The Mountain West went into the wee hours of the morning on Sunday but at the end of the day there are three teams left undefeated in Mountain West play and one team searching for a new head coach. Wyoming earned a road win at Nevada to remain unbeaten in Mountain West play. Boise State had to gut out a one point victory over BYU on Thursday night. San Diego State, on the other hand, blew out San Jose State to keep their unbeaten streak alive. Next week will be a big show down in Laramie featuring Boise State and Wyoming for the battle at the top of the Mountain division. Boise State opened up as a 12 point favorite.
In the big news of the Mountain West this week the first axe has dropped on a Mountain West coach. On Sunday Fresno State announced that head coach Tim DeRuyter would be relieved of his coaching duties and that offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau will coach the team for the remainder of the season. This move was not a surprise if you had watched the Bulldogs this season, however, a move during the season was a small surprise. The Bulldogs were clearly going to make a change at some point, and they felt this was the time to do so. The hot name being mentioned already as the next head coach of the Bulldogs is Jeff Tedford, however, does he want that job and can Fresno State afford Tedford?
Now that the first Mountain West head coach has been fired is Ron Caragher at San Jose State next?
In other news Hawaii pulled off what might be the most shocking win of the week as they defeated Air Force in Colorado Springs. The Rainbow Warriors have seen somewhat of a resurgence under first year head coach Nick Rolovich. The Warriors were simply awful last year, but going on the road and getting a win at the Academy is a good feat. You have to think that Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and Warrior head coach Rolovich are the top candidates right now for the Mountain West coach of the year. Both coaches have pulled off impressive feats with their respective teams this year.
Boise State 28
San Jose State 3
San Diego State 42
Air Force 27
Colorado State 42
New Mexico 59
Fresno State 20
Utah State 38
Mountain West Player of the Week
Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming. Hill had 289 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ win over Nevada. Hill reached career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns in a game.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State. 25/39, 442 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Thomas Sperbeck, WR, Boise State. 9 receptions, 109 yards, 1 touchdown.
Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming. 29 carries, 289 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State. 24 carries, 135 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Nate Romine, QB, Air Force. 1/10, 20 yards, 1 INT. 13 rushes, 74 yards, 1 touchdown.
Mountain West Power Rankings
1. Boise State
2. San Diego State
5. New Mexico
6. Colorado State
8. Air Force
10. Utah State
11. San Jose State
12. Fresno State
Looking Ahead to Week 9
Two Friday night games on the docket this week, San Diego State will head to Utah to take on the Aggies of Utah State. Air Force will go the opposite way to take on Fresno State. Boise State will head to Laramie to take on Wyoming for the top of the Mountain division. UNLV will cross the mountains to take on San Jose State. To cap the weekend New Mexico will go across the pond to take on Hawaii.
Final Thoughts and Hot Takes
– DeRuyter’s firing at Fresno came as no surprise to me, I thought this would happen. The part that surprised me was the mid-season firing. I didn’t think Fresno had the budget required to do that.
– That said, if they think they have the budget for Jeff Tedford, as one Fresno media person suggested today is a “done deal”, I would be shocked. His price tag is not going to be small and Fresno’s budget isn’t big. Plus, Tedford left Cal in shambles with APR issues, how does he explain that to a new athletic director?
– San Jose State’s Ron Caragher can’t be far behind. The Spartans might be just as bad as Fresno State is this year.
– Air Force is on a three game losing streak since Wyoming defeated them three weeks ago. The Falcons are in BIG trouble and their season is quickly disappearing in front of them after starting the season 4-0.
– Hawaii winning on the road is impressive. That team was just simply awful last season and I didn’t think Rolo had it in him to turn them around that quickly. I’ve mentioned this before, but Rolo’s twitter account is quite amusing if you’re not following it already.
– Boise State, while they are undefeated at 7-0 certainly don’t look like a team that’s dominating. They looked very human against BYU on Thursday night. I’m not convinced that BYU is a good team, their quarterback situation isn’t great. I was surprised to see that game end up a one point game, especially in Boise. I don’t think Boise finishes the season undefeated.
– However, I did see a projection today of San Diego State in the Cotton Bowl on New Years Day. Wouldn’t that be something. The Aztecs have A LOT of work to do if they want a New Years Six bowl game, which includes winning out in the Mountain West, winning the Mountain West championship, then leap frogging Boise State, Western Michigan, Navy, and Houston to get to one of those bowls. I’m not saying there isn’t a chance, but ….
– On a final note, the Mountain West is home to the only two 1000 yard rushers in FBS. Brian Hill and Donnel Pumphrey are now your FBS rushing leaders through week 8.