WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 13 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.
1. Colorado State (9-1 overall, 5-1 MW): Remains No. 1 coming off a bye week. Winners of eight straight and the only MW team ranked in the polls, yet needs a Boise State loss to win the Mountain Division (assuming the Rams win out). Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson was notified last week by the Heisman Trust that he is a candidate to win this year’s award. He’s good, but not sure he’s that good. This week: vs. New Mexico, 11:30 a.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Rams will end their home season on a high note, but a big game at Air Force next week looms: Colorado State 45, New Mexico 22.
2. Boise State (8-2, 5-1): Still not far behind Colorado State in the rankings. The Broncos had to rally from first-half deficits in their last two games, but they lead the MW in scoring (37.7 ppg) and they find ways to win games. This week: at Wyoming, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). Boise State is 8-0 all-time against Wyoming, and it will make it 9-0 in a game closer than some may think. Boise State 27, Wyoming 20.
3. Utah State (8-3, 5-1): Can still win the Mountain Division, but needs some help. The Aggies have allowed the fewest points in the MW this season (213), and just keep winning. This week: vs. San Jose State, 7:30 p.m. MT Friday (ESPN2). Perhaps the rest of the country will see why Utah State is one of the best stories in college football as they win their ninth game despite playing their fourth quarterback due to injuries. Utah State 30, San Jose State 14.
4. Air Force (8-2, 4-2): The fourth team from the Mountain Division with eight or more wins, and perhaps one of the more underrated teams in the country. A big test comes this week, but no matter what the Falcons do the rest of the season, the program has bounced back nicely after going 2-10 in 2013. This week: at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). Should be a low-scoring game between two good defenses. Going with the home team, but not feeling overly confident with that. San Diego State 24, Air Force 21.
5. Nevada (6-4, 3-3): Leaders in the West Division and still the favorite to win that division despite an overtime loss at Air Force last week. Capable of beating any team in the league, but also capable of losing to them all. This week: vs. Fresno State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). The division title is on the line in this one. Going with the home team and senior quarterback Cody Fajardo. Nevada 38, Fresno State 31.
6. San Diego State (5-5, 3-3): The Aztecs blew a 20-point lead at Boise State and lost by 11 last week. Like many of the West Division teams, San Diego State has shown it can be good, but has been way too inconsistent. This week: vs. Air Force, 7:30 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). Going with coach Rocky Long and the way he coaches defense to win a close one. San Diego State 24, Air Force 21.
7. Fresno State (4-6, 3-3): Must win out to become bowl eligible, but also could win the West Division. Hopes for both end this week as the defense, which has allowed 355 points this season, will struggle. This week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). It will be cold in Reno — at least colder than in Fresno — and the Bulldogs won’t react well. Nevada 38, Fresno State 31.
8. Wyoming (4-6, 2-4): Perhaps a bye week will help the Cowboys as they try to finish with two wins and become bowl eligible. Maybe a better start time for this week’s game would help, but oh well, nothing like Saturday night late-November game in Laramie. This week: vs. Boise State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). The Cowboys have been outscored 148-43 in four home losses to Boise State in the past. This game will be closer, but still a loss. Boise State 27, Wyoming 20.
9. Hawaii (3-8, 2-7): Up two spots from last week after a 13-0 win at San Jose State last week, which snapped all kinds of losing streaks. Aside from a couple of games, Hawaii has been competitive all season. This week: vs. UNLV, 9 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). Can you say winning streak for Hawaii? I can. Hawaii 26, UNLV 17.
10. New Mexico (3-7, 1-5): If the Lobos were in the West Division they might be contending for the title. The team played toe-to-toe the last couple of weeks against Boise State and Utah State. The progress is slow, but this team is getting better and can run the ball like no other. This week: at Colorado State, 11:30 a.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Another tough game and loss, but there will be more signs of improvement. Colorado State 45, New Mexico 22.
11. San Jose State (3-7, 2-4): Still not sure why the Spartans have struggled as much as they have. Well, turnovers and mistakes are the biggest factors. Talent is there, but just hasn’t come together as much as needed. Maybe next year. This week: at Utah State, 7:30 p.m. MT Friday (ESPN2). Two good defenses, but not enough for San Jose State to get this game. Utah State 30, San Jose State 13.
12. UNLV (2-9, 1-5): At least it is basketball season in Las Vegas. Rebels have allowed a league-worst 414 points. Coach Bobby Hauck is one of the good guys in the league, and led the team to a bowl game last season. But can he survive after a dismal 2014? This week: at Hawaii, 9 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). Another loss Saturday won’t help Hauck’s cause. Hawaii 26, UNLV 17.
Last week’s picks: 4-1 (missed Hawaii at San Jose State)
For the season: 70-17.