WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 7 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.
1. Colorado State (4-1 overall, 0-1 MW): The Rams are tied for the longest winning streak in the MW at three, and concluded their nonconference schedule with a 42-17 pasting of Tulsa last week. CSU is one of the more well-rounded teams so far in the league, and also does a good job of flipping field position — leading the MW in net punting (41.9 yards per punt). This week: at Nevada, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). It’s all MW play from here on out for the Rams, and a tricky road game at Nevada will see how well-rounded this team is. Going to go with the Rams in this one. Colorado State 34, Nevada 26.
2. Air Force (4-1, 1-1): The Falcons haven’t lost since at Sept. 6 setback at Wyoming, and also have won three straight. Air Force’s defense has been the biggest surprise this season, as it allows just 116 rushing yards per game, and has allowed the fewest points in the MW (106). This week: at Utah State, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). Air Force already owns a conference win over Boise State, but let’s see what it can do on the road against — all of a sudden — a much improved Utah State squad. I am going to go with the home team in this one. Utah State 27, Air Force 23.
3. Utah State (3-2, 0-0): A big jump up for the Aggies after they dismantled No. 18 BYU on the road last week. A game like that could be the one that starts a big run for the Aggies. And, how about going a little old school with sophomore Nick Vigil playing both ways at running back and linebacker? This week: vs. Air Force, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). Will the Aggies still be up after the big win over BYU or will there be an emotional letdown? Going with the first scenario. Utah State 27, Air Force 23.
4. Boise State (4-2, 2-1): A crazy 51-46 win at Nevada last week showed the Broncos are still formidable and dangerous. When the Broncos don’t turn it over they can beat anyone. Kind of a simplistic statement, but Boise State is just one of a handful of good and intriguing teams in the Mountain Division moving forward. This week: Off.
5. Fresno State (3-3, 2-0): After a rough start, the Bulldogs have won two straight and are 2-0 in league play. I don’t think they are as good as past years, but in a year like this you don’t have to be spectacular to be solid in the MW. This week: at UNLV, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). Fresno State should make it three straight wins against the worst team in the conference. Fresno State 38, UNLV 13.
6. Nevada (3-2, 1-1): A sharp drop for the Wolf Pack, and it was odd to see senior quarterback Cody Fajardo with four turnovers last week against Boise State at home. Deep down, Nevada is better than its current spot, but it will have to prove it. This week: vs. Colorado State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPNU). Losing two straight home games would be a blow, but that’s what will happen. Colorado State 34, Nevada 26.
7. Wyoming (3-2, 1-0): It’s all MW games from here on out for the Cowboys, but injuries along the offensive line continue to plague this team. Even though it didn’t play last week, UW falls a spot this week. This week: at Hawaii, 10 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Hawaii seems to be getting healthier across the board, but somehow, someway, the Cowboys figure out a way to win a close one. Wyoming 20, Hawaii 16.
8. San Diego State (2-3, 1-1): A freshman quarterback wasn’t the answer for the Aztecs last week. They might be able to get away with this this week, but moving forward the Aztecs must get that figured out. This week: at New Mexico, 7:30 p.m. MT Friday (ESPNU). Look for a big game from running back Donnell Pumphrey, and SDSU coach Rocky Long always likes going back to his alma mater and former employer — and beating them. San Diego State 27, New Mexico 17.
9. San Jose State (2-3, 1-1): A road win last week at UNLV was good. The Spartans are still trying to find themselves, but there is reason for optimism. The defense has allowed just 107 points, the second fewest in the MW. This week: Off.
10. New Mexico (2-3, 0-1): Give the Lobos some credit. They were 17-point underdogs at Texas-San Antonio last week, and won 21-9. Odd stat of the week: New Mexico is 0-3 at home and 2-0 on the road. Hard to get the home fans excited when you can’t win on your own turf. This week: vs. San Diego State, 7:30 p.m. MT Friday (ESPNU). Make that 0-4 at home for the Lobos. San Diego State 27, New Mexico 17.
11. Hawaii (1-4, 0-0): The Rainbow Warriors look like they are making another change at quarterback this week, and coach Norm Chow’s wife is having health issues. However, Hawaii may be getting some key guys back on both sides of the ball this week. But will that be enough? This week: vs. Wyoming, 10 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). A close game, a competitive game but Hawaii will give up some big plays late and drop another close one. Wyoming 20, Hawaii 16.
12. UNLV (1-5, 0-2): Losers of four straight, allowed 232 points and scored just 101. Hard to paint a pretty picture for the Rebels right now. This week: vs. Fresno State, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). Unfortunately, things won’t get better this week. Fresno State 38, UNLV 13.
Last week’s picks: 4-4 (trying to put that week past me). Missed SDSU at Fresno State, Utah State at BYU, Navy at Air Force and New Mexico at UTSA.
Season record: 44-10