Two contenders for the championship of the Mountain West Conference will take the field Saturday in Week 9 action on CBS Sports Network -- including No. 25 Boise State -- as the league enters its second week of play. The Broncos travel to face Air Force in a critical tune-up before a nonconference showdown with No. 11 BYU on Nov. 6. Meanwhile, San Diego State will be looking to prove that it remains one of the league's top teams amid its coaching transition from Rocky Long to Brady Hoke as the Aztecs travel to Utah State in Saturday's nightcap.
Both Boise State and San Diego State won last week as they opened their abbreviated conference campaigns with comfortable victories. But if they are going to meet in the conference championship game on Dec. 19 like many expect, their margins for error will be slim amid a schedule that features just seven scheduled conference games for both.
That heightens the sense of emphasis on their respective games this week, which make for a big weekend on CBS Sports Network in Week 9 of the college football season.
Boise State vs. Air Force
Storylines: Air Force is 1-1 with a 40-7 win over Navy in its opener followed by a 17-6 loss to San Jose State last week. So the Falcons remain an enigma entering an all-important showdown with Boise State. The Broncos are once again the Mountain West favorite and enter 1-0 after an easy 42-13 win against Utah State last week. Boise State carries a three-game winning streak in the series into Saturday's meeting, but Air Force won three straight from 2014 to 2016.
Utah State vs. San Diego State
Storylines: Utah State snapped a 10-game losing streak in the series last season by upsetting San Diego State on the road. Replicating that performance this season will require slowing an Aztecs rushing attack that averaged 6.2 yards per carry on 46 tries in a 34-6 win over UNLV last week. San Diego State allowed just 186 yards in the game. That's bad news for a Utah State team that struggled to generate explosive plays in a 42-13 loss to Boise State last week.