Back at it. With actual games to go off of for 10 out of the 12 teams, these rankings are based more on game results than opinions from looking at each team on paper. Although they are still based on a small sample size. Take a look at this week’s MWCConnection Power Rankings, and let us know what you like and what you don’t. Feel free to drop your own rankings in the comments section.
1) Boise State
Boise State looked like Boise State. When they were in sync, which was basically quarters one (minus the first series), two and four, they moved the ball with ease, had a nice running/passing balance, and featured multiple players getting the ball. Oh, and their defense was all over the ball with steady production from their best players. It remains to be seen how good they are, but they look like the best team in the conference.
2) San Diego State
The Aztecs came out ready to go from the opening whistle and came away from an easy victory. It was the same old story, which may not be exciting, but it sure leads to a lot of wins. Their offense was led by three or four productive running backs and their defense humiliated the Rebels. It’s fair to question what they will look like against a better opponent but they dominated an inferior one.
The Wolf Pack get the nod over Hawaii for beating a better opponent, even though it was a closer game. Carson Strong like he took a big step forward this offseason and led the offense with ease. Cole Turner has a coming out party, and he and Romeo Doubs look like big-time weapons. The defense did just enough, and the team will go as far as they can if the defense holds up.
The Rainbow Warriors were another surprise team from Week 1. Not that they won, but more how convincing they won. Hawaii had a lot going against them but did not look like a team they only had a few weeks to instill a brand new offensive scheme. A big game from QB Chevan Cordeiro, especially with his legs, made the offense run and the defense kept the Bulldogs at bay most of the night. Keep an eye on them as the weeks go on.
The Cowboys are easily the best team who did not win this weekend and if a field goal misses or a defensive stop occurs, they would be trading places with Nevada in the power rankings. Losing Chambers is heartbreaking, but Levi Williams looked pretty good. They discovered a weapon at kicker and they came back late in the game when they could have just folded. They seem like a good bounce-back candidate.
6) San Jose State
The Spartans answered questions about their offense in their big win over Air Force. Starkel spread the ball around to his talented wide receivers and it’s safe to assume they will only get better as the season goes on. However, the real surprise was the defense, who sucked the life out of the Air Force rushing attack. Like with every other team, now they have to remain consistent, but it doesn’t seem like SJSU will suffer a huge drop off from last season.
7) Fresno State
The Bulldogs looked fine this weekend, but it obviously wasn’t enough. QB play left a lot to be desired as the game went on, and the score dictated they went away from their running game and therefore their best player. Also, Jalen Cropper should get more touches. There is a better team here than what was on display over the weekend; that was true last season as well but the better team was rarely seen on the field. Will that change this season?
8) Air Force
The Falcons came back down to earth against SJSU after their dominant win over Navy. Their best rusher and one of their best linemen were absent from this game, and maybe that had more to do with their flat offense than their opponent. It’s tough to say at this point. Which team is the real Air Force? Probably somewhere in between, but they have three tough games in a row coming up, so they will need to figure it out in a hurry.
9) Colorado State
The Rams didn’t play, so who knows if this ranking is accurate or not. An optimistic view believes their offense has enough weapons to be better than the teams listed below and maybe even a spot or two higher than this. But the questions remain until they actually hit the field.
10) Utah State
The Aggies don’t look terrible. But this is what happens when the core of their team has moved on in one way or another. Running back is definitely a strength, along with decent DL, and their punter is a real asset (genuine statement, not a joke). But rest of the roster is in transition; the offensive line needs a lot of work, the wide receiver talent is there but hasn’t clicked yet, and the back seven needs to be more disciplined.
11) New Mexico
Like Colorado State above, the Lobos are still a bit unknown at this point due to not having played a game. However, it’s unlikely they will be a pleasant surprise. Like the teams above and below them, they are rebuilding and there’s no shame in that in year one of a new regime. Their goal should be play competitive each week, improve as the season goes on, and see if they can steal a win or two.
Saturday is what a rebuilding team in year one looks like. There is talent on the roster, but much of is young and won’t see the field for another year or two. There are still some good players on the field, such as Charles Williams, but like Utah State, the lack of talent around him makes it hard for him to shine in the game. The Rebels can learn from this week and regroup for next week, but the year is all about development.