Mountain West football media day – West Division notes

Here are some news and notes from Tuesday’s first day of Mountain West football media day activities here in Las Vegas. Tuesday featured teams from the West Division. Players and coaches from the Mountain Division get their turn Wednesday.

–Nevada coach Brian Polian isn’t one to hold back his opinions, and he wasn’t happy that this season’s rivalry game with UNLV is not at the end of the season,

Brian Polian

Brian Polian

like many rivalry games are around the nation, or during the weekend of Nevada Day, which celebrates when Nevada became a state back in 1864. Nevada Day is Friday, Oct. 30 this year.

This year’s game is Oct. 3 at UNLV.

This reminds me of the Border War with Wyoming and Colorado State. There was a decent stretch when that game was played at the end of the season with other rivalry games. However, that usually came during the weekend of Thanksgiving, and attendance in Laramie or Fort Collins were poor with students not around, and usually one of the two teams not being very good.

I’ve written in the past that the Border War should be played more toward the middle of the season. The weather is better and there is more fan interest. Attendance figures at both schools back that up. Not sure what to say about the Nevada-UNLV game, but one thing is certain, Polian doesn’t like the set up this year.

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Mountain West football power rankings and picks – Week 2

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 2 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (1-0, 0-0 MW): A big jump for the Rams, but they earned it as they had the most impressive win — not sure if it was good or bad — in the league last week with a 31-17 win over Colorado in Denver. We will see how good CSU  is when it plays at Boise State Saturday. This week: at Boise State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday, (ESPN2).The Rams will be good this season, but they are not good enough to win in Boise. Boise State 27, CSU 21.

2. San Diego State (1-0, 0-0): One of four teams to beat Big Sky teams last week. The Aztecs should contend for the West Division title, but they get a much bigger test this week. But for now, SDSU makes a significant move up. This week: at No. 21 North Carolina, 6 p.m, MT Saturday (ESPNews). The MW needs a win over a team from a Power 5 conference foe. The Aztecs have the best chance. It will be close, but they fall short. North Carolina 28, San Diego State 17.

3. Boise State (0-1, 0-0): Yes, the Broncos got soundly beat 35-13 against Ole Miss last week in Atlanta. But it was a one-point game early in the fourth quarter before the Broncos succumbed to Ole Miss’ size and athleticism. Quarterback Grant Hedrick can’t throw four interceptions like he did against Ole Miss. This week: vs. Colorado State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). Boise State may not be a dominant team this season, but it is still good and will bounce back this week. Boise State 27, Colorado State 21.

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UW-San Jose State postgame thoughts

It’s become an all too familiar story for the Wyoming football team.

The Cowboys’ defense allowed a season-high 642 yards of total offense in a 51-44 loss at San Jose State Saturday night at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

The defense got off to a good start — three straight three-and-outs and then a fumble recovery. After that, it did virtually nothing.

Senior quarterback David Fales missed on just 10 of his 37 pass attempts. He threw for 482 yards and five touchdowns. The Spartans also ran for 160 yards, and it seemed like more.

Fales scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 8 seconds left. Here’s the video of that play.

The offense did some good things. Junior quarterback Brett Smith threw for three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Shaun Wick had 234 yards, and senior receiver Robert Herron had a school-record 93-yard touchdown reception where he simply outran everyone from San Jose on a short pass. It was similar to what he did last year at Texas on his 82-yard touchdown run and catch. The 93-yard play was the longest in UW history — touchdown or not.

But it wasn’t enough.

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UW-San Jose State Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Jimmy Durkin, who covers San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury-News about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @Jimmy_Durkin

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

San Jose State got off to a slow start this season, but injuries played a factor. Can you describe how decimated the team was due to injuries and how is the health of the team heading into the Wyoming game?

Injuries were a fairly large factor. Having starting running back Tyler Ervin out, and still out, was big and the loss of wide receiver Noel Grigsby was huge. It really took them three games to find someone who could somewhat fill Grigsby’s playmaker role, which Tyler Winston has done over the past couple of games. It took the same time to find a crew of running backs to minimize the loss of Ervin, too. The defense lost any semblance of depth with guys like linebacker Vince Buhagiar out and several other guys missing a game or two.

The Wyoming game should represent the healthiest the team has been since the season-opener. Wide receiver Jabari Carr should be back. There’s a chance Ervin is back, but that’s sounding less likely. But several guys that were slightly nicked up or on the verge of returning coming into the Colorado State game should be healthy as the team comes off the bye.

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Smith receives high ranking among QBs recently ranked the top college quarterbacks according to their class, and Wyoming’s Brett Smith was ranked third among junior quarterbacks.

Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith in action last season at Fresno State.

Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith in action last season at Fresno State.

Here is what the site said about Smith:

“Brett Smith is a name to get to know. I spent about four hours on Smith late last week and see a guy that has the stuff of a good one at the next level. He’s been a starter since stepping foot on the Wyoming campus and will only get better with time. Smith looks a bit thin and would be best served to add a little bulk to his 6-foot-3 frame.”

The only quarterbacks ranked ahead of Smith, among juniors, were Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Michigan’s Devin Gardner.

The MW had two of the top four senior quarterbacks according to the site. San Jose State’s David Fales was first and Fresno State’s Derek Carr was fourth.

Here is the link to the site: