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MWC Power Rankings: Week 1

Well, week 1 is in the books. Okay, not completely... but it is for the MWC. Which means its time to look back and at the action and see where the MWC sits. The game recaps themselves sit on the front page; no need for me to go over them in much detail again.

The conference, as a whole, went 3-3 against the "BCS" teams and 3-0 against FCS teams (always good to see). Included in that 3-3 is the beating of 2 ranked teams (as opposed to 2 losses versus ranked teams) and the beating of a team containing a guy who is considered by some as the "best QB in college football" and the #1 pick in next year's NFL draft. If you'll remember, Sam Bradford was in the same position last year... his team got beat by BYU, and he got injured (though he still went #1). Maybe Jake Locker should consider himself lucky... he's still good to go for the next game.

So, on to the power rankings. Please note: I don't care what was thought of the teams beforehand. Quite simply, its "who did you beat" and "how did you beat them". Its very early in the season, so teams with more wins will tend to be higher up in the ranking. Performance matters. Also note, it has nothing to do with how I think they'll finish the season, or even how they'll do next week. For example, me putting BYU ahead of Air Force has nothing to do with how I think their match-up will play out next week.

 

  1. TCU- It wasn't the prettiest game, but TCU went out and beat a top-25 ranked team in a well fought game. Like most of the teams, their were some early struggles, but they seemed to get them all figured out as the game went on. Andy Dalton is fine as a game-manager, but that ground game is really impressive. Ed Wesley averaged just under 8 yards/carry in the win. And next week should be a really easy game for the Horned Frogs. Up next: Tennessee Tech (0-1, L @ Arkansas)
  2. Utah- If the game had ended 4 minutes into the 4th quarter, Utah would be #1 right now here. After a very sluggish start (aided in no way by Shaky Smithson), the Utes woke up. The offense played well, the defense was terrific. Jordan Wynn had a solid first half (as did Jereme Brooks), and none of top-25 Pitt's big name guys were able to break free. After a slight brain-freeze late (aided by some questionable decision-making, including a pass and running out of bounds when they should've been running clock), the Utes held on and snatched the game in overtime. The Utes start conference play up in week 2 with another home game. Up next: UNLV (0-1, L v. Wisconsin)
  3. BYU- I guess the only reason they're not in the top-2 right now is because Washington wasn't ranked. Stupid, I know, but what to do. Like TCU & Utah, there was a sort of a sluggish start, and Jake Locker seemed amazing. But after a bit, the 2-QB rotation started working (I want to see how long they go with this though) and the team started playing well. Jake Locker struggled late on a couple of key 4th down plays, and that was it for Washington. Like the Utes, BYU starts conference play in week 2... but with a much tougher opponent (or so one would think). Up next: @ Air Force (1-0, W v. Northwestern State)
  4. San Diego State- It was a slow start, but after the first quarter, the Aztecs picked it up. And, in the process, they picked up the easiest win for any of the MWC schools, thrashing Nicholls State to the tune of 47-0. Ryan Lindley had a field day, and the Aztecs' 3 main rushers (in the game, at least) combined for 204 yards on 32 carries. No faults here; they were supposed to win big, and they did. The Aztecs move up a notch to playing the WAC in week 2. Up next: @ New Mexico State (0-0)
  5. Air Force- Like SDSU, the Falcons won big at home against a FCS school. The difference (and thus the reason that SDSU is higher right now) is simple enough... at half-time, the Falcons were only up 24-21. They woke up soon after, though, and rolled to a 41-0 second half advantage on the scoreboard. The Falcons were, most likely, shaken up early by the neck injury suffered by CB Reggie Rembert (one of the better CBs in the league)... one of 3 neck injuries in the game... but slowly woke up and rolled on. According to Yahoo!, 17 different players had at least 1 carry for the Falcons. 17! I'm not a huge follower of Air Force football, but that's a lot. And you have to be alert; you never know who'll be carrying the ball on the next play. The Falcons will have to be ready from opening whistle in week 2 as they have a huge conference game on schedule. Up next: BYU (1-0, W v. Washington)
  6. Wyoming- Of the 3 teams playing FCS schools, this one was the closest. After jumping ahead (14-10 at half-time, 28-10 after 3 quarters), Wyoming watched Southern Utah storm back to cut the lead to 28-20 with 6 minutes left before finally holding on. The Cowboys' ground game struggled mightily, but Austyn Carta-Samuels was a workhorse for Wyoming and lifted them to the win. Of course, struggling with Southern Utah is not a good sign, given that their next opponent is most definitely NOT Southern Utah. Up next: @ Texas (1-0, W @ Rice)
  7. UNLV- All 3 losers for the MWC were pretty pathetic, all considered. UNLV ends up here because... well... at least they showed some life against a top-25 team. It wasn't much, and it wasn't pretty. The Rebels did keep it close for a half though, before Wisconsin exploded for 24 third-quarter points. They struggled all over the place offensively, and the Badgers' running game ripped them to pieces. Which could lead to trouble in their next game. Up next: @ Utah (1-0, W v. Pittsburgh)
  8. Colorado State- The loss wasn't as bad as as UNLV's, in the sense that the Rams only gave up 24 points. At a neutral stadium. The problem, though, is that they only managed 3 points against their biggest rivals. While the Buffaloes aren't that good (okay, I don't really know that), the Rams were done in by a weak passing attack (only 5.9 yards/attempt)... something that was aided by the fact that the Rams could not get anything going in the ground game. For example, Raymond Carter received 11 carries, and picked up just 10 yards. That is not going to cut it for the Rams, especially with a freshman QB. And now they head out on the road for a WAC game. Up next: @ Nevada (1-0, W v. Eastern Washington)
  9. New Mexico- ... Yeah. I don't even know what to say. At least Oregon didn't put 100 on them? Sure, Oregon is a top-25 team, but this was a disaster. Oregon was up 28-0 after one, 59-0 at half-time, and would've won by even more if they had wanted to. The Ducks had 2 guys rush for over 100 yards, and one of them (Kenjon Barner) had 4 rushing TDs and 1 receiving TD (of 60 yards) to go with his 147 rushing yards. The Ducks had 720 total yards, to 107 for the Lobos. And it doesn't get much easier for New Mexico with another BCS team with a high-octane offense due up. Up next: Texas Tech (1-0, W v. SMU)

