Last Shot at an AQ Team and in Need of Redemption
By Mark Knudson, The Mtn. InsiderOctober 6, 2011
Whoa, what happened last week? Just like the Rams and Horned Frogs, we got blindsided on the picks. Going 2 - 3 for the week just doesn’t cut it. Speaking of not cutting it, Colorado State’s poor effort against San Jose State leaves the Rams postseason hopes hanging by a thread. TCU’s stunning home loss to rival SMU could signal trouble ahead for the Frogs, and New Mexico was no better off without Mike Locksley.
These teams and our picks are all in need of some redemption (it will have to wait for CSU; the Rams are off this week).
Air Force had the Conference’s most memorable outing last week, a thrilling come-from-ahead overtime win over Navy. Now the Falcons get the Conference’s last shot at a BCS school when they travel to South Bend. GAME OF THE WEEK: Air Force (3-1) at Notre Dame (3-2) (AQ game #11)
The Falcons are far from afraid of this big stage. They won in South Bend on their last trip in 2007 when they whipped the Irish 41-24. Add to that the fact that Notre Dame has not actually been a juggernaut at home in recent years, losing to Tulsa, Syracuse and even South Florida earlier this season. No fear factor here.
As I mentioned earlier in the week, I really can’t understand Air Force using the no-huddle approach on offense. That will blow up in their faces if they do it against the much more talented Irish team. The Falcons need to control the ball – and the clock – and keep the high-powered Notre Dame offense on the sidelines. Notre Dame has been turnover prone to say the least, and ball control and winning the turnover battle could spark an Air Force upset. Still, I just can’t shake the fact that Navy ran 105 offensive plays against the Falcons last week. No huddle = no chance.
Notre Dame 37, Air Force 31 TCU (3-2) at San Diego State (3-1)
A lot of people thought the Horned Frogs would get off to a slow start and they did, falling to Baylor in the opener. But they appeared to have righted the ship sooner than expected, drilling Air Force while rolling to three straight wins. Then came the incredible home loss to mediocre SMU. And Gary Patterson is PO’d.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs got off to their expected fast start before pratfalling in Ann Arbor in front of their former coach. They’ve had an extra week to stew about it. Now comes a game that is even more important than that one - a shot at the upper crust of the Conference. The Aztecs played TCU tougher than anyone last season in Fort Worth. They’ve been waiting a whole year for this game.
San Diego State 31, TCU 28 Boise State (4-0) at Fresno State (2-3)
The Broncos keep right on rolling over teams. After Nevada got squashed, Fresno State is the next victim, err, team up. The Bulldogs are a good team, with Derek Carr, younger brother of David, at the controls and a good running game. They played Nebraska tough earlier in the season.
But Boise State is much better than Nebraska.
Boise State 40, Fresno State 20 UNLV (1-3) at Nevada (1-3)
Which UNLV team will show up? The one that rolled Hawaii or the one that got rolled by Southern Utah? Future Conference member Nevada is a solid football team. It’s a rivalry game that UNLV will need to win…next year.
Nevada 44, UNLV 27 Wyoming (3-1) at Utah State (1-3)
The Pokes got run over late by Nebraska but showed some very good signs in that game. Brett Smith is going to be an upper echelon quarterback in the Mountain West, and soon. Wyoming is vastly improved. Meanwhile, the Aggies have let three games get away in the final minutes. Auburn you can understand, but letting CSU and BYU escape with wins has to haunt them. Says here that the Cowboys add to the Aggie angst.
Wyoming 33, Utah State 31
See all of Mark Knudson's blog entries HERE