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.
As you can see, Wyoming isn’t at the bottom anymore like it was in the past. Still, UW must find ways to increase that budget in the coming years. This isn’t something AD Tom Burman and his staff don’t already know.
Any thoughts or opinions on this? I found it interesting the two top schools — UNLV and New Mexico — are horrible in football at this point and time. Wonder what that all means down the road. You know a lot of those schools’ resources are going to basketball. … among other things. Will this change?
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.
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.”
My No. 1 key for the Wyoming men’s basketball team vs. New Mexico:
Defend the 3: It’s tough to beat any team that shoots 8 of 14 from 3-point range, but if New Mexico does that against Wyoming today like it did in last month’s win in Laramie, it will be a long day for the Cowboys. New Mexico has a lot of guys that can make 3s, and UW must account for all of them.
Yes? No? What do you think?
For my other four keys and more on today’s game, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang. Follow me on Twitter today for live updates throughout the game: @rpgagliardi.
Mark Smith of the Albuquerque Journal covers New Mexico men’s basketball. He answered five questions I had for him on Saturday’s game with Wyoming:
The Lobos have won four straight and have looked good doing so. Are they playing their best basketball of the season and what in particular have they done well during this winning streak? They are certainly playing their best ball of the season. The guard play has been flat-out terrific, which obviously helps the inside game. The thing that makes the Lobos so potent is the depth at guard. It’s tough for the opposition to focus on any one, two or three of the sharp-shooters they have.