Week one is in the books and the Mountain West is actually looking pretty strong. Luckily for Utah, the teams that look the strongest are at the end of the conference schedule, when Utah's offense should be far improved with a healthy Brian Johnson.
It's not clear who's the conference favorite, but based on week one performances, TCU, BYU and Wyoming should all compete for the conference crown. Of course, how good you look in week one does not always mean you'll look good in week 12. Just ask CSU, who opened their season up with an impressive win over CU last year and finished the year with only 4 wins.
Team of the week: Wyoming. The Pokes opened the season with an impressive defensive victory over Virginia. While the Cavaliers are by no means a good team, the Cowboys barely lost to them last year in Charlottesville, so this victory should go along way at getting Wyoming back to a bowl game, something they missed even after finishing 6-6 in 2006.
Dud of the week: Utah. Ouch, I hate putting them there, but no other team, maybe except New Mexico, stunk it up like the Utes. Yeah, they were without their starting running back and quarterback for most of the game, but they still managed pitiful offensive movement. With a secondary as week as the Beavers, I expected more than 7 points (which were scored before Johnson went down), even with Grady in there.
And now, the rankings...
|The Frogs certainly weren't overlooking Baylor, as their defense dominated, shutting the Bears out. And while their offense didn't set the world on fire, it really didn't need to. I think this game shows TCU's defense is going to be a force and I expect it to be on full display Saturday against Texas.
|This is definitely not the BYU offense of last year, but does it really need to be with a defense like this? BYU manhandled an unprepared Arizona squad Saturday and kicked off the 2007 season in impressive fashion. It'll be interesting to see if their defense can have this much success Saturday against UCLA's potent offense. BYU should once again compete for a conference championship.
|Joe Glenn really needed a solid start to the 2007 season and he got it. The Cowboys took care of Virginia 23-3, all but ending the Al Groh era in Charlottesville. Wyoming should easily start 2-0, as they play USU next week, an Aggie team that may not win a game this season.
|This one must sting for the Rams, as they had CU on the ropes Saturday afternoon. The Rams watched as Colorado forced overtime and then all hope was dashed when a CU interception resulted in a game winning field goal. Not all is lost, because Colorado State looked fairly tough, but this isn't a great Colorado team, either and CSU should have won. It doesn't get any easier though, as the Rams play Cal next week.
|I don't expect Air Force to stay this high for the rest of the season, but they're here by default. The Falcons did open the Troy Calhoun era with a pretty solid win over South Carolina State. In that game Air Force displayed their new offense, which has little to do with DeBerry's wishbone attack. Air Force plays Utah next week, which gives them a good opportunity to open the season 2-0 and 1-0 in conference play.
|Like Air Force, I don't see UNLV staying this high for long. The Rebels looked terrible in their win over USU, but I can't honestly rank them lower than teams that lost badly (Utah and New Mexico) and a team that didn't play (San Diego State). For that, they'll sit here for this week. But be on notice, UNLV, your days of being ranked higher than 7th won't last.
|The Lobos defense didn't look that bad in their loss to UTEP, but their offense couldn't score with Paris Hilton. And their game against the Miners was horribly boring and some of the worst football from two teams I've seen in a while. The ending was even worse, as New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie, with no time outs and the clock ticking toward zero, decided to run the ball instead of throwing it up in desperation. He was sacked, the clock continued and the game ended. The Lobos do get an easier game this week against instate rival New Mexico State, but they won't do much if their offense performs like it did in El Paso.
|Too harsh? Maybe, but that loss left a sour taste in my mouth. Out of all the losses the conference saw this week, Utah's was the only one by double digits. Every other game was competitive and it's hard to ignore that. Hopefully, Utah's stay at the bottom is short lived.
I didn't rank San Diego State because they didn't play. I'll add them next week.