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Power Rankings 2023 Week 0: Spartans and Aztecs switch places, Rainbow Warriors impress.

NCAA Football: San Jose State at Southern California Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We are back at it. A few teams have a game under their belts and the rest of the conference will play this upcoming weekend. 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.

Not much has changed from our preseason rankings, since only 3 of the 12 teams played during Week 0. Take a look below to see the changes this week.

1) Boise State

(Didn’t play, no change)

The Broncos are usually the preseason favorite and make the championship game most years, even if they don’t always win it. They have some of the best offensive players in the conference, especially in the running game, and the wide receiver group is deep even if no star has emerged yet. They have to replace a lot of production on defense, but there is still a lot of talent on that side of the ball. Their talent should carry them to the top of the conference once again, but how high depends on players stepping up on defense and their new OC putting players in positions to succeed. Also, it’s worth noting their early OOC schedule will likely have them drop a few places in September before climbing back up once conference play gets going.

2) Air Force

(Didn’t play, no change)

They lose all their best players from last year’s offense, but their defense should be one of the best in the entire country. We know their systems on both sides of the ball will help them compete in every game and win many of them too. How good they will be comes down to one’s belief in their offensive system, enabling them to reload. I am a believer in it, so I have them ranked in the second spot.

3) Fresno State

(Didn’t play, no change)

I’m not as high on the Bulldogs as most others, and I will acknowledge many people have them at #2. Like the Falcons, they lost a lot of players from their 2022 championship run. I don’t think they can reload as easily as AFA can, with 2019 being an example of that. The Bulldogs should still be a strong team in large part because of their defense and 2020/2021 recruiting classes. How successful they will be comes down to the junior college and other transfer players and how well the coaching staff can develop them.

4) Wyoming

(Didn’t play, no change)

The Cowboys were one of the Mountain West’s most pleasant surprises last year. They were one of the youngest teams in the country and kept winning in the middle of the season before injuries and inexperience had them lose a few games at the end. However, now they have experience and a wealth of talent on defense, especially on the defensive line and at linebacker. Their running backs have already hit some injuries, but the o-line should provide holes for whoever lines up back there. As always, their offense, specifically the passing game, is the biggest question mark and keeps them from ranking any higher to begin the season.

5) San Jose State

The Spartan offense looked as good as advertised through the first game of the season. The passing game was dynamic, even without their top receiver, and the running game saw three players emerge as threats. That side of the ball should be able to compete with pretty much any team. On the other hand, the defense look as predicted as well, clearly missing some of their top players from last season. The move up one spot may be a reaction to a small sample size, but they look like a bowl team in the Moutain West this season.

6) San Diego State

The Aztecs were the only winners on the weekend, but actually had the least impression showing of the trio. Their offense was hyped up over the summer, but ultimately produced as much as have in years past. However, the tight ends looked like they will be a big factor in the offense and tough to defend. The defense didn’t dominate, but they held their own and looked like they had an easier time falling into place than the offense did.

7) Colorado State

(Didn’t play, no change)

The Rams are poised to be one of the most improved teams in 2023, but first, they need to score more than twenty points in a game. They should be much more effective in the air, with a great wide receiver unit combined with another year of development for Clay Millen. Their defense was solid last year and figures to be the same this year. If the passing game can be a positive rather than a hindrance, Colorado State should be in the top half of the league with ease.

8) Utah State

(Didn’t play, no change)

The Aggies were another team who got better as the season went on last year, and they hope to use that momentum to spring them into 2023. They lost a number of players on both sides of the ball, plus some coaches, but also feel great about their depth at pretty much every position. While Utah State may end up lacking star power this year, it’s very possible they are a better team from top to bottom. It’s worth watching how it all plays out.


(Didn’t play, no change)

The Rebels are almost a complete unknown heading into 2023. New coaches, new schemes, and many new players make it difficult to predict at this point in the year. There are many reasons why they could take the conference by storm and be one of the better teams if their new offense is effective behind Doug Brumfield and Ricky White III while the transfers fill immediate holes. However, it seems just as likely they struggle out of the gate as players attempt to learn the playbook against real competition while trying to gel as a group. It would not be surprising to see them in a bowl game or right in this spot for much of the season.

10) Hawaii

The Rainbow Warriors look very much improved from last season, as the transition back to the run-and-shoot already looks like it has the team playing better. While they didn’t win, they nearly pulled off an upset, as the defense looked better in the early going as well. Hawaii seems like a good bet to finish higher than this spot in the rankings, and a move up was considered, but waiting for other teams to play this coming weekend seemed like the reasonable choice.

11) New Mexico

(Didn’t play, no change)

The Lobos did everything they could this offseason to improve, but there has been a lot working against them. Their stout defense lost nearly all of its best players, plus their terrific DC. The offense injected a new coordinator with a hand-picked quarterback and wide receiver who have played in the system. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not all of their work will make a difference in the win column this season, but New Mexico deserves credit at this point for doing everything within their control.

12) Nevada

(Didn’t play, no change)

It’s a coin flip for the last two spots, but the Wolf Pack brings up the rear to begin the year. They lose their best two offensive players from last season and had to use a mulligan at quarterback. In many ways, they are starting from scratch once again. To their credit, Coach Wilson has brought in a ton of transfers who should make the team better on paper, specifically at the quarterback and running back positions. Overall, they should be a better team in 2023, but their record may not indicate it.