The Mountain West couldn't have started the season much worse than it did.
The conference posted a 3-9 record with two wins -- and a loss -- against Football Championship Subdivision teams. It was 1-7 against teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences.
The best win belonged to Fresno State but even that came with a downside -- the Bulldogs needed 52 points and an overtime to beat Rutgers by a point at home.
Perhaps most disturbing was what happened to No. 19 Boise State and San Diego State -- the two programs that agreed to stay in the league rather than jump to the Big East/American Athletic and were supposed to solidify the football product.
San Diego State, one of three defending co-champions, lost 40-19 to FCS Eastern Illinois. The game was tied at 19 in the third quarter before Eastern Illinois reeled off three straight touchdowns.
Boise State, another defending co-champ, lost 38-6 at Washington -- the Broncos' biggest loss since 2005 and first game without a touchdown of any kind since 1997.
"We're going to look at it the same as any loss," Boise State junior linebacker Corey Bell said. "Our coaches are going to come in, they're going to get behind us and they're going to help us get the attitude that we need to have. I mean, this hurts. But we're going to come back next week and we're going to be fighting just like we always do. That's kind of the attitude we live by as Broncos -- just get back on your horse."
There were some hopeful signs -- Utah State (30-26 loss to Utah) and Wyoming (37-34 loss to Nebraska) outgained their opponents in tight road losses.
"The closer ones (losses) are definitely more heartbreaking, especially with the team we have this year," Cowboys junior receiver Dominic Rufran told WyoSports.net. "But we're a lot closer and we're a better team than we were in the past."
FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 1 IN THE MWC
1. Wyoming junior quarterback Brett Smith's performance at Nebraska signaled that the Cowboys could be a threat in the Mountain Division, where Boise State looks vulnerable. Smith was 29-of-43 for 383 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed eight times for 92 yards.
2. Fresno State's passing offense looked wicked with senior quarterback Derek Carr at the controls. But the Bulldogs' BCS hopes likely rest on their defense, which didn't inspire much confidence in week one. Rutgers racked up 543 yards of offense -- six more than Fresno State -- and scored 20 consecutive points in the first half. "We're playing a Rutgers team that had a new offensive coordinator and did quite a few things that quite frankly we didn't rep," coach Tim DeRuyter told The Fresno Bee, "and so you're having to make adjustments with guys that haven't played a whole lot of football."
3. San Diego State's quarterback, wide receivers, offensive line and cornerbacks couldn't hold up in an embarrassing 40-19 loss to FCS Eastern Illinois. That's an ominous sign. Next up: at Ohio State. "We might be asking some of our players to do things that they can't do, they just can't perform, they're not skilled enough to perform," coach Rocky Long told UT San Diego.
4. It seems unlikely that UNLV coach Bobby Hauck will last past this season. The Rebels are winless on the road in his four-year tenure after a 51-23 loss to Minnesota. The Rebels have shown signs of competitiveness at home but have been awful on the road.
5. The West was supposed to be the deeper of the Mountain West's new divisions. But unless San Jose State can repeat last year's success -- the Spartans opened the Ron Caragher era with a 24-0 yawner over Sacramento State -- the West looks like Fresno State's playground. Meanwhile, the Mountain has at least three title contenders -- Boise State, Utah State and Wyoming.