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2011 Preview - CFN Thoughts On The WAC
Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2011


Preview 2011 - The CFNers give their thoughts on the upcoming WAC season.


Preview 2011

WAC Thoughts


- Be Somebody ...  Blog About WAC Football
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- 2011 Fresno State Preview | 2011 Hawaii Preview 
- 2011 Idaho Preview | 2011 Louisiana Tech Preview
- 2011 Nevada Preview | 2011 New Mexico State Preview
- 2011 San Jose State Preview | 2011 Utah State Preview
 
- 2011 WAC Preview | 2011 WAC Unit Rankings
- 2011 WAC Schedules & Picks | 2011 WAC Thoughts
- 2011 CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players 
- 2011 WAC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish
- 2010 WAC Preview

By Pete Fiutak

- How does the WAC survive and go on? 1) It needs Louisiana Tech to become outstanding under Sonny Dykes. 2) It needs some of the Sun Belt teams to improve to the point of expansion. Getting Troy, Middle Tennessee, ULM, and Louisiana-Lafayette as natural rivals for Louisiana Tech would be bigger and far, far better than the current plan.

- The WAC's problem isn't just trying to revamp and improve; it's keeping the teams that get good. Whomever the new WAC power turns out to be will be snapped up in a heartbeat by the Mountain West.

- UT San-Antonio and Texas State? (Heavy sigh)

- Try to find a bigger difference between the haves and have-nots last season. Boise State, Nevada, and Hawaii all finished in the top six in total offense and in the top ten in total offense. San Jose State and New Mexico State finished in the bottom 20 in yards and offense. The Spartans were 115th in the nation in scoring and the Aggies were 117th. Utah State was 94th.

- The defensive stats were worse. Boise State finished second, but five of the WAC teams finished 95th or worse.

- Those five teams happen to be the five that are coming back next year.

- Linebacker Keith Smith and safety Duke Ihenacho are reasons to go our of your way to watch San Jose State.

- Really. They're that good.

- It'll be interesting to see how the league does against Boise State now that it's not a conference matchup. The Broncos are better this year than anyone in the WAC, but they still have to deal with Fresno State, Nevada, and San Jose State. Okay, so San Jose State might struggle, but the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs will give their former nemesis a run.

- Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz won't throw for 5,000 yards, but he'll come close.

- Of the top nine WAC passers last year, eight are gone.

- If Utah State's Robert Turbin can come back 100% healthy from his knee injury, he'll finish in the top ten in the nation in rushing.

- Fresno State, if you can't win the WAC this year, then why will you ever think you can win the Mountain West in the future?

- Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, ad Utah State will go 0-for-non-conference games against FBS teams.

By Richard Cirminiello

No Boise State. No Colin Kaepernick in Reno. Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada are passing through before arriving in the Mountain West in 2012. Yeah, it’ll be a rough next few months in the WAC public relations department.

Now that the Broncos have changed leagues, Fresno State may finally win one of these crowns before bolting themselves. In RB Robbie Rouse and DE Logan Harrell, the Bulldogs will be built around two of the WAC’s more accomplished athletes.

After having quarterbacks drafted in April, Nevada and Idaho are delighted to have savvy seniors waiting in the on-deck circle. The Pack’s Tyler Lantrip and the Vandals’ Brian Reader are hoping to finally realize the trappings of their patience and years of anonymous service.

After adjusting poorly to Sonny Dykes’ pass-happy system, Louisiana Tech will be in a far better position to succeed offensively this fall. It’ll help immensely to get balance from RB Lennon Creer, a legitimate NFL prospect getting plenty of looks from scouts.

Idaho RB Ryan Bass is destined to become one of the WAC’s best newcomers of 2011. The former top recruit of Arizona State played well on the scout team last fall, and is eyeing Moscow as a chance to revive a once-promising career.

Sure, San Jose State has issues, especially on offense, but the D could be a major surprise for the next couple of seasons. The Spartans used a bunch of young kids in 2010, like DE Travis Johnson, LB Keith Smith and LB Vince Buhagiar, who are all honors candidates.

