We are back at it. Another week of games, another week of Mountain West teams disappointing, and now another week of rankings. Teams are distancing themselves from one another with each passing week. Through it all, the MWCConnection Power Rankings are back for another week. Let us know what you like and what you don’t. Feel free to drop your own rankings in the comments section.
1) No one
No one is good this year. Some teams are pretty good. At this point, I expect the Mountain West championship game to be between an 8-4 team and a 9-3 team. Everyone is vulnerable to anyone each week.
San Jose State can’t be #1 because they just lost to a 1-4 Fresno State without three of their best players.
Air Force can’t be #1 because they have lost two games to division rivals.
Boise State may have the best resume, and I know I’ll catch heat for not ranking them number one this week, but have only just started playing offense in their past 1.5 games. And at the time of this writing, they aren’t even favored in their next game.
Wyoming beat Air Force but lost to San Jose State.
UNLV has lost to their two best opponents of the year.
Utah State beat Air Force, but lost to UNLV
T2) Air Force
Again, the Falcons may not even be the best team in their own division. But are one of the better teams in the Mountain West at this point. Both are somehow true. At some point in the day, I had them #1 because they are still a solid team, but have had some head-scratching losses. At another point in the day, I had Boise State ranked as the top team. They are certainly the hottest team right now but have struggled with Air Force. In the end, I decided to have them tied for 2nd and the winner gets the top spot next week.
Is it a cop out? Yes. But neither have a strong claim in my opinion, so it’s the most fare until they take the field Saturday.
T2) Boise State
Bye week, no change to write up
It was just a few weeks ago the Broncos were left for dead after losing in spectacular fashion to UTEP. But an offensive coordinator change and a quarterback change have resulted in a total change on offense, and the results have been promising. Their run game looks dangerous, and the defense is among the national leaders in some categories, such as passing defense. That should continue with their next game coming against Air Force and they will need to use the bye to continue to grow on both sides of the ball.
3) San Jose State
The Spartan’s time at the top of the conference was extremely short-lived. They appeared to have a cakewalk to the West division title and then tripped up the first chance they got. They will likely still win the majority of games left on their schedule, but like so many other teams in the conference this season, they are a talented but flawed team.
Bye week, no change to write up
Slow and steady is winning the race for the Cowboys. After a rough start, they are playing their best football of the season, on both sides of the ball. There is still work to be done and they are not dominating their victories. However, they are rounding into a classic Bohl team, but perhaps with a bit more semblance of a passing game this season. It is impressive how the young players are developing on the fly and that could bode well for later this year and years to come.
The Rebels are coming back down to earth now, with two losses in their last two games. They coincide with being their two toughest games of the season, which is a fair critique. However, they also coincide with injuries to two of their top three offensive players, which is a fair point as well. It’s still hard to accurately judge who this UNLV team really is. But one thing is for sure, they are better than they have been in years.
6) Fresno State
Maybe the Bulldogs aren’t dead quite yet. Not many expected them to give San Jose State a game this past weekend, much less come away with an upset victory. However, that’s exactly what they did. If they can start getting some key players back to the field, a late run is possible with their light schedule. But each game should be seen as an elimination game if they are to make a bowl this season. Don’t count them out just yet.
7) San Diego State
Bye week, no change to write up
The Aztecs did not get the boost from firing their offensive coordinator that they were hoping for. It is clear the passing game will be a taller task than just one game. They barely beat lowly Hawaii and once again, they relied on coming from behind to pull out the victory. This is a team heading in the wrong direction.
8) Utah State
The Aggies are competing and that has produced a two game win streak for a team that inspired little confidence to start the year. They aren’t the same team from a year ago, but that’s okay. Inconsistency and shuffling at quarterback doesn’t usually breed success, and that has led to limitations for their offense. The Utah State defense has stepped up at different times this season, so they are finding different ways to compete each game. A bowl game is their goal to shoot for at this point.
9) New Mexico
The Lobos seem to be spinning their tires but they aren’t going anywhere. Losing to their in-state rival this week is another big blow to a team that has had many of them in recent weeks. Their defense can keep them competitive against some teams, but it’s not a good enough unit to win games for them, which is a tall task to ask for anyone on that side of the ball. Their offensive scheme is tricky enough for people to prepare for, but they can’t score and that is all that matters right now.
Hawaii has gotten some injured players back and did something to regroup during the bye week and now look like a totally different team. They lost a close one two games ago and won convincely this past week. Sure it was against two teams in the bottom half of the conference but it still counts. They could be a sneaky tough team for the rest of the season now that they are finding themselves a bit.
11) Colorado State
The Rams nearly won their second game in as many weeks, but they couldn’t quite finish the job against Utah State. However, it is an encouraging sign that they are playing more competitively. Especially considering the amount of injuries and transfers they have had to deal with on their roster. This year was always about building towards something better, even if no one respected things to be this bad. Players are getting experience and they are identifying what positions are a strength and which need more work. Colorado State has a beacon of hope for the first time this season.
The Wolf Pack are the new worst team in the Moutain West. They hung around the top of the bottom as long as they could, but back to back losses to Colorado State and Hawaii have resigned them to the bottom. As times get tougher, it is important to state they weren’t supposed to be good this year.