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
Boise State nearly got beat going into Laramie but their talent made the difference when it counted. While the offense has improved seemingly every game, the defense has become more inconsistent with the mounting injuries, which may limit their ceiling in the title and bowl games. Regardless, they have more star power than anyone else in the conference and star power still matters when it comes to making big plays, as they past week illustrated. The Broncos remain undefeated in conference play and a tough matchup for any opponent. Once again, they will play for a Mountain West title.
2) Fresno State
The Bulldogs continue to look like a top team now that they are healthy. They beat up lowly Nevada and in doing so, turned in a complete game. The offense was firing on all cylinders while the defense didn’t allow their opponent to do much at all. With so many weapons on offense, they are tough to scheme against. Plus, they locked up the west division and a spot in the conference championship.
The Cowboys are a very good football team, but just not good enough to be on the same tier as the two teams about them. They nearly pulled out a win against Boise State, but their lack of a passing attach ultimately hindered their efforts. Their defense, running game, and coaching will keep them competing with anyone in the conference, but they keep falling just short in their efforts to become a great team.
4) San Diego State
The Aztecs have slowly and stedily turned their season into a successful one. They won’t win the division, but they are bowl eligible and secured another winning season this past weekend with their latest win. Plus, they seemed to figure out a winning formula on offense with their quarterback change. There is a lot to be said for being a consistent team that reaches a bowl every year and that’s what San Diego State has accomplished, which is a nice consolation prize for being the second best team in the west division.
5) Air Force
The Falcons continued their winning ways against Colorado teams and rivals, with a win over the Rams. More often than not, they have been extremely efficient on both sides of the ball, which has served them well. When Air Force has their schemes working, they look like one of the best teams in the conference. However, they haven’t been able to harness that every week this season, which is why they are ranked here, a step below the top teams in the league.
6) Utah State
The Aggies have been a very good team the past month or so, winning five of their last six games. Credit to them for fighting back after a poor start to become bowl eligible. Their offense has looked better since the new quarterback entered the fold, although they are still not quite as dynamic as they were last season. Overall, it appears they will land right where most people predicted them to, a bowl team but not a team that would compete for the top of the conference.
7) San Jose State
The Spartans continue to slide as teh end of the season nears. They have lost all momentum from the first half of the season and that could be an issue for them come bowl season. They continue to beat up on the bottom of the conference, but the problem is they continue to get closer to the bottom of the conference following their reason losses. They still aren’t an easy team to beat, however, they are extremely inconsistent.
It was an exciting start for UNLV, but injuries and the tougher part of their schedule derailed what they hoped was going to be a solid step forward. The Rebels will miss a bowl (again) after their most recent loss and once again they will have to go back to the drawing board. Still, this is something to build off of, but now they will need to figure out how to keep building the team.
The Rainbow Warriors have had a trying season; last week it was said they weren’t going down without a fight and that proved accurate with a win over UNLV this past weekend. After so many close losses it was important they were rewarded with a win towards the end of the season. The team and a number of players have take steps forward throughout the year and it is paying dividends. Now Hawaii hopes that pays off even more in the years to come.
10) Colorado State
This season could not have gone more opposite than what was expected for Colorado State. Conventional wisdom would have said their defense would struggle but the passing attack would keep them in most games as they found their footing. Instead, the Rams have leaned on defense and a running attack to keep games low scoring, while they passing game has been absent throughout most of the season. As such, they have not found many victories.
11) New Mexico
As has been said a few times this season, New Mexico appears as if they have a good game plan, but struggle with execution outside of the start of the game. They have good ideas but seem to be short on personnel who can carry things out. It appears they will go winless in conference play, and their offense is still struggling a lot.
The Wolf Pack continue to flounder, but playing the two best teams in the conference back-to-back is no easy task. They gave up the same amount of points on defense, but managed to score two touchdowns on offense, so improvement? Like the Lobos above, it seems like Nevada is destined to go all of conference play without a win. It’s been a grueling year, but the end is in sight.