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WAC Fearless Predictions, Week 4
Posted Sep 15, 2006

WAC Week Four Fearless Predictions, Analysis and Previews

Boise State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Idaho | Louisiana Tech
Nevada | New Mexico St | San Jose State | Utah State
- Past WAC Predictions: Week One | Week Two | Week Three

How are the picks so far? SU 21-2... ATS 11-7

WAC Game of the Week

Hawaii (1-1) at Boise State (3-0) 8:00 PM EST Gameplan Saturday September 23rd
Why to Watch: Of all the various conference games of the week taking place this Saturday, this one might be the most fun to watch.  Add some blue turf, a nearly extinct, but potent, run and shoot offense, a potential WAC championship on the line, and this matchup is lovely.  It won’t be a smashmouth, SEC type battle; it’ll be yards in bunches and plenty of scoring. Each team is playing extremely well, but Hawaii has to overcome a bad history in Boise giving up 127 points in the last two meetings. However, this might be the best Warrior team in the last five years with a chance to break the five-game losing streak to the Broncos.
Why Hawaii Might Win:  QB Colt Brennan might be the point man of the Hawaii attack, but the offense isn’t quite the one trick pony of the past with a living, breathing running game averaging 118 yards per game. The bigger surprise so far has been the play of the run defense, ranked 26th in the nation, yielding only 82 yards per game even though it played Alabama to start the year.  The active play of the defensive front should help control potential WAC player of the year candidate, RB Ian Johnson, and get the Boise State offense off the field. 
Why Boise State Might Win:  Boise State isn’t just about offense. The defense currently ranks fourth in the nation giving up fewer than 200 yards per game with a quick back seven that should be able to stay with the Warrior receivers. It’s cliché, but the best defense is a good offense, and Johnson and his workhorse running, even against the improved Warrior D, should keep Brennan off the field.
Who to Watch:  Boise State LB Korey Hall might not have to fill gaps and be a hard nosed run stopper this week playing a different role against Brennan and the receiving corps.  When Hawaii has the ball, either WR Davone Bess or Ryan Grice-Mullen will be in single coverage all game long. The Bronco secondary is a bit suspect and should have more than its share of problems.
What Will Happen:  Boise State will attack the Warrior offense with plenty of Johnson and plenty more of Johnson and, well, more of Johnson.  QB Jared Zabransky will provide just enough balance to come away with a tough, tough win. 
CFN Prediction
: Boise State 40… Hawaii 28 ... Line: Boise State -14
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

Utah State (0-1) at BYU (1-2), 3:00 EST, Saturday, September 23
Why to Watch:  The Cougars took one on the chin last week against Boston College in Chestnut Hill in a 30-23 overtime thriller, but they did everything they needed to do to win the game. Almost. Utah State, on the other hand didn’t do much last week in a 48-0 loss to Utah, and is on a quick road to a disastrous season. BYU’s offense is hitting on all cylinders, ranking third in the nation in passing, averaging 322 yards per game, while Utah State is the worst statistical offense in the nation, registering only 159 total yards per game.  That doesn’t sound like a recipe for a competitive in-state battle, so throw this into the anything can happen on any given Saturday pile.
Why Utah State Might Win:  The offense can’t get any worse, so any production at all from QB Leon Jackson and crew will be a positive step.  Jackson completed only four of 15 passes against Utah, but he’s facing BYU’s 103rd ranked pass defense that’s given up 254 yards passing per game.  If Jackson can’t be successful throwing against the Cougars this week after they were lit up by Boston College’s Matt Ryan, it may not happen at all.
Why BYU Might Win:  The Aggies haven’t scored an offensive point all season long.  Not one.  As a result, the BYU defense should be able to get off the field with a number of three and outs and get the ball back for their offense.  When they do, it doesn’t matter what Beck is taking snaps, injured starter John, or his backup Jason, either one should shred the Aggie back seven with another 325 yard, 3 TD performance, at a minimum, to put the Aggies on ice.
Who to Watch:  BYU RB Curtis Brown was John Beck’s top weapon on Saturday catching 11 balls for 94 yards while also rushing for 49 yards.  It’s Brown’s running abilities that have to take flight, no pun intended, to put away Utah State early.  Aggie DB Terrance Washington is one of the best defensive backs in the WAC, but he’ll have his toughest test of the year facing the BYU passing game.
What Will Happen:  With John Beck potentially on the sideline for this one, expect Brown to take over the game from the first snap to the last.  If the Aggies couldn’t stop Utah’s Brett Ratliff and the Ute offense, they don’t stand a chance slowing BYU’s offense.  The Aggies can’t get in a track meet with BYU, nor can they match the Cougars score for score. Essentially, the Aggies have to treat this game as an opportunity to get their sick offense well before WAC play starts next week.

CFN Prediction
: BYU 42 ... Utah State 3
... Line: BYU -31.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 1.5

