After a solid opening weekend for the Mountain West, the second week featured some less than stellar performances from the conference. The third week offers some realistic opportunities for the Mountain West to get some respectable wins over quality opponents. This weekend also features the first conference games of the season. As conference play heats up, the fan guide will be more thorough in how each game impacts teams across the conference. For now, we will continue to give a brief overview of each game.
Utah State @ Air Force
The Falcons’ offense has looked less than stellar through two weeks. For that reason, I was surprised to see the Falcons open up as nine point favorites. I’m really excited for this game because I honestly have no idea what to expect. We really don’t know much about these teams through two weeks, and this game is going to give us an early idea of what to expect from these two teams as the season moves forward. It seems like games between these two are almost always competitive. I expect a low scoring competitive showdown tonight in Colorado Springs.
North Dakota @ Boise State
It will be interesting to see who plays on the offensive side of the ball for the Broncos. Taylen Green left the game against UCF in the third quarter with what was reported as “cramps,” and George Holani missed the game with an injury. The Broncos’ offense has felt like it is close to exploding, but turnovers and poor play around midfield have held them back. I expect the Broncos to mix more guys in on the secondary to get some younger players some experience and send a message to the veterans that have struggled early on.
San Diego State @ Oregon State
After a rough showing against UCLA last weekend, the Aztecs will face an even tougher opponent when they travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State this weekend. The Beavers have looked really sharp through two weeks and will provide a very tough test for an Aztec team that needs to find its footing before starting conference play against Boise State next weekend.
Vanderbilt @ UNLV
This is a game that the Rebels and the Mountain West really need to win. Vanderbilt is not a good football team, and if UNLV is a bowl team like many people believe, this is the kind of game they have to win. I expect quarterback Doug Brumfield to recover after a rough performance against Michigan and lead the Rebles to a win.
San Jose State @ Toledo
This is another must-win game for the conference and for the Spartans. If this team is a realistic threat in the Mountain West, they will win this game. Toledo opened as an eight point favorite, but I think Chevan Cordeiro will have a big game and help the Spartans leave the Glass Bowl with a win over Toledo.
Wyoming @ Texas
Can the Cowboys shock the world and score their second win over an opponent from Texas? It wouldn’t shock me if the Longhorns start slow after their impressive victory over Alabama the week before. Wyoming is clearly outmatched, but I expect Craig Bohl and his squad to put up a good fight and keep things close to the 28-point spread that Vegas has set.
Hawaii @ Oregon
This will be the toughest game of the year for the Rainbow Warriors and I expect it to get out of hand pretty quickly. Timmy Chang and his Hawaii squad have shown glimpses of good football early in the season, but the Ducks are miles ahead of this Hawaii squad.
New Mexico State @ New Mexico
The Lobos have an excellent opportunity to score their second consecutive win in a rivalry game against the Aggies of New Mexico State. Dylan Hopkins has looked like a significant upgrade at the quarterback position for the Lobos. I expect New Mexico to come away with their second win of the season in a close victory over their rival.
Colorado State @ Colorado
The rivalry is renewed in a game that is receiving a lot of national attention thanks to Deion Sanders and his Colorado team starting the season 2-0. The Rams are coming off of a bye. Starting quarterback Clay Millen left the season opener against Washington State with an injury, and it looked like the struggles that plagued the Rams in 2022 were carrying over to the new season. Can the Rams put up a fight against Sanders and the Buffaloes? I doubt it, but the atmosphere should be electric.
Fresno State @ Arizona State
The Bulldogs may be on the road against a PAC 12 squad, but they are three point favorites and should have an excellent chance to improve to 3-0. Mikey Keene and the Bulldog offense struggled at times against Eastern Washington, but Jeff Tedford and his staff will clean up some of those mistake and travel to Tempe with the Bulldgos ready for a fight.
Kansas @ Nevada
I think it is pretty clear that Nevada has looked like the worst team in the conference through two weeks, and it won’t be getting any easier for the Wolf Pack as they play host to a Kansas team that has looked really good so far. This game will likely be over before the end of the first quarter.
Which games are you most excited for this weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.