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2007 CFN WAC Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 17, 2007


From Colt Brennan and Hawaii to New Mexico State's high-octane attack to the newly respected Boise State program to dangerous teams like San Jose State and Fresno State, the WAC will be a must-see each week. Can Brennan and the Warriors do what Boise State did last year, or will the Broncos do it again? Check it out in the 2007 CFN WAC Preview.

2007 CFN WAC Preview

Team Previews Boise State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Idaho
Louisiana Tech | Nevada | New Mexico State |
San Jose State | Utah State

- CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players
- WAC Team-by-Team Capsules

-
WAC Unit Rankings

- WAC Schedules & Predictions

It’s a good time to be a WAC fan, or become one.

Three are better leagues, stronger ones from top to bottom, and ones with far more star power, but there likely won’t be any with better week-to-week storylines, and there won’t be any more entertaining.

Helped by becoming a haven for wayward coaches (Dick Tomey at San Jose State, Hal Mumme at New Mexico State, June Jones at Hawaii) to go along with a Hall-of-Famer (Chris Ault at Nevada) and two relatively young stars who’ll someday be elsewhere (Chris Petersen at Boise State and Pat Hill at Fresno State), the league has become really interesting really fast.

For years Fresno State has been giving the big boys a tough time (even if there haven’t actually been any major wins of note lately), Hawaii has always been a nightmare of a place to play, and Nevada has represented itself well. But after Boise State beat Oklahoma in the classic 2007 Fiesta Bowl the WAC now has the signature performance to show the world that the league deserves more respect and more attention. WAC games are no longer going to be nice late night diversions at the end of a long day of watching other leagues; they’re going to be appointment television week after week.

Fine, so you’re not going to go out and buy a Louisiana Tech sweatshirt or a pair of Utah State Zubaz, but you’re certainly going to watch Boise State now on a regular basis. You’re going to want to see all the fuss is about several time zones to the left when Colt Brennan, Davone Bess, and the Hawaii air show starts putting up gonzo numbers yet again. And later on down the line, just because you’ll be a bit curious, you’ll figure out where Las Cruses, New Mexico is to fine Chase Holbrook and Chris Williams play pitch-and-catch about 100 times in Mumme’s New Mexico State offense.

Impress your friends early by claiming San Jose State actually has a shot at beating either Arizona State or Kansas State in the first two weeks. Set the dial to pretentious and rightfully claim how Nevada has a puncher’s chance to hang around with Nebraska for a while. Get back on that Fresno State bandwagon of a few years ago and watch Pat Hill’s club come out and play night-and-day better than last year.

If being a WAC fan before wasn’t your college football guