Mountain West Conference 2012 Power Rankings: Week Eight

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Mountain West Power Rankings Week Eight

MWFB
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

Finally the Mountain West provided two heavyweights for our viewing pleasure. Week seven was highlighted by the Boise State Broncos and the Fresno State Bulldogs competing for the top spot in the conference power rankings.

The Broncos made it very clear, if you want the Mountain West title, you better go through them to get it. Chris Petersen may not have the high-octane offense he is used to, but he does have a punishing defense that forces each opponent to earn every yard.

Also Saturday an epic battle took place over the Fremont Cannon. Looking to upset the Nevada Wolf Pack, the UNLV Rebels stormed to an early lead only to see it evaporate in the end.

Don't look now but the New Mexico Lobos have a winning record. The last time that the Lobos were above .500? try September 15 2007. Norm Chow's Hawaii Warriors continue to struggle unable to hang with the Lobos in Aloha Stadium.

A thriller in Laramie transpired with the Wyoming Cowboys being edged by one, as the Air Force Falcons keep the Pokes win-less in Mountain West play. Speaking of win-less in the conference, the Colorado State Rams were miserable on the road letting the San Diego State Aztecs hang 38 points on the board.

Big games remain in the conference slate that could cause further disruption to the current rankings. Fresno State still must travel to Nevada, San Diego State has something to say about their place in the conference, and Boise State isn't out of the woods yet.

For this week at least there will be a change or two to my new Mountain West power rankings.

For last week's 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.

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10. Hawaii Warriors (1-5) (0-3)

UH
Marco Garcia-US Presswire

As rough as 2012 is for the Warriors, there is no where to go but up. While this season is a complete disaster for Manoa, Norm Chow will get his players and eventually right the ship. Until then, its going to be rough waters for Hawaii. Of course if there was any place in the world you want want to be if you had to lose, it would be on Oahu.

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9. Colorado State Rams (1-6) (0-3)

CSU
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

Does it get much worse for the Rams? Yes this team has bragging rights over in-state rival the Colorado Buffaloes but that's about it. Down to backup quarterback M.J. McPeek (above) CSU suffered more bad luck when McPeek left the San Diego State game early because of an injury. Freshman Conner Smith performed admirably but it wasn't enough to keep CSU from stumbling to their sixth loss in a row.

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8. Wyoming Cowboys (1-5) (0-2)

UW
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

Once again the Cowboys had to play without their star quarterback Brett Smith because of injury. Without Smith, it's hard to imagine the Pokes winning games, but backup freshman Jason Thompson gave the Cowboys a healthy lead only to be surrendered in the fourth quarter. Coach Dave Christensen is cryptic when it comes to the health of his starting QB. Week after week, Wyoming is losing by the smallest of margins. Such losses must be preventing the coaching staff from sleeping at night. With Fresno State and Boise State up next, the insomnia will continue.

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7. UNLV Rebels (1-6) (1-1)

UNLV
Ron Chenoy -US Presswire

It isn't that the Rebels were making bowl reservations, but they do look improved from season's past. Consider rival Nevada was without their starting quarterback Cody Fajardo and you get the gist of why there was quiet confidence in Las Vegas. Fajardo shma-jardo said the Pack. Backup Devin Combs brought Nevada back from a shaky start and led Chris Ault's bunch to a win. The Rebels are better, but still not quite where they want to be. My advice? Keep feeding Tim Cornett (above) the ball.

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6. Air Force Falcons (3-3) (2-1)

USAF
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

A tough come from behind win in Laramie keeps the Falcons in bowl contention and an outsider in the Mountain West race. Cody Getz (above) was held in check by the Cowboys D, but as a team, the Falcons found room to score. Connor Dietz is proving extremely adept at running the Falcons option attack.

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5. New Mexico Lobos (4-3) (1-1)

UNM
Brendan Maloney-US Presswire

Did you hear champagne bottles popping in Albuquerque? For those who stayed up way past their bedtime, the Lobos nabbed their fourth win of the year in Honolulu during the wee hours of Sunday morning. Bob Davie has quickly made an impact on the hapless UNM football program. The last time the Lobos won outside of their home state was in 2007. Kasey Carrier can make plays in the run game, and the two QB system with passer B.R. Holbrook, and runner Cole Gautsche is working. Two more wins and would you believe the Lobos are bowl eligible?

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4. San Diego State Aztecs (4-3) (2-1)

SDSU
Jake Roth-US Presswire

There is a lot to like about the Aztecs offensively. Ryan Katz is an effective dual threat quarterback, Adam Muema is averaging 6.3 yards a carry, and tight end Gavin Escobar is a mismatch in the passing game. A win in Reno will keep the Aztecs in conference title contention, and at least almost assure a bowl game.

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3. Nevada Wolf Pack (6-1) (3-0)

UNR
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

Even without Cody Fajardo, the Wolf Pack still survived rival UNLV with backup Devin Combs. As the Pack roll the Fremont Cannon to Reno they do so with the knowledge that they are still looking at best of Mountain West teams ahead on the schedule. Stefphon Jefferson is a beast of a running back that will make the difference between a conference championship and an also ran.

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2. Fresno State Bulldogs (4-3) (2-1)

FSU
Brian Losness-US Presswire

My top team has finally fallen. The Bulldogs looked like the better squad for much of the year, but when it came time to prove it, the Dogs failed on the blue turf. Stifled by the Broncos run defense, Robbie Rouse (above) was held to an average of 3.1 yards a carry, two below his season average. Fresno State should run off three wins in a row, before they travel to Reno November 10.

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1. Boise State Broncos (5-1) (2-0)

BSU
Brian Losness-US Presswire

Maybe the Broncos didn't blow out the Bulldogs like they usually do on the blue surface, but they got a win anyway. For coach Chris Petersen, that's all that matters in 2012. Style points are out the window, as Boise State is taking care of business with defense and a strong run game. The emergence of redshirt freshman back Jay Ajayi (above) has taken pressure off of fellow back D.J. Harper having to carry the load.

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