With the schedule working out the way it has, the Mountain West Conference might possibly see its most important week ever. A few upsets and the conference could be in good standing, though that could be asking too much, especially with the schedule. That is obviously the biggest story line of the week and the most significant.
Statement games: There are five huge games for the conference this week that could have wide stretching implications on not only the Mountain West, but college football in general. Two of the biggest games -- at least most realistic chance for an upset -- are between BYU and UCLA and TCU and Texas. Victories by either team will solidify the Mountain West's spot as the top non-BCS conference and could position either TCU or BYU for a run at the BCS.
However, those aren't the only big games between the Mountain West and BCS. Colorado State hosts #10 Cal, San Diego State's plays their first game at Washington State and #5 Wisconsin travels to Las Vegas to play the Rebels. Out of these games, it appears SDSU has the best chance and even that is slim. But who knows, because as Appalachian State proved last week, anything can happen. It would be nice though if the Mountain West could get an upset out of this batch, but I think Utah has a better chance of running the table from here on out than UNLV, CSU or San Diego State ending Saturday victorious. And that ain't likely.
Conference opener. It's only week two, but it's the conference opener for both Utah and Air Force. The two meet in Salt Lake Saturday night and the winner will find themselves perched atop the conference ladder all alone, but that won't last long.
For Utah, this win would keep them from their first 0-2 start since 2000, while Air Force will be looking to prove they're back. Either way, this game should prove to be a really good one and I expect a very tight battle.
- Wacking the WAC. Wyoming and New Mexico both play WAC opponents this week, albeit very bad ones. New Mexico plays instate rival New Mexico State, while Wyoming plays host to Utah State. Both games should be won, but the Lobos might have a fight on their hand if their offense is as putrid as it was last week against UTEP. And even though the opponents might not be decent, the Mountain West could move its record to 3-0 against the WAC, as last week UNLV defeated Utah State in Logan.
This is a big week for the Mountain West to make some national noise. But these teams will need to get the job done and it will be a tough task, especially since most of these games are on the road. I do expect both BYU and TCU to at least show up in their games and I hope UNLV, CSU and San Diego State can do the same.