NCAA Football

Mountain West Conference 2012 Power Rankings: Week Two

The calendar has hit September and the Mountain West Conference has a week of play to talk about.  Overall the conference fared well in week one, going 2-2 against the Pac-12, and 5-5 overall.

Here are the new power rankings in the Mountain West heading into week two.

1.  Boise State  A week one loss at Michigan State is not enough to move the Broncos out of the top spot in the power rankings.  Yes, Joe Southwick had some less than stellar moments, but the junior quarterback looked much more composed than his counterpart Andrew Maxwell.  The Broncos defense held up remarkably well considering all the new starters.

2. Nevada I have to give the Wolf Pack credit for beating Pac-12 school  Cal on the road in the new Memorial Stadium.  Even with new offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich, the Nevada attack looked pretty much the same.  Cody Fajardo was excellent in the win and looks like the best dual threat QB in the conference.

3. Fresno State  Playing FCS Weber State doesn’t exactly provide the best barometer for the Bulldogs improvement under new coach Tim DeRuyter.  Quarterback Derek Carr had pretty numbers along with running back Robbie Rouse.  Next Saturday the Bulldogs play at Oregon.  That will be a much better measuring stick.

4. Wyoming  No surprise that Texas was a bad match-up for the ‘Pokes.  The Longhorns have an elite rushing attack and that’s Wyoming’s biggest weakness on defense.  Watch for quarterback Brett Smith to rebound from a tough outing in which he had some positive moments including an 82 yard touchdown pass.

5. San Diego State  New quarterback Andy Katz had a rough debut for the Aztecs.  Washington will have an improved defense this year, but Katz has to play better against tougher competition.  SDSU was respectable on defense against one of the more potent attacks in the Pac-12, shutting out the Huskies in the final thee quarters, whose only score was a fumble return.

6. Colorado State  I successfully predicted the Rams to win in Denver against in-state rival Colorado.  New head coach Jim McElwain didn’t let me down.  Watching the game it was clear the Rams were short on talent but not on toughness.  CSU is trending up in the Mountain West.  Big opening win to 2012 for the Ft. Collins faithful.

7.  Air Force  A home win against Idaho State isn’t going to impress anyone.  Getting an offense with mostly new starters some reps is much needed, as the Falcons now have to travel to Ann Arbor to play a Michigan team licking its wounds.  Conner Dietz was solid running the option and running back Cody Getz piled up 218 yards and three TDs.

8. Hawaii  Playing USC on the road to open a new season and regime isn’t fair, but as the Warriors were reminded Saturday, life seldom is.  Head coach  Norm Chow will improve Hawaii’s standing, but this is a transition year.

9.  UNLV  The Rebels suffered a heart-breaker at home against Minnesota.  Losing in the third overtime after a 4th quarter lead is tough to swallow for Rebs’ head coach Bobby Hauk.  Running back Tim Cornett and the UNLV offensive line are a great combination, but this team needs quarterback Nick Sherry avoid the costly turnover late i.e. the third overtime.

10.  New Mexico  Until the Lobos actually beat a Mountain West team outside of UNLV, its going to be the basement for them.  Head coach Bob Davie is bringing in a rush heavy offense as the Lobos ran 51 times compared to 10 passing attempts.  FCS Southern doesn’t have the personnel to change UNM’s game plan.  The 66-21 win against an FCS progam isn’t a sign of the strategies success, but it’s a needed confidence booster.

For last week’s power rankings click here.

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James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America

You can follow James on Twitter as well.