On the surface UNLV might be the favored team, since they have a more scoring offense and their defense comes up big in games.
Now is the time for UNLV to prove last week was a fluke when they were trounced by Nevada at home. UNLV has not won a conference road game since they beat BYU on October 8, 2004, plus UNLV will be only two wins away from being bowl eligible this year.
Offensively the Rebels need to keep doing what they are doing, keeping a balanced attack and setting up the spread with Frank Summers. So, far on the year coach Mike Sanford made the right choice with Omar Clayton to direct the spread at quarterback. He has 12 touchdowns to only one interception, and has averaged just at 260 total yards per game, the only improvement would be on his running game when there is a read option play.
Colorado State will have a tough time trying to defend the trio of receivers in Ryan Wolfe, Casey Flair, and Phillip Payne who have combined for 11 touchdowns and over 900 of the Rebels receiving yards.
The special teams is what hurt Colorado State last year, and there could be trouble again as UNLV has a good return game which could be the difference in this game.
Colorado State will need to make plays in the passing game and score points both of which they have trouble doing so far. The running tandem that was to be good has been average at best, and has been taken away because of being down in games forcing them to pass. The Rams will need to try to force turnovers and make some passing plays to keep up with UNLV.
Final Score: UNLV 27 Colorado State 17
Falcon Stadium 2PM MT TV: Radio: 740 KVOR
The first matchup in the commander in chief trophy begins in Colorado Springs. Air Force has not beaten Navy since 2002, but this year could change. The Falcons are tough to beat at home, but Navy is coming off their first win over a ranked team in years by defeating Wake Forest 24-17.
Navy still has its patented running option game and do not be surprised if there is over 600 yards of rushing in this game, and to see this be one of the fastest games played all season.
Navy is lead by running back Shun White who is averaging 9.4 yards per carry and 138 per game. He is not the only runner for Navy as they have the other half of the great Midshipmen ground attack in Eric Kettani who has 435 yards on the year and averaging above seven per rush.
Air Force will need to limit those big run plays that the Navy backs seem to get. Plus, Navy has a plus six in the turnover margin which is a reason Navy won last week and is half way to bowl eligibility.
Air Force on the other hand does not have one specific back who carries the load but they have three players who have accumulated 200 or more yards on the season and then one other that is just under at 192. The Falcons will run the ball about 85 percent of the time and then try for the big home run ball.
This should be the most competitive game of the weekend in the MWC.
Final Score: Air Force 31 Navy 28
Is there really a need to preview this game? I guess I have to since it is on the schedule for the Mountain West. Both teams are coming into this game with different mind sets, as TCU just got smoked by Oklahoma and San Diego State just got it first victory by beating up on Idaho.
The only really good player that San Diego State has is quarterback Ryan Lindley who is playing very well in his first season as the starter for the Aztecs. If coach Chuck Long takes any notes from last weeks TCU's film it is that TCU is vulnerable to the deep passing game. To achieve that the Aztecs will need to get something done in the running game from Atiyyah Henderson or Brandon Sullivan to keep TCU's honest in the defense.
Look for the Aztecs to try to go over the top of the TCU secondary early to try to get on the board early.
TCU is still trying to incorporate Aaron Brown into the offense at running back and a little bit in the return game. The only problem they have is the emergence of Joseph Turner at running back who has been very effective so far this year. That is a good problem to have two backs who are capable of wearing down a defense, but look for Brown to have his break out game rushing and eventually take over the starting job in the next few weeks and this is the game to start this.
Final Score: TCU 30 San Diego State 13
Hmmm... this is the Jekyle and Hyde game, because both teams have shown up to perform and then have rolled over to bad teams. Wyoming has struggled because of inconsistent play at the quarterback position, and this week Coach Joe Glenn named Karsteen Sween his first start of the year. Sween was the starter last year and is making his 19th career start, but this year he has been inconsistent at best when he has had playing time. To defend Sween he and former starter Dax Crum have been pulled for each other at different times, which tells me that Coach Glenn does not have confidence in either.
Wyoming actually has a decent team, because their defense is wwell above average in rush defense and solid over all and the running game is good with Devin Moore. This just proves how big the quarterback position is in college football, because if a team is not consistent then the team most likely is not going to do well.
Plus, this game being on the road which Wyoming has historically been bad on the road games in conference play, and this game is being played away from War Memorial and being played at New Mexico, so a double whammy for the Pokes with bad quarterback play and then a road game.
New Mexico has their own quarterback issue, because Brad Gruner is now their starter after Donovan Porterie is out for the year, and to date Gruner has not passed for more then 100 yards all year in a completed game. Gruner just needs to limit mistakes which he did last week against New Mexico State.
New Mexico will rely heavily on Rodney Ferguson and the rest of the running backs, well mostly Ferguson to take the brute of the offensive load. This matchup of the New Mexico rushing offense against the Wyoming defense is going to be the matchup to see in this game. Whoever wins this battle most likely will win this game on Saturday.
Brad Gruner will need to make a few plays in the passing game to make the Wyoming defense honest so they do not stack the box against the running game.
Final Score: New Mexico 17 Wyoming 9