Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 8

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of the Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 8 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Colorado State (5-1 overall, 1-1 MW): The Rams keep rolling. They have the league’s longest winning streak at four, and are coming off a nice road win at Nevada last week. Colorado State leads the MW in scoring (33.5 ppg) and is second in scoring defense (22.8 ppg). Right now, the most complete team in the conference. This week: vs. Utah State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The two best teams — at least this week — in the MW face off. Going with the home team in one of the better games this season. Colorado State 33, Utah State 28.

2. Utah State (4-2, 1-0): The Aggies seem to have their swagger back after the season-ending knee injury to senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Sophomore Darell Garretson is making fans forget about Keeton, and sophomore Nick Vigil continues to play both linebacker and running back — and is good at both. This week: at Colorado State, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). The Aggies are more than capable of winning, but I’m going with the hot team at home. Colorado State 33, Utah State 28.

3. Boise State (4-2, 2-1): The Broncos move up one spot despite being off last week. There isn’t much of a gap between the top four teams in this week’s power rankings. The team will have to do without senior wide receiver Matt Miller (ankle) the rest of the season, which is a big blow. This week: vs. Fresno State, 6 p.m. MT Friday (ESPN). This looked like one of the games of the year before the season started, but now it’s just one the Broncos win fairly easily. Boise State 38, Fresno State 21.

4. Air Force (4-2, 1-2): The loss at Utah State wasn’t a big surprise last week, but the 34-16 margin was a bit of an eye-opener. Still couldn’t drop the Falcons too far this week based on the inconsistent play of the teams in the West Division. This week: vs. New Mexico, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). Air Force should rebound in a big way in a game where both teams want to run the ball. Air Force 40, New Mexico 23.

5. San Diego State (3-3, 2-1): The Aztecs allow a MW-low 20.2 points per game, and have the nation’s ninth-leading rusher in sophomore Donnel Pumphrey (134.5 ypg). If the team can stabilize its quarterback situation, look out. This week: vs. Hawaii, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Look for the Aztecs to notch another win thanks to their defense and Pumphrey. San Diego State 27, Hawaii 13.

6. San Jose State (2-3, 1-1): The Spartans are tough to figure out. They have the nation’s best pass defense (89.6 ypg) and some very talented weapons on offense, yet average just 21 points per game and their 105 points over five games is the fewest in the league. I think the Spartans are beginning to put it all together and is a team to watch out for. This week: at Wyoming, 2 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN3). Just as I say that, San Jose State will play well, but not well enough as it loses a close on the road where it is 0-2 this season. Wyoming 24, San Jose State 21.

7. Nevada (3-3, 1-2): The Wolf Pack dropped its second straight conference home game last week. Those games were close and the team should be better than this week’s ranking, but it’s not. This week: at BYU, 8:15 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). BYU also is reeling after two straight losses, but it is tough not to go with the home team on national TV. BYU 24, Nevada 16.

8. Fresno State (3-4, 2-1): Just when you thought the Bulldogs had things straightened out, they go to last-place UNLV and get beat in overtime last week. Fresno State is still capable of beating anybody in the West Division — and in the league — but figuring them out is about as easy as figuring out when it will rain again in the valley there in central California. This week: at Boise State, 6 p.m. MT Friday (ESPN). Fresno State hasn’t won in Boise in 30 years. It will have to wait longer. Boise State 38, Fresno State 21.

9. Hawaii (2-4, 1-0): The only unbeaten team in league play in the West Division thanks to its home win last week over Wyoming. Not sure if the Rainbow Warriors will stay this high for long. They better hope sophomore quarterback Ikaika Woolsey doesn’t get hurt because they are out of options. This week: at San Diego State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Hawaii faces a much better defense and the league’s best running back. Too much for the Rainbow Warriors to handle. San Diego State 27, Hawaii 13.

10. Wyoming (3-3, 1-1): The Cowboys are falling fast after being outscored 28-7 in the second half in their 38-28 loss at Hawaii. They also lost senior free safety and co-captain Darrenn White (knee) for the season. The secondary, and the entire defense, is struggling, and the offense remains inconsistent. This week: vs. San Jose State, 2 p.m. MT Saturday (ESPN3). That said, first-year coach Craig Bohl and his staff find a way for the Cowboys to improve to 4-0 at home and win another close one. Wyoming 24, San Jose State 21.

11. UNLV (2-5, 1-1): Not sure anyone outside of the UNLV locker room saw the Rebels beating Fresno State 30-27 in overtime last week. Good for coach Bobby Hauck, one of the good guys in the league. For now, the Rebels are out of the power rankings cellar. This week: Off.

12. New Mexico (2-4, 0-2): Here’s the stat of the year for you. The Lobos are 2-0 on the road and 0-4 at home. So there may be a chance this week, right? I don’t think so. This week: at Air Force, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). The top two rushing teams in the conference go at it, but the difference will be Air Force is second in rushing defense and New Mexico is last. Air Force 40, New Mexico 23.

Last week’s picks: 3-2. Missed Fresno State at UNLV and Wyoming at Hawaii

Season record: 47-12