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) Boise State
After a rough 2-2 start that had the entire program on thin ice, Boise State now sits atop the conference. They are 4-0 in conference play and have found their offensive momentum after the quarterback change. The defense has looked like one of the best in the nation, and while there are still many things the Broncos need to improve upon, they look to be the best team in the Mountain West through eight weeks.
2) San Jose State
Didn’t play, no change to write up
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.
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. Their offense looked effective and balanced in their win against Utah State, featuring the trademark strong rushing attack but also quite a number of passes to tight ends for respectable gains. Their defense has rounded into form as well after a rough start. They are taking care of business in their division and will not be an easy game, no matter who they are playing.
4) Air Force
The Falcons drop in the rankings after losing their third game against opponents in their division. It’s been an interesting season for Air Force. It appeared to be their most complete team in recent memory, and they have looked dominant in spurts, but clearly they are inconsistent at this point in the season. They still look like a bowl team and a good one at that. However, barring something completely crazy, they are not a team that will compete for the conference championship.
5) Fresno State
Maybe the Bulldogs aren’t dead quite yet. The offense looked as good as it has all season, and while the Lobos aren’t very good, their defense is still solid. Meanwhile, Fresno State is on a two-game win streak and heating up in time for the stretch run in the conference. If they can get Haener and some other players back, they could make a big splash in the conference. Now they have a de facto elimination game coming up against San Diego State. The winner of that has the inside track to a bowl game.
6) San Diego State
The Aztecs had some semblance of an offense in their last game, even if it was against lowly Hawaii. If they can continue to feature a dual-threat at quarterback, their offense will have an extra dimension and that could make a difference in the games to come. It is clear they have the talent on the field, but finding out how to make it work has proved to be quite the challenge this year. Still, they are on a two-game win streak and are in the hunt to win their division.
The Rebels are in the middle of a tough stretch and have to figure out how to stop the bleeding if they still want to make a bowl game this season. The injuries have found key players, which is noteworthy, but it doesn’t make their opponents take it easy on them once the game starts. It’s clear that UNLV is a much improved and competitive team, but this is where the rubber meets the road if they want to distinguish themselves this year.
8) Utah State
The 2022 version of the Aggies are still a mixed bag when it comes to their on-the-field performances. After a tough, grind-it-out win against Colorado State, they came up short against Wyoming this past week. Their defense could not quite keep the Wyoming offense in check, which proved to be the difference. The Utah State offense couldn’t come up with enough big plays and is surely missing the playmakers they featured last season.
9) Colorado State
The Rams notched another win this weekend, which is always a good thing. They have now beaten the two worst teams in the conference, which allows them to put some distance between themselves and the bottom of the league. Colorado State should not be confused with a good team, but they have demonstrated improvement and are figuring out how to stay in games thanks to a steady running attack and some opportunistic defensive plays. Time will tell if they can find another win or two before the year is over.
10) New Mexico
The Lobos offense is approaching an entirely new level of awfulness. They have failed to score a touchdown in the last eleven quarters and could only manage three field goals in their last game. For the second year in a row, New Mexico has seen a promising start to the season wiped out by a disastrous middle stretch of the season. It is becoming less likely they can turn it around and salvage the season.
Hawaii may end up leading the conference in moral victories and heartbreaking losses this season. They dropped a winnable game this past weekend, one in which they led until the fourth quarter. The team has improved over the course of the season, but games like this past weekend still demonstrate they are a limited team following the mass departures this offseason. Still, there are pieces to build around, and they are fighting in every game, and those are really the goals this year.
The Wolf Pack are not a good football team. In fact, they are the worst team in the conference. Given their losses this offseason on both the roster and coaching staff, no one should be surprised. However, it does not make the losing any easier to withstand. Nevada is in danger of going winless in conference play this season.