First and foremost, it is good to be back posting on this blog. Sorry that it has been so long since the last post — some time during football season last fall. There were plenty of issues and reasons why, but I know you don’t care about that.
Anyway, Saturday marks the final home game for the University of Wyoming men’s basketball team. A forgettable season is about over as UW enters the 4 p.m. game with New Mexico at 7-23 overall and 3-14 in the MW.
It is senior day for two UW players — guard Justin James and forward Jordan Naughton. I have a feature on James that will run in Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and online at wyosports.net so I hope you will check that out.
James’ career at UW has been prolific. Unfortunately for Naughton, his has been quiet and unassuming — much like his personality. Back and knee injuries have limited Naughton to 20 games this season, and Saturday will be his 90th in four years. However, 60 of those games came in his first two seasons.
Naughton’s career averages are 3.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 12.2 minutes per game. This season, in 20 games, he’s averaged 4.0 points and 1.9 rebounds.
Here are my Mountain West football power rankings at the end of the regular season.
1. No. 19Boise State (10-2 overall, 7-1 MW): This may not be the best team in Boise State history, but it is tough, gritty and Mountain Division champs. The Broncos also defeated Fresno State and Utah State, and get Fresno State on the blue turf for the Mountain West championship.
2.No. 25Fresno State (10-2, 7-1): The Bulldogs took care of San Jose State to set up its rematch of last year’s MW championship game with Boise State. Can the Bulldogs break through on the road?
3. Utah State (10-2, 7-1): The Aggies are still very good, but not playing at the same level it did a few weeks ago. Maybe that’s because they are playing tougher teams.
Happy post-Thanksgiving all. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday weekend.
Here is some pregame reading prior to Wyoming’s regular-season finale at New Mexico Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet.
First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:
Good start: Wyoming needs to play well from start to finish, but a good start for the team, and in particular redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal, is important. Especially for Vander Waal to get his confidence going and into the flow of the game. We’ve seen this season (last week against Air Force and in the opener at New Mexico State) that when Vander Waal starts well, he plays well through the course of games.
Here are my weekly Mountain West football power rankings heading into this week’s games, which is the final week of the regular season.
1. No. 14 Utah State (10-1, 7-0): The Aggies hung on for a road win at Colorado State thanks to a video replay at the end. Still, Utah State found a way and now plays for the Mountain Division title at Boise State this week.
2.No. 21Boise State (9-2 overall, 6-1 MW): The Broncos have won six in a row and took care of business on the road at New Mexico last week. The regular-season finale at home against Utah State has the makings of a fun one.
3.Fresno State (9-2, 6-1): The Bulldogs bounced back after a loss at Boise State with a home win over San Diego State. This is still, in my opinion, the most complete team in the MW. The West Division champs get San Jose State at home this week.
A few notes and quotes to get you ready for Wyoming’s home finale against Air Force Saturday. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. MT from Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNEWS.
First, my No. 1 key for the Cowboys:
Assignment sound: Meaning every player on Wyoming’s defense must do their jobs each and every play against Air Force’s option-oriented offense. This is an important aspect in any game, but it gets magnified going against option football. One missed assignment could result in a big play or touchdown.
Here are my weekly Mountain West football power rankings heading into this week’s games.
1. No. 14 Utah State (9-1, 6-0): The Aggies move up to the top spot after it won their ninth straight game, are the highest ranked team in the conference in the national polls and continue to put up video-game like numbers on offense.
2.No. 23Boise State (8-2 overall, 5-1 MW): A gritty and hard-fought home win over Fresno State last week. The Broncos showed their toughness, despite a depleted defense due to injuries.
3.Fresno State (8-2, 5-1): The Bulldogs saw their eight-game winning streak snapped at Boise State, but they still control their own destiny to win the West Division. They finish the regular season with two home games.