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2013 CFN Final M-West Rankings & Roundup
Posted Jan 13, 2014

2013 Mountain West Fearless Predictions, Game Stories, Game of the Week, Player of the Week, Roundup & Standings

CFN 2013 Final Season Rankings | The Top Ten
11 to 25 | 26 to 50 | 51 to 75 | 76 to 100 | Bottom 25
By Conference ACC | AAC | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA
Independents | MAC | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

The Formula's Components: 
1. Wins. - If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
2. Quality Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each win counts as 1.
3. Elite Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5. Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn't added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game counts as one.
4. Bad Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer or a loss to a FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
5. Bad Win - The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a D-IAA team. Each win counts as minus 0.25. 
6. Elite Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
7. Point Differential - Points for minus points against divided by 100. 
8. Winning Percentage - To take losses into account, winning percentage is in the mix. Total wins is the tie-breaker followed by winning percentage.

Remember, these rankings are based on how good the seasons were overall, and NOT based on how good the team might have been. Number next to team is the final overall season ranking.

20. Fresno State (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.55
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 34
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 35

Unfortunately, the season might be remembered more for its failings than its positives. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West title in the league’s inaugural championship game, but that came after missing out on the BCS after losing 62-52 to San Jose State. Getting to 11-1 was great – there was a game against Colorado that got cancelled due to the floods in Boulder – but the 45-20 blowout to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl made college football breathe a sigh of relief that there wasn’t a BCS bid. Derek Car and the offense were epic, but the defense too often gave it up just as fast. There weren’t any great wins, but there were a lot of good ones, and taking home the MW title with a 24-17 win over Utah State was the crowning achievement.

28. Utah State (9-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.95
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 78
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 12

After a phenomenal 2012, 2013 wasn’t quite as good under Matt Wells in his first season, but considering he lost star QB Chuckie Keeton to a knee injury, winning five straight over the second half of the season on the way to the Mountain West title game, and beating Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl made it a great, great year. The Aggies lost to Utah, USC and Fresno State by seven points or fewer, and they overcame blowouts against BYU and Boise State by taking advantage of the easy part of the slate. Beating the Huskies turned out to be the crowning achievement, and just getting to the MW title game was terrific.

51. Boise State (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.52
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 41
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 19

It was a bad year for a Boise State program that’s not used to losing more than twice in a season and got whacked five times, but the biggest loss was Chris Petersen to Washington. The Mountain West title shot was there, but losing to San Diego State killed that, and getting blown out in the Hawaii Bowl by Oregon State didn’t help the cause. There weren’t any truly impressive wins, and the offense and blowouts over miserable teams helped the ranking, but this was the year when Boise State became mediocre.

62. San Jose State (6-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 9.68
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 72
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 14

It might have been a step back after going 11-2 in 2012, but it was still a good year with strong wins over Colorado State and UNLV and a BCS-killing 62-52 thriller over Fresno State. But even with the win over the Bulldogs, the Spartans couldn’t get a bowl bid. Even so, there were a mere two bad wins and three victories over teams that finished with winning records. The difference in the rankings was the point difference, coming in on the negative side allowing 421 points and scoring 389.

71. San Diego State (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 8.37
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 67
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 34

The Aztecs made big splash to close things out with a blowout win over Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and winning five of the last six games, and eight of the last ten, was impressive, screwing up Boise State along the way, but the opening day loss to Eastern Illinois turned out to be an anchor for the rankings. Playing Ohio State and Fresno State made the schedule tough, and there weren’t any cheap losses after the opener. The D allowed 30 points or more nine times.

77. UNLV (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 7.54
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 93
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 120

Just when it seemed like there was no hope of pulling up out of the nosedive, head coach Bobby Hauck came up with a whale of a season with a 4-2 start and a 45-19 blasting of San Diego State to earn a bowl bid. The blowout loss to North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl might have closed things out on a down note, and most of the wins were against the mediocre, but for a program that hasn’t known much success, getting to a bowl for the first time since 2000 was a plus no matter what.

78. Colorado State (8-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 7.47
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 103
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 105

Helped by a miraculous win over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl, the Rams put a capper on a wild season with lots of Kapri Bibbs stats and plenty of offense. The losses to Colorado and Tulsa to open up the season could’ve set a bad tone, but there weren’t any cheap defeats the rest of the way. Five of the eight wins were against bad teams, but no matter how it worked out, winning six of the final eight games was a plus.

