The WAC has been called a dead conference. There has been significant movement in the structuring of the league, such as Boise State leaving. There are a lot of bad teams in this conference, but also some exciting ones, and rabid fans of college football will find plenty of interesting matchups in this conference. However, casual fans or ESPN drones will probably not realize there is a conference named after an overused 90's adjective.
Chris Ault has proven to be an incredible coach for Nevada, and they always stand a chance with him. They had a great season last year and were the only ones to knock off Boise State. They went to Hawaii and lost a strange one (which happens) and that was their only loss. But it seems to be a rebuilding year, as they lost key players like Colin Kaepernick, Vai Taua and other hard to spell players. They also no longer really have any pass rushers, reports show.
Fun pointless tidpit: Nevada started the pistol, which is shorter version of the shotgun that swept the NCAA last season.
Final Prediction: Tough schedule start with Oregon, Texas Tech, and Boise State all before Oct. 2nd. 8-4 seems to be the standard pick. I think that is a good number, and I think the race for the WAC will be a great (although silent) race, but I have Nevada coming on top.
Under Pat Hill, Fresno State has competed every year. Last year they went 8-5 but were destroyed by Northern Illinois in the Humanitarian Bowl. This year, David Carr's little brother will take over at quarterback, and even though Carr's NFL career has been derailed by playing for bad teams (Houston Texans *cough cough*), his career in Fresno was incredible. If Derek is half as good as David was, then they are in some very good shape. They also had a great running game last year, as they do almost every year. The majority of their starters are coming back, but that may not necessarily be as good as it
sounds since their defense was not very good last year.
Fun pointless tidbit: David Carr won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 2001
Final Prediction: Starting off tough with Cal (certainly not unbeatable) and then Nebraska, they also play Boise State and Ole Miss (which they could and probably will win), but the rest of the schedule is pretty pedestrian. They could win 9 games and will definitely go to a bowl game, but some are picking only 6 or 7 wins.
Hawaii is another one of those teams (like I mentioned with Navy) that have a system in place that transcends players and even coaches. No matter who they put in there, they will throw for thousands and thousands of yards. Lots of sacks on both side of the field last year, and we will see if they happens
again. Last year they racked up 2,000 more yards than they gave up, and if their defense is any good, then they should be a really nice team even if they looked pretty bad in their bowl game.
Fun pointless tidbit: They have a hybrid defense with a position called "the Elephant".
Final Prediction: They start the season with Colorado and Washington as their big name non conference teams. They could definitely win those games win. Their is not an unbeatable team on their schedule. There are whispers of a 10 win season, and a possible conference victory for the Rainbow Warriors. I have them going third in the conference, but the top three teams in the conference are going to battle this out to the end.
This team won 5 games last year despite allowing 6 yards a play on defense (and being 117th in passing defense), and used 3 different quarterbacks. If they can figure out how to pass the ball a little bit (and stop the pass) they may actually be a decent team. Dykes is going into his second year as a head coach and he may actually have this team on the right track.
Fun pointless tidbit: WAC stands for Western Atlantic Conference and when I think Western, I think Louisiana.
Final Prediction: The toughest teams they will play are Houston, Fresno State, Ole Miss and Nevada. There is certainly some reason for hope with this team. I will give them a 6 win season and a chance to get a bowl game.
This team had a losing record in the WAC last year. Robb Akey is 17-33 in his tenure there. I don't blame Akey, this team was bad before. But there aren't many signs that this team is getting any better. They also somehow lost their quarterback to the NFL and his top two receivers graduated as well.
Fun pointless tidbit: There are actual potato studies done at this university.
Final Prediction: They start with a couple of easy games and then play Texas A&M and Fresno State which will be two losses. Virginia will be too much for the Vandals as well. Bizarrely, the National Football Authority predicts an 8 win season. I am not near as hopeful, and think they will probably win about half of that.
They were 4-8 last year (as well as the year before) and now the head coach is making himself defensive coordinator and bringing in a 3-4 scheme. Moves like this are always last ditch efforts to save the coach's job, and they usually don't work. They are given 20-1 odds of winning the WAC by betting
agencies, and that probably tells the story. They lost both their solid quarterback, their best corner, and their key running back and will have to replace them this year.
Fun pointless tidbit: Some player names include:Funaki Asisi, Bojay Filimoeatu, Taani Fisilau, ans Elvis Kamana-Matagi
Final Prediction: They start the season with Auburn but get Weber State the next week for a 1-1 start. Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State highlight the conference schedule and Utah State would be lucky to take one of those games. Its the third year for Coach Anderson, and so he is probably starting to get players he likes in the program. This season could go either way, they could be decent, or flop. I am leaning towards flop.
New Mexico State
This is just an awful football team year in and year out. They were 2-10 last year, only winning one game in the Mountain West (this is their first year in the WAC). Coach Walker is entering his third year of the club, which is usually the key year, and has a record of 5-20. Don't expect things to get better. The offense stinks, the defense stinks, and the special teams isn't all that great either. These are one of
those teams that are never televised and the NCAA denies their existence. They haven't even had a winning season since 2002 and haven't won 5 games since 04.
Fun pointless tidbit: In the state of New Mexico, the world's largest enchilada is made every year in October.
Final Prediction: Georgia is the toughest one on the schedule, and they play no FCS teams. This gives them no automatic wins, and they may only win one or two.
San Jose State
This team was 1-12 last year and went winless in conference. They are returning 18 starters but those guys obviously weren't good. To add on, the program may go away altogether because of money problems. They averaged a grand total of 16 points a game and gave up 35 a game last year. They averaged getting blown out. Miami (OH) did the unthinkable last year by going from 3-10 to 10-3. No such comeback will happen with this team.
Fun pointless tidbit: San Jose isn't even a state
Final Prediction: Stanford, UCLA, and Nevada in the first 3 weeks, and the last 2 games are Navy and Fresno State, with BYU and Hawaii make up the meat of the schedule. They can't run the ball, they can't stop the run, and do nothing special on the passing side of things, this is going to be another terrible year and their program may be in serious jeopardy. I would be surprised if they won a single game.