WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi rates all 10 Mountain West football and why. Look for his ratings on a weekly basis as the season continues.
1. Fresno State (8-3 overall, 6-1 MW): Remains a solid No. 1 this week after a 52-36 win at Nevada last week. Junior quarterback Derek Carr leads the league with 3,290 yards and 32 touchdowns. The defense has recorded at least one interception in nine straight games, and has forced the most turnovers in the league (30).
2. San Diego State (8-3, 6-1): The Aztecs remain ahead of Boise State this week based on their win in Boise and their impressive 28-9 home win over Air Force last week. Coach Rocky Long’s defense continues to improve, especially up front. San Diego State is off this week and ends the regular season at Wyoming next week.
3. Boise State (8-2, 5-1): The Broncos are still the only ranked team in the conference, and there’s not a big difference between the top three teams in the conference. The regular-season finale at Nevada could be tricky. Special teams and a lack of offensive production has the Broncos down a notch or two from the past.
4. Nevada (6-4, 3-3): The Wolf Pack has lost three straight, but the offense is still one of the best in the MW. The defense isn’t, unfortunately, but its three losses in conference play have been to teams above it in the league standings. This team is still dangerous, but it needs to win now.
5. Air Force (5-5, 4-2): The Falcons have lost two straight by a combined 39 points. Their hopes for a conference title were dashed at San Diego State last week. The team should win at home against Hawaii Friday, but ends the season the following week at Fresno State.
6. Wyoming (3-7, 2-4): The Cowboys have won two straight due largely to sophomore quarterback Brett Smith. He’s thrown eight touchdowns and no interceptions over that span. The defense continues to struggle, but UW has beaten teams at or below their level. They get a third chance at UNLV Saturday.
7. Colorado State (3-7, 2-4): Thanks to 17-degree weather the Rams rolled UNLV 33-11 last week. There are a lot of weaknesses with this team, but it seems to be coming to grips with new coach Jim McElwain’s way of doing things.
8. UNLV (2-9, 2-4): The Rebels moved down based on the CSU loss. They need redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Sherry to be healthy this week at home against Wyoming. He hit his head on the frozen turf at CSU. The Rebels also look to be on the rise. They have a pretty balanced offense and some promising youngsters on defense.
9. New Mexico (4-7, 1-4): Losers of four straight, the surprise team of the conference has come back to earth. First-year coach Bob Davie needs to restock the roster, especially on defense.
10. Hawaii (1-8, 1-6): The Rainbows haven’t beat a FBS team this season, and haven’t been competitive in any of their losses. Norm Chow has to be second-guessing his decision to take this job. No where to go but up from here, but it’s a long way up from the cellar.