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Power Rankings 2023 Week 1: Bulldogs and Cowboys move up following big wins.

The rankings change following a wild week one.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

We are back at it. Now that everyone has played, the rankings have changed to reflect actual games rather than preseason speculation. 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.

1) Fresno State

For those who were high on this team entering the year, your thoughts were reinforced by this past weekend’s big win over Purdue. The offense has a long list of questions, but so far, the Bulldogs answered every one of them. Mikey Keane immediately looks like one of the best quarterbacks in the Mountain West and his main target Erik Brooks appears poised for a breakout season. The defense wasn’t as stout as some predicted, but they stepped up when the game was on the line and delivered. While it was only one week, Fresno State played well enough to reclaim the top spot in the rankings.

2) Air Force

The Falcons did what they should against an opponent from the FCS, dominate. The offense reloaded and did not show any signs of slowing down. The defense was as stout as always. Nothing about their game raised any questions about their talent level, except for their opponent. That is why they don’t move out of this spot despite the team immediately below them having a claim to the second (or first) position as well.

3) Wyoming

The Cowboys had one of, if not the, most impressive victories of the weekend. They had a surprising burst of offense while playing at home, although it was done in the traditional Wyoming way with plenty of running plays and when they did go through the air, it was primarily to tight ends. Still, they executed their game plan as well as possible, didn’t get rattled in overtime, and it led to a huge upset victory. If the offense can keep putting points up like this, it will complement the defense well and big things could be on the horizon.

4) Boise State

Consider this a placeholder for the Broncos for this week. If they can show their opening game was just what happens when going up against one of the best teams in the country, then they probably move back up a spot (assuming there is a loss somewhere). However, if they lose again to UCF, once again displaying an inconsistent offense and an abysmal pass defense, then expect them to drop again in the rankings. In order to have any chance this season, they will need show they can defend the pass and put together some kind of passing game of their own on offense.

5) San Diego State

Yes the Aztecs are 2-0, which is why some readers will want them higher on the list. However, they haven’t looked impressive against some mediocre or worse competition. Ohio was a good team last year, but was playing without their star QB for much of the game. This past week, San Diego State did not put away an FCS with ease, raising some serious questions about what they will look like against better competition. Time will tell for this team.

6) San Jose State

On the other hand, the Spartans may be the best 0-2 team in the country. Playing USC and Oregon State, two ranked teams, to open the season is a tough task for anyone. In both games, San Jose State held with them for as long as they could, but faded as the game went on, looking overmatched. Their offense took a step back in week two and their defense continues to be a significant weakness that could hold the team back. It will be interesting to see what they look like against a team more qual to their talent level.


It was a successful debut for Barry Odom and company. While it’s tough to take away too much from the game going up against a team from the FCS level, winning by a wide margin and getting to test their concepts playing a real opponent are valuable building blocks for the new-look program. That being said, next week against Michigan won’t reveal much about the Rebels either. But for now, they should celebrate the win.

8) Utah State

The Aggies didn’t play badly against ranked Iowa, but they didn’t set the world on fire either. The defense played well, although everyone is aware of the Hawkeyes offensive struggles. USU had struggles of their own on offense, but it does seem like there will be some playermakers to lead the team in 2023. Still, a pretty good showing against a good team bodes well for the Utah State program that is desperately trying to prove 2021 wasn’t a fluke season for Blake Anderson’s squad.

9) Colorado State

This year’s Rams scored over twenty points in their opening game, a feat they haven’t done before in the Norvell era. The game didn’t go as planned by any means, but there were some signs of hope for a better season from Colorado State this year. The offense didn’t start playing better until the game was out of hand, and not until after the starting QB left with an injury. Like many teams in the Mountain West, it will be interesting to see how they do against teams who aren’t as strong in the coming weeks.

10) Hawaii

The Rainbow Warriors look improved, but their two losses (to Power 5 teams) show how long the rebuilding road is for this program. That being said, they are competitive, not outclassed so far this season. Plus, it is clear there are building blocks on both sides of the ball, something that was not as evident last season. It is still likely they finish higher in the rankings than this spot, but obviously need a few wins first.

11) New Mexico

New year, new offense, same result to start the year for the Lobos. They had an unfair challenge to begin the year, as many teams would have gotten destroyed by Texas A&M. Still, the revamped offense left a lot to be desired, being held to a single touchdown plus a field goal over the course of the game. To make matters worse, the defense looked like it took a step or two back from 2022, surrendering over fifty points in a game they were never really in. Like everyone else, it’s hard to fully judge them on just this game, but it was hard to find any signs of hope.

12) Nevada

The Wolf Pack also got blown out, but they were able to get a touchdown in the first quarter, which not everyone can say. On a positive note, Brandon Lewis looks like the answer at quarterback, which is a huge relief compared to last year. On the other hand, the running game was stifled and maybe will miss a beat after their two leading rushers from last year moved on. As for the defense, the score speaks for itself. Clearly, Nevada has a lot to work on and will get a chance to do so next week. Hopefully, they won’t go a calendar year without a win.