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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Final Mountain West football power rankings/picks

My final installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks.

1. No. 22 Boise State (10-2 overall, 7-1 MW): Could have easily been at the top the last few weeks as it finished the regular season with seven straight wins. The best offense in the conference and arguably the most physical defense. Should win its first MW championship after Saturday’s title game at home versus Fresno State. This week: vs. Fresno State (MW Championship Game), 8 p.m. MT Saturday (CBS). At home on the blue turf on prime time TV with a New Year’s bowl game on the line. Enough said. Boise State 45, Fresno State 20.

2. Colorado State (10-2, 6-2): A loss at Air Force last week bumped the Rams down, and now must find a new coach as Jim McElwain took the Florida job. Still a great season for CSU, but how will it respond moving forward?

3. Air Force (9-3, 5-3): The only team in the conference to beat both Boise State and Colorado State this season. The transformation from 2-10 last year has been amazing, and most of the talent returns next season.

4. Utah State (9-4, 6-2): Even though the Aggies beat Air Force this season, they drop a spot based on the 50-19 pounding they took at Boise State last week. Still, a great season and one of the most solid programs in the MW. Now, will Utah State keep its coach?

5. San Diego State (7-5, 5-3): I know Fresno State won the West Division and beat San Diego State in the regular season, but the Aztecs were the better overall team and the most consistent (if there was such a thing in that division).

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UW-San Jose State football key to the game; other notes and quotes

Here is WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s top key to the game for the Wyoming Cowboys in their homecoming game at 2 p.m. today against San Jose State at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium:

Possess the ball — and finish: Wyoming wants to wear teams down in the fourth quarter. To do that, it must possess the ball and finish drives. Even when the Cowboys can’t do that, they need to avoid a lot of three-and-outs and flip field position in the punt game. UW has a slight edge in time of possession this season at 30 minutes, 50 seconds, but it needs that figure to be around 34 or 35 minutes.

Yes, no? What do you think about this one?

Here is Gagliardi and WyoSports editor Scott Nulph’s preview for today’s game.


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Mountain West football power rankings and picks – Week 1

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his first weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for the Week 1 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Utah State: The defending Mountain Division champs get senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton back from a knee injury, and it may be a stretch to put the Aggies this high not knowing how good Keeton will be. But there is a proven backup behind him and a lot of good players on defense. This week: at Tennessee, 5 p.m. MT, Sunday (SEC Network). Of all the MW teams playing big-time programs this week, Utah State may have the best chance to win. But I am still going with the Vols in a close one. Tennessee 27, Utah State 24.

2. Fresno State: Not only do the Bulldogs have to replace quarterback Derek Carr, but they also lost some really good receivers. Still, there are players in the pipeline that can fill the void. This team will still be good. This week: at USC 5:30 p.m. MT, Saturday (FOX). Even with Carr and Co., Fresno State was blown out by USC in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl. USC has a new coach and has a mess on its hands with the Josh Shaw saga, but it still has enough to win. USC 31, Fresno State 20.

3. Boise State: The Bryan Harsin era begins, and one has to wonder if the Broncos will remain among the MW’s powers. They will, thanks to Harsin’s new wrinkles and what was built by former coach Chris Petersen. There are too many good players on that roster not to. This week: vs. Ole Miss, 6 p.m. MT Thursday (ESPN). The Broncos will go to Atlanta and pick up the league’s best win over a nonconference foe. Boise State 30, Ole Miss 23.

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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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