Mountain West Conference 2012 Power Rankings: Week Twelve

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Mountain West Power Rankings Week Twelve

MWFB
Christopher Hanewinckel-US Presswire

Another week and another team goes down in the race for the Mountain West title. With two conference losses the Air Force Falcons are now on the outside looking in. Conversely, the San Diego State Aztecs are still alive in their hunt for first in the conference.

The inside track still belongs to the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Dogs have the week off, so no ground can be gained by the Boise State Broncos. Visiting the blue turf is the Colorado State Rams who are coming off their best performance of the season against the UNLV Rebels.

Moving up in the power rankings are the Wyoming Cowboys. Winners of two games in a row, the Pokes are playing with a healthy Brett Smith which is good news for head coach Dave Christensen who finds himself fighting for his job. If the coach can finish strong on a four game win streak, including their season finale opposite the Aztecs, perhaps Christensen can stay in Laramie a little longer.

An interesting team to keep an eye on is the Nevada Wolf Pack. Always dangerous, especially in Reno, the Pack can play spoiler. Nevada ends their season with a visit from the Broncos. If the Bulldogs and Broncos are the only one loss teams left in the Mountain West, believe Dog nation will be decked out in Wolf Pack gear.

The Aztecs and the Bulldogs have only one more game on their schedule. Rocky Long has to hope that his squad gets help from an Air Force upset. What is the most likely scenario? All the one loss teams left in the Mountain West win out.

I have a feeling the most likely event may not end up being the actual one. Regardless, the Mountain West power rankings for week twelve. Enjoy!

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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 (1-8) (0-6)

UH
Marco Garcia-US Presswire

It didn't matter who Norm Chow used at quarterback against Boise State. Neither Sean Schroeder nor Jeremy Higgins could make much of a difference. Schroeder has been the starter for the entirety of the season meaning Chow has a decision to make about the future of the position. Clearly, as far as 2012 is concerned, the Warriors are the bottom feeders of the Mountain West.

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9. New Mexico Lobos (4-7) (1-5)

UNM
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

It is pretty amazing that the New Mexico Lobos find themselves at nine in the power rankings while they are having their best season in over three years. The Lobos are losers of four consecutive games and have played themselves out of bowl eligibility. However, a 5-8 finish would be remarkable considering what Bob Davie inherited. Nevada is an unlikely W, but a finish with Colorado State would likely move UNM up at least in this forum.

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8. UNLV Rebels (2-4) (2-9)

UNLV
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

Like New Mexico, the Rebels have been trending down after looking much improved. Two wins is nice for coach Bobby Hauck but is it enough tangible success to allow him to stay in Sin City? Getting trounced in Ft. Collins was a rough dose of reality for UNLV. Wyoming and Hawaii are more than likely a split. The Rebels are beat up especially on defense. Looks like another double digit loss year for the team in Vegas.

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7. Colorado State Rams (3-7) (2-4)

CSU
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

Coach Jim McElwain has had a less than stellar debut for Colorado State. Last weekend's win over UNLV was a much needed pick-me-up for a squad looking for any sort of confidence boost it can get. Even more impressive was the final score of 33-11. If the defense can continue their opportunistic ways, and running backs Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke can take pressure of the quarterback position, a win against UNM is highly possible. McElwain has a shot to make 2012 the best finish since 2008.

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6. Wyoming Cowboys (3-7) (2-4)

Wyo
Troy Babbitt-US Presswire

What difference a healthy Brett Smith makes. When the Cowboys QB is playing at his best, he is arguably the most dangerous quarterback in the Mountain West. Unfortunately for the Pokes, their defense continues to under-perform. If there is a bright spot for Wyoming, it is the opportunity to end 2012 on a four game win streak. The final game of the season is opposite San Diego State. Believe coach Dave Christensen needs a strong finish after a tumultuous year.

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5. Nevada Wolf Pack (6-4) (3-3)

UNR
Ron Chenoy-US Presswire

After a 6-1 start to the year, the Wolf Pack have since dropped three in a row. Nevada put up at least 31 points in each loss, meaning the offense isn't the issue here dude. Sorry, had to put in a Big Lebowski reference there. Remaining games against New Mexico in Albuquerque and Boise State in Reno are both possible wins. That is assuming the defense can give Cody Fajardo and the offense a chance.

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4. Air Force Falcons (5-5) (4-2)

USAF
Christopher Hanewinckel-US Preswire

The up and down Falcons march on after losing an outside shot at a conference championship. Troy Calhoun's team still has plenty to play for. A string of six consecutive winning seasons is on the line, along with a sixth strait bowl appearance. A victory against lowly Hawaii Friday night is almost assured, and a loss at Fresno State to close the year at 6-6, is close to money in the bank. Another bowl year for the Falcons.

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3. Fresno State Bulldogs (8-3) (6-1)

FS
Brian Losness-US Presswire

Even though the Bulldogs sit at three in my power rankings, they truly control their destiny in the Mountain West title chase. Only Air Force remains on the Dogs schedule so finishing first is expected. Coach Tim DeRuyter has done a magnificent job at returning Fresno State to where they belong. The loss at Boise State is only conference blemish.

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2. Boise State Broncos (8-2) (5-1)

BSU
Brian Losness -US Presswire

Hope for a Mountain West championship is fading quickly as the Broncos need help to finish numero uno in the conference. Most of Boise State's attention is on the future with a move to the Big East coming in 2013. Two rare losses at home to San Diego State, and the TCU Horned Frogs last year, will likely be enough to keep the Broncos from a conference title in their short Mountain West stay.

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1. San Diego State Aztecs (8-3) (6-1)

SDSU
Christopher Hanewinckel-US Presswire

Again, there is no easy way to rank the top three teams in the Mountain West. SDSU has six wins in a row including victories in Reno and Boise. Even with that being the case, the Aztecs need Fresno State to slip up to be the official Mountain West champs. SDSU is joining BSU in the move to the Big East next year, so there is much on the mind of the Aztecs program. Rocky Long's team better be prepared for a season finale at Wyoming.

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