Week three featured a lot of impressive performances by Mountain West teams. While the schedule may not feature many exciting matchups, this will be the last tune up game for many teams in the Mountain West. It also features two exciting conference matchups that will give us an idea of where teams in the conference stand. Let’s take a quick look at what we have to look forward to starting tonight.
Boise State @ San Diego State
Friday night features two interesting conference matchups starting with the Broncos traveling to San Diego to take on the Aztecs. This game features two teams that seem to be struggling to find an identity. Both teams have been inconsistent on both sides of the ball, but have the talent to be top teams in the Mountain West. It feels weird to say this could be an elimination game this early in the season, but both of these teams have a tough conference schedule and need to start out strong.
Who should you root for? If I’m a Fresno State or Air Force fan, I’m pulling for the Aztecs. I don’t think the Broncos have played to their potential yet, and I wouldn’t want to see them find their groove this early in the season.
Air Force @ San Jose State
The Falcons looked like a legitimate title contender in their convincing win over the Aggies last week. The Falcons are now 1-0 in conference play and will have their first real road test of the season when they travel to San Jose to take on the Spartans. The Spartans defensive line will need a much better performance than they had against Toledo in a disappointing loss last weekend.
Who should you root for? If I am a fan of a Mountain West with a legitimate chance to win the conference, I want to see Air Force lose, or at least struggle, on the defensive side of the ball. Nobody has been able to consistently move the ball against the Falcons yet.
New Mexico @ Massachusetts
The Lobos are coming off of a disapppointing showing against their rival, New Mexico State. If New Mexico drops this game, I think we can place Danny Gonzales firmly on the hot seat, especially since he came out after last week’s loss and proclaimed that his team will make a bowl game. That makes this week’s game against 1-3 Massachusetts a must-win.
Colorado State @ MTSU
The Rams had their most impressive performance of the Jay Norvell era in a two overtime loss to in-state rival Colorado this past weekend. This team has so much potential, but lacks discipline. This is a winnable game for the Rams, and if they hope to salvage this season, they need to come away with the victory.
Appalachian State @ Wyoming
Wyoming returns home after a week three battle against one of the top teams in the country in Texas. The Cowboys may have fallen short but showed a ton of heart. This will likely be a very competitive game against two very good Group of Five programs. The Cowboys need to win this game to avoid losing the momentum they have built to start this season.
Nevada @ Texas State
The Wolf Pack are coming off of their best performance of the year in a close loss at home to Kansas. This team looks like it might finally be finding its identity. Texas State is a really good team, but if the Wolf Pack can rise to the occasion like they did this past weekend, this game might be interesting.
James Madison @ Utah State
James Madison is one of only seven Group of Five schools that remain undefeated and Utah State is coming off of a conference loss against an Air Force team that dominated the Aggies for most of the game. Utah State needs to find its identity on the offensive side of the ball if they have any chance at upsetting James Madison.
UNLV @ UTEP
I was a little surprised to see that the Rebels only opened as three point favorites over the Miners. UNLV is coming off of an exciting victory over Vanderbilt. The Rebels need to avoid a letdown in El Paso before conference play kicks off. I expect Jayden Maiava to get the start for the injured Doug Brumfield. Will the young quarterback rise to the occasion yet again?
Kent State @ Fresno State
The Bulldogs are massive favorites against one of the worst teams at the FBS level. The Bulldgos narrowly avoided a letdown loss in week two against Eastern Washington. The schedule sets up nicely for the Bulldogs to have a special season, but they will need to be more consistent if they want to have any chance of playing in a New Year’s Six game.
New Mexico State @ Hawaii
This is a big game for Timmy Chang and his staff before they start conference play. The Rainbow Warriors have shown glimpses of greatness this season but have not been able to put together a complete game yet. If they want to make any noise in conference play, they need to come away with a victory this weekend.
Which games are you looking forward to this weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.