The first week of college football is already in the books and the Mountain West Conference is looking rather pathetic. Outside of Utah's embarrassing loss to a tough UCLA team, the conference struggled in many of its out of conference games.
The worst performance by far however came from the New Mexico Lobos, who lost to D1-AA Portland State at home. The loss was rather disturbing because I thought New Mexico would be one of the better teams in conference this season. I hope I'm wrong, because if the Lobos are one of the top teams, we're screwed as a conference.
When it was all said and done, the Mountain West Conference went 4-4, with TCU being the only team to get a win against a BCS team (Baylor). Colorado State beat D1-AA Weber State and UNLV beat D1-AA Idaho State, while Wyoming defeated Utah State rather convincingly. Outside of the Lobos loss to Portland State, Utah, as I mentioned, was defeated by UCLA and TDS lost to Arizona. Thursday night the Aztecs were beat by a sound UTEP team.
In reality, no team looked really dominate. TCU struggled against a Baylor team that went 5-6 last year and was implementing a new offensive scheme this season. The game didn't turn TCU's way until starting quarterback Jeff Ballard went down and Marcus Jackson stepped up to lead them to victory. Prior to Ballard's injury, TCU's offense stumbled during drives and could never really find its offensive flow. Wyoming's dominate win over Utah State was nice, however Utah State is still a team rebuilding and hasn't had a winning season since going 6-5 in 1996.
TDS struggled against Arizona, as their offense looking impotent throughout most of the game. It's difficult to say if TDS' defense was really good, or if Arizona's offense was really bad. That's the hindrance of week one play, you don't have any other games to compare them to. Last year TDS' defense struggled and I question whether they got it together that quickly, especially against an Arizona team that averaged a paltry 23 PPG last year.
It would seem that there are just as many unknowns -- if not more -- than there were prior to the season. I do think TCU is the best team in the conference, however after that it's impossible to say. Utah and TDS -- both picked to finish toward the top -- looked very unimpressive in their debut games and it will be interesting to see what exactly happens in the next coming weeks. TDS opens their home schedule next week against a very good Tulsa team while Utah plays D1-AA Nothern Arizona University. I'm hoping that game against NAU is a tune up for the Utes and they get all their kinks out, because after that the schedule toughens up quite a bit.
Week one told us nothing about this conference, just that there may be a lot of parity this season. Maybe next week will give us a better feel of where each team stands, but until then here's my weekly conference power rankings.
- TCU: They're here until they lose. The Frogs were the only MWC team to get a victory over a BCS team and while it wasn't impressive, a road victory against an instate BCS rival is pretty good.
- CSU: Without Bell, their offense looked rather average against Weber State. However a win is a win and as New Mexico proved, you can't take victories over D1-AA opponents for granted.
- Wyoming: Cowboys opened up the season with a nice home win against Utah State. USU won't be good this year and it's difficult to say whether the Cowboys will be, too. But it's a win and the conference struggled getting those last weekend.
- UNLV: The Rebels dominated an outmatched Idaho State team. Good start, but it's impossible to tell if UNLV is any better than last year. Next week they face Iowa State on the road. That'll be a true test and if they can gut out a victory, they might be the surprise team in the conference this season.
- SDSU: Long opened up his career with a loss, yet you can't help but like the effort the Aztecs put forth in the second half. They could have very well given up during their home loss to UTEP, but they fought back and made a game of it.
- TDS: Arizona isn't good and neither is TDS. They struggled offensively, as Arizona's defense completely took away TDS' ability to stretch the field vertically. Without the deep threat, TDS' offense was relegated to a fickle running attack and short passes that were ultimately ineffective.
- Utah: UCLA was a better opponent than Arizona, but there is no excuse for Utah's offensive struggles. They should have produced more points and until they can prove their offense is better than what was shown Saturday, I don't see them being a top-tier MWC team.
- New Mexico: You lose to a D1-AA team at home and you should automatically be dropped to D1-AA. But since that won't happen, I'll drop the Lobos to the bottom of the rankings.
These are not conference standings or predictions on what the final rankings will be. Rather they're power rankings of a team's performance and it will most likely dramatically change over the next week when more games are played. I did not include Air Force because the Falcons did not play a game and it's impossible to judge where they should be ranked without a game being played.