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. Boise State (6-1 overall, 3-0 MW): The Broncos are No. 21 in the country and remain a solid No. 1 this week in the rankings. Boise State continues to be far and away the best defensive team in the MW. It’s tops in scoring defense (13.6 ppg), pass defense (158.7 ypg), total defense (316.9 ypg), turnover margin (+11) and pass efficiency defense (95.6). The offense isn’t bad by any means, but the defense outstanding.
2. Fresno State (5-3, 3-1): I said last week the Bulldogs are the most complete team in the league, and I stand by that. They’re second to Boise State in most defensive categories, and their spread offense can hurt you via the run and pass. This may be the most athletic and talented team in the league.
Just got off a conference call where the Mountain West announced the additions of San Jose State and Utah State to the Mountain West.
Speculation of this has gone on for months so it was no surprise. But other than two more teams in the MW, there really were not a whole lot of answers to the future of the league or its merger with Conference USA, which announced the addition of five new teams Friday.
Some thoughts on what MW commissioner Craig Thompson said today:
–He said the MW/CUSA merger is still on, but no further details have been hammered out. When the two announced its merger a few months ago there is an end-of-June deadline to either cancel it, extend the talks or re-write what it originally wanted to do. One of those things is to have a championship football game. But you need at least 12 teams to do that. The MW has 10. Will it bring over some CUSA teams to its side? Will it add more teams (Thompson didn’t seem too high on that idea). Or, will it join forces under one name and one league? Stay tuned.
The Mountain West held a teleconference with its 10 football coaches Tuesday to talk about spring football and the upcoming season. For my story on that, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.
Here are a few things that didn’t make my story:
–Air Force returned this week from a trip to the White House to receive the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. It’s the second straight year and trip for the Falcons.
–Nevada coach Chris Ault enters his 27th year at the school, and has always called the plays and coached the quarterbacks. But this year he brought in former Nick Rolovich to coach the quarterbacks an impliment more of a run-and-shoot aspect to the Wolf Pack’s Pistol offense. Ault said one Rolovich, who was a quarterback at Hawaii, gets comfortable calling plays, he will hand that duty off to him.
I have really enjoyed the comments and feedback on my weekly MW men’s basketball power rankings. Here’s what I got heading into this week’s MW Tournament.
1. No. 21 San Diego State (24-6, 10-4): The Aztecs won back-to-back road games at Boise State and TCU to capture the first seed in the conference tournament. Impressive late-season run by the Aztecs with only seven scholarship players that see playing time.
2. New Mexico (24-6, 10-4): The Lobos should have and did easily defeat Air Force and Boise State last week. This team isn’t far back from San Diego State, and this is the week their depth should help by having to win three games in three days to win the MW Tournament. I still think this is the team to beat in the tournament.
Three teams tied for first, two teams tied for seventh and a mess in between.
That’s how the Mountain West men’s basketball standings look heading into the final week of the regular season.
“This conference is crazy. You have three teams tied for first when at the start of last week you didn’t think that was feasible,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said during Monday’s MW coach’s teleconference.
Here is my power rankings this week, and as always, would love to hear your feedback:
Kelly Lyell of the Fort Collins Coloradoan answered five questions I gave him on Saturday’s Wyoming-Colorado State men’s basketball game.
Let me know what you think.
What’s been Colorado State’s biggest hang-up on the road this season? Maintaining the kind of defensive focus and intensity that the Rams play with at home, particularly as fatigue sets in as games wind down. CSU has a short bench this year, because coach Tim Miles committed scholarships to two transfers who have to sit out under NCAA rules – Colton Iverson (Minnesota) and Daniel Bejarano (Arizona). The Rams are basically playing an eight-man rotation when everyone’s healthy and have had as few as six of those players available in some conference road games.
The will be out of the basketball mix for a few days as I am heading to Orlando, Fla., for our Associated Press Sports Editors winter conference. This is our national organization for sports editors and this conference mostly serves as juding for our national contest. It’s a pretty cool experience going through sports stories and sports sections from some of the best newspapers in the country.
Be sure to follow Scott Nulph @ScottNulph on Twitter for Wyoming-Colorado State men’s basketball updates; and David Watson @dwatsonsports for updates from the UW-CSU women’s game on Saturday in Laramie.
Will be checking in while I am gone for comments, and if I see things I will post them.
Here is the news release from the Mountain West on the forming of a new conference with Conference USA:
UNIVERSITIES ANNOUNCE PLANS TO FORM CONFERENCE
DALLAS, Texas – Presidents and chancellors from 16 universities met in Dallas Sunday to discuss future conference membership plans and agreed to work on forming a new intercollegiate athletic association that would begin competition in the 2013-14 academic year.
This presidentially led association will ensure stability and be built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship, enhancing the student-athlete academic and competitive experience, bringing fiscal discipline into athletics and ensuring competitive fairness.
“This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast. This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics,” said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. “We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture.”