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Mountain West rankings: A wonderful week for the conference

Boise State
Boise State rallied for a big win at Florida State. (Mark Wallheiser/AP photo)

Each week, Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray will rank the Mountain West football teams. Here are this week’s rankings, with each team’s overall record, its ranking last week, its result last week and next opponent and a brief comment.

1. Boise State

Rank last week: 1

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Florida State, 36-31

This week: vs. Marshall (on Friday)

Comment: Boise State rallied out of a 31-13 deficit late in the third quarter to beat Florida State on the road and was rewarded with a spot in the Top 25. There was no more impressive win from a MW school last week, and there were many to chose from with the conference notching four wins over Power 5 foes in Week 0/1. Freshman Hank Bachmeier completed 30-of-51 passes for 407 yards and one touchdown with one interception as Boise State totaled 621 yards of offense.

2. Fresno State

Rank last week: 2

Record: 0-1

Last week: Lost to USC, 31-23

This week: vs. Minnesota

Comment: Like Boise State, Fresno State also was down 31-13 on the road against a Power 5 opponent (USC), but the Bulldogs couldn’t complete the comeback after Jorge Reyna was intercepted on first-and-10 on the USC 15-yard line with 1:45 left and his team down by eight. In his first college start, Reyna played OK, accounting for 344 yards (256 passing, 88 rushing) but completing just 19-of-39 balls. His accuracy must improve.

3. Utah State

Rank last week: 3

Record: 0-1

Last week: Lost to Wake Forest, 38-35

This week: vs. Stony Brook

Comment: Utah State lost a back-and-forth game at Wake Forest and held a four-point lead until the Demon Deacons scored the game-winning touchdown with 1 minute, 8 seconds remaining. Jordan Love threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns but also had three interceptions, including one on the Aggies’ final drive. LB David Woodward had 24 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, and a sack.

4. Nevada

Rank last week: 5

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Purdue, 34-31

This week: at No. 16 Oregon

Comment: The Wolf Pack rallied from down 17 points in the second half to stun Purdue on a 56-yard game-winning field goal by freshman walk-on Brandon Talton, who was put on scholarship after the game. Carson Strong was excellent in his starting debut and Nevada’s defense created five turnovers. The challenge is even stronger this week with a game at Oregon, where Nevada is 1-5 all-time (the win came in 1947).

5. Wyoming

Rank last week: 7

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Missouri, 37-31

This week: at Texas State

Comment: Wyoming put up 37 points on SEC school Missouri, more than the Cowboys tallied in any game last season, which is an excellent sign. Freshman quarterback Sean Chambers rushed for 120 yards and was joined in the 100-yard rushing column by Xazavian Valladay, who had 118 yards. Chambers was only 6-of-16 passing for 92 yards, so that has to be cleaned up, but this was a huge win for the Cowboys.

6. Hawaii

Rank last week: 4

Record: 1-0

Last week: Bye

This week: vs. Oregon State

Comment: Hawaii had a bye last week and dropped two spots. That’s how good some of the other MW teams were in the Week 1. But the Rainbow Warriors, who beat Arizona in Week 0, will go for back-to-back wins over Pac-12 teams when they host Oregon State. Hawaii is a 6.5-point favorite, which shows you how much the Beavers have struggled the last couple of years. Opening the year with two Pac-12 wins would be big.

7. San Diego State

Rank last week: 6

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Weber State, 6-0

This week: at UCLA

Comment: San Diego State's new offensive scheme didn’t look very good in the opener. The Aztecs mustered just two field goals in a win over an FCS team, albeit a good one in Weber State. SDSU was 5-of-20 on third downs and amassed just 238 total yards. On the flipside, the Aztecs' defense was awesome, allowing the Wildcats just five first downs while holding them to 19 rushing yards on 35 carries.

8. Air Force

Rank last week: 8

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Colgate, 48-7

This week: Bye

Comment: Air Force scored the game’s first 48 points against Colgate and was pitching a shutout until allowing a touchdown with 9 seconds remaining. Somehow, 17 Falcons players had at least one rushing attempt (with no player getting more than 10 carries). All seven of Air Force’s touchdowns came on the ground as the team attempted just one pass, a 41-yard completion from Isaiah Sanders to Geraud Sanders.

9. UNLV

Rank last week: 9

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Southern Utah, 56-23

This week: vs. Arkansas State

Comment: UNLV drubbed Southern Utah in its season opener, holding a 56-7 lead after three quarters before putting in the backups. Armani Rogers was good, completing 11-of-17 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 114 yards and two more scores. The Rebels’ ground game was dominant (45 carries for 331 yards, seven TDs). We’ll get a better feel for how good UNLV this week against Arkansas State.

10. Colorado State

Rank last week: 10

Record: 0-1

Last week: Lost to Colorado, 52-31

This week: vs. Western Illinois

Comment: Colorado State was within a touchdown of Colorado early in the fourth quarter before the Buffaloes pulled away late, dropping Mike Bobo to 0-5 all-time against his program’s chief rival (as if his seat wasn’t hot enough already). The good news was Collin Hill looked good (31-of-47 for 374 yards and three TDs), although he did have two of the Rams’ four turnovers, which was the difference in the contest.

11. New Mexico

Rank last week: 11

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Sam Houston State, 39-31

This week: Bye

Comment: New Mexico held off FCS foe Sam Houston State, but the bigger news was the health of coach Bob Davie, who was taken away from Dreamstyle Stadium in an ambulance due to “a serious medical condition,” per a university release. His immediate status with the team is unknown. New Mexico has a bye this week before visiting Notre Dame on Sept. 14. Davie was the Irish’s coach from 1997-2001.

12. San Jose State

Rank last week: 12

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Northern Colorado, 35-18

This week: vs. Tulsa

Comment: San Jose State had minimal trouble with Northern Colorado and now looks for its first regular-season non-conference win over an FBS team since 2012 when the Spartans were in the WAC and beat Navy, Colorado State and San Diego State in non-league play. SJSU will have three cracks to get that accomplished this season with non-conference games against Tulsa, Arkansas and Army.

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.

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