U.S. News & World Report published its annual Best Colleges rankings this week, and it wasn't exactly a banner year for Mountain West universities, although eight of the 12 football members remained in the top tier of the national rankings. The average rank of those eight schools in this year's report was 202.9, up from 175.6 last year (the lower the score the better, with Princeton taking the top spot at No. 1).
Nevada fell from 201st last year to 240th this year, the third-largest decline in the MW. Only Wyoming, which fell 45 spots, and Utah State, which fell 49 spots, dropped more. San Diego State held the top position for the second straight season. Fresno State had the biggest increase, going from eighth among the MW schools to fourth. Here is a look at where each of the 12 Mountain West schools were slotted in the U.S. News World Report's 2020 rankings.
Ranked as a national university
No. 140: San Diego State (127th last year)
No. 166: Colorado State (140th last year)
No. 166: Hawaii (157th last year)
No. 211: Fresno State (205th last year)
No. 218: New Mexico (187th last year)
No. 228: Wyoming (183rd last year)
No. 240: Nevada (201st last year)
No. 254: Utah State (205th last year)
Ranked, but ranking not published
(These schools are Tier II nationally, between the above group and the below group)
* Boise State
Ranked as regional school (West)
No. 23: San Jose State (33rd last year)
Ranked as national liberal arts school
No. 39: Air Force (30th last year)
In short, San Diego State is ranked as the best academic school in the MW, San Jose State is ranked as the worst and Nevada is essentially a little lower than middle of the pack, placing seventh out of the 11 schools (with Air Force fitting its own category). In the last five rankings, Nevada has been placed No. 187 nationally in 2016, No. 197 in 2017 and No. 202 in 2018, No. 201 in 2019 and No. 240 in 2020. Nevada was rated at 117th among public schools in 2020, down from 109th last year.