Just as one controversy is settled another pops up in the Mountain West Conference Power Rankings. This week saw some great MWC games as teams continue to strive for their individual goals. For some it is a National Championship game, for others, a winning season, and for some it is simply to win one game (way to go New Mexico). Nevertheless, I like what I saw this week. BYU finally does what it needs to do to a lesser team, Utah gets crushed, and San Diego St. continues to win games. So in the end how did it all shake out?#9 - New Mexico Lobos
Finally got a win. Is it possible that a terrible Wyoming team overlooked an atrocious New Mexico team, or did New Mexico really just win the game?
#8 - Wyoming Cowboys
Keep in mind these are power rankings...not wins and losses rankings. Hence Wyoming stills deserves to be above New Mexico, even without any conference wins. If the two teams played 10 more times, I'd say Wyoming wins at least 7 of them. Wyoming's offense is actually getting better as the season goes on, but their defense just can't stop anything.
#7 - UNLV Rebels
OK, so what I really wanted to do was just have the last three tied for 9th, but I leave UNLV here because they killed New Mexico in what was never really a game. They are battling a ton of injuries right now, but are still playing a lot of upperclassmen, who should be able to get the job done. They have to have a lot of confidence heading into this week's game against Wyoming, even if BYU did just run them out of town.
#6 - Colorado St. Rams
Colorado St. hung around with what I think is really a good San Diego St. squad. They too have a true freshman quarterback, Pete Thomas who is playing well above the level of highly toted Jake Heaps. Thomas has a passer rating of 130.67. He has thrown 10 TDs and 10 INTs, and is also completing 66% of this passes. Not bad. The Rams present a good test for BYU this week, to see if the Cougars really have turned the offense around, or if it was just a perfect storm in Provo last Saturday.
#5 - Air Force Falcons
The Falcons are getting beat up. Early in the year we talked about how good Air Force is at the start of the season because they are fresh. In dozens of radio interview Coach Calhoon assured fans that they would take care of the health of the players to avoid petering off at the end of the year. However, I just don't see the same team. The loss of Jared Tew, was also a devastating blow. It would be like BYU losing Harvey Unga, oh wait, I guess we really do know how that feels.
Finally, BYU is going to continue to improve on the strength of their defense. If Bronco was running the defense against Air Force, the game is completely different. And I am not just talking about the turnaround this year, but the fact that a Bronco Mendenhall led defense has never lost to the Falcons.
#4 - San Diego St. Aztecs
Just as the bottom three are on an even playing field, so are SDSU, BYU and Air Force. So I really have to look at not only what teams have done, but how they are doing it and what direction they are headed. Brady Hoke's Aztecs are having their best season since 1998 when they went 7-5. I really like what they are doing down here in San Diego, but I they are not doing it as convincingly anymore. At the start of the season they came in with a ton of confidence and were playing high intensity football. Right now I don't see that same belief, but they are still playing well enough to win games, which is great. We really need to see some added spark from the Aztecs as they face TCU and Utah in back to back weeks. It's my hope that they play TCU tough, if not win (long shot of the century) and that gives them the confidence to take down Utah the following week.
#3 - BYU Cougars
So let's review where we are with BYU, SDSU and Air Force. I think they are all #3. Heck I may even put Utah on their level after this next weekend. But I have BYU in front because, of course I am bias, but also because of the direction that they are heading. I have felt that Air Force and San Diego St. have been losing a little momentum and BYU has been slightly gaining momentum behind their dominatingly revamped defense. It would be great to find out that the bye week is all Jake Heaps and his receivers needed, to get on the same page. If the Cougars can run the whole play book from here on out, then we have some very exciting football to watch down the stretch.
#2 - Utah Utes
Man was I wrong last week. But if it's any consolation to Horned Frog fan out there, I have never been happier to be wrong. I am still confused on where Utah is. Their "quality" wins are against Pitt who is 5-3 in arguably the worst conference in college football (and yet still manages to be an AQ) and Iowa St., who is 5-5 and whose only big win was against a Texas team that is obviously in a drought. They did beat a banged up Air Force team who still played them tough and almost stole the game away. But then they play their first tough game of the year and just get obliterated by TCU. I am lost here. I still think they are better than BYU, SDSU and Air Force, but by what margin? The good news for Ute fans is that the Notre Dame game, which was supposed to be another tough opponent, should be somewhat of a cake walk. Too bad for the Utes, they are like the 2007 Boise St. Broncos who didn't have to play anyone but Washington (loss) and Hawaii (loss), and were kept out of a big bowl game. The Utes are headed to Vegas, if they can get past the Aztecs in two weeks.
#1 - TCU Horned Frogs
I think it's clear that the Frogs are tops in the Mountain West. With only SDSU and New Mexico left on the schedule, all we are missing is a nice fat lady to belt out the Frogs Fight Song. Hopefully the powers that be will put the Frogs in the big show and give a non-AQ team a chance to knock off the big boys.
(Side note: I loved Bryan Kehl's interview during the BYU game in which he said, "I just want to remind everyone that when we played, we beat TCU")