By Matt Zemek

There’s no Boise State in the Western Athletic Conference, but the Nevada Wolf Pack must now face the kind of situation that will test the program in a manner akin to what Boise State has dealt with over the past half-decade. Boise played a big-stage game against Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl and crafted a season that gained national notice for the school. When programs climb the mountain and breathe thinner air, they need to handle the new oxygen of their surroundings and the expectations attached to them. Boise State showed, over time, that it could handle pressure at a higher level with other players and coaches. Kellen Moore took the baton from Jared Zabransky. Chris Petersen perfected what Dan Hawkins developed (and what Dirk Koetter began to build). Boise State proved it was more than “one magic season.” The Broncos backed up 2004 with similarly big results in subsequent years. Now it’s Nevada’s turn in the final year of its WAC existence. Are the people of the Pack more than Colin Kaepernick? Can Nevada excel without the best quarterback in the program’s history, a dynamic multi-dimensional playmaker and team leader who erased a 24-7 halftime deficit against a formidable Boise State team eight months ago? How this season progresses in Reno will establish the tone for the program as it heads to the Mountain West in 2012. The national college football community will be paying close attention.

No Moore, no Kaepernick – that means Bryant Moniz is clearly the best quarterback in the WAC. Moreover, Moniz delivered a 2010 season in which he was able to win his share of big games. Let’s realize that Hawaii did share a piece of the last Western Athletic Conference crown in the Boise State era. Moniz’s credentials are substantial and not inflated; if the Warriors’ main trigger man plays up to his standards, UH should claim the first WAC title of the post-Boise State era… before leaving for the Mountain West.

Just imagine what life would have been like for San Jose State over the past decade if it had 20 percent of Hawaii’s passing game...

Pat Hill and Fresno State have never won an outright WAC championship. A three-way split with TCU and Hawaii in 1999 is the only time the Bulldogs have tasted even a piece of league hardware. With Boise State gone and Nevada a diminished version of its reigning 2010 incarnation, Fresno certainly has a chance to do something not previously accomplished in the inland California Valley. As long as Fresno State has to play conference games against Boise State in the new-look Mountain West of the future, the Bulldogs will have an enormously difficult time winning a conference championship. It’s 2011 or bust for a school that touts its non-conference slate, but needs to deliver the goods in its own backyard this year.

When a new wave of conference realignment occurs within the next three years, let’s hope this configuration of the WAC is substantially revised (and that’s if the league isn’t blown up altogether). The long commutes between various WAC sites are absurd, especially since this kind of grueling travel schedule is something that would test an NFL team. Honolulu to Moscow? San Jose to Ruston? And hey, with Seattle University and Texas-Arlington joining the mix – albeit for different sports – in 2012, the far-flung foolishness of the WAC will persist. Hopefully, it won’t persist for very long.

By the way, has the University of Nevada been able to pony up for college-size goal posts yet?

Hawaii will win the 2011 WAC. Nevada will finish second, Fresno State third.

By Barrett Sallee

- Without Boise State, the stature of the WAC has taken a big hit. Nevada is the odds on favorite, but that's more due to lack of options more than anything else.

- Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer might be the star of the conference. Creer, a former Tennessee Volunteer, rushed for 1,181 and 10 touchdowns last season, and will get plenty of carries in an offense that the coaches were raving about following spring.

- When you're in WAC, you have to play anyone, anytime, anywhere to gain national attention; and the Fresno State Bulldogs are again doing that this year. They play Cal at Candlestick Park to open the season, followed by a road trip to Nebraska the following week. Golf clap. If those two games don't beat the Bulldogs up, they can - and probably will - contend for the WAC title.

- We can only hope the Idaho Vandals are in contention for the WAC; if, for no other reason, to get head coach Robb Akey more TV time and see more games in the fabulous Kibbie Dome.

- Be Somebody ...  Blog About WAC Football
- Suggestions or something we missed? Let us know
- Follow us ... http://twitter.com/ColFootballNews

- 2011 Fresno State Preview | 2011 Hawaii Preview 
- 2011 Idaho Preview | 2011 Louisiana Tech Preview
- 2011 Nevada Preview | 2011 New Mexico State Preview
- 2011 San Jose State Preview | 2011 Utah State Preview
 
- 2011 WAC Preview | 2011 WAC Unit Rankings
- 2011 WAC Schedules & Picks | 2011 WAC Thoughts
- 2011 CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players 
- 2011 WAC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish
- 2010 WAC Preview