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NCAA Football Mountain West Football

Mountain West Conference 2012 Power Rankings: Week Nine

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Week Nine Mountain West Power Rankings

MWFB
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

As we enter week nine of the 2012 college football season, the Mountain West is still as wide open as the Colorado plains. Currently within the conference there are four programs at 3-1, with the Boise State Broncos sitting pretty at 3-0.

No big surprises in the conference over the weekend as the Fresno State Bulldogs handily took care of the Wyoming Cowboys. In a chance to prove how far the UNLV Rebels have come, Bobby Hauck's squad was polished off on the blue turf of the Boise State Broncos.

Troy Calhoun's Air Force Falcons had an important win in Colorado Springs over the New Mexico Lobos. An impressive victory by the San Diego State Aztecs over the Nevada Wolf Pack in Reno is enough for both teams to switch spots in my power rankings.

Week eight saw the Hawaii Warriors and the Colorado State Rams on byes. Not surprisingly both squads stay in the basement of Mountain West.

Looking ahead to week nine, several interesting match-ups could further shake up the power rankings. Air Force will host Nevada, and the Lobos could steal a huge win against the visiting Bulldogs. The Mountian West title is still in play for the majority of the conference, and the upcoming slate of games have big time implications.

Incredibly the season is now halfway over. For some Mountain West schools, the season is effectively over already. Wyoming is still winless in conference play and head coach Dave Christensen is suspended for a week and docked $50,000 in pay for his post-game comments to Calhoun in the Cowboys loss to Air Force.

Unfortunately for Wyoming, but fortunately for college football fans, Hawaii is not on the Pokes schedule. The Warriors are struggling on offense and defense as they continue to adapt to Norm Chow's new system.

Click here for last week's power rankings.

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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

Hawaii is still searching for their first win as a member of the Mountain West. It may not happen in 2012 if the Warriors can't steal a victory in Ft. Collins this weekend. Fans on the islands will have to remain patient as Norm Chow is building this team from the ground up.

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

CSU
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

This Saturday the Rams get as good a chance as any for a conference win when the Warriors visit. Both UH and CSU are the bottom two Mountain West schools at total offense. Temperatures Saturday in Ft. Collins should be in the upper 40s which might be the difference against the warm weather Warriors. Otherwise, the Rams are down to their third string QB Conner Smith with both M.J. McPeek and Garrett Grayson going down to injury.

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8. Wyoming Cowboys (1-6) (0-3)

UW
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

So far this has been a forgettable season for Cowboys fans. Just this week head coach Dave Christensen was fined $50,000 and suspended for this weekend's game after directing a few four letter words toward Troy Calhoun. A win against the Broncos Saturday will give the Cowboys a needed feel good story in a season full of disappointment.

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7. UNLV Rebels (1-7) (1-2)

UNLV
Brian Losness-US Presswire

This past weekend served as a barometer for how far the Rebels have come under coach Bobby Hauck (above). While the team is better than it has been, the answer to the aforementioned question is not very. Boise State summarily dispatched of the Rebs in a dominating 32-7 final. The last three games of the season UNLV draws the conference's worst so there is hope they can put up a crooked number in the win column.

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6. New Mexico Lobos (4-4) (1-2)

UNM
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

As much of a downer the loss in Colorado Springs was for the Lobos, they are still enjoying their best season since 2007. Coach Bob Davie has given life to a program in desperate need of a jolt. Now competitive thanks to a solid rushing attack led by Kasey Carrier (above), UNM is in contention for a bowl appearance. An upset over Fresno State would the signature moment for the Lobos in 2012.

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5. Air Force Falcons (4-3) (3-1)

AFA
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

Once again, the Falcons found a way to win a close ball game. After being upset by the Rebels in Las Vegas, the Academy has rebounded with three conference wins in a row. This weekend will be decidedly difficult with the Wolf Pack visiting Falcon Stadium. A win keeps a Mountain West title dream alive.

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4. Nevada Wolf Pack (6-2) (3-1)

UNR
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

Earlier in the season Nevada looked like a team that could steal a conference title from the favored Boise State Broncos. While the showdown with BSU is still looming, last week's loss to the Aztecs puts a serious dent in the Pack's title aspirations. Offensively Nevada has the firepower to win out.

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3. San Diego State Aztecs (5-3) (3-1)

SDSU
Jake Roth-US Presswire

Locked in a four way tie for second in the conference, the Aztecs have a legitimate chance to finish the second half of the season strong. SDSU should be favored in all remaining games with the exception of Boise State on the road. A win November 3 might be all that stands between head coach Rocky Long and a conference title.

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2. Fresno State Bulldogs (5-3) (3-1)

FSU
Brian Losness-US Presswire

Even with a 3-1 conference record, the Bulldogs are a longshot to finish atop the Mountain West. Tim DeRuyter's squad needs the Broncos to lose two conference games which is possible but unlikely. With no more wiggle room, FSU must finish 2012 unscathed for any chance at usurping Boise State.

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1. Boise State Broncos (6-1) (3-0)

BSU
Brian Losness-US Presswire

Chris Petersen is making it abundantly clear that anyone who thought the massive amount of losses on offense and defense would lead to a rough year, wasn't paying attention. As he does year in and year out, Petersen reloads in Boise. The final game of the year at Nevada might be for the conference championship if BSU doesn't have it locked up already.