Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 6

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 6 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Nevada (3-1 overall, 1-0 MW): The Wolf Pack didn’t jump from No. 2 to No. 1 just because of its 21-10 road win at San Jose State, but it also has allowed the fewest points of any MW team this season (77). Throw in dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo and, at least right now, Nevada is at the top. This week: vs. Boise State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). We should see how good Nevada is this week. Boise State is will be mad and motivated after a road loss at Air Force. Going to go with the road team in a close one. Boise State 24, Nevada 21.

2. Colorado State (3-1, 0-1): An impressive 24-21 win at Boston College last week. The Rams lead the conference in total offense (492 ypg) and are second in scoring (32 ppg). A couple of key starters a banged up this week — including quarterback Garrett Grayson, but it won’t matter much this week. This week: vs. Tulsa, 1 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online only). The Rams’ impressive offensive numbers should climb and they will win their third straight game. Colorado State 38, Tulsa 16.

3. Air Force (3-1, 1-1): One of the biggest moves up this week. Not many saw the Falcons’ 28-14 home win over Boise State coming. Air Force leads the MW in scoring (33.2 ppg) and is third in scoring defense (21.2 ppg). Maybe the biggest surprise is it is seventh nationally in rushing defense (82.2 ypg). This week: vs. Navy, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). This game should decide the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy winner this year. Again, going with the road team here in a close one. Navy 27, Air Force 23.

4. San Diego State (2-2, 1-0): An expected 34-17 home win over UNLV last week, but let’s see if the Aztecs can go on the road this week in league play and win. SDSU also will start a true freshman quarterback in Nick Bawden. Its stay in the top four may not last long — or could it? This week: at Fresno State, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). For some reason I like road teams this week. I think the Aztecs will play good enough defense to make Fresno throw the ball more, which is not a good thing. San Diego State 28, Fresno State 20.

5. Boise State (3-2, 1-1): Six turnovers at Air Force was something I didn’t see coming. Still, I don’t think the Broncos are that bad, but they have some things to prove. However, they will bounce back this week — as long as they keep the turnovers down. This week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Look for Nevada to slow down running back Jay Ajayi, but quarterback Grant Hedrick must — and will — play better. Boise State 24, Nevada 21.

6. Wyoming (3-2, 1-0): We’ve seen the Cowboys aren’t ready to compete with top 10 teams as both of their losses to Oregon and Michigan State were by a combined 76 points. But they are 3-0 against other squads. More consistency on offense and making more plays on defense is needed, but right now UW is a solid middle of the pack team. This week: off.

7. Fresno State (2-3, 1-0): The Bulldogs survived a road game at New Mexico last week. The offense is coming along, but the defense still can’t stop anybody (41.2 ppg, 509.2 ypg). Saturday’s home game should be a good gauge to see if this team will be a contender or pretender in the MW. This week: vs. San Diego State, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). Until I see better defense from the Bulldogs, I just couldn’t pick them — even against a true freshman quarterback. San Diego State 28, Fresno State 20.

8. Utah State (2-2, 0-0): Even being off last week, things keep getting worse for the Aggies. Senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton (knee) is out for the season — the same guy Utah State promoted as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Injuries on defense also have hurt (no pun intended). The Aggies just don’t have the same swagger or confidence as the last couple of years. This week: at No. 18 Brigham Young, 8:15 p.m. Friday (ESPN). Yikes, a prime-time game in Provo when the Cougars are ranked? BYU 41, Utah State 17.

9. Hawaii (1-3, 0-0): The Rainbow Warriors move up even without playing last week. This team has lost all of its games against Pac-12 teams, but were competitive in all of them. Not sure how that will translate as the season progresses, but Hawaii will beat someone it is not supposed to at some point. This week: at Rice, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (American Sports Network). Trips to the mainland are always tough, and even though Rice is only 1-3, it will end tough for Hawaii. Rice 32, Hawaii 23.

10. San Jose State (1-3, 0-1): A new quarterback in Joe Gray should be a good move down the road for the Spartans. But they need to do more on offense as their 72 points is the lowest in the league. This week: vs. UNLV, 6 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNews). Not exactly a marquee match-up in the MW, but this is a game the Spartans should win. San Jose State 24, UNLV 13.

11. New Mexico (1-3, 0-1): 333.5 rushing yards and 90.5 passing yards per game for the Lobos this season, and a defense that allows nearly 40 points per game. Not a winning combination. This week: at Texas-San Antonio, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (American Sports Network). New Mexico is a 17-point underdog against a school that has played football for less than 10 years. Enough said. UTSA 38, New Mexico 24.

12. UNLV (1-4, 0-1): Tied with San Jose State with the longest losing streak in the MW at three, but something has to give this week. UNLV has one of the worst defenses in the nation, and the offense isn’t that hot, either. This week: at San Jose State, 6 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNews). I can’t come up with enough reasons to think UNLV will win, can you? San Jose State 24, UNLV 13.

Last week’s picks: 4-2 (missed Boise State at Air Force and Colorado State at Boston College)

Season record: 40-6