Wyoming at Iowa pregame primer

Finally, a game to talk about.

Wyoming plays at Iowa at 10 a.m. MT Saturday in the season-opener for both squads. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

To follow with tradition, here is my No. 1 key for UW in the game:

Josh Allen

Balancing act: Despite the skills and abilities of junior quarterback Josh Allen, UW can’t be one-dimensional offensively. It has to run the ball, or at least run it well at critical times. That will be a tall task against a big and experienced Iowa front seven. Still, the Cowboys can’t make it easy for Iowa’s defense to come after Allen so some semblance of a running game is a must.

Agree, disagree?

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UW football fall camp – Practice No. 21

Wednesday was a day for mental and fundamental work as the Cowboys practiced outside on the practice fields south of War Memorial Stadium in spiders (lighter shoulder pads), helmets and shorts.

The best news was there were no new injuries to report.

Here’s what fourth-year UW coach Craig Bohl said after practice.

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How I voted in the preseason All-MW football team

The annual Mountain West “Media Summit” kicked off Tuesday at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Simply put, it’s MW football media days. The league just gave it a fancy new name.

The preseason All-MW team and predicted order of finish was announced Tuesday morning. Both were voted by selected media, including myself.

Here’s how the voting turned out:

2017 Preseason All-MW Football Team


QB: Josh Allen**, jr., Wyoming

WR: Michael Gallup*, sr., Colorado State; Devonte Boyd, sr., UNLV

RB: Rashaad Penny, sr., San Diego State*; Tyrone Owens, jr., New Mexico

OL: Jake Bennett**, sr., Colorado State; Austin Corbett**, sr., Nevada, Dejon Allen**, sr., Hawaii, Aaron Jenkins, jr., New Mexico; Mason Hampton, sr., Boise State.

TE: David Wells**, sr., San Diego State

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Hill takes pride in how opponents try to defend him

Last season, teams knew Wyoming was going to run the football with running back Brian Hill.

Brian Hill

Brian Hill

As a result, opponents stacked with box with eight or nine guys more often than not. Still, Hill ran for a single-season school record of 1,631 yards in 2015.

“I enjoy the attention, and I like the challenge when teams put eight or nine guys in the box,” Hill said. “I would enjoy to see just seven, but to see teams give me that repsct gives me some pride.

“This year, I’m praying for an eight-man box because we have a quarterback that can sling it, and Im excited to see wht he’s going to do.”

Hill is referring to redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Allen, the clear-cut starter when fall camp begin Monday, Aug. 8.

But until Allen and the rest of the offense proves otherwise, teams will continue to stack the box against the Cowboys.

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How I voted for preseason All-MW football team

The Mountain West started its two-day football media day activities Tuesday in Las Vegas, and the first thing that was released was the preseason all-conference team and predicted order of finish.

Here is the link to the all-conference team: http://www.themw.com/news/2016-preseason-all-mwfb

And the link to the predicted order of finish: http://www.themw.com/news/mwfb-16-predicted-order

I voted this year, and have every year since the MW was formed in 1999. My ballots were not that much different than the official ones, which were voted on by selected media members around the league.

Here is my 2016 Preseason All-MW Football Team and predicted order of finish:

QB: Brett Rypien, Boise St.

RB: Brian Hill, Wyoming; Donnel Humphrey, San Diego St.

WR: Devonte Boyd, UNLV; Thomas Sperbeck, Boise St.

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Border War basketball Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Kelly Lyell, who covers Colorado State men’s basketball for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Follow on Twitter: @KellyLyell

Kelly Lyell

Kelly Lyell

After the 72-59 loss at Utah State Wednesday the Rams have lost four of their last six. Are they a good indication of their record (14-12, 6-7 MW) or is his squad better than that?

They’re a good indication of their record on the season, better than half the teams they’ve played and worse than half. They’re capable of playing at a very high level at times, but not on a consistent enough basis to be a better-than-average team in the Mountain West this season.

In the loss to Utah State, Colorado State missed 18 of its last 20 3-pointers. Even though the Rams have been among the leaders in the MW in 3-point shooting this season, is this a team that lives and dies by the 3?

Very much so. The first thing the Rams do when they fall behind is try to shoot their way back into it from 3-point range. It’s worked enough times this season, too, that they keep trying that approach, even if it’s not necessarily the best way for them to get back into a game.

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings this week.

RPI rankings are from RealTimeRPI.com. Only two MW teams have RPIs in the top 100, and seven are ranked between 113 and 196. As a league, the MW still has an RPI of 12 out of 32 conferences. The Summit, Mid-American and Colonial leagues are currently ahead of the MW.

As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. San Diego State (16-6 overall, 9-0 MW, 47 RPI): An impressive week for the Aztecs with road wins over Nevada and UNLV. They have won nine in a row, and they shot less than 30 percent and still won at Nevada. If only this team was consistent on offense.

2. New Mexico (13-8, 6-2, 122 RPI): The Lobos moved into second place in the MW standings, as well to second in this week’s power rankings thanks in large part to their win at Boise State Saturday. We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs from New Mexico, but it has won four in a row.

3. Boise State (15-7, 6-3, 87 RPI): A tough week for a good team after losses at UNLV and at home to New Mexico. This didn’t do the league a lot of good, but the Broncos are still a veteran and solid group. It needs to bounce back Tuesday at home against Utah St.

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Coaches weigh in about keeping MW Tournament at Thomas & Mack Center

Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt spoke for a little more than 20 minutes Monday on behalf of the other 10 Mountain West men’s hoops coaches about the league’s decision to change the format of the MW Tournament to eight teams for both the men’s and women’s events starting in 2017.

Larry Shyatt

Larry Shyatt

In the past, and for the 2016 event, all teams were allowed to participate.

Here’s is Shyatt’s full statement from Monday. Quick hint, he didn’t hold anything back and needless to say, he wasn’t happy.


The MW decision, which was released on Dec. 18, also included keeping the MW Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas — the home court for UNLV — through 2019.

UNLV has won three MW Tournament titles there, with the last one coming in 2008. The MW gets a good deal in terms of “rent” for the facility, which was the driving force to keeping it there.

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