Mountain West Week 10 Preview

Four teams in the perceived weak Mountain West conference are already bowl eligible and several teams have a shot at the conference title with just a few weeks remaining in the season. Boise State was the big favorite coming into the year, but the Mountain West has once again proven to be more competitive than many imagined. Our attention now turns to week 10, which features several big matchups that could ultimately decide who ends up where and who may became the 2012 Mountain West Champion. Here is a look at a couple of the key games and my picks for who will take them down.

New Mexico 4-5 at UNLV 1-8

Can the Rebels spoil New Mexico's bowl hopes?

This rivalry game hasn’t meant as much in the big scheme of things in recent years and this year many could argue that point again, but don’t tell these teams that. They will be playing all out in this one with New Mexico just two wins from becoming bowl eligible for the first time in five seasons. And of course UNLV would love nothing more than to send them back home empty handed.

One thing is for certain. UNLV and everyone else in the building knows that New Mexico is going to run the football. It”s just a matter of can UNLV stop it. New Mexico is the 5th best rushing team in the nation, putting up just over 300 yards per game on the ground, but they only pass for slightly more than 50 yards per game, so the Rebels can expect a heavy dose of the run game today. The bad news for the Rebels is they haven’t defended the run particularly well and are allowing 34.2 points per game. Surprisingly, UNLV is a favorite on the line today at home, but I think New Mexico will literally run over them. Take the Lobos on the +145 moneyline to win outright and on the spread, which is +3.5.

San Diego State 6-3 at #19 Boise State 7-1

Boise State looks to stay perfect in the Mountain West

Of course the biggest game of the day in the conference does revolve around its only ranked team, Boise State. The Broncos are poised for another strong bowl game appearance, but contrary to popular belief, they are far from having the conference title on lock. San Diego State is one of a few teams that has a chance to win the Mountain West and if the Aztecs win today, they will be in prime position, holding the all-important tie-breaker over the Broncos.

Despite their seven wins already this season, the Broncos are not as strong as they have been in years past. They are only ranked 77th in total offense and 64th in points scored, which is lower than even San Diego State and keep in mind that many of their opponents have been the same. The Aztecs do have a weaker defense, but Boise State will be playing without two of its starting secondary, so the Broncos may be more vulnerable than ever to big pass plays.

I don’t think San Diego State will pull off the upset, which would be an extremely rare win at Boise State, but I do think they will play a closer game than many might think and cover the +16 point spread. So look for the Aztecs to make some noise, but come up just short tonight.


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