Happy almost-Halloween-Eve-Eve, and welcome back to another FKWG Special Report! This week, we’re taking a deep dive into a Mountain West power ranking, as we are about halfway through the conference slate. In order to sweeten the pot, as it were, each team will also be assigned a relevant candy to go along with their ranking.
We’ve tried to be as accurate as possible, but we’re willing to consider alternatives in the comments. Sound off with better recommendations and do our work for free. All treats, no tricks, we promise.
Editor’s Note: We recognize that there are many different palates, and while your preferences may not jive with this list, that just means you’re wrong. It’s nothing personal.
Without much further ado, let’s get to it!
#12 Nevada (2-6, 0-4)
Candy Corn has a complicated relationship with the candy consuming populace. While not technically seasonal, it traditionally fares better in the fall, although it’s fallen out of vogue as a popular candy, and in fact has many straight-up haters. When you get right down to it, this honey-based candy is just boring.
Unfortunately for Nevada-Reno, so are they. Until they can establish some sort of identity beyond “crappy football”, the Wolfpack is going to be a seasonal treat, and by that we mean basketball season.
#11 New Mexico (2-6, 0-4)
Boston Baked Beans are old person candy. Nobody under the age of 50 seeks them out, except this one kid I know who grew up in this tiny town in Oregon, and he swears that was the only cheap candy at the country store. It’s a candy-coated peanut, people, it’s doing the bare minimum to be considered “candy”.
The Lobos are similarly unexciting. It’s bad when everyone yearns for the ‘good old days’ of the Bob Davie Triple Option. I just puked in my mouth a little while writing that.
#10 Hawai’i (2-6, 1-2)
Runts are colorful and exciting because you can get a lot of them for cheap, like at the bulk section in WinCo. But after the initial thrill of buying candy by the pound wears off, you realize it’s all a candy-colored facade over chalky sugar-sand and fake banana flavor. There’s a soft spot in many hearts for a handful of Runts, but that 5 pound bag is just too much.
Hawai’i feels primed to be exciting and flashy, but it’s hard to tell how much of that is nostalgia for Timmy Chang’s playing days, and how much is legitimately based on the current team. If they figure out their offense, the Rainbow Warriors could be fun again. Maybe even good!
#9 Colorado State (2-5, 2-1)
Mike & Ikes are one of those candies that markets well and everyone knows, but they’re also recycled rubber waste with a sugar veneer. Somehow available in movie theaters and doctor’s offices nationwide, but never sold in quantities to justify their pop culture status.
Despite making a splashy (lol) hire to replace the head-scratcher that was Addazio, the Rams haven’t been able to bring the Grit to Guys being Dudes. That 2-1 conference record makes a lot more sense when you check who they’ve played, and their upcoming schedule is not going to do them any favors for bowl eligibility.
#8 Fresno State (3-4, 2-1)
Atomic FireBalls always seem like a cool idea until about halfway through the first one, when you realize it’s just cinnamon flavored sugar and the sadness sets in. Then you have to either power through the rest of the FireBall or find some way to discretely dispose of it.
Jeff Tedford’s second tour of duty seems destined to end in yet another retirement. For Fresno’s fans, we hope that one sticks.
#7 Utah State (3-5, 2-2)
Saltwater taffy is a tourist trap staple. The bright colors and promises of exotic flavors lure in many kids, only to find out it’s all taffy, sometimes with a hint of fruit or something. Except that bubble gum one, it was always weirdly powerful and yet nothing like bubble gum. Overrated even as low as it is, if we’re honest.
Utah State is too average to be a contender, but too good to overlook. Dates with the Spartans and the Broncos mean they have a couple chances to at least spoil someone else’s party.
#6 UNLV (4-4, 2-2)
Trolli Gummies have dozens of shapes and flashy packaging, from frogs to octopuses to bears, but sweet or sour it’s all flash, not much more. Those in the know go for Albanese or Haribo, those on a budget go for Black Forest, leaving Trolli to those easily excited by marketing.
That early trail of destruction and 50-burgers had some people thinking that UNLV was “back”, although nobody was really sure when they were previously “good”. That scoring (and winning) streak has fallen off as of late, and the latter portion of the Rebel’s schedule looks to be a dogfight for a bowl slot. The Fremont Cannon awaits.
#5 San Diego State (4-3, 2-1)
Nobody cares how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Not even Brady Hoke.
The Aztecs are doing their best Iowa impression as of late, punting their way to victory. It remains to be seen if Brady Hoke can do a nepotism and hire his whole family like Kirk Ferentz, or if sunny San Diego will try for a coach with a personality instead of playing reruns.
#4 San Jose State (4-2, 2-1)
Bean Boozled Jellybeans are a relatively recent phenomenon that plays off of the inherent uncertainty around jellybean flavors. While they may have been the favored snack of a past president, the confection had recently slowed down to mostly Jelly Belly gift packs and some staunch supporters of legume-shaped sugar. The advent of risky-flavored candy meant that jelly beans were popular once again, this time for maybe being awful? Call it American Roulette.
San Jose State has quietly gone from straight awful to once again capitalizing on their circumstances to make their coach an improbable sum of money somewhere else. You may remember their closing WAC campaign, which bore more than a passing resemblance to 2020’s timely run through the MWC. Since then, however, Brent Brennan has tried his best to piece together a winning program, to varying success. Their remaining schedule looks like at least 8-4 and the Colorado job, if we’re honest.
#3 Air Force (5-3, 2-3)
Double Bubble bubblegum is reportedly “America’s Bubble Gum” because the same ~5 million or so pieces have been in circulation since 1932. Wastewater processing plants filter it out of city sewage, then ship bundles of it back to Double Bubble for re-processing. It’s not gross, it’s recycling! Do your patriotic duty and chew some today.
Troy Calhoun is the old man of the Mountain West, but this year he seems to have lost the magic touch in-conference. Unfortunately for everyone else, that usually means he’s got a killer linebacker in the wings to just mess everything up next year.
#2 Wyoming (5-3, 3-1)
Has anyone ever seen a full-size 100 Grand Bar? They’re an “Assorted Mix” staple in Fun Size candy packs, but I’m not sure they exist outside of that specific incarnation. Solid but basic, nothing flashy, just chocolate and crunch like God intended.
Craig Bohl’s Cowboys may not be exciting, but he’s been a steady force in the Mountain West. His steady Eddy style has paid off more often than not, and nobody in their right mind looks forward to a mid-November date in Laramie.
#1 Boise State (5-2, 4-0)
Everybody knows that one house that hands out the good stuff, the Full Size candy bar. Sometimes it’s an entire neighborhood, even, as rumors of the Harrison Boulevard haul persist to this day. But more realistically, there’s one weird house in the neighborhood that goes all-out for Halloween with the big candy bars, and it’s always awesome. Doesn’t even matter if you like the candy or not, even a full-size Baby Ruth is a good time when you’re trick-or-treating.
Andy Avalos went from hot seat to hot hand over the course of the last 3 games. Firing your offensive coordinator right before the three-game conference gauntlet that usually results in at least one loss isn’t generally recommended by coaching guidebooks, but here we are. The Broncos have three complete team wins with demonstrable growth from week to week, along with a timely bye. While they’re not exactly the most intimidating 5-2 in football, they’re once again awfully hard to bet against.