M-West Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
UNLV QB Omar Clayton
UNLV QB Omar Clayton
Posted Aug 20, 2009

What are the dangerous games that every Mountain West team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.

The Mountain West Landmine Games

The traps to watch out for

By Pete Fiutak

Landmine Games For Every Team
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It's next to impossible for a team to get up for every game over the course of the long season. It's easy to be jazzed for the big rival or the top five team, but college kids can't remain focused enough to play razor sharp for one game and then maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.

Below are the very dangerous letdown games for each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least, these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might be pushed very, very hard.

- Air Force - Oct. 17 vs. Wyoming
This is a landmine because ... Is Wyoming going to be better this year with its new coaching staff and new attitude? Air Force will need to bring its A game and can't let down after playing at Navy and against TCU and with road games against Utah and Colorado State to follow. The pressure might be on for the Falcons to save their season with a win, but with a great Cowboy defensive front to deal with, the running game could struggle a bit.

- BYU - Oct. 10 at UNLV
This is a landmine because ... It all depends on how the Cougars start out. The UNLV game comes on the road in the middle of the dull part of the schedule. If the Cougars are fired up after beating Florida State and Colorado State at home, with with a layup against Utah State to follow, the team could be on a roll. If it loses to the Seminoles and, assuming an opening day loss to Oklahoma, is 3-2 to start the year, there might be a chance for a letdown against a Rebel program in search of a trophy win.

- Colorado State - Oct. 3 at Idaho
This is a landmine because ... The Vandals aren't going to be that good, and Colorado State should win the game in a walk if it's going to try. It's the ultimate sandwich game that has all the makings of a letdown. The Rams will be coming off a trip to BYU and have Utah and at TCU to follow, and they're hardly going to take a non-conference game like this all that seriously. Throw in the trip to Moscow, and it could be a long day..

- New Mexico - Oct. 31 at San Diego State
This is a landmine because ... In a new era for New Mexico football and with a new coaching staff, the Lobos aren't likely to take too many games off. However, in the middle of the season, it'll be hard not to let down a bit with big games ahead at Utah, against BYU, Colorado State, and at TCU. San Diego State, also with a new coaching staff, will be pointing to this game as a great chance for a Mountain West win.

- San Diego State - Sept. 19 at Idaho
This is a landmine because ... Under the guidance of new head coach Brady Hoke, the Aztecs will be in full rebuilding mode. However, there could be a false sense of how good the team might be after a layup against a miserable Southern Utah team. The week after comes the long trip to Idaho, and with the Mountain West opener at Air Force to follow this could be more than a tune-up game for the conference season.

- TCU - Oct. 3 vs. SMU
This is a landmine because ... Let down time. TCU is head and shoulders better than SMU, but Bo Levi Mitchell and the Mustang passing game could be really, really annoying if the Horned Frogs aren't focused after a trip to Clemson and with the Mountain West opener at Air Force to follow. Also watch out for the road trip to Wyoming at November 21st coming off the showdown against Utah.

- UNLV - Oct. 24 at New Mexico
This is a landmine because ... This isn't a true landmine since New Mexico will probably be favored, but it's the lightest game in the mix of all the Mountain West heavyweights. The Rebels host BYU and Utah (after a nasty non-conference game at Nevada) and has a trip to TCU to follow. They can be forgiven if they relax a bit and don't play up to their capabilities. Call this a test to see how the coaching staff can keep the team focused.

- Utah - Sept. 12 at San Jose State
This is a landmine because ... After all the big things that happened last year, it'll be tough to convince Utah and its fans that the trip to San Jose State is a deathtrap, especially with a road game at Oregon the following week, but it is. The Spartan defense should be solid, but the real fear for the Utes will be a Spartan passing game that gets an upgrade at receiver with the return of Kevin Jurovich. Utah should win, but this will be a fight.

- Wyoming - Oct. 3 at Florida Atlantic
This is a landmine because ... It's a long, long trip to Boca Raton from Wyoming, and it'll be coming off the Mountain West opener against UNLV. The Cowboys will have a hard time with Rusty Smith and the Owl passing game, while the offense can't afford to make mistakes against an ultra-athletic (but not that big) FAU D. Wyoming can't take any game for granted, especially one on the road.