Conference play is going to be kicking into gear now and I suspect we'll see the pretenders weeded out from the contenders in the coming weeks. Realistically, I expect the championship to come down to Utah and TCU. The Air Force Falcons and maybe the San Diego St. Aztecs are the obvious dark horses.
Once you get outside the top-four, things really go to hell rather quickly. I think Wyoming can make some noise in conference, but they appear to be too inconsistent to sustain any type of run. Beyond the Cowboys, though, the rest of the conference just looks down right awful. BYU, New Mexico, Colorado State and UNLV all could potentially finish with losing records, with the Lobos looking like the worst of the bunch.
This week is where you'll see a few more conference games, as CSU travels to Colorado Springs to face Air Force, TCU hosts Wyoming and BYU looks to get some type of traction at home against San Diego State.
Team of the Week: TCU. The Frogs get this by default because there was nothing great about their 27-0 win over Colorado State Saturday. They only led 6-0 at the half and while they pulled a way in the third quarter, this was a team TCU easily dismantled 44-6 last year.
Team of the Weak: BYU. The Cougars produced arguably their worst performance since the pre-LaVell Edwards days against a fairly bad Utah State team. The game was really never in doubt and led to the firing of Jaimie Hill, BYU's defensive coordinator. Ugly.
The rankings after the jump...
The Frogs have now looked unimpressive in their last two wins and that's got to be a bit of a concern. I still think they're the best team in the conference and one of the best in the nation, however, the margin between them and Utah isn't all that large. Continued poor play, especially compared to how they dominated last season, might signal they're not nearly at the level they were in 2009. If that's the case, they'll still win a lot of games, but in the most important one of all - against the Utes - it could spell doom. This week they host Wyoming, which once again should be a blowout win. We'll see if they finally produce such an effort.
|2||The Utes had a bye and moved up in the polls. They still haven't proven, however, they're better than the Frogs. So we'll keep them at second until they do that. This week they face a decent Iowa St. Cyclones team looking for an upset. A win there might not prove Utah is capable of contending with TCU at the top of the conference, but it won't hurt, either.|
It wasn't easy, but the Falcons beat rival Navy for the first time since the 2002 season and moved into the top-25 for the first time, not-coincidently, since that 2002 season. This week they play instate rival Colorado State and it should be a game easily won by the Falcons, However, they have only won their last two by a combined 14 points. So you never know.
San Diego State had a bye and now look for the biggest win in the Brady Hoke era as they travel to Provo to take on the struggling Cougars. This is a must-win because BYU is extremely vulnerable and if the Aztecs A) want to contend for a bowl berth and B) maybe make a play at the conference title, this is the games they need to win, especially if they want to prove they're a legit team.
The Cowboys jumped out to a nice lead against Toledo on the road and then held on for the close 20-15 win. It was a victory they needed because it snapped a three game losing streak and gives new hope for a bowl berth. This week is probably an automatic loss, though, as they face TCU on the road.
|6||BYU looked down right terrible in their loss to Utah State Saturday. It was the first defeat at the hands of the Aggies since the 1993 season and now, the Cougars are reeling. They already have accumulated four losses and with road games against TCU and Utah still remaining on the schedule, a losing season is not only possible, but likely. That's why Saturday's game is important. If they lose to the Aztecs, it will move them closer and closer to dropping out of bowl contention altogether.|
|7||UNLV lost a game most thought they would lose. They're not a good team and it's going to take Bobby Hauck longer than a season to get things turned around (if he does, that is). This week they travel all the way to West Virginia to take on the often baffling West Virginia Mountaineers. Can they pull the upset?|
Moral victories really don't count, but the Rams held TCU to only six first half points. That's a start, right? Certainly there was some hope injected into the season when they knocked off Idaho a couple weeks ago, but they're still a struggling program. Expect them to build on their four losses this week, as they play at Air Force.