Air Force at Wyoming
Mike's Pick: Wyoming and Air Force have traded victories the last four seasons, but the trend stops here. Wyoming's defense is plenty familiar with Air Force's option, and will plug running holes and limit the Falcons on the ground. And the Falcons, who attempted only six passes last week, won't be able to effectively throw and keep Wyoming honest.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys' power running game will wear Air Force's undersized defensive line down in the second half. Look for Wick and May to produce more impressive performances in Wyoming's second consecutive win.
Colorado State at Boise State
This Week: Here comes the clash of the Mountain Division titans. After pulling out a bowl victory to cap off the 2013 season, Jim McElwain's Colorado State Rams got the better of in-state rival Colorado 31-17 in an impressive season debut.
Meanwhile, Boise State turned in the opposite performance, sputtering offensively in a 35-13 defeat to Ole Miss in Atlanta on national television. Senior quarterback Grant Hedrick threw four interceptions in the loss.
On Saturday night, Colorado State heads to the blue turf to prove they're a legitimate threat in the Mountain Division.
Colorado State BMOC: Dee Hart. Welcome to the Mountain West, Dee Hart. The Alabama transfer made his presence felt immediately last weekend, as the senior running back rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns and added 35 receiving yards in the Rams' victory. Hart and junior Treyous Jarrells are a fearsome duo in the Colorado State backfield.
Boise State BMOC: Jay Ajayi. Ajayi did it all for Boise State last week, rushing for 86 yards and catching 12 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. The 6-foot, 216-pound junior is a handful for any defense, as long as he can hold onto the football. If Hedrick continues to struggle, the offensive load will be placed more and more on Ajayi's capable shoulders.
Mike's Pick: Out with the old guard, in with the new. Colorado State's running game was extremely physical and effective in the second half against a Pac-12 defense last week, and I think the Rams will wear the Boise State defense down. Whereas Colorado State senior quarterback Garrett Grayson is a smart, savvy decision maker, Hedrick has yet to prove he's the man for the Boise State quarterback job.
Bronco fans will show up in full force, but look for them to go home disappointed. Colorado State gets the win.
This Week: After suffering a 52-13 shellacking at the hands of USC last weekend, Fresno State faces another Pac-12 foe on Saturday afternoon when it travels to play Utah. The Bulldogs own one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the Mountain West.
BMOC: Marteze Waller. Fresno State has recently been known as a pass-first offense, but without Derek Carr, the style may be shifting. Waller -- a 5-foot-11, 209-pound junior -- ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 25 yards in Saturday's loss.
Mike's Pick: After reaching the Mountain West Conference title game in 2013, Fresno State will fall into an 0-2 hole this season. The Bulldogs are still searching for a competent quarterback, as Brian Burrell and Brandon Connette were both ineffective in the loss to USC. Plus, Utah's offense looked explosive in its season-opening victory over Idaho State.
This Week: Even if there's no such thing as a good loss, this was pretty close. Coming off of a disastrous 1-11 season, Hawaii played tough last week, nearly upsetting No. 25 Washington at home. The path doesn't get much easier any time soon, as the Rainbow Warriors host another Pac-12 team -- Oregon State -- on Saturday.
BMOC: Joey Iosefa. Hawaii's 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior running back is a terror to bring down. He rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries last week, continuing a production boom that began midway through last season. Iosefa is the first option in the Rainbow Warriors' offense.
Mike's Pick: Hawaii may be improved, but not enough to upset Pac-12 opponents. Oregon State underwhelmed in a season-opening victory over Portland State, but after winning only one game last year, the Rainbow Warriors have to prove they're a different team. While Oregon State will win the game, Hawaii -- which usually plays better at home -- will keep it close most of the way.
This Week: Nevada struggled at times with Southern Utah last week, but rode a strong performance by senior quarterback Cody Fajardo to a 28-19 win in the season opener. The Wolfpack will receive more of a test on Friday night, when they travel to play Pac-12 opponent Washington State.
BMOC: Cody Fajardo. The Wolfpack's senior quarterback has been the definition of a dual threat throught his Nevada career. That was no different last weekend, as he passed for 303 yards and a touchdown and ran for 68 yards and another score in the victory over Southern Utah. He'll have to be firing on all cylinders for Nevada to have a shot at upsetting Washington State.
Mike's Pick: Nevada may have won in their season opener, but it wasn't an impressive display. The Wolfpack defense left a lot to be desired last season, and they will have to prove they can stop the big play and force a few turnovers on the road. Washington State can score, and they'll put up too many points for Fajardo and Co. to keep up. Cougars score the victory.
