Mountain West Power Dozen: QB Smith Has Wyoming On the Rise
By Ken Pomponio
Ranking the Mountain West Conference 1-12 through four weeks of action:
1. Fresno State (3-0, 1-0 MWC)
Last Week: Beat visiting Boise State, 41-40
This Week: at Hawaii, 10 p.m. MT
Quick Take: Breaking through against Broncos for the first time since 2005 was huge, but the ‘Dogs can ill afford to continue their celebration in Honolulu, even against the winless Warriors.
2. Boise State (2-2, 1-1)
Last week: Lost at Fresno State, 41-40
This Week: vs. Southern Miss, 8:15 p.m. MT
Quick Take: A usually stout Broncos’ D has been shredded for 79 points and 1,114 yards in losses to Fresno and Washington.
3. Utah State (2-2, 1-0)
Last Week: Lost at USC, 17-14
This Week: at San Jose State, 6 p.m. PT (Friday)
Quick Take: The Aggies, whose two losses have come by a combined seven points, will try to rebound in this week’s WAC reunion with the Spartans.
4. Wyoming (3-1, 1-0)
Last Week: Won at Air Force, 56-23
This Week: at Texas State, 6 p.m. CT
Quick Take: QB Brett Smith (511 yards of total offense, 60 career TD passes) continued to rewrite the Wyoming record book as the Cowboys scored more points vs. Air Force than ever in a series that dates to 1957.
5. Nevada (2-2, 1-0)
Last week: Beat visiting Hawaii, 31-9
This Week: vs. Air Force, 5 p.m. PT
Quick Take: QB Cody Fajardo, who hasn’t played since Sept. 7 due to a knee injury, is no doubt picking up the pace of his recovery process to get a shot at the conference’s worst defense.
6. San Jose State (1-2, 0-0)
Last Week: Lost at Minnesota, 43-24
This Week: vs. Utah State, 6 p.m. PT (Friday)
Quick Take: The Spartans have been getting pushed around at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, getting outrushed by a combined 550-82 in their last two games, but remain the highest ranked of the five MWC teams who have yet to record a win over an FBS foe.
7. Colorado State (1-3, 0-0)
Last Week: Lost at top-ranked Alabama, 31-6
This Week: vs. UTEP, 1:30 p.m. MT
Quick Take: When is a 31-6 loss something to feel good about? When you only get outgained by 59 yards and three first downs before 100,000-plus fans on the road against the two-time defending national champs.
8. New Mexico (1-2, 0-0)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: vs. UNLV, 6 p.m. MT
Quick Take: The Lobos’ MWC opener is a must-win with Wyoming, Utah State, Boise State and Fresno State all on the upcoming conference schedule.
9. Air Force (1-3, 0-3)
Last Week: Lost to visiting Wyoming, 56-23
This Week: at Nevada, 5 p.m. PT
Quick Take: The Falcons are in an ugly tailspin, having lost their starting QB in the season opener while watching opposing offenses threaten the sound barrier, giving up an average of 50 points and 577.3 yards per outing in three MWC games so far.
10. San Diego State (0-3, 0-0)
Last Week: Lost to visiting Oregon State, 34-30
This Week: at New Mexico State, 6 p.m. MT
Quick Take: The 2012 MWC tri-champ Aztecs rank as the conference’s unquestioned disappointment so far after finding yet another way to lose, this time blowing a 27-14 fourth-quarter lead to fall to the Pac-12 Beavers.
11. UNLV (2-2, 0-0)
Last Week: Beat visiting FCS Western Illinois, 38-7
This Week: at New Mexico, 6 p.m. MT
Quick Take: The Rebels posted their first back-to-back wins of the Bobby Hauck era, and they’re eyeing their first road victory under the embattled coach in the stadium where they notched their last way-from-home triumph back in 2009.
12. Hawaii (0-3, 0-1)
Last Week: Lost at Nevada, 31-9
This Week: vs. Fresno State, 10 p.m. MT
Quick Take: If the Rainbow Warriors couldn’t handle Nevada’s Tyler Stewart, a redshirt freshman who threw three TDs in his first start last week, how can they hope to hang with FSU senior Derek Carr, currently ranked third in the nation with 373.7 passing yards per game?