Cal Poly (3-0) at San Jose State (1-1) 6:00 PM EST Saturday September 23rd
Why to Watch: Answer:  Portland State.  Richmond.  Montana State.  Question:  What D-IAA teams have taken guaranteed money from a D-I opponent and left with a W?  In other words, why should San Jose State be weary of D-IAA Cal Poly this week?  After a week off to reflect on their upset victory over Stanford, the Spartans welcome the number three ranked Mustangs. If San Jose State is for real, it wins a game like this with ease before dealing with San Diego State next week.
Why Cal Poly Might Win:  The Mustangs have given up a total of ten points in three games against Fort Lewis, Weber State and Sacramento State.  They’ve managed to give up 125 yards total offense per game, 375 yards in total, or about what San Jose State QB Adam Tafralis threw for in one game against Washington. If the Spartans aren’t sharp, the upset will be more than possible.
Why San Jose State Might Win:  Yonus and Tafralis.  The Spartan RB/QB duo, Yonus Davis and Adam Tafralis, is one of the best in the WAC and will be better than any twosome Cal Poly faces this season.  Tafralis threw for 323 yards against Washington and completed 14 of 16 in the upset win over Stanford.  Davis ran for 184 yards against Stanford to provide some passing. The Spartan offense is a potent bunch that scored 29 and 35 on Pac-10 foes, so a D-IAA team, even one as good as Cal Poly, shouldn’t have much of a shot to slow things down.
Who to Watch:  Mustang WR Ramses Barden is the team’s leading receiver with 16 catches so far going against the 73rd ranked secondary in the nation. He has to not only hit a home run or two, but he must keep drives alive with big third down grabs.  SJSU LB Demetrius Jones was the WAC defensive player of the week after his performance against Stanford, and will need another big tackling performance to shut down the Mustang offensive attack.
What Will Happen:  SJSU’s offensive balance will present problems for the stout Mustang defense.  The diminutive Davis is so quick in space that he’ll be the biggest problem for the Mustangs and should have a 150+ yard rushing game to lead the Spartans to their second victory.
CFN Prediction: San Jose State 41 … Cal Poly 21 ... Line: Fresno State -3.5
 Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

Louisiana Tech (1-1) at Texas A&M (3-0) 7 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to Watch:  It’s hard to say which win was more unimpressive last week – Tech struggling with D-IAA Nicholls State, or A&M having problems with a gutsy Army team in San Antonio.  The Bulldogs will see a much more aggressive Aggie team in the friendly confines of College Station after getting a bit of a wake-up call against the Black Knights. With Texas Tech ahead, the Aggies must find the groove they had at the start of the season before dealing with their Big 12 opener. For Tech, this is the start of a brutal three game road trip with dates at Clemson and Boise State to follow.
Why Louisiana Tech Might Win:  Louisiana Tech had to come from behind against Nicholls State, holding the Colonels scoreless for the final three quarters to win 31–21.  On the plus side, the team discovered a good balance on offense, as RB Patrick Jackson ran for 116 yards and a touchdown, while QB Zac Champion completed nearly 60% of his passes with two touchdown throws.  Even though the balance Tech displayed was vital to the Nicholls State win, Jackson, partner Freddie Franklin and the running game should give A&M trouble just like Army’s running game challenged the 4-2-5 Aggie defense.  
Why Texas A&M Might Win:  The Aggies will win, but they’ve got to put the Bulldogs away quickly with a healthy dose of 274-pound RB Jorvorskie Lane, dynamic RB Mike Goodson and QB Stephen McGee.  It doesn’t need to be fancy, just effective and that’ll be enough to put the Bulldogs to sleep. Tech’s run defense allowed almost 400 yards on the ground in the first two games and should give up at least 250 by the third quarter.
Who to Watch:  Goodson is electric and the type of gamebreaker that A&M desperately needs to see 12 to 15 touches a game.  His speed balances Lane’s power, and the Aggie staff has to continue to find ways to get him the football. However, he has to prove that he can hang on to the football. For Tech, Champion played like one against Nicholls State, but the Aggie pass defense is ranked number one in the nation with an improved secondary that’s playing night-and-day better than last year.
What Will Happen:  The Bulldogs gave up 21 points in the first quarter against Nicholls State’s triple option offense, and the Aggies will attack Louisiana Tech in the same manner.  It won’t be 100% option football, but the Aggies will run the ball in as many different ways possible to put Tech away early.

CFN Prediction
Texas A&M 42 ... Louisiana Tech 14 ... Line: Texas A&M -23
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

Idaho (1-2) at Oregon State (1-1) 10:00 PM EST Saturday September 23rd
Why to Watch: The second installment of the Dennis Erickson Bowl takes place in Corvallis as Erickson’s Vandals take on Erickson’s former team.  The Vandals lost the inaugural Erickson Bowl at Washington State two weeks ago, but they picked up their first win of the season at home against rival Idaho State in a 27-24 battle.  The Beavers have had two weeks to let their blowout loss to Boise State fester as they prepared for Erickson’s new team before diving into Pac 10 play with a showdown against Can next week. This is an Oregon State looking to get its groove back.
Why Idaho Might Win:  Vandal QB Steven Wichman threw for 266 yards out of Erickson’s offense against Idaho State, but more importantly, the offense times for 161 yards to help provide better balance.  The arrival of the running game couldn’t have come at a better time with an all-around attack needed to try to keep pace with the occasionally high-powered Beavers.  The OSU defensive front is still a major question mark two games into the season.
Why Oregon State Might Win:  Two weeks away from the field should help the Beavers recover from the Boise State beatdown, and the extra game tape of Idaho will certainly help.  It’ll all be about RB Yvenson Bernard, who ran for 89 yards at Boise State and should have few problems against an Idaho run defense ranking 111th in the nation.
Who to Watch:  The Oregon State defensive line was physically beaten in its last outing getting physically manhandled at the point of attack by the Broncos.  If Oregon State is going to win, the defensive line, in particular the team’s edge defenders, must do a much better job containing Idaho’s outside running game.  Idaho CB Stanley Franks is a JUCO transfer who has only played three games at the D-I level, but he’s proving that he’s already playing like a veteran picking off two passes against Idaho State.
What Will Happen:  The Beavers will give it to Bernard at least 30 times to dominate time of possession and to help keep Moore from having to throw the football at Franks and company 30+ times.  The Vandals will maintain their offensive balance, which will keep the Beaver defense on the field for long play drives, but the Vandal D will wear down by the fourth quarter.
CFN Prediction
: Oregon State 44 … Idaho 13 ... Line: Oregon State -23
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...