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Bern’s-Eye View: Mountain West football picks Week 5


Ben Margot / AP

San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin, left, runs against UNLV’s Najee Johnson (43) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in San Jose, Calif.

The Rebel Room

A Rivalry to Remember?

Betting boards are giving UNLV a much better chance this week at UNR after the Rebels' 80-8 victory against Idaho State, and Sun sports editor Ray Brewer tells reporters Case Keefer and Taylor Bern that UNLV coach Tony Sanchez will be riding the Fremont Cannon back to Vegas.

San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin was the star of the Mountain West last weekend with 300 rushing yards against Fresno State. His performance was much needed in this space because that was the only game that I nailed.

A 2-5 week hits hard right before conference season really kicks into gear because this league isn’t going to be easy to handicap. A few teams will separate themselves, because that’s what always happens, but I know enough to know that I don’t know exactly what teams are going to do it.

You know what I mean? On to the picks:

Note: UNLV picks will appear in the live blog on the day of the game.


San Jose State (plus-20) at Auburn

Noon, SEC Network

• Auburn was a preseason top-5 team, but the Tigers have two unimpressive wins, two losses and they’re 0-4 ATS. The Spartans’ 21-point loss at Air Force a few weeks ago doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but I think they’ve figured some things out since then and if Ervin approaches even half of the yards he rushed for against Fresno State last week, then SJSU will be in good shape.

Pick: San Jose State — Win

Air Force (plus-6) at Navy

12:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

• Both of these teams are 3-0 ATS this year, though neither has what we would call a good victory yet, so it’s still tough to get a read on them. My gut leaned Navy, but I’m going with Air Force, in part because the Falcons have had two weeks to prepare for this rivalry game. For the last 18 years, the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy has gone to the winner of this game.

Pick: Air Force — Loss

Wyoming (plus-25.5) at Appalachian State

12:30 p.m., ESPN3

• This line is insane, yet you have to seriously look at laying the points. I’m not going to do it, but I can’t give you a great reason why because Wyoming is far worse than anyone expected this season.

Pick: Wyoming — Win

Colorado State (plus-4.5) at Utah State

4 p.m., ESPN3

• I’m probably too much in the tank for Colorado State, but the Rams could easily be 4-0 right now. They’re the best team on the field and they’re getting more points than they should against a struggling team, so I’ll keep backing them.

Pick: Colorado State — Loss

New Mexico State (plus-12.5) at New Mexico

5 p.m., Root Sports/MWN

• In the last 10 years, the Rio Grande Rivalry, which was first played in 1894(!), has been decided by at least two touchdowns only twice. It’s often close, particularly when neither team seems to be particularly good, and that’s the case again this year. I’ll take the points.

Pick: New Mexico State — Win

Hawaii (plus-25) at Boise State

7:15 p.m., ESPN2

• I was always planning on betting against a Rainbow Warrior team that had only four days at home in between this trip and last week’s game at Wisconsin (not to mention the trip to Ohio State two weeks before that). So even though I don’t really like the number — I was hoping for something in the 18-21 range — I’ll stick with my gut and hope that Boise State freshman quarterback Brett Rypien can duplicate his performance last week against Virginia.

Pick: Boise State — Win

Fresno State (plus-8.5) at San Diego State

7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

• This is a get-right game for the Aztecs, a chance to move past the ugliness and struggle of the past three weeks. If it doesn’t happen, I think that will say more about the home team than it does Fresno State.

Pick: San Diego State — Win

Last week: 2-5

Season: 17-13-1

2014 record: 49-37

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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