The Mountain West Conference had a ho-hum week three with one exception. Those that were supposed to win, did and those that had tough games, had tough games. The exception was a somewhat unexpected loss to a decent but hardly powerhouse Cal Poly football squad. Here's a very brief glance at each game with an extra comment or two on the Wyoming upset loss.
Washington State Cougars 35 - UNLV Rebels 27: This was an evenly played game but the rebuilding program at UNLV - in its third year - has not shown any indication they're getting better.
Boise State Broncos 39 - Miami Ohio RedHawks 12: A slow start for Boise State had Miami Ohio ahead until late in the second quarter - but the Broncos rolled in the second half.
Nevada Wolf Pack 45 - Northwestern State Demons 34: Nevada could never really shake the FCS club even though the Wolf Pack had 655 yards total offense.
Fresno State Bulldogs 69 - Colorado Buffaloes 14: Fresno State may very well be the best team in the Mountain West - if they keep on playing like this. Midway through just the second quarter and the Bulldogs were already up 48-0.
San Diego State Aztecs 49 - North Dakota Fighting Sioux 41: North Dakota's passing attack kept them in this game but they couldn't stop San Diego State.
San Jose State Spartans 40 - Colorado State Rams 20: Over 700 yards passing in total for both schools but in the end, Colorado State just couldn't keep up.
Hawaii Warriors 54 - Lamar Cardinals 2: This FCS team could not move the ball at all on the Hawaii defense plus the Warriors special teams were dominant as well (see related articles).
Texas Tech Red Raiders 49 - New Mexico Lobos 14: Texas Tech had a balanced attack that steamrolled New Mexico. How one-sided was this game? The Reds Raiders gained a total of 702 yards while the Lobos managed only 127 total yards.
Another FCS team - another loss
Cal Poly Mustangs 24 - Wyoming Cowboys 22: Losing to an FCS team happens occasionally for FBS schools but it never happens to Wyoming (they were 9-0 versus Division 1AA schools). Well, that was until this past Saturday against a school from San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs defense was the difference-maker holding the Cowboys to only 14 first downs (source - SanLuisObispo Tribune).
Regarding losses to FCS teams, the week before saw North Dakota State manhandle Colorado State while UNLV was upset by Northern Arizona. Certainly UNLV and Colorado State are in rebuilding modes but Wyoming went to a bowl game last season and some were expecting a return trip to a bowl this year.
The talent level has come up with FCS schools what with the transfer rules becoming more popular allowing former FBS players, who need a second chance, immediate playing time. But the depth issues surely should permit FBS teams to handle these FCS squads. The Mountain West argues every year they aren't given enough respect nationally but losses like this one against Cal Poly should be a forewarning that not all is well with the league. Cal Poly is a good FCS squad from the Big Sky Conference and the talent level isn't that far off FBS teams but still, there's no reason Wyoming should be losing to a school of which a vast majority of people don't even know where it's located (Central Coast of California).
Next week offers two of the first Mountain West in-conference battles of the year. But there are a few non-conference contests that should give an even better view of how good or bad the league really is. So far, not so good.
Sources - Mountain West Conference, California Polytechnic State University
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!