92. Wyoming (5-7)
2013 CFN Season Score: 3.77
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 97
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 66

Dave Christensen couldn’t get the job done, but he was close, losing five of the last six games to miss out on a bowl game and lose out on his job. The offense was exciting and fun, but all four FBS wins came over teams that finished with three wins or fewer and the fifth was against Northern Colorado. The 50/50 toss-up games against Texas State and San Jose State all went the wrong way, and the 35-7 loss to Utah State to close out the regular season made it three games in the final four with ten points or fewer.

96. Nevada (4-8)
2013 CFN Season Score: 3.18
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 79
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 82

The Wolf Pack was supposed to slip a bit in the first year after the Chris Ault era, but after a 3-2 start – with two forgivable losses to UCLA and Florida State, everything went downhill dropping six of the final seven. The win over San Jose State all but ruined the Spartans’ season, but the Pack couldn’t keep the momentum going with a season-ending loss to BYU. Three of the losses were by six points or fewer, but the schedule was just too tough with Fresno State, Boise State and San Diego State to deal with in Mountain West play.

101. New Mexico (3-9)
2013 CFN Season Score: 1.55
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 108
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 102

Bob Davie’s team didn’t make any improvement after a promising 4-9 2012. The defense fell apart, giving up a whopping 513 points including 66 to Colorado State and 69 to Fresno State in back-to-back weeks, and allowed 35 or more in every game but two – the opener against UTSA and the 66-17 win over New Mexico State. There might not have been any bad losses, but all three wins were against the two-win teams.

106. Hawaii (1-11)
2013 CFN Season Score: -0.28
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 91
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 108

It’s not going well for the Norm Chow era. The saving grace this year was an offense that kept games close, but there wasn’t much to get excited about going 0-11 before beating Army in the season finale. The defense gave up 30 points or more in every game, with the best outing coming in the opener against USC. The hard luck Warriors lost five games by a touchdown or less.

107. Air Force (2-10)
2013 CFN Season Score: -1.17
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 87
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 86

Almost every year, we predict that Air Force is going to take a step back with all the changes in personnel and all the turnover, and almost every year, we get yelled at for not realizing how the program reloads under Troy Calhoun. Not this season. Struggling too much against Colgate – in a 38-13 win that was closer than the final score – should’ve been the tip-off. The defense was a disaster, and the offense sputtered after quarterback Jaleel Awini was suspended. The win over Army was the long bright spot.

Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year
QB Derek Carr, Fresno State – How didn’t he get to New York as a Heisman finalist? All he did was lead the nation averaging 405.5 passing yards per game with 48 touchdowns and seven picks. How’d he do in the team’s lone loss? 519 yards and six touchdown passes with a pick. On fire throughout the year, he threw for over 400 yards eight times and hit 500 yards in back-to-back weeks. Everyone around him benefited, with Davante Adams catching 122 passes with 23 scores, Isaiah Burse catching 94 passes and Josh Harper making 79 grabs.

Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year
LB Keith Smith, San Jose State – The tackling machine leader of the Spartans was great at getting into the backfield with eight tackles for loss, but he was at his best always getting around the ball and making plays, coming up with a conference-leading 159 stops with 21 stops against Minnesota and 20 against Utah State, and making ten tackles or more in each of the final four games with nine or more in every game except for the win over UNLV.

3 Biggest Surprises
1. UNLV. The Rebels have been building for years under Bobby Hauck, but there wasn’t much of an indication that this would be the year when everything would start to come together. The offense was careful with the ball, the defense did enough to get by, and the team was able to get through the rough patches to win the final two games against Air Force and San Jose State on the way to the Heart of Dallas Bowl to face North Texas.
2. Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs. The Rams were expected to start running the ball more, but no one could’ve foreseen 1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns from the sophomore. Chris Nwoke was supposed to be a factor, and he was with 398 yards and two scores, and Donnell Alexander had the potential to be a strong averaging over six yards per carry, but Bibbs was the dominant force scoring three rushing touchdowns or more seven times.
3. Utah State. No one really expected the Aggies to fold up the tents after losing head coach Gary Andersen to Wisconsin, but there were plenty of excuses to struggle after star quarterback Chuckie Keeton got knocked out for the season. Not only did the team keep on rolling, it won its final five games to take the Mountain division title despite the loss to Boise State.

