Week eight has come and gone in Mountain West football this season and we’re looking at a very similar situation as last week. As far as the stars aligning for the conference championship game the top four teams are still in the same place they were a week ago. Utah State and San Diego State played relatively close games, while Boise State and Fresno State were in games that were not as competitive.
Utah State still has some tough games coming up against Hawaii, New Mexico, and Boise State. Fresno has a similar path as they take on Hawaii, Boise, and San Diego State. Boise’s tough games will be BYU, Fresno State, and Utah State. San Diego State has the easiest path, their toughest games being Fresno State and Hawaii.
Nevada made their way to the islands this week to take on Hawaii. The Pack has had an up and down year but seem to be on the rebound. Hawaii, on the other hand, seem to be trending down, taking two straight losses. The teams started off the game trading scores, with Hawaii getting on the board first with a Cedric Byrd touchdown from Cole McDonald. Nevada would respond with a field goal. Nevada would respond two minutes later with a Ty Gangi touchdown pass to Elijah Cooks. On the following drive Cole McDonald would hit John Ursua for a 70 yard touchdown pass. From there it was all Nevada getting touchdowns from Devonte Lee, Cooks, Toa Tua to go out for a 40-22 win on the island.
Utah State would take the trip down I-80 to take on the Cowboys in Laramie on homecoming. The Cowboys have been trending down the last few weeks due to a lack of offensive output, despite the defense still being an elite group. Utah State came into the game looking to continue their dominance in 2018. The game looked like it was going to get out of hand as the Aggies got out to a 24-6 lead most of the way through the third quarter. Wyoming made a swap at quarterback and brought in true freshman Sean Chambers. Chambers rushed for over 100 yards, joining running back Nico Evans, to get the Pokes back into it. However, a failed last drive ended in a loss for Wyoming.
Onto the rest..
Colorado State 28
Boise State 56
Air Force 41
Utah State 24
Fresno State 38
New Mexico 7
San Jose State 13
San Diego State 16
Mountain West Player of the Week
This week’s Mountain West player of the week is Air Force’s Isaiah Sanders. Sanders was 9/11 for 217 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 21 times for 173 yards and three touchdowns as Air Force defeated UNLV on Friday night.
Mountain West MVP Candidates
Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State – 22/26 for 308 yards and 4 TDs
Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii – 19/37 for 259 yards and 3 TDs
Marcus McMaryion, QB, Fresno State – 20/30 for 280 yards and 3 TDs
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State – 12/28 for 53 yards and 1 INT
John Ursua, WR, Hawaii – 7 receptions for 123 yards and 1 TD
Mountain West Power Rankings
San Diego State
San Jose State
The Quad Shot
San Jose State leads off again in the quad shot. They had a near miss this weekend as they almost beat San Diego State. Not sure what happened here, but the Aztecs must be really feeling the loss of Juwan Washington. The Aztecs are still in contention for the West division title but somehow took a field goal to beat the Spartans. Amazing. Perhaps San Jose State had a rare moment of clarity enough to almost pull this one off.
Wyoming employed the strategy this week of pulling their redshirt freshman QB in favor of a true freshman QB. It nearly worked out for the Cowboys, giving them a needed boost to nearly knock off Utah State. The Aggies came into Laramie red hot, scoring 51 points a game. However, the Cowboy defense wasn’t going to get run all over again and held the Aggies in check. Bridger’s Rifle still went back to Logan, but the Cowboy offense is finally showing signs of life after being on life support the last few weeks.
Utah State is picking up steam in the AP Top 25 as well as the Coaches poll. They’re 27th in both polls this week, 29 votes behind Appalachian State in the AP and 33 votes behind Miami in the Coaches poll. Not bad for the Aggies, making that slow climb. Going to be tough for the Mountain West to land a team in the New Year’s Six slot unless Central Florida, South Florida, and Appalachian State have a catastrophic failure. I’d say that the Aggies could easily leapfrog App State and the way USF has been climbing it might be in the realm of possibility to leapfrog them as well, but getting past Central Florida will be tough. Danny White sent a sternly worded Tweet today about the lack of respect his team is getting. He forgets that his conference helped create this monster.
If the college football playoff was to shake out right now you’d probably be looking at a top four of Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan. Comparing those programs to any program in the Mountain West or American Athletic makes it abundantly clear that in the current iteration of college football there will never be a Mountain West or AAC team in that spot. The schools in those respective conferences just don’t have the money, the facilities, the recruiting, the coaching, or anything to ever be able to tell a recruit with a straight face, “We’re here to play for national championships.” There has to be something give eventually where the “Group of Five” break off, throw in the Missouri Valley, Big Sky, and Colonial Athletic Association and be a true Group of Five where the money, the facilities, coaching, recruiting, etc are more level across the board. Of course you’ll have teams like Houston, Central Florida, Boise State that are heads above the lower Big Sky and Missouri Valley.. but there’d be a lot of competition. Don’t @ me.