Jan 24, 2020
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Spartans fall to bottom

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Paul Rodriguez / McClatchy Tribune

No. 1: Boise State Broncos (5-0)
Last Week: Bye
Next Opponent: at Tulsa (Tonight, 5 p.m. on ESPN)
Why No. 1?: Until proven otherwise, Boise State is both an unstoppable force and an immovable object.
The Buzz: The Broncos are back at No. 5 in the AP poll and are the highest ranked non-automatic qualifier in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) race. If the Broncos get past the Golden Hurricane tonight, they won’t face another real challenger until January.

No. 2: Idaho Vandals (5-1)
Last Week: Beat San Jose State, 29-25, in San Jose
Next Opponent: vs. Hawaii
Why No. 2?: It felt like an aberration having the Vandals so high in the rankings, again, but they just keep winning football games. They are 5-1 and in first place in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
The Buzz: Hosting Hawaii used to be another whipping for the lowly Vandals, but it looks like they will beat Hawaii for the first time since joining the conference.

No. 3: Fresno State Bulldogs (2-3)
Last Week: Beat Hawaii, 42-17, in Honolulu
Next Opponent: vs. San Jose State
Why No. 3?: Finally, the Bulldogs got a win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team at Hawaii. It may be a knee-jerk reaction, but Fresno State seems to have woken up and is playing really good football.
The Buzz: The ’Dogs have the talent to keep San Jose State at bay and get the reserves playing time on homecoming weekend. It’s time for the Bulldogs to start rolling up opponents.

No. 4: Nevada Wolf Pack (2-3)
Last Week: Beat Louisiana Tech, 37-14, in Reno
Next Opponent: at Utah State
Why No. 4?: In the Pack’s last two games, they scored 100 points. Nevada is slowly meeting expectations and will only get stronger as the season progresses.
The Buzz: The Wolf Pack has tremendous talent in the offensive backfield, which will push them past Utah State. Two weeks will be a real barometer when Idaho comes to Reno.

No. 5: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (2-3)
Last Week: Lost to Nevada, 37-14, in Reno
Next Opponent: 
vs. New Mexico State
Why No. 5?: It may seem like a high ranking, especially after the Bulldogs received a hardy beatdown last Friday, but there isn’t much talent below Louisiana Tech.
The Buzz: The ’Dogs aren’t hopeless; they just had a terrible outing in Reno. This team has a talented tailback and probably the best defensive line in the WAC. The Bulldogs strengths will carry them past New Mexico State.

No. 6: New Mexico State Aggies (3-3)
Last Week: Beat Utah State, 20-17, in Las Cruces
Next Opponent: vs. Louisiana Tech

Why No. 6?: It is hard to ignore a .500 record, especially in the WAC, but the Aggies’ best win is against a winless New Mexico. New Mexico State is the best of the worst.
The Buzz: Tech has more talent and depth than the Aggies, and home-field advantage won’t make a difference.

No. 7: Hawaii Warriors (2-3)
Last Week: Lost to Fresno State, 42-17, in Honolulu
Next Opponent: at Idaho
Why No. 7?: Without quarterback Greg Alexander, who is out for the season with a knee injury, to run the offense, Hawaii was pitiful. The Warriors had six fumbles, two interceptions and only three points after three quarters against Fresno State.
The Buzz: Hawaii will adjust and get better as the season progresses, but will likely lose its fourth game in a row at the Kibbie “Thunder” Dome.

No. 8: Utah State Aggies (1-4)
Last Week: Lost to New Mexico State, 20-17, in Las Cruces
Next Opponent: vs. Nevada

Why No. 8?: The Aggies were really close to the ninth and final in the rankings, but close games against Utah, Texas A&M and BYU saved them from the cellar.
The Buzz: Nevada is about to hit full stride, while the Aggies couldn’t even get past New Mexico State. But who knows … No. 8 could knock off No. 6, but would anyone be around to see it?

No. 9: San Jose State Spartans (1-4)
Last Week: Lost to Idaho, 29-25, in San Jose
Next Opponent: at Fresno State
Why No. 9?: The Spartans couldn’t hold a fourth quarter lead against Idaho and their only win was a 19-9 squeaker against Cal Poly.
The Buzz: San Jose State has failed to navigate a minefield in September, losing to USC, Utah and Stanford. The Spartans could have some potential masked by their level of competition. Or they could be terrible.

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