Any football season can be looked upon as a voyage of discovery. As the weeks progress, we learn more and more about each team. This season is no exception. What we've learned thus far about the WAC after seven weeks of football is this: Hawaii has horrible special teams, Utah State has trouble in the fourth quarter, Fresno State ain't dead yet, San Jose State has risen from the dead, and Nevada can certainly smack around the worst of the Mountain West Conference. We've also learned that this is a pretty wide open race. There is no juggernaut in the 2011 WAC, nor is there a team that is blatantly not competitive. This is shaping up to be a very interesting WAC race, and ranking the teams top to bottom is a difficult chore. But, for-what-it's-worth, I'm up for the task.
WAC Power Ranking – Week 7
No. 1: Nevada (3-3, 1-0 WAC) Last week No. 2: Defeated New Mexico 49-7
The Wolf Pack's move up to the top spot is due more to previous No. 1 Hawaii's loss than it is to their victory over lowly New Mexico. Still, they've outscored their last two opponents 86-7. Enough with beating up the dregs of the Mountain West Conference; it's all WAC teams from this point on. And, only two games are on the road.
Next up: vs Fresno State
No 2: Hawaii (3-3, 1-1 WAC) Last week No. 1: Lost to San Jose State 28-27
There's nothing special when it comes to the Warriors Special Teams. A blocked extra point returned for a two point conversion proved to be their undoing in San Jose last Friday. Add to that a blocked field goal, a fumbled kick-off returned for a touchdown, and another muffed kick-off that could have been ruled a safety. Still, Hawaii is solid on offense and defense and remains very tough at home.
Next up: vs New Mexico State
No. 3: San Jose State (3-4, 2-1 WAC) Last week No. 5:. Defeated Hawaii 28-27
For the next two weeks the Spartans get to revel in their biggest victory since the 2006 New Mexico Bowl. The bye week comes at a great time, not only allowing players to heal, but, more importantly, come down after the emotional win over Hawaii.
Next up: Idle, then at Louisiana Tech
No. 4: Fresno State (3-4, 2-0 WAC) Last week No. 6:. Defeated Utah State 31-21
After falling behind Utah State early 14-0, Coach Pat Hill's team played Bulldog's Football and avoided what could have become an ugly season in the Big Valley. Fresno State is 2-0 in the WAC, but now must travel to Nevada in the WAC Game Of The Week.
Next up: at Nevada
No. 5: Louisiana Tech (2-3, 1-1 WAC) Last Week No. 4: Idle
I normally don't move idle teams in the rankings, but the southern Bulldogs slip a spot to make room for Fresno State. With four of the next five games on the road, Louisiana Tech has, literally, a tough road ahead.
Next up: at Utah State
No. 7: Utah State (2-4, 0-1 WAC) Last week No. 3: Lost to Fresno State 31-21
In each of their four losses, Utah State has led in the 4th quarter. The No. 7 spot is probably too far a drop for the Blue Aggies. But, at some point, this talented team has got to start finishing games.
Next up: vs Louisiana Tech
No. 8: New Mexico State (3-3, 1-1 WAC) Last week No. 7: Defeated Idaho 31-24
At their season's halfway point, New Mexico State finds themselves with a .500 record overall, and also in WAC play. Most Aggies fans would take that in a heartbeat. They better enjoy it, because Hawaii is going to take out their frustrations on them.
Next up: at Hawaii
No. 8: Idaho (1-6, 0-3 WAC) Last week No. 8: Lost to New Mexico State 31-24.
With a chance to tie or possibly win the game over New Mexico State, the Vandals came up one yard short in the battle of the bottom feeders. Idaho has now lost five straight, and may not win another this season.
Next up: Idle, then vs Hawaii
Mike Morgan is an Associate Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Mike with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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WAC Power Rankings - Week 7
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