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Mountain West power ratings: Fresno State, Wyoming on top after upsets of Power Five foes

Mountain West power ratings: Fresno State, Wyoming on top after upsets of Power Five foes

Welcome to the inaugural Mountain West power ratings, which begin with a brief origin story.

Last season, the Hotline published weekly ‘Best of the West’ power ratings that considered not only Pac-12 teams but those in the Mountain West and Brigham Young. The exercise added context to the Pac-12’s performance and was so popular — as was the basketball version that included the West Coast Conference — that we’re adding a Mountain West-specific column to our array of offerings this season.

Also, half the teams in the MW are located in the coverage zones of the Hotline’s syndication partners across the western third of the country. (The latest outlet to include our content: The San Diego Union-Tribune.)

The power ratings will be published in this space each Monday.

1. Fresno State (1-0)

Result: won at Purdue 39-35
Next up: vs. Eastern Washington
Comment: The Hotline isn’t prepared to compare Mikey Keene to Jake Haener. But after 366 yards, four touchdowns and that game-winning drive in West Lafayette, we’re pretty damn close.

2. Wyoming (1-0)

Result: beat Texas Tech 35-33
Next up: vs. Portland State
Comment: There were too many big plays to count in the Cowboys’ stirring comeback, but here’s one that might get overlooked: The DeVonne Harris sack (of Tyler Shough) on the first play of TTU’s third drive, which created a second-and-16 and forced the Red Raiders to settle for a field goal (17-0 and some stability for Wyoming) rather than a possible touchdown (21-0 and total implosion).

3. Boise State (0-1)

Result: lost at Washington 56-19
Next up: vs. UCF
Comment: We did not expect the Broncos to hold Washington under 40 but figured they would score more than 20. Significantly more, in fact.

4. San Diego State (2-0)

Result: beat Idaho State 36-28
Next up: vs. UCLA
Comment: Yes, 2-0 is 2-0 and it’s far better than 1-1 or 0-2. But goodness, we’re underwhelmed.

5. Air Force (1-0)

Result: beat Robert Morris 42-7
Next up: at Sam Houston
Comment: Scanning the schedule, it sure feels like the Falcons will be undefeated headed into a difficult back-to-back against SDSU and Wyoming at the end of the month.

6. UNLV (1-0)

Result: beat Bryant 44-14
Next up: at Michigan
Comment: Not-so-bold prediction: This is the highest position the Rebels achieve in the 2023 power ratings.

7. Utah State (0-1)

Result: lost at Iowa 24-14
Next up: vs. Idaho State
Comment: The final score is much worse than it appears. Yielding 24 points to Iowa is like giving up 50 to anyone else.

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8. San Jose State (0-2)

Result: lost to Oregon State 42-17
Next up: vs. Cal Poly
Comment: They say the greatest improvement comes from the first game of the season to the second, but the Spartans looked worse Sunday than they did in the opener at USC.

9. Colorado State (0-1)
Result: lost to Washington State 50-24
Next up: idle, then at Colorado
Comment: On the bright side, CSU should catch the Buffaloes in a letdown situation in Week 3 following their TCU/Nebraska back-to-back.

10. Nevada (0-1)

Result: lost at USC 66-14
Next up: vs. Idaho
Comment: Quarterback Brendon Lewis is new to Nevada, but he’s hardly a rookie after throwing more than 250 passes at Colorado. He needs to play like a veteran, and do it soon, or the Wolfpack’s season will unravel quickly.

11. Hawaii (0-2)

Result: lost to Stanford 37-24
Next up: vs. Albany
Comment: Speaking of seasons unraveling quickly …

12. New Mexico

Result: lost at Texas A&M 52-10
Next up: vs. Tennessee Tech
Comment: Based on our admittedly early assessment of MW teams, the race to the bottom will be highly competitive.

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