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 got their big win in conference play in their previous game, and followed it up by coming back to beat Air Force this past weekend. They did it the same way they have won all season, with heavy doses of the run game and some big plays 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 had an embarrassing, upset loss to New Mexico this weekend. Their offense was lackluster without Mikey Keene, struggling to put up points, especially in the second half. It was difficult to keep them in the second spot in the rankings, but no one else seemed to deserve the spot either. Regardless, Fresno State is still a strong team, although their flaws are peeking out more recently. The issue is, so are the flaws of the other teams considered for this spot.
The Cowboys were at home this weekend, so of course, they looked like world-beaters. Their offense struck early and often, and their defense ensured this game was in the bag early on. Wyoming has definitely had an up-and-down year in 2023, but are on an upswing with a big win, for this week anyway.
4) 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. In fact, they are one of the teams still fighting for the conference championship. If these rankings were only based on the second half of the season, or only conference games, San Jose State would be higher. However, over the course of a season, they find themselves in this spot while trending upwards.
5) Air Force
The Falcons are on a three-game slide, erasing the hot start to the season they had over the first two months. They are playing an uncharacteristic brand of football, turning the ball over on offense and allowing a lot of points on defense. Though it is fair to point out that injuries are mounting for Air Force, but their lack of disciplined play is quite puzzling to see the past few weeks.
6) Boise State
For a quarter, the Broncos looked like they were on the verge of getting boat raced. Then suddenly, a switch was flipped, and the team was playing with a ton of energy. The defense finally found a dynamic pass rush and was able to force four turnovers as well. The offense put on a rushing clinic, winning the battle in the trenches. The team scored 45 unanswered points and clinched a bowl berth for yet another season.
7) Colorado State
The Rams took another step forward in their bid for a bowl game with a win over Nevada in the Norvell Bowl. They jumped out to a quick start and then maintained their lead over the rest of the game. Things have come together more often than not for Colorado State this season, and they have gotten the most out of their star power on both sides of the ball.
8) Utah State
The Aggies could not clinch a bowl game this week against Boise State and now must win against New Mexico in a game that may be harder than previously thought if last weekend is any indication. After jumping out to an early lead thanks to some quick strike plays and a great defensive game plan, they got dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball this past game. However, Utah State got exposed when they were force to make quick decisions on offense and when they missed too many tackles on defense.
Hawaii suffered a letdown this week following their huge win last week. Playing an early morning game (on island time) on the mainland, the team was mostly sleep-walking through this game. They got down early and never recovered, getting blown out by the Cowboys. In order to become more competitive, the Rainbow Warriors will need to learn how to win away from home.
10) 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? Potentially not now that New Mexico upset Fresno State, beating them for the first time since 1994, It is a trying season, but this win will help to end it on a high note.
11) San Diego State
The Aztecs continue to slide, and not many teams are eager for the season to end quickly as much as them. Overall, they are a mess of a team in pretty much every facet of the game. It’s sad to see them become a shadow of their former selves this season, There will be time to turn it around before next season, but things are lost for this year for San Diego State.
The Wolf Pack showed some life this season, but their fight hasn’t been enough the past few 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, and that those few things are not nearly enough to make them a competitive team.