The Mountain West Conference had the appearance of a six-bid league a month ago.
But the league has eaten its own. That was bound to happen. Separation has occurred and the numbers are more likely going to be a repeat of last year's four -- which is still quite a feat for a nine-team league.
On to the rankings:
1. New Mexico. Sorry for those MWC fans hoping I would dump the Lobos out of the top spot after a loss at San Diego State -- New Mexico then went to Wyoming and won a tough turnaround game. UNM should stay in the spot with a visit from Nevada up next.
2. Colorado State. The Rams have shot up my power rankings after their 20-point blowout of Boise State. CSU lost to New Mexico at the Pit, but really made a strong comeback. The only other league loss was at San Diego State in overtime. The Rams take on Wyoming next.
3. UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels are still figuring out how best to play. They have a tough chore ahead, going to Boise State, then a game they should win but won't walk through at Fresno State.
4. San Diego State. The Aztecs hammered New Mexico at home in a must-win game to stay in the chase. Now the task for San Diego State is to get past a tough Air Force team that is more than capable of knocking off anyone at home.
5. Air Force. Yes, the Falcons are now at No. 5 after winning four in a row and handling Wyoming in Laramie. Air Force can disrupt the league race with games upcoming against San Diego State and at New Mexico. I have said for weeks that the Falcons' experience will pay off later in the MWC season. This is a postseason team in some form.
6. Wyoming. The Cowboys are on a skid right now, having lost four of five. The defense hasn't been as much of an issue as struggling to score has been. A visit to Colorado State on Saturday won't make stopping this slide any easier.
7. Boise State. The Broncos still own one of the top nonconference road victories, at Creighton, but it's losing that importance during the MWC season. Boise State got pummeled by Colorado State and has lost four of five. UNLV at home and San Diego State on the road are up next for the Broncos, meaning this season could go in either direction.
8. Nevada. The Wolf Pack aren't going to make the turn into an NCAA tournament team. They are now solely in the spoiler role going forward.
9. Fresno State. The Bulldogs have dropped four consecutive games but can be disruptive, especially at home. No one should sleep on this squad just yet.