in the nation, and they haven't lost at home since 2005.
Key players: QB Brian Johnson, Sr., K/P Louie Sakoda. Returning starters: 8 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Michigan isn't the only tough nonconference game on Utah's schedule. Oregon State comes to Salt Lake City for a Thursday night game on Oct. 2. ... RB Darrell Mack ran for 1,204 yards and 12 TDs last season.
Key players: RB Aaron Brown, Sr.; C Blake Schlueter, Sr. Returning starters: 8 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: The Horned Frogs hope to take the MWC title out of the state of Utah for the first time since they won it three years ago. TCU followed up back-to-back 11-win seasons by falling to 8-5 last fall, going 4-4 in conference. ... Frogs visit Oklahoma on Sept. 27.
Key players: DE Ryan Kemp, Sr.; QB Shea Smith, Sr.; QB Eric Herbert, Jr. Returning starters: 3 offense, 5 defense.
Notes: Air Force was the surprise team in the league last year, finishing second under first-year coach Troy Calhoun. But the Falcons entered fall camp without a starting quarterback to replace Shaun Carney.
Key players: QB Donovan Porterie, Jr.; RB Rodney Ferguson, Sr. Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: The Lobos closed last season by shutting out Nevada 23-0 in the New Mexico Bowl the school's first postseason victory since 1961. ... New Mexico also tries to avenge a 27-0 loss to TCU last year when the Lobos host the Horned Frogs in the season opener.
Key players: QB Karsten Sween, Jr.; RB Devin Moore, Sr. Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense.
Notes: With 15 returning starters, the Cowboys have one of the more experienced teams in the league. But that will only help if they have improved from last year's 5-7 finish, going 2-6 in the conference.
Key players: RB Gartrell Johnson, Sr.; RB Kyle Bell, Sr. Returning starters: 8 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Former Ram quarterback Steve Fairchild takes over as coach for Sonny Lubick, whose 15-year run at Colorado State ended when he was fired after last season. The Rams never recovered from an 0-6 start.
SAN DIEGO STATE
Key players: LB Russell Allen, Sr.; LB Luke Laolagi, Jr. Returning starters: 4 offense, 8 defense.
Notes: It was fitting that Aztecs' first two practices were at the U.S. Marines base in San Diego. Coach Chuck Long's offense could use something like boot camp with only four returning starters two on the line and two receivers.
Key players: RB Frank Summers, Sr. Returning starters: 9 offense, 5 defense.
Notes: The Rebels are 6-29 under coach Mike Sanford. His high-scoring game plan as offensive coordinator at Utah did not follow him to Vegas. Sanford has won two games in each of his first three seasons.