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 4 Rankings
1) San Diego State
A change was made at the top of the rankings this week, despite both teams winning. The Aztecs simply looked better this weekend, and are rounding into shape in all facets of the game. Their special teams units give them a real edge in games, and their passing game hasn’t looked like a liability lately. For this week anyway, they are the top team in the conference.
2) Fresno State
The Bulldogs narrowly avoided a trap game against UNLV following their big UCLA upset. On one hand, it’s hard to penalize a team for winning. On the other hand, they should be held accountable a bit for no good treating. There is nothing wrong with the “survive and advance” mentality but Fresno State can’t afford too many of those showings.
Bye Week, no change.
The Wolf Pack took a loss this weekend and their style of play is being exposed a bit. The offense is truly boom or bust, and if it’s more bust, there doesn’t seem to be a Plan B. Also, their defense was exposed against a stronger offense. They are still a good team but this likely ends their dreams of a special season. There is still a lot of time left for growth though.
4) Boise State
This team is fluctuating up and down a lot lately. They went from 4th to 8th and now back up to 4th following a conference win. They got creative in the run game and though the defense still struggles to tackle, they are great at forcing turnovers. It’s hard to know how good they are or aren’t right now, but after having one of the better wins during a rough week for the MWC, it’s tough to put another team above them.
The Cowboys keep winning, so there is something there. However, they have only put together one complete game in four tries, so an argument could be made they are playing with house money. They will need to figure things out during the bye before starting conference play.
6) San Jose State
The Spartans had some rough traveling, going from Hawaii to Michigan in back-to-back weeks. When Starkel went out, an offense that was already searching for play-makers suddenly struggled mightily to move the ball. Unfortunately, that was be the norm for the foreseeable future.
7) Utah State
The Aggies suffered their first loss of the season and it appears a flaw was detected and exposed. The offense was explosive in the open field but stalled in the redzone time and time again. Penalties were plentiful and questionable fake punt call didn’t help either of course. They will likely bounce back but didn’t look good this week.
8) Air Force
The Falcons bounced back with a win over lowly FAU this past week. While their offense seems to be rounding into form, the defense could use some tightening up and hopefully this week’s showing was a sign of good things to come. They are primed to climb the rankings a bit over the coming weeks if they can outlast opponents with their deliberate style of play. The journey in conference starts with Wyoming, in what should be a really nice, close game. Like with most teams on here, things seem to be changing from game to game.
9) Colorado State
The Rams lose a game and move up, because it was probably their best game of the season and that includes their win last week. They executed a nice game-plan on defense and their offense did enough to keep them in the game before the better team pulled away late. They still made a lot of issues to clean up but perhaps they have found a winning blueprint.
The game was pretty close for a half and at this point, it’s probably safe to say Hawaii is an average to below-average team with a lack of weapons and prone to stretches of poor play on defense. They may still win their fare share of games, but it won’t be pretty or flashy.
11) New Mexico
The Lobos looked pretty good the first two weeks of the season before suffering an expected blowout in a payday game. It was a common though they would bounce back easily, but did not. Blowing a lead and suffering a loss in a winnable game isn’t good for morale and entering conference play to 2-2 rather than 3-1 make the road seem tougher for New Mexico.
The Rebels had their best game of the season, but it was unfortunately still a loss. They nearly pulled off an upset thanks to an offensive outburst and steady quarterback play from Doug Brumfield. It was an improved effort from UNLV and if they can translate that to this upcoming game, they should come away with a win.