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Power Rankings 2023 Week 5: A new top team. And are there only four good teams right now?

NCAA Football: Utah State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

We are back at it. Now that the college football season is a month old, the rankings have a large enough sample size to begin to solidify week to week. This week, not much has changed even though the conference had a great week overall. 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.

Here are last week’s rankings for reference.

1) Air Force

After moving to 5-0 in convincing fashion, the Falcons take over the top spot in the rankings. The defense has been strong or elite or dominating or whatever word you want to use all season long, living up to the hype. However, it’s the way the offense has improved each week that has allowed Air Force to emerge as a top team. Is this the year they find themselves in the conference championship? It’s a long season.

2) Fresno State

The Bulldogs drop a spot, despite winning the game against Nevada. The issue is they did not look particularly sharp against the worst team in the Mountain West, while Air Force looked exceptional in their game. It should still be considered a 1 and 1A type of scenario, and if anyone wanted to flip the two teams, it’s perfectly reasonable to do so. Fresno State is still a great team and are closer to #1 than they are to #3.

3) Wyoming

The Cowboys were able to avoid another loss to the Lobos, which may show how this team is different than previous Craig Bohl teams. This past week was classic Wyoming, though; a grind-it-out game featuring great defense, lots of field goals, and just enough offense led by a tremendous running back. The passing game is still inconsistent, but this team is better about putting up points than previous teams. A huge game looms this week against Fresno State in the battle to be in the top tier of the conference.

4) UNLV

The Rebels keep winning. At this point, no one should question whether or not they are a good team, because they are. While their schedule may be on the lighter side, UNLV is doing all they can, controlling what they can control. And what they can control is their effective offense that doesn’t miss a beat no matter who is at quarterback, in large thanks to their rushing attack. Plus, their defense makes plays and competes each week. Their biggest tests will come at the end of the season.

5) Boise State

The Broncos suffered another close loss, this time to Memphis. It’s the same script for this team. Their offense is good but suffers lapses during the game and falls in and out of rhythm. The Boise State defense continues to struggle in key aspects of the game, such as tackling, putting pressure on the quarterback, and defending passes. While they deserve to move down in the rankings, they stay in the same spot despite losing because who should move up in their place? Currently, they are the best of the not-good teams. Although their game this week against SJSU is basically the fight for that title.

6) San Jose State

Bye week, write-up didn’t change.

The Spartans haven’t looked great, especially on the defense side of the ball, but for now they are at the top of the team fighting for a bowl game. Their offense is legit, although it isn’t enough to win them games on their own. Still, San Jose State is very balanced, able to score in bunches both on the ground and in the air. It is worth keeping an eye on how they play after the bye week going full steam ahead into conference play. Hopefully they can start to find answers on defense.

7) Colorado State

It seems that the Rams have found their answer at quarterback, which has unlocked the offense the past two weeks. Yes, they were games the team was supposed to win and yes maybe the games were closer than they should have been. But the fact remains that Colorado State has scored 72 points in the past two games after not scoring 20 points in any game all of last season. It has to be a welcome sign for the program and for the fans of the team.

8) San Diego State

Things are unraveling very quickly for the Aztecs. The offense has potential, but comes and goes depending on the game and matchup. For years, everyone knew San Diego State’s defense was going to exert their will on the field, confuse the offense, and make the opposition adjust to them. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore, as SDSU may have lost its identity. Jake Browning is one of the few bright sports.

9) Utah State

If Utah State was able to only count stats for the second half of their games, they may be much higher on this list. A hallmark of the program under Coach Anderson is their notoriously slow starts before flipping the switch and featuring a dynamic offense that scores in bunches. Props to the Aggies for finding a way to win this week after falling just short last week. However, they still seem to have a lot to figure out as the season goes on.

10) New Mexico

The Lobos are a much better team this season compared to their 2022 version, although the record may not show it. It’s been far from pretty this season, but the losses have been closer and tougher fought. Moral victories in year four aren’t much of a consolation, but it’s important to state improvements have been made. Hopefully, the offense gets better each week and the defense can round into form. What New Mexico really needs to focus on is to avoid running out of gas in the second half of the season this year.

11) Hawaii

Things are not going well for the Rainbow Warriors in the win department. Their offense is keeping them in games and is usually exciting, possessing the ability to score in a hurry. On the other hand, their defense is not able to keep pace with the opposition. It’s a long, rough rebuild for Coach Chang and although there are bright spots, there is still a long way to go for Hawaii.

12) Nevada

At this point, it’s fair to question if Nevada is going to win a game this season. And that’s too bad, because their defense is actually doing a pretty good job at keeping them in games. Unfortunately, their offense is lackluster to say the least. For the second time in as many seasons, they have some uncertainty at quarterback. Plus, the running game they seemed to want to lean on hasn’t materialized in the way they wanted to. It could be a long season for the Wolf Pack.