Who needs Pac-12 after dark?
There was plenty of drama Saturday night in the Mountain West. We saw the two favorites to win the league entering the weekend lose, while others gave themselves a shot to make it to the title game if everything works in their favor.
We also saw a new team finally find its way to the top of the standings after being on the outside looking in all season.
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UNLV vs. Air Force Game
Yes, the UNLV Rebels sit tied with Air Force atop the MW standings after their decisive victory over Wyoming and the Falcons’ 27-13 loss to Hawaii as 20.5-point favorites.
Both teams are now 8-2 overall and 5-1 in league play and square off this week in Colorado Springs. Both teams control their own destiny to host the MW title game.
College football betting odds have the Falcons at +120 to win the MW and the Rebels at +400.
Shame on those that were scratching their heads at the media member giving UNLV a first-place vote in the preseason media poll.
Mountain West Standings
Behind Air Force and UNLV in the standings are Fresno State, Boise State, and San Jose State. All are 4-2 in conference play.
The Spartans’ win over Fresno really shook things up because the Bulldogs had the head-to-head advantage over UNLV.
I wouldn’t necessarily call SJSU’s win an upset because the Spartans were two-point favorites, but I would say it was a surprise that they won how they did. If they handle business this week against San Diego State, SJSU will visit UNLV in Week 13 with a trip to the championship potentially on the line. They will need Air Force to beat the Rebels, and for Boise to lose at least one more game for that to be in play.
It’s been quite the turnaround for the Spartans, who started 1-5 and 0-2 in MW play. Perhaps their tough non-conference slate versus Oregon State, USC, and Toledo helped prepare them for the last stretch of the season.
For the Bulldogs, they hold the advantage over the Rebels after beating them in Week 8, and play New Mexico and SDSU to close out the season. With a UNLV and SJSU loss, and Fresno winning out, the Bulldogs could find their way back to the MW Championship for the second consecutive season.
Fresno also holds the tiebreaker over Boise State, who, through a bad season (by its standards) and amidst the firing of head coach Andy Avalos, still have a glimmer of hope at winning its first league title since 2019.
The Broncos’ only win over any of these teams is against San Jose State. They play Utah State this week before hosting Air Force to cap the regular season. Boise will need to obviously win both of these and hope for the Falcons to lose this week and Fresno to drop one of its final two contests.
Interestingly enough, this would be the first MW conference title for both Air Force and UNLV. Boise, SJSU, and Fresno have won three of the last four. There has been a lack of parity at the top of the conference in the past decade, so seeing a new champion would be refreshing.
In the first season since doing away with divisions, the Mountain West will have the most exciting regular season finish among not only Group of Five conferences, but among all conferences in the FBS. There are five teams with odds of +650 or shorter to win the league, with the next closest number being three in the AAC.