NCAAF: WAC Preview

August 24, 2010


Next year, there will be almost no need to cover this conference, unless by some miracle Boise State opts out of their agreement to join the Mountain West Conference. Even then, it doesn’t matter much, because the only reason that will happen is if the college football landscape begins to shift again, and Boise State is whisked off to a conference where they can compete for a spot in college football’s inevitable future playoff. Which means that, like the Mountain West Conference, the WAC will cease to exist. However, this year there is reason to pay attention to this conference. Thanks to Boise State, there has never before been so much criticism and conversation regarding a preseason Top 25 poll in college football. Why? Well, quite simply, people are scared. Scared that the little engine that could from out West has the ability to beat their non-conference opponents. Scared that those opponents seem to be the only thing separating them from a perfect season, and possibly the chance to become the first team from a non-BCS conference to play for the national championship. Scared that this could ruin what we currently know as college football. Guess what, guys: it’s already happening. That same team from out West ruined all that on January 1st, 2007.

Team(s) With the Best Shot at a National Championship Bid
Boise State

You’ll soon find out that this entire preview revolves around the Boise State Broncos. They’re the WAC’s golden egg, and I’m not going to deny that they’re also the only team worth talking about in the conference. Thanks to their high preseason ranking, the Broncos have a very real shot at playing for the national championship this year. All they have to do is beat Oregon State, Virginia Tech, and not fall flat on their face in any of their other games throughout the season. Also (this one’s for you, Colin Cowherd), don’t expect them to get crushed by Virginia Tech like they did last time they played a ranked opponent in the East (they lost 48-13 to #13 Georgia in 2005). That team finished 9-4, and didn’t have the talent that this year’s team does. The 2010 Broncos return 20 starters from last season’s undefeated team, and tout Heisman hopeful Kellen Moore at quarterback. Don’t compare apples with oranges, Colin.

Watch Out! (Team That Could Surprise)
Fresno State

They may have lost their most well known player in Ryan Mathews, but they didn’t lose a whole lot else. The Bulldogs return 16 starters from last year, and have a decent replacement for Mathews in running back Robbie Rouse. Their schedule (other than the away game against Boise State) is favorable, so they have a chance to reach double digits in the wins column this season.

Out-Of-Conference Game To Watch
Boise State vs. Virginia Tech (September 6th)

This is the national Game of the Week. The question of whether or not Boise State deserves to be in the national championship discussion will be answered when this game is played. The WAC is irrelevant for the rest of the season if Boise State loses. However, if they win, the debate will probably continue. Seems kind of like a loaded dice, doesn’t it?

In-Conference Game To Watch
Boise State vs. Nevada (November 26th)

Nevada always seems to be able to make it interesting against Boise State. Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick will get one final try at beating the Broncos, which he has come very close to doing in the past. In my opinion, Nevada is going to need some tricks up their sleeve to win this one, because although they always give a valiant effort, the Pistol offense isn’t going to fool Boise State’s defense.

Conference Predictions

1. Boise State (12-0, [8-0])
2. Fresno State (10-2, [7-1])
3. Nevada (9-4, [6-2])
4. Idaho (7-6, [4-4])
5. Hawaii (7-6, [4-4])
6. Louisiana Tech (5-7, [3-5])
7. Utah State (3-9, [2-6])
8. New Mexico State (2-10, [1-7])
9. San Jose State (2-11, [0-8])

– K. Becks

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