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 played another close game before forcing some timely turnovers and turned it into a comfortable victory. 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. Once again, they will play for a Mountain West title. Fresno State should be a tough challenge, especially if they don’t get players returning from injury.
2) Fresno State
The Bulldogs continue to look like a top team now that they are healthy. For the second week in a row (and really even longer), 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. Now they get a rematch with Boise State and a chance to assume the top spot in the conference.
3) Air Force
The Falcons ended the season on a high note and notched nine regular-season victories. However, for a team that looked poised to win the division and even whispered about an undefeated season, they underachieved a bit and couldn’t win the games they needed to. When Air Force has its 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.
The Cowboys are a very good football team, but fell short against the top teams, which they lost to in back-to-back weeks. After a heartbreaking, last-second loss two weeks ago, they couldn’t muster any points this past game. Perhaps they were resting players in a game that didn’t matter or perhaps they couldn’t find a way to overcome a haunting loss. Either way, they should get into a pretty good MWC bowl game.
5) San Diego State
The Aztecs end the regular season without scoring any points. Although they found some answers on offense, they still lagged on that side of the ball and were a middle-of-the-road team because of it. On the other hand, they are bowl eligible and secured another winning season, achieving some goals. 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 falling short of repeating as division winners.
6) San Jose State
The Spartans were arguably one of, if not the, most inconsistent team this season. The talent is evident, but it could disappear week to week with no indication or warning. Still, they aren’t an easy team to match up against or beat, so credit to them. They will enter bowl season as a wildcard. Then, they will enter the offseason in a mini-rebuild as they lose many of their core players.
7) Utah State
The Aggies turned things around the second half of the year, winning five of seven 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. They have some momentum going into the offseason.
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. In theory, they can still sneak into a bowl and they did snap their losing streak by beating their rival, so things ended on a high note. However, their next step is developing depth to balance out inevitable injuries. Still, this is something to build off of going into next season.
9) 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. They played better the second half of the season and are a pretty good bet to be an improved team next year. However, expect to see a lot of new faces.
The Rainbow Warriors have had a trying season, and now it is over. While they were expected to be bad, it was still a tough pill to swallow for a young and inexperienced team. They played hard and identified some players to build with. However, they need to hit the transfer portal hard, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Otherwise, they will continue to have a lot of competitive losses.
11) New Mexico
For the second year in a row, New Mexico started the season off strong and then once struggles began to appear, it seemed like they either gave up or ran out of gas. Regardless, they ended the year with a lot of losses and did not get a win in any of their eight MWC games. The Lobos will need more answers next season, plain and simple.
The Wolf Pack also finish the season winless in conference play. It was a brutal end to the season after starting out 2-0, capped off by a close but devasting loss to their in-state rival. The season more or less went according to script, but it was still painful for all involved. Now they can regroup and work on improving for next year.