This Week: Uh-oh. New Mexico's 2014 season got off to a rocky start last weekend, as the Lobos fell 31-24 at home to UTEP, a Conference USA opponent that went 2-10 in 2013. The Lobos allowed 446 total yards and committed three turnovers in the defeat. It might get worse before it gets better, as New Mexico hosts No. 19 Arizona State on Saturday.
BMOC: Cole Gautsche. New Mexico's big quarterback didn't do much in the pass game last week, completing 3 of 5 passes for 36 yards. He was productive in other ways, however, rushing 14 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns. And in the Lobos' run-heavy attack, that's the stat that really matters.
Mike's Pick: This one won't be pretty. New Mexico showed a lot of holes last weekend, failing to effectively stop the run or hold onto the football in a momentum-draining loss. And on the other side, Arizona State ran for 267 yards and four touchdowns in a drubbing of Weber State. Expect the Sun Devils to run early and often en route to a sizable win.
San Diego State
This Week: After falling to an FCS opponent in its 2013 season opener, San Diego State was determined not to let history repeat itself last weekend. The Aztecs held Northern Arizona to only seven points in a 38-7 win. The competition gets stepped up considerably this week, as San Diego State travels to play No. 23 North Carolina on Saturday night.
BMOC: Lloyd Mills. San Diego State's sophomore wide receiver didn't have a catch in the win over Northern Arizona, but he still made a sizable impact. The speedy sophomore corralled a punt in the fourth quarter and took it 67 yards to the end zone to seal the Aztecs' victory. It may have only been a cameo, but Mills delivered the most electric play of the game.
Mike's Pick: San Diego State's defense will be tested this week, against a North Carolina offense that scored 35 second half points in a 56-29 victory over Liberty last week. The Aztecs will keep it close, but the Tar Heels will outscore and outlast them. Expect another Mountain West team to go home empty-handed against a 'Big 5' opponent.
San Jose State
This Week: This may not be the best week for San Jose State. After taking care of North Dakota in their season debut, the Spartans travel to take on SEC giant Auburn on Saturday night. After reaching the BCS title game last season, the Tigers opened the 2014 campaign by taking out Arkansas in their conference opener, 45-21.
BMOC: Blake Jurich. One of the questions going into the season was, "How would quarterback Blake Jurich fare replacing David Fales?" So far, so good. Against North Dakota, Jurich went 22-for-25 passing, missing on only three throws, and recorded 250 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps most important for a quarterback making his first start, Jurich also took care of the football and did not turn it over.
Mike's Pick: Don't be surprised if Auburn sleeps on San Jose State early, already looking ahead to an impending SEC schedule. Like Colorado State's loss at Alabama last season, the Spartans could keep it close for a while. But eventually, the Tigers' spread offense and athleticism will wear San Jose State out and overwhelm the Mountain West opponent. Auburn will pull away in the second half.
This Week: UNLV had no answers for Arizona's spread, no-huddle offense last week, as the Runnin' Rebels were trounced 58-13 on the road. Bobby Hauck's team will look to rebound when it hosts a Northern Colorado team that is playing its first game of the 2014 season on Saturday night.
BMOC: Blake Decker. UNLV's junior quarterback led the Runnin' Rebels in both passing and rushing last week, throwing for 252 yards and a touchdown and running for 56 more yards. UNLV couldn't seem to find the end zone, but that wasn't for a lack of effort on the part of the 6-2, 205-pound signal caller.
Mike's Pick: Sometimes, home cookin' is all you need. Expect UNLV to do something they couldn't do last week, and establish the run in its home opener against Northern Colorado. The defense looks shaky, but the Runnin' Rebels should score often enough to secure their first victory of the 2014 season.
This Week: Utah State entered Knoxville looking for an upset last week, and left disappointed instead. Chuckie Keeton and the Aggies were soundly beaten 38-7 in an underwhelming season debut. Matt Wells' team will look to get back on track when it hosts Idaho State on Saturday night.
BMOC: Nick Vigil. Utah State surrendered 38 points last week, but you'd be hard pressed to pin that on Vigil. The sophomore linebacker recorded a career-high 15 tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss on a grand stage in front of more than 100,000 fans. Unfortunately for the Aggies, Vigil's hefty contributions weren't enough.
Mike's Pick: From the very beginning, nothing went right for Utah State in the loss at Tennessee. Expect Keeton and the Aggies to use that frustration and come out firing against an outmanned Idaho State team on Saturday. Utah State will score early and often and the defense will stiffen in a satisfying blowout victory.