WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 10 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.
1. Colorado State (7-1 overall, 3-1 MW): Still atop the rankings after the Rams won their league-leading sixth straight game last week against Wyoming. However, the gap is narrowing. Still, Colorado State is playing some of the best football in the conference right now. Good luck trying to defend that passing game. This week: at San Jose State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). This game pits the best pass defense in the MW in San Jose State (99.7 ypg) against the league’s best passing offense in Colorado State (353.5 ypg). Tricky game for the Rams, but they find a way. Colorado State 38, San Jose St. 31.
2. Boise State (6-2, 3-1): The Broncos beat Colorado State earlier this season so they control their own destiny to win the league’s Mountain Division. Boise State seems to be hitting its stride now, and it might not be long until it is atop the rankings. This week: Off.
3. San Diego State (4-3, 3-1): After a bye week, the Aztecs may get get a couple of key players back on offense and defense. Along with Boise State, San Diego State is the most physical team in the MW. The Aztecs lead the league and are 12th nationally in scoring defense (18.7 ppg). This week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). A tough road game, but that defense and running back Donnel Pumphrey should be enough for a close win. San Diego State 24, Nevada 20.
4. Utah State (5-3, 2-1): Now on its fourth quarterback due to injuries, and some other key guys banged up. The Aggies will be hard-pressed to stay this high for long. But they’ve shown a toughness so far that most teams could never do after losing so many key players. Got to admire that. This week: at Hawaii, 9 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). It won’t be pretty, but the Aggies find a way to win. Utah State 17, Hawaii 12.
5. Air Force (5-2, 2-2): This is the biggest week for the Falcons as a win at Army Saturday will give them their first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy since 2011. Air Force is one of the better stories in the conference after winning just two games last season. This week: at Army, 9:30 a.m. MT Saturday (CBS). Both are among the nation’s top rushing teams, but Air Force has the edge on defense. Air Force 31, Army 26.
6. Nevada (5-3, 2-2): The Wolf Pack returns home for the first time since Oct. 11. That may not be good news as it is 0-2 at home in conference games. Nevada has the pieces to make a run at the West Division title, but it must show it now. This week: vs. San Diego State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The home woes continue. San Diego State 24, Nevada 20.
7. San Jose State (3-4, 2-1): A disappointing 41-31 loss at Navy last week, but the Spartans still control their own destiny in the West Division. If this team puts a complete game together, it can beat anyone in the MW. This week: vs. Colorado State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). As mentioned earlier, it’s strength vs. strength this week. San Jose State will slow down the Colorado State passing game, but will struggle against the Rams’ run game. Colorado State 38, San Jose State 31.
8. Fresno State (3-5, 2-2): Maybe a change in quarterback will give the Bulldogs a boost as they turn to redshirt freshman Zack Greenlee. Even coming off a bye week, this team is the most difficult to figure out in the conference. There are issues, but there also is talent. This week: vs. Wyoming, 8:45 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). The game will be closer than the 12-point spread, but the Bulldogs do enough against a depleted Wyoming defense. Fresno State 27, Wyoming 17.
9. Hawaii (2-6, 1-2): The Rainbow Warriors’ have lost their six games by an average of 8.3 points, and their most lopsided loss was by 14. Hawaii is limited offensively, but is decent on defense and it competes every week. This week: vs. Utah State, 9 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). Another close, competitive effort, but another loss. Utah State 17, Hawaii 12.
10. Wyoming (3-5, 1-3): The Cowboys have the longest losing streak in the conference (four) and players are dropping like flies on both sides of the ball due to injuries. The team has kept a good attitude and want-to, but that can only go so far. This week: at Fresno State, 8:45 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). The Cowboys will play hard, and well at times. But it won’t be enough as they will fall to 0-5 all-time in Fresno. Fresno State 27, Wyoming 17.
11. New Mexico (2-5, 0-3): This team is to becoming more competitive, but still can’t throw the ball or stop anybody. Perhaps it helps that it is on the road this week because the Lobos are 0-4 at home this season. This week: at UNLV, 3:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Going with the road team here in a close one. New Mexico 35, UNLV 34.
12. UNLV (2-6, 1-3): Rebels have scored the fewest points (151) and allowed the most (293) than any team in the MW. Enough said. This week: vs. New Mexico, 3:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Missed opportunities early will cost the team late in this one. New Mexico 35, UNLV 34.
Last week’s picks: 5-0 (that’s more like it!)
Season record: 56-14