The MW finally broke through against the neighbor it outplayed just two years ago
Last season, the Hotline published weekly ‘Best of the West’ power ratings that included teams from the Mountain West and Brigham Young in addition to the Pac-12. We’re adding a MW-specific column to our lineup this season because the exercise was so popular.
Mountain West teams still have one week of non-conference games to play, but their run of games against Power Five teams is over. The end result isn’t very nice to look at.
The Mountain West went 4–17 against teams from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-12.
Closest to home, they were 1-10 against the Pac-12, with their only win coming against Arizona State on Saturday night, when they shut them out.
The MW was 6-5 against its wealthier neighbor two years ago.
What went wrong? The head coaches. And people in charge. Oh, and quarterbacks.
The Pac-12 got better in every way, while the MW either stayed the same or went backwards slightly.
In terms of power ratings…
(All times are Pacific)
1. Fresno State (3-0)
Last week: 1
Result: won at Arizona State 29-0
Next up: vs. Kent State (7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network)
Comment: It’s not my intention to be negative, but 29 points is the bare minimum for a win when you’re plus-8 in turnovers. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, deserve a lot of praise for having the second-longest winning streak in the country (12 games in a row), after Georgia.
2. Wyoming (2-1)
Last week: 2
Result: lost at Texas 31-10
Next up: vs. Appalachian State (4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network)
Comment: In Austin, everything went as planned until the Longhorns woke up in the fourth quarter. The score went from 10–10 to 31–10 in six minutes.
3. Air Force (3-0/1-0)
Last week: 3
Result: beat Utah State 39-21
Next up: at San Jose State (Friday, 7:30 p.m. on FS1)
Comment: From the Worse-Than-It-Seems department about the Falcons’ 18-point win over USU. In the middle of the third quarter, the score was 39–7. It was the worst kind of demolition.
4. Boise State (1-2)
Last week: 4
Result: beat North Dakota 42-18
Next up: at San Diego State (Friday, 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network)
Comment: Friday night at Snapdragon Stadium will be the biggest game of the week in the MW. We expect the visitors to show they’re a contender and the hosts to show they’re not.
5. San Jose State (1-3)
Last week: 5
Result: lost at Toledo 21-17
Next up: vs. Air Force (Friday, 7:30 p.m. on FS1)
Comment: 1997 was the last time SJSU beat Air Force when there wasn’t a global pandemic going on. However, the schools have only played four times since then, with Air Force winning all three times in the 2010s and SJSU winning in 2020.
6. Utah State (1-2/0-1)
Last week: 6
Result: lost at Air Force 39-21
Next up: vs. James Madison (5 p.m. on MW Network)
Comment: People, the Dukes are not a joke. After being the best in the FCS, they moved up to the Sun Belt and are now 3-0 after beating Virginia. Utah State needs to play really well to avoid going 1-3 early on.
7. Colorado State (0-2)
Last week: 9
Result: lost at Colorado 43-35 (OT)
Next up: at Middle Tennessee State (4 p.m. on ESPN+)
Comment: Are the Rams as bad as they looked against Washington State or as good (though a little careless) as they looked against Colorado? We don’t know, so we took the difference and put them on top of the bottom half.
8. San Diego State (2-2)
Last week: 7
Result: lost at Oregon State 26-9
Next up: vs. Boise State (Friday, 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network)
Comment: TAmong offensive stats, points per game, yards per play, red-zone touchdown percentage, and third-down conversion percentage are the four most important. In all four categories, the Aztecs are in the top 100 teams in the country.
9. UNLV (2-1)
Last week: 8
Result: beat Vanderbilt 40-37
Next up: at UTEP (6 p.m. on ESPN+)
Comment: Vanderbilt is the worst team in the SEC and one of the worst teams in the Power Five. Do you know how important that is to UNLV? It’s not a lick. (Note for MW games: The Commodores beat Hawaii.)
10. Hawaii (1-3)
Last week: 10
Result: lost at Oregon 55-10
Next up: vs. New Mexico State (9 p.m. on Spectrum)
Comment: California State doesn’t play, which is a good thing.
11. Nevada (0-3)
Last week: 12
Result: lost to Kansas 31-24
Next up: at Texas State (4 p.m. on ESPN+)
Comment: So the Wolf Pack’s best game so far this season is a seven-point loss at home to a basketball school? We think progress in any form is good.
12. New Mexico (1-2)
Last week: 11
Result: lost to New Mexico State 27-17
Next up: at UMass (12:30 p.m. on ESPN+)
Comment: The Danny Gonzalez Watch is now live.