Week 14 Fearless Predictions - Mountain West

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Week 14 Fearless Predictions & Previews - Mountain West

Fresno State (10-0) at San Jose State (5-6) Nov. 29 3:30 CBS Sports Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Okay, so that's the way it's going to be, BCS.

All of a sudden, Fresno State is looking up at Northern Illinois in the BCS standings, and while the computer formulas should recalibrate and adjust to match the human polls, it's still going to be a fight for the Bulldogs to get back into position to get into one of the big money games. They can't do much more on the field, blowing away Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico over the last three games with an unstoppable offense that seems to be getting sharper by the week. The defense might be inconsistent and could be lacking focus for a full sixty minutes, but it just has to hold serve a few times to let the offense do the work.

It's been a disastrous last few weeks for a San Jose State team that seemingly had bowl eligibility all sewn up after a nice win at UNLV, but losses to San Diego State and Nevada made last week's home date with Navy a must win, and despite a brilliant comeback, the run defense couldn't hold Keenan Reynolds in check in a heartbreaking overtime loss. Now it's beat Fresno State and ruin the dream season, or the year is done.

What Will Happen: The quarterback battle of David Fales vs. Derek Carr should be worth the price of admission. San Jose State has playmakers on defense, but it's not good at getting off the field on third downs and isn't effective enough against the better receiving corps and sharper passing games – like Fresno State's. The Bulldog defense will make up for a rocky day from its own secondary with lots and lots of plays behind the line. Fales will have to outplay Carr by leaps and bounds, and he won't. Even so, it'll be a fun and wild shootout.

Prediction: Fresno State 44 … San Jose State 40
Line: Fresno State -7.5 o/u: 71
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 4
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Air Force (2-9) at Colorado State (6-6) Nov. 30 2:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: An absolute disaster of a season for Air Force has been reduced to this – can it play the spoiler? After going winless in Mountain West play so far, and with the lone wins coming against Colgate and Army, nothing has gone right for a Falcon team that can't stop anyone's ground game and is getting lit up by anyone who can throw a forward pass.

Colorado State has to play an extra game to become bowl eligible. After getting shut down and shut out by Utah State, the Rams need to find their offense again despite missing a key part. Explosive against all the mediocre teams on the schedule, they need to avoid getting caught up in the Air Force offense and take control of the game and the clock right away.

What Will Happen: Can Colorado State get by without Kapri Bibbs, who's not likely to play thanks to a leg injury? Yup – the rest of the Ram offense will be able to pick up the slack without a problem against the woeful Air Force D. The passing game will click, while the Ram run defense will hold up.

Prediction: Colorado State 35 … Air Force 17
Line: Colorado State -14.5 o/u: 59.5
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2
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Wyoming (5-6) at Utah State (7-4) Nov. 30 2:00 PN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Thanks to San Diego State's big win last week over Boise State, Utah State has a shot to play for the Mountain West title with a win over Wyoming or a Boise State loss to New Mexico. The Aggies might have lost quarterback Chuckie Keeton, but they've managed to catch fire thanks to a phenomenal defense that's allowed ten points or fewer in three of the last four games. On a four game winning streak, making it five in a row will mean a date with Fresno State.

Wyoming can play the role of spoiler while also locking up bowl eligibility with a win. The Cowboys halted a rough stretch of four straight losses and five in six games with a wild shootout win over Hawaii. QB Brett Smith got the offense moving again after a sluggish few weeks, but the offense has to prove that last week wasn't a fluke after getting stymied by Boise State and Hawaii.

What Will Happen: Utah State will take care of business. The defensive front that's allowing just three yards per carry and doing a great job of stopping the run should keep Smith in check.

