Final MW football power rankings

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi gives his final power rankings for Mountain West football in 2012:

1. Fresno State (9-3 overall, 7-1 MW): As stated numerous times this season, this is the most complete team in the conference. That was evident in the all-conference selections as junior quarterback David Carr was the Offensive Player of the Year, senior safety Phillip Tomas was the Defensive Player of the Year and receiver Davante Adams was the Freshman of the Year. In all, the team had a league-high first team all-conference players. The Bulldogs were the highest scoring team in the MW (40.2 ppg), was second in scoring defense (22.2 ppg) and intercepted the most passes (20). Despite a 10-point loss at Boise State, the nod goes to the Bulldogs as the top team in the league this year.

2. Boise State (10-2, 7-1): Head-to-head play doesn’t mean much in these rankings (you can weigh in on that if you want) because San Diego State won at Boise State this season. The Broncos have been nationally ranked all season. Their strength was on defense as they finished in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (14.9 ppg), total defense (304.7 ypg) and in turnover margin (+18). The offense was OK, and improved as the season went on.

3. San Diego State (9-3, 7-1): Not a lot of separation with these first three teams. The Aztecs won their final seven games of the season, and did it mostly with a powerful run game. What’s even more impressive is San Diego State did a lot of its work with sophomore backup quarterback Adam Dingwell after senior starter Ryan Katz suffered a season-ending leg injury in the eighth game. Coach Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 defense improved as the season went on, thanks in large part to the play up front. That enabled Long to be named the MW Coach of the Year.

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UW-Nevada Q&A swap

Robert Gagliardi, WyoSports’ senior editor, did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The first set are questions Gagliardi asked Murray. The second are questions from Murray.

Look for Q&As with writers who cover the opponents of the University of Wyoming every Friday.

Nevada’s pistol offense has been one of the best in the nation. What has made it so effective so far this season and what, if anything, have teams been able to do to slow it down at times?

The scheme is so unique that teams facing it for the first time struggle to stop it. I think that’s a big advantage for Nevada in its first swing through the Mountain West. The biggest issue teams have is the misdirection. The Pistol can hit a defense in a number of areas and with the pre-snap motion and read-option element. That creates defensive hesitation, and when you create that, you have a major advantage. Throw talented players into the scheme, like quarterback Cody Fajardo, running back Stefphon Jefferson, receiver Brandon Wimberly and tight end Zach Sudfeld, and it’s a nightmare for the opposition. Making it tougher to stop is Fajardo’s ability to throw, which Colin Kaepernick often struggled with. The only times Nevada has been slowed down is when it has turned the ball over or had too many penalties. Nevada is going to move the ball, but defenses have to be sturdy in the red zone and forced field goals rather than touchdowns.

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Tuesday’s UW football notes

Despite not having a game last week, Wyoming sophomore quarterback Brett Smith is sixth in the nation in pass efficiency (179.6), seventh in total offense (362.33 yards per game) and ninth in passing offense (328.3 ypg).

Smith is 141 yards of total offense shy of moving past former quarterback Randy Welniak, the current head of UW’s Cowboy Joe Club, into ninth place in career total offense. Smith has 4,419 and Welniak has 4,559.

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