WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his final regular-season installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks.
1. Colorado State (10-1 overall, 6-1 MW): Tough to move the Rams (ranked No. 21 in both the AP and Coaches polls) down after winning nine straight games, including by 38 last week against New Mexico. Still, Colorado State needs to win this week and hope Boise State loses if it wants to play in the MW Championship Game. This week: at Air Force, 1:30 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). A tough game against a good team on the road. Rams have a lot on the line, and will play like it. Colorado State 27, Air Force 23.
2. Boise State (9-2, 6-1): The Broncos are the highest-ranked team among the non-power five conferences at No. 23. If they win their season-finale they will play in the MW Championship Game and has a good chance at New Year’s bowl game. Boise State has scored more points (440) than any MW team. This week: vs. Utah State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). The Broncos have lost only four games at home in … well, forever. Too much on the line for that fifth loss to occur. Boise State 28, Utah State 20.
3. Utah State (9-3, 6-1): Winners of five straight and with the best scoring defenses in the conference (18.3 ppg). Matt Wells should get strong consideration for Coach of the Year in the MW having to use four different quarterbacks this season. This week: at Boise State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). In a battle of the league’s best offense and best defense, the offense will have the edge at night on the blue turf. Boise State 28, Utah State 20.
4. Air Force (8-3, 4-3): Despite a 30-14 loss at San Diego State last week, the Falcons stay at No. 4. They remain one of the best stories in the league having gone 2-10 last season. This week: vs. Colorado State, 1:30 p.m. MT Friday (CBSNN). Air Force is 5-0 at home, but will drop a close game in its finale. Colorado State 27, Air Force 23.
5. San Diego State (6-5, 4-3): One of two teams in the West Division with a winning overall and conference record. The home win over Air Force moved the Aztecs up. San Diego State needs to win this week and have Fresno State lose to win the division. This week: vs. San Jose State, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The Aztecs will cruise in this one. San Diego State 33, San Jose State 10.
6. Fresno State (5-6, 4-3): Will win the West Division with a home win over Hawaii Saturday. Hard to believe this team is where it’s at based on how it’s played this season. To say the Bulldogs are playing their best football of the season right now may be accurate, but also is a sad state of the West Division. This week: vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). Bring on Boise State. Fresno State 31, Hawaii 24.
7. Nevada (6-5, 2-4): Had the West Division title in its sites, but two straight losses ruined that. Disappointing finish for the Wolf Pack. This week: at UNLV, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). It’s a rivalry game, and Nevada has played its best football this season on the road. Nevada 41, UNLV 26.
8. Hawaii (4-8, 3-4): Believe it or not, the Rainbow Warriors can win the West Division with a win at Fresno State, and losses by San Diego State and Fresno State. Should say all you need to know about the West Division. This week: at Fresno State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online). Once again, Hawaii will play tough but will fall short. Fresno State 31, Hawaii 24.
9. San Jose State (3-8, 2-5): A disappointing season for the Spartans, despite a fairly talented roster. Will end the season losing six straight games, and stability at quarterback heading into next season needs to be found. This week: at San Diego State, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Spartans will be hard-pressed to get anything going offensively. San Diego State 33, San Jose State 10.
10. Wyoming (4-7, 2-5): Gave up the most points at home in last week’s 63-14 loss to Boise State since 1915. The defense has been decimated by injuries, and the Cowboys could be without starting quarterback Colby Kirkegaard (ankle) for their finale. This week: at New Mexico, 1 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). A high-scoring game with a lot of big plays in the run. Cowboys won’t be able to make enough. New Mexico 38, Wyoming 24.
11. New Mexico (3-8, 1-6): Impressed how the Lobos run the ball, but not a lot else there. Only one team has allowed more points defensively (401) in the league this season. Much like Wyoming, New Mexico has suffered a lot of injuries there. This week: vs. Wyoming, 1 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). The Lobos will win their first home game of the season with another big effort from its run game. New Mexico 38, Wyoming 24.
12. UNLV (2-10, 1-6): Lost a game in the last seconds last week at Hawaii after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after what looked to be the game-winning touchdown. The Rebels’ 451 points allowed is the most in the conference, and is tied for the longest losing streak in the league right now at five. This week: vs. Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). Tough not to root for a guy like UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, but the season will end for the Rebels with another disappointing loss. Nevada 41, UNLV 26.
Last week’s picks: 5-1 (missed Fresno State at Nevada)
For the season: 75-18