Prediction: Utah State 38 … Wyoming 13
Line: Utah State -21 o/u: 58.5
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2.5
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BYU (7-4) at Nevada (4-7) Nov. 30 3:00, CBS Sports Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Normally this would seem like a fun and entertaining bowl-like game, and it might be, but Nevada hasn't been able to keep up its end this year in a disappointing campaign highlighted by possibly playing spoiler to San Jose State two weeks ago. The running game hasn't found its groove, while the defense struggled time and again until the win over the Spartans.

BYU is already set with the Fight Hunger Bowl, but it needs to close out strong after losing two big ticket games against Wisconsin and Notre Dame in the last few weeks. Nevada will come out blazing it its last game of the year, and the Cougars need to be ready.

What Will Happen: Teams are running wild on the Wolf Pack, and BYU should be able to get the ground game up and rolling again with Taysom Hill having a huge performance in a game highlighted by the terrific quarterbacks. Cody Fajardo will come up with a big day against the Cougars, but it won't be enough.

Prediction: BYU 37 … Nevada 27
Line: BYU -14.5 o/u: 63.5
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 3
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New Mexico (3-8) at Boise State (7-4) Nov. 30 10:15, ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Boise State lost its chance to take the West title in a wild loss to San Diego State, and now it needs to win and hope for Utah State to blow it against Wyoming. The Broncos have been entertaining, but the defense is nowhere near up to its normal snuff. It shouldn't take much, though, to get the job done against the struggling Lobos.

New Mexico has lost five out of its last six games with the only victory coming against a woeful Air Force. The Lobos were run over by Colorado State and picked clean by Fresno State over the last two weeks, giving up 125 points as the defense has gone into the tank. What Will Happen: The Boise State run defense hasn't been a rock, but it hasn't been giving up the massive plays, allowing just 3.4 yards per carry. Boise State should be able to do whatever it wants to offensively.

Prediction: Boise State 65 … New Mexico 27
Line: Boise State -36 o/u: 64
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2
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San Diego State (7-4) at UNLV (6-5) Nov. 30 10:30, ESPNU

Why You Should Give A Hoot: After a wild and thrilling win over Boise State, San Diego State has a shot at winning a share of the Mountain division with a win and a Fresno State loss to San Jose State, and while that doesn't mean too much – the Bulldogs are going to the Mountain West title game thanks to their win over the Aztecs – it could end up locking up one of the conference's top bowl slots.

UNLV got the huge win needed to get bowl eligible with a dominant 41-21 effort over Air Force. The Rebels might not be able to do better than third in the final Mountain standings, but a seventh victory would ensure the first winning season since 2000 and the best season by far since then.

What Will Happen: Can UNLV get the passing game going to take advantage of a weak San Diego State secondary? The Rebel defense has to hold up against Adam Muema and the Aztec running game, but it'll help win the turnover margin and it'll be enough. The O will take advantage of the opportunities.

Prediction: UNLV 37 … San Diego State 34
Line: San Diego State -4.5 o/u: 54.5
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2.5
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Army (3-7) at Hawaii (0-11) Nov. 30 11:00

Why You Should Give A Hoot: There are worse things than to go to Hawaii in late November, and for Army, this will have to serve as a bowl game a few weeks before finishing things up against Navy. The Knights have been off for weeks, with this the one game in a span of over a month between losing to WKU and dealing with the Midshipmen. The offense hasn't improved as the season has gone on, and the only wins have come against sad teams, but closing out with two victories would make 5-7 look great.

Hawaii might be winless, but it's a whole bunch of fun, getting into a wild shootout with Brett Smith and Wyoming last week in a 59-56 loss. Five of the last eight losses have been by a touchdown or less, but the hard luck Warriors are still winless with this the last shot at coming up with something positive.

What Will Happen: Hawaii has a hard time stopping the run – that's going to be a problem. The Warrior line is outstanding at getting into the backfield and could stop several plays before they get started, but they're going to get absolutely gouged by the Army ground attack. However, Army's secondary has been abysmal and is about to get torched.

Prediction: Hawaii 40 … Army 37
Line: Hawaii -6.5 o/u: 59
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2.5
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