Two or three games do not tell the entire story of a team or what kind of season they'll have. There will be teams that improve and teams that regress. Still, after three weeks of games, it's fair to evaluate to some degree. The verdict after week three: This league might not turn out exactly like we thought.
The national media handed Boise State the Mountain West title back in June, despite heavy losses to graduation. These pundits paid no attention to the newcomers in the conference, nor the teams that would be bringing back more seasoned and experienced squads. Guess what? When the league title chase kicks off this week, the championship IS up for grabs. This is not a one horse race.
Make no mistake - Boise State remains the team to beat, even after the NFL gobbled up much of their premier talent. The Broncos' season-opening loss at Michigan State was certainly not one-sided, and a bounce-back win over Miami of Ohio has put BSU on a collision course with BYU in a battle of almost-ranked teams this week. Can Boise State keep it up? Can BYU get up off the emotional mat?
No MW teams are unbeaten at this point, but that does not mean they haven't been impressive. The list of strong starts begins not in Boise, but in Fresno, where the Bulldogs played powerful Oregon tough, before ransacking another Pac 12 member, Colorado 69-14 (and it could have been a lot worse.) Tailback Robbie Rouse will only play one season in the MW, but the Fresno State senior could still etch his name in the MW record book somehow some way before this season is over. He became the school's all-time rushing leader against CU on just nine carries. And while it's too early to name an all-MW quarterback for the season, Derek Carr's name will be on the ballot. He carved up the Buffs for five TD throws ... in the first half. The Fresno defense under new head coach Tim DeRuyter looks like a fast and aggressive ball-hawking unit. The Bulldogs begin league play in two weeks with San Diego State before a trip to Fort Collins ... and THEN ... THE trip to Boise State on October 13.
Nevada whipped a Cal team in week one that almost knocked off Ohio State in week three, so the Wolf Pack cannot be overlooked, either. It will be mid-November before Nevada and Fresno State face off, and the much anticipated rematch of the Broncos and Wolf Pack happens on December 1. And while no one thought Air Force would be in any title conversations this season, the Falcons will have a say in this thing, if you believe what you saw in Ann Arbor two Saturday's ago. Due to the scheduling rotation in the MW, AFA does not play Boise State this season, but hosts Nevada on October 26th and meets Fresno State the last Saturday in November.
Who doesn't have things going their way so far? It's easily Wyoming, who many of us thought would be a contender in the league race (and could still be of course.) The Pokes have lost a couple of winnable home games after playing pretty well in an opening loss at Texas. If QB Brett Smith is out for any length of time, Wyoming could be digging out of a hole when league play starts. But don't bury Dave Christensen's troops just yet.
The Mountain West doesn't have an official Championship game. Instead, there are about six of them sprinkled throughout the schedule.