 

Early look at next weeks games.

  • BYU @ Air Force: BYU won the match-up last year, aided by a Max Hall explosion and an Air Force implosion (it was 31-7 after the 3rd quarter). The Falcons could be looking to redeem themselves.
  • UNLV @ Utah: The Utes started slow last year and had 10 penalties for 110 yards, but were carried to victory by Terrance Cain and Eddie Wide. You'd think the Utes will be more disciplined at home this year.
  • Tennessee Tech @ TCU: As far as I can see, these teams have never faced off. That shouldn't matter too much for TCU though. Tennessee Tech was just clobbered by Arkansas in week 1, after all.
  • Wyoming @ Texas: Texas won big last year (41-10), but that's after needing a last minute drive in the 1st half to go into the locker-room with a lead. That game was in Wyoming though; no altitude help for Wyoming here.
  • San Diego State @ New Mexico State: The game was tied midway through the 4th last year after an Aggies TD, but the Aztecs pulled off 17 points in the last 7 minutes to win with some ease.
  • Texas Tech @ New Mexico: Last year, Tech had to go to a back-up QB in the 2nd quarter, and was only up 14-7 at halftime. The Lobos imploded soon after, and 21 third-quarter points helped Texas Tech to an easy win.
  • Colorado State @ Nevada: The Rams won the game at home after going up 14-0 in the first quarter. Nevada was coming off of a bye week (following a crushing 35-0 loss at Notre Dame); spirits should be higher this year.
As I mentioned above, the MWC was 3-3 against the BCS schools last week, beating Pittsburgh, Oregon State and Washington while losing to Wisconsin, Colorado and Oregon. This week, there are 2 more BCS schools on the schedule... Texas (v. Wyoming) and Texas Tech (@ New Mexico). Conference play gets under way with 2 conference match-ups (BYU @ Air Force, UNLV @ Utah), and the MWC/WAC match-ups start off as well with 2 games (SDSU @ NMSU, CSU @ Nevada). And the seemingly mandatory FCS game (Tennessee Tech @ TCU). The MWC went a total of 6-3 last week; it'll be harder to top that this week given the 2 automatic losses in the conference games. Maybe the MWC can pull off a 5-4 record this week?
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