We are back at it. The Mountain West was on full display this weekend with conference action, games against P5 teams, and games against G5/FCS teams. Not sure if things are clearing up or becoming more confusing a month into the season. Below is our attempt to make sense of it all. 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.
Week 12 Rankings
1) San Diego State
We learned they can win all season with the formula of: an excellent defense. A great running game. Plus the best special teams player in the nation. A solid ground game and a lagging passing game.
2) Fresno State
We learned balanced talent can lead to a lot of wins. However, a knack for turning the ball over leads to some ill-timed losses. And unfortunately, even better the best team in the conference does not guarantee a spot in the conference championship when you don’t take care of business in other games.
3) Air Force
We learned that a team, even an academy team, can reload after losing a bunch of talent. AFA’s formula for success is tried and true and the system is bigger than any one player.
We learned even the best program team in a decade don’t always live up to the expectations. But an explosive offense can strike at any time thanks to countless weapons on offense. And the defense did improve but not enough.
5) Boise State
We learned that no matter how talented some players on the roster are, winning becomes hard with a bad offensive line. Also, a running game can make all the difference when it is present or missing.
6) Utah State
We learned that turning around a culture and program in a year is possible. An explosive, up-tempo offense can cover a lot of shortcomings elsewhere and that anything can happen when the players believe in it.
We learned that inconsistent teams yield inconsistent results. Winning away from the islands is difficult. A few great players can get overshadowed by some average or below average players.
We learned that winning in a soft non-conference schedule does not indicate how good a team is. And no matter how good the defense is, the offense still needs to help out a little bit, which is challenging when the QB struggles with accuracy.
9) San Jose State
We learned their offense is not as effective without a plethora of talented wide receivers. And it really doesn’t work well without a solid pocket-passer at the helm. Also, repeating as champs is very hard with a target on your back.
We learned getting better doesn’t always show up in the win column. UNLV led the league in close/competitive losses but showed steady improvement all season. Also, they do have a few playmakers in the group.
11) Colorado State
We learned making the right coaching hire is key. One generational tight end is not enough to be successful in an offense when there are not enough other pieces. And strong special teams can keep them in games but others have to make plays.
12) New Mexico
We learned for every step forward in a rebuild, there are at least two steps back. Building from scratch takes times but there were more questions than answers this season.