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.
The Rebels finally get their big win in conference play this season, remaining undefeated at home after beating Wyoming. They did it the same way they have won all season, with heavy doses of the run game and some big interceptions on defense. They are playing some great football and there are no signs of it changing against better competition later in the season. UNLV officially looks like this year’s team of destiny.
2) Fresno State
The Bulldogs drop a game and drop a spot in the rankings. They are still a great team, but did not look all that great in their most recent game. Overall, they are a very balanced team, getting it done on both sides of the ball. Jeff Tedford and his staff continue to do a remarkable job developing players and putting them in positions to succeed.
3) Air Force
Last week, there was a debate about dropping the Falcons from the top spot. But after back-to-back upset losses, things are pretty clear. Air Force is now in the third spot and must find a way to stop their November slide. They can still claim a Mountain West title and have a successful season, but they need to regroup and get back to what was working for so much of the season.
The Cowboys lose a spot in the rankings after their loss to UNLV. They are a step or so above the rest of the middle of the the conference, but are a step or two behind the three teams above them. Unfortunately, Wyoming hasn’t been able to stop their fade the past few weeks. In fact, two of the past three weeks, they have looked unprepared and have looked pretty lost on defense, both of which are extremely uncharacteristic. They are still a good team, but find themselves here.
5) San Jose State
The Spartans are as hot as nearly anyone else in the conference, finally looking like the team many thought they would be entering the season. As has been said for the past few weeks (perhaps not in this post, but in different comments), spots #5-8 can likely be in any order, as each of these teams has beat and lost to at least one of the other teams in the grouping. Therefore, it all comes down to who is playing the best, and after SJSU beating Fresno State, they qualify for this spot.
6) Boise State
The Broncos continue to be as inconsistent as ever, although they got to take their frustrations out on New Mexico in what turned into a laugher. The defense still struggles, especially against the pass, but made plays when it counted. The offense has been very good and looked just as great without two key players last game and losing a quarterback for the second half. It’s been a trying season and it’s only led to my questions than answers for the program. They are fighting for a bowl game and for the reputation of the program at this point.
7) Utah State
Utah State loses ground in this week’s rankings, but could just as easily be 5th or 6th in the rankings. They seem to be playing a bit more consistently, putting together two straight wins, albeit two opponents leaving a lot to be desired. Still, there is nothing wrong with beating the teams they should beat. The Aggies have made another change at quarterback, handing the reigns back to Cooper Legas, and as long as they have their group of offensive playmakers, they have a chance.
8) Colorado State
Colorado State won a close game when they didn’t play their best football. That’s an important step for a team looking to reach a bowl game. They have a few players that are among the best in the Mountain West, which has helped them get their far. Can they keep putting up victories and getting to a bowl game? Time will tell.
Hawaii is coming off huge win against Air Force this weekend. It’s easily the biggest win in the Timmy Chang era. It’s been a trying season for the Rainbow Warriors, but this is great win for the program and players in their quest to be better and show they have improved this season.
10) San Diego State
The Aztecs are just not a good football team. They played pretty lifeless for much of last week’s contest and at this point, it is too late to turn their season around. In theory, they could salvage the season by winning their last two games, but that would be very unlikely given everything else that has happened this season.
The Wolf Pack showed some life this season, but their fight hasn’t been enough the past two weeks. While the record likely doesn’t tell the entire story, it says enough for a team that has had more downs than ups during the 2023 season. Still, it’s clear a few things are going well for Nevada.
12) New Mexico
Times are tough for the Lobos, who can’t seem to put it all together. They have been a better team in 2023, but have still struggled in Mountain West play and can’t seem to find out how to take a step forward for the program. Is it time for a change? Does New Mexico just need a chance to build from year to year without massive personnel losses during the offseason? It’s hard to know what the answer is for this program.