3 Biggest Disappointments
1. Air Force. Every year the Falcons lose key players and keeps on doing what they do, but this season was a complete and utter disaster. The loss of quarterback Jaleel Awini to suspension in late September didn’t help the cause, but he didn’t play defense. The Air Force D couldn’t slow anyone down, allowing 40 points or more seven times on the way to a miserable 2-10 campaign.
2. San Jose State 62, Fresno State 52. It was a phenomenal shootout, but it also cost the Mountain West a whole bunch of money. With Northern Illinois losing the MAC title game, an unbeaten Fresno State would’ve been off to the BCS is it hadn’t lost to the Spartans, but David Fales and the Spartan offense didn’t seem to care.
3. Nevada. After years of tremendous production with eight straight bowl appearances, even without legendary head coach Chris Ault around the Wolf Pack program was supposed to keep on cranking out the big numbers and wins. Instead, without Ault, the defense couldn’t come up with key stops over the second half of the season as the team lost six of the final seven games including close calls to San Diego State, UNLV and BYU that could’ve gone either way.

Best Mountain West Game of the Season
Nov. 29. San Jose State 62, Fresno State 52
The game ultimately cost the Mountain West a BCS spot, but it was a brilliant thrill ride starting out with an epic first quarter as Davante Adams’ third touchdown catch of the frame gave Fresno State a 27-21 lead. The rest of the game was just as wild as Derek Carr’s 519 passing yards and six scores, with Adams catching 13 balls for 264 yards and three scores, being matched by San Jose State’s David Fales, who threw for 547 yards and six touchdown passes. Three Spartans hit the 100-yard receiving mark with Chandler Jones catching three scoring throws.

Coach of the Year
1) Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State – His defense might not have been up to snuff, but his offense picked up the slack taking the team to a win in the inaugural Mountain West championship.
2) Bobby Hauck, UNLV – The program couldn’t seem to turn a corner, struggling year after year to field a competitive squad, but everything came together with an improved talent base, good fundamentals, and a run to a bowl appearance.
3) Matt Wells, Utah State – His team might not have been as good as the 2012 version, but it wasn’t a bad opening act. Most teams would’ve folded after losing a talent like Chuckie Keeton, but Wells’ Aggies got their cuts against Fresno State in the Mountain West title game.

Grading the Mountain West
Air Force: F … The program is supposed to be disaster-proof, but 2013 was a nightmare going 2-10 – and struggling to even do that well.

Boise State: C … It’s all relative. The Broncos didn’t win the Mountain West title, so the season was a failure by their high standards. Losing Chris Petersen to Washington didn’t help ease the pain after a disappointing 8-4 year

Colorado State: B … Jim McElwain’s team was able to get the ground game working, and everything else flowed from there. Call it a stepping stone to what should be a bright future, but after several down years, there’s no complaining about a winning regular season and a bowl game.

Fresno State: A- … It would’ve been an A+ had the D been a wee bit better and the Bulldogs got by San Jose State. This was the preseason favorite to win the conference, and it lived up to expectations.

Hawaii: D … On the plus side, the team was far better than the awful 2013 version. However, close didn’t count this year as Norm Chow’s team struggled to find any semblance of luck.

Nevada: D+ … The win over San Jose State softened the blow, but it was still an awful year for a program expecting to be in the Mountain West title chase.

New Mexico: D+ … Considering the steps made under Bob Davie last season, the lack of improvement and 3-9 record were a massive disappointment.

San Diego State: B- … It’s hard to argue too much with the final result, but the Aztecs were supposed to challenge Fresno State for the West title, and finished second. The rough start didn’t help.

San Jose State: B- … The program isn’t used to winning big, but after last year’s success, 6-6 and no bowl appearance was a jump back. There were some fun moments – most notably the win over UNLV and shocker over Fresno State, but the program faltered a bit.

UNLV: B+ … The 7-5 season could’ve been 9-3 with a few breaks the right way, but for a program that hasn’t seen success in a long, long time, seven wins and a bowl appearance will work out just fine.

Utah State: B+ … It wasn’t a championship season, but the Aggies were able to take the Mountain title while showing its resiliency throughout.

Wyoming: C- … The Cowboys were a lot of fun, but this is always going to be the type of program that needs a lot of luck to be successful. Gone is Dave Christensen, and in comes North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl to try to make UW a consistent winner.

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