Week two is officially done and the Mountain West Conference had a respectable showing in many key games last Saturday. Which is a complete 180 from last week, where most of the conference looked dejected.
Air Force had the game of the week, going into Knoxville and nearly stunning 11th ranked Tennessee. After scoring a touchdown with 1:35 remaining in the game, Falcons coach Fisher DeBerry opted to go for the win instead of the tie. That plan backfired and the Vols preserved a one point victory. So instead of pulling off one of the bigger upsets of the season, Air Force walked away losers and now must regroup when they travel to Laramie in two weeks to face Wyoming. It was a gutsy call by the veteran coach, but one that failed to pay off and may end up demoralizing an Air Force team that has struggled for wins over the past few years.
Wyoming and UNLV also lost close games to BCS teams. The Pokes failed to make a game-tying PAT against Virginia in their 12-13 OT loss to the Cavaliers. While UNLV's last second touchdown pass to tie the game fell incomplete as time expired on the road in their 10-16 loss to Iowa State. Those close calls were all that stood between the Mountain West Conference and a perfect week two.
And, like last week, no team looked truly awe-inspiring in victory this week. Colorado State was the only team to defeat a BCS program this week, overcoming a terrible Colorado team 14-10. The win wasn't pretty, but impressive just for the sheer fact Colorado is still a BCS team and it was an instate rivalry game. Colorado State also joined TCU as the only two Mountain West teams that have victories over BCS teams. TCU, in week one, defeated Baylor on the road.
TDS' victory over Tulsa was very impressive. Coming in there were a lot of questions about their offense, however Tulsa's defense was no match. TDS won the game 49-24, this only a week after putting up a measly 13 points on Arizona. Either Arizona's defense is unbelievably good, or Tulsa's defense is unbelievably bad. Either way, it was a good victory for TDS and much in the form of Colorado State's victory over Nevada last year (the Rams waxed WAC Co-champion Nevada 42-21).
New Mexico bounced back after losing to D1-AA Portland State, defeating instate rival New Mexico State. It was a nice turnaround, but it's not like the Aggies are any good. It was an expected win, though much closer than it really should have been. The Lobos also lost starting quarterback Kole McKamey for the season and that's a big blow for a program already reeling from a disastrous start.
Both Utah and TCU faced non-D1-A opponents, with both doing what they were expected to do. TCU faced DII UC Davis and handled them with ease 46-13, while Utah blew past Northern Arizona, 45-7. San Diego State, who plays Wisconsin this week, had a bye week.
Doubts remain entering week three, but I believe we will start to get a better feel of who will be competing for the conference championship and who will not. UNLV travels to Hawaii, CSU to Nevada, BYU to Boston College, San Diego State to Wisconsin while New Mexico hosts Missouri, TCU hosts Texas Tech and Wyoming hosts Boise State. These are all big games that should start putting some separation between the top of the conference and the bottom. I left off Utah because, like last week, they play a pretty unimposing team and should win convincingly. Granted it's a road game against instate rival Utah State, but Utah should dominate. In fact, I think a close win, or even worse a loss, would tell us more about this Utah team than a blowout win. So here's to a blowout win and at least another week of questions for the Utes.
Until next week, here's my weekly conference power rankings.
- TCU: I see no reason to drop TCU and will keep them here until another conference team proves they're better. The Frogs may not have looked entirely impressive in week one and last week won as easily as expected, but they own the nations longest winning streak and that's enough to keep them in the top spot.
- CSU: Tough putting Colorado State up here because I do not think they're this good. However you can't argue with the facts and those state the Rams are undefeated with one win over a BCS team. If I'm going to overlook TCU's performance against Baylor in week one, surely I can overlook CSU's lackluster performance against CU in week two.
- TDS: A bad loss followed by an impressive win. This either means they've turned things around, or -- like last year -- it's going to be a rollercoaster ride down in Provo. I think Tulsa is a good team, but definitely not as good as the hype we heard leading up to the season. It will be interesting to see how TDS does on the road against a ranked Boston College team. If they play like they did against Arizona, it could get ugly.
- Utah: A big jump over last week's rankings, but I think it's warranted. They did what they had to do and walked away with a 45-7 victory over a clearly out-talented Northern Arizona team. They better keep this up, because my optimism is building again.
- Air Force: They lost, but if there is such a thing as a moral victory, last Saturday's game would be it. I don't think Air Force is anywhere near as good as Tennessee and don't expect them to compete for the conference championship, that said, this is a power ranking and right now they're looking mighty impressive.
- Wyoming: An extra point from double OT and a possible victory over a bad ACC team. Much like Air Force, Wyoming is going to spend this week thinking of what could have been. However the Pokes showed up and played Virginia tough, even if they still lost.
- UNLV: Like Wyoming and Air Force, UNLV is left with only what ifs. The Rebels thought they had a game-tying touchdown, only to have it ruled incomplete and thus ending any chance for a victory against a decent Big 12 team.
- SDSU: Did not play this week, but their close loss in week one looks even better with UTEP's near upset of a ranked Texas Tech team Saturday night.
- New Mexico: Until they prove their loss to D1-AA Portland State was a fluke, they're staying here. Sorry, but barely beating a New Mexico State team that has won a grand total of one game since the start of the 2005 season does not impress me.
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.