Week 14 MWC football picks: Utah State, Boise State battle to end for Mountain division

Breaking down who I think is going to win in this weekend’s Mountain West football games.

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Spartan Notes: James Jones talks about how much Thanksgiving means to him

Many of us spend Thanksgiving doing two things: gorging ourselves stupid and pining over cheap crap to the point where we fight people over it at the nearby Walmart. It’s easy to forget that this is a day of thanks, and how much we have to be thankful for given how many in this country go without.

Not James Jones.

The San Jose State wide receiver from 2004 to 2006, now a star with the Packers, spoke about growing up poor in the Bay Area with the NFL Network, and how thankful he is to have plenty now.

“Someone would donate some food to the homeless shelter, and what ever they served, you eat,” he said. “Now, it’s a blessing to be able to cook everything you  you want and eat all the deserts you want. … I’m truly blessed to play this game; I came from humble beginnings. I’m excited and happy be here every day I walk into this stadium.”

He hasn’t forgotten his roots. He and his wife doing a lot of charity work in San Jose, where he grew up, and Green Bay.

“I never want my family to go through anything that I ever went through,” he said.

Other San Jose State sports notes …

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MWC men’s hoops power rankings: UNLV disappoints, Spartans in last to start

UNLV was picked to finish at or near the top of the Mountain West by almost everyone, but the luster of those predictions seems like a long, long time ago.

The Rebels are 2-3 to open the season, not really putting up much of a fight against stronger competition they were supposed to go toe-to-toe with, and losing badly to two teams that no business coming to the Thomas and Mack Center and doing such things.

UNLV is lucky one of those games didn’t count.

San Jose State has won two in a row with a strong win over Pepperdine. It still isn’t enough to get them out of the rankings early doldrums.

Here are this week’s Mountain West Conference men’s basketball rankings for the first few weeks of the season.

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MWC Roundup: ‘Ice cream fixes everything’ for San Jose State edition

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011San Jose State coach Rob Caragher has stolen a page out of the kindergarten handbook in an attempt to lighten the dour mood around the South Campus.

After a lifeless performance in a loss to Nevada on Saturday,  he decided to bring some levity to this week’s practices by having the fat guys on the offensive and defensive line participate in a kicking contest, with ice cream as the prize.

It ended in a tie, so everyone got sweets, writes Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News. It makes the players take their mind off the task at hand at least, but it doesn’t necessarily fix the fact that the Spartans let the last really good opportunity to wrap up a bowl berth escape and run for a touchdown.

Now, it means having to do it against a 6-4 Navy team that runs the ball as well as anyone or an undefeated Fresno State program that is firing on all cylinders.

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Football predictions, Week 12: Three teams seek bowl eligibility, get cupcakes

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011Colorado State, San Diego State and San Jose State can all reach the pivotal six-win mark this week by performing coup de gras on teams from the Mountain West’s doldrums.

The Spartans face a Nevada team that hasn’t won in five weeks and is hurting on both sides of the ball. The Aztecs face a winless Hawaii team that will at least have the benefit of looking pretty in throwbacks while likely getting nailed to the wall on Saturday. Colorado State’s run-stopping defense has to love seeing a team that can do only one thing right: run the ball.

This will be the week the conference finally shakes out its bowl teams from its bad teams.

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MWC Roundup: A building boom at two of conference’s Calif. schools

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011These are boom times for the Cal State’s football schools, at least in terms of athletics, with San Diego State and San Jose State are each building up their facilities.

The Vermeil-Walsh Athletic Complex, which will be the new North end zone at Spartans Stadium, is set to break ground soon at San Jose State and will make the stadium in general more hospitable. Spartan Gym, which houses the volleyball and gymnastics teams, is also getting a sorely needed facelift along with the rest of the Spartan Complex. The facility is also privately financed which, considering the hard times the school has fallen on financially, is a relief.

Athletic director Gene Bleymaier hopes its the first step of a rebuild of Spartan Stadium, he said back in May. The stadium hasn’t had significant renovations since the 1980s.

San Diego State is building a new basketball practice facility on campus. But with the future of Qualcomm Stadium uncertain and likely short, the Aztecs are looking at all options, including building an on-campus stadium.

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