Mountain West Conference: Week Five Predictions
Troy Calhoun Air-Force Falcons
Let us agree that week four in the Mountain West wasn’t my best effort for picking winners as I went 4-4. In my defense, just about every game on the slate last week was evenly matched. Overall the Mountain West picture is getting blurrier with each contest, which means going forward, it could be a wild ride.
After coming so close in each of their three losses, the UNLV Rebels finally notched their first win of year upsetting the Air Force Falcons in Las Vegas. After pummeling the Colorado Buffaloes, the Fresno State Bulldogs let me down with a loss at the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
The Rebels were joined by two other Mountain West schools to finally get a W. Bob Davie’s New Mexico Lobos surpassed their win total for each of the past three seasons with a victory over their in-state rival the New Mexico State Aggies.
A win over the Idaho Vandals has head coach Dave Christensen’s Wyoming Cowboys at 1-3 heading into a bye week.
Unfortunately for the orange and blue faithful, life without Kellen Moore is not going to be easy. Against a stingy defense, the Boise State Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown at home for the first time since joining the FBS.
Credit goes to the BYU Cougars for an all-around solid performance, but much of the blame is on Broncos quarterback Joe Southwick for being unable to stretch the field. In contrast, the Nevada Wolf Pack enjoyed a breakout seven touchdown effort by running back Stefphon Jefferson who is now the nation’s leading rusher at 174.8 yards per game.
What do these close calls, and upsets mean for the conference as a whole? The teams at the top are not quite as pretty as once predicted, and the teams at the bottom are not as ugly.
How will week five play out? Let’s a take a gander shall we?
Sean Schroeder Hawaii Warriors
Friday night the Hawaii Warriors travel to the mainland where they will meet BYU. The big question in this game is whether or not Cougars senior QB Riley Nelson will play after being beat up in Boise. Even if freshman Taysom Hill gets the start instead of Nelson, UH will still have its hands full with BYU’s defense.
All-time the Warriors are 0-8 in Provo. If that is to change, Hawaii signal-caller Sean Schroeder will need time to throw the football. The Cougars do not give up yards easy, especially with linebacker Kyle Van Noy lurching in the front seven.
Prediction: Hawaii 17 BYU 29
Stefphon Jefferson Nevada Wolf Pack
Nevada has to be on cloud nine with their 69-24 win in Oahu last weekend. After a 170 yard seven touchdown showing, Stefphon Jefferson looks like the most dangerous running back in the Mountain West. The Texas State Bobcats are giving up an average of 36 points a game. Nevada averages 44.
Prediction: Nevada 48 Texas State 20
Cody Getz Air Force
Both Air Force and the Colorado State Rams could use a little confidence. Since a win against CU, the Rams have gone 0-3. Air Force has lost both games since their opener as well. Something has to give in Colorado Springs Saturday.
I’ll give the edge to the Falcons to take advantage of a Rams defense that allows 159 yards against on the ground. The contest should be close.
Prediction: Colorado State 28 Air Force 30
Matt Miller Boise State
Boise State looked lost for words after an ugly 7-6 win over BYU last Thursday. Only 261 total yards with no offensive points to show for it, has Bronco fans upset over play calling, effort, and where 2012 is headed. BSU did win the game though.
New Mexico could pull off the biggest program win in recent memory knocking off a ranked opponent at home. I like the pistol formation and run-first mentality coach Davie has brought to Albuquerque. My guess is that Chris Petersen and company will have better production against the Lobos.
Prediction: Boise State 35 New Mexico 17
Nick Sherry UNLV Rebels
The good news for UNLV is they finally have a win under their belt, quarterback Nick Sherry is developing nicely, and running back Tim Cornett continues to be a positive presence carrying the rock. Now it’s time for bad news. The Utah State Aggies are a good team and the first of five tough games in a row for the Rebels.
A much too talented Aggies team has the edge in Logan.
Prediction: UNLV 13 Utah State 35
Derek Carr Fresno State Bulldogs
Saturday’s nightcap features the San Diego State Aztecs at Fresno State. I was lauding the Aztecs after their week one defense performance against the Washington Huskies. Since then, my opinion has changed to utter disappointment. SDSU has struggled against the pass which isn’t good considering they have play in Fresno against arguably the best passing quarterback in the conference. Derek Carr leads potent Bulldogs attack that should find the enzone plenty of times.
SDSU can run the ball behind two talented backs, which matches up well against a well below average Dogs run D. Still, I don’t see FSU losing at home.
Prediction: San Diego State 29 Fresno State 38