SAN JOSE -- In an alternate world, David Fales could be traveling with the Wyoming football team this week for a duel with Brett Smith and San Jose State.

The two quarterbacks, among the best in the Mountain West Conference, could easily be wearing the others' uniform when the Spartans play their homecoming game 4 p.m. Saturday against the Cowboys .

Fales, SJSU's senior star, was enrolled at Wyoming in 2011 . Smith, a junior at Wyoming, was committed to San Jose State in 2010 as a high school senior.

Oh, what might have been.

"It's definitely crossed my mind," Smith said this week.

Fales hasn't hidden that he considers this a special game. Last summer, he described SJSU's schedule as "perfect" in that it included both Wyoming and Nevada, another school in which he enrolled.

"It definitely fuels the fire," Fales said in July.

Fales' time in Wyoming was brief. He had just completed his first year at Monterey Peninsula College when Wyoming called, expressing interest in having him compete with Smith, an incoming freshman. Fales' dad lives in Wyoming, about two hours from the Laramie campus.

"For my dad and my family, I had to try it out because it's so close and it'd be really cool if it worked out," Fales said.

Fales enrolled as a walk-on with the understanding that Wyoming could bring him on scholarship the next year. But after a couple weeks of informal team workouts, Fales decided to return to Monterey Peninsula College, realizing Wyoming wasn't the right place for him. Among other things, he was at a decided disadvantage in the competition against Smith.

"Brett already had spring and most of the summer and so he had a grasp of the offense," Fales said. "Realistically, I wasn't going to understand the offense to where I'd be able to compete with him by fall camp."

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said his contact with Fales was minimal. Training camp had not begun yet and access to players was limited during those informal workouts. .

"I never saw him throw a football, never saw him work out," Christensen said last summer. "Just had a chance to visit with him a few times. The kids liked him, they said he was a great kid. Then next thing I know, he was gone."

Fales believes he was there "just in case" Smith didn't pan out. Christensen disputes that.

"I don't have any 'just in case' players," Christensen said. "We like to compete and put the best players out there. It would have been a heck of a competition with Brett and him, but it didn't work out. Brett turned out to be an All-American that year. It's worked out well for David, so I'm happy for both of them."

Fales landed at San Jose State after his second season at MPC and guided the Spartans to an 11-2 season last year, during which he broke every significant single-season school passing record. He's on pace this year to break the school's career passing yards mark and challenge for the passing touchdowns record.

Smith led Wyoming to a bowl game during his freshman year and was named the Mountain West's Freshman of the Year. He had committed to San Jose State in the summer of 2010, giving his word to then-coach Mike MacIntyre. But the shake up in the Western Athletic Conference shook him up.

The WAC was disintegrating, and there was no telling where San Jose State would end up. Boise State was leaving for the Mountain West and when it was followed by three more WAC schools -- Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii -- Smith reversed field and went to Wyoming.

SJSU landed Fales a year later, so things seem to have worked out for all parties. Spartans coach Ron Caragher expects Fales will keep his emotions in check.

"Up through the opening kickoff, you're a little bit more bouncing around, but what gets you through the course of a game in a successful way is doing what you always do," Caragher said. "I really know, the competitor he is, he will hone in.

"Our guys understand to take care of business of the task at hand, you've got to be honed in and I'm confident our guys will do that."

Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.

Saturday's game
Wyoming (4-3, 2-1 MWC) at San Jose State (3-3, 2-1), 4 p.m. Root Sports (DirecTV 683, Dish Network 414)