Rams must win out for shot at Mountain Division title

Emmett McCarthy

Mountain West play is just starting to heat up. There is still plenty of conference football left on tab and the race is pretty much wide open in the Mountain West Division.

Here’s how it could play out:


Boise State (3-1)

Wins: Colorado State, at Nevada, Fresno State

Losses: at Air Force

Upcoming: at New Mexico, San Diego State, at Wyoming, Utah State

No team is undefeated in conference play, but the Broncos sit atop the division at 3-1. Boise State is the only team that truly controls their own fate: if they win out, they win the conference. Another loss would make things tricky and they would need CSU to lose again as well, at which point the Broncos own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rams.

Colorado State (2-1)

Wins: at Nevada, Utah State

Losses: at Boise State

Upcoming: Wyoming, at San Jose State, Hawaii, New Mexico, at Air Force

The Rams asserted themselves as contenders and have what looks like the easiest conference schedule on paper for the rest of the year. CSU can win the division if they win out and Boise State loses a second conference game, since the Rams own the tiebreaker over the only other one-loss team in Utah State. The most troublesome game on their schedule is probably the last of the season at Air Force. A loss there would make things complicated for the Rams, who at that point would only still be alive if Boise State finishes with three losses in the MW.


Air Force (2-2)

Wins: Boise State, New Mexico

Losses: at Wyoming, at Utah State

Upcoming: at UNLV, Nevada, at San Diego State, Colorado State

Air Force’s upset of Boise State shook up the conference and keeps the Falcons in contention, for now. Another loss would essentially eliminate them, but if they can win out, they will own a tiebreakers over Boise State. If Boise State loses to Utah State, Air Force beats CSU and Utah State suffers another loss, there is the potential of a four-way tie at which point they would need to delve beyond head-to-head tiebreakers.

Utah State (1-1)

Wins: Air Force

Losses: at Colorado State

Upcoming: UNLV, at Hawaii, at Wyoming, New Mexico, San Jose State, at Boise State

The Aggies have played fewer conference games than any other team, so what they do in the coming weeks without quarterback Darell Garretson is big, as they truly can’t afford more losses. However, their conference title hopes really hinge on the final game of the season in Boise. If they win out, including that game, they can take the division if CSU suffers another loss. There is also the potential for a three or four-way tie should the Aggies beat the Broncos but lose another game prior.

Wyoming (1-2)

Wins: Air Force

Losses: at Hawaii, San Jose State

Upcoming: at Colorado State, at Fresno State, Utah State, Boise State, New Mexico

Technically, Wyoming hasn’t been eliminated yet, with two losses in MW play. If the Cowboys can somehow win out, they can win the division, but their next four games could all be losses and it would only take one more to really end their hopes.

New Mexico (0-3)

Wins: None

Losses: Fresno State, San Diego State, at Air Force

Upcoming: at UNLV, Boise State, at Utah State, at Colorado State, Wyoming

With three losses already, New Mexico is all practically out of contention already. The odds that no Mountain division team finishes with fewer than three losses is extremely improbable, as is the chance of the Lobos winning out, both of which would need to happen to keep them in the running.

No one team has ran away with the division, but some have a chance to assert themselves in the coming weeks. However, the division could very well come down to the last week of the season when Colorado State plays at Air Force and Utah State plays at Boise State.

Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter at @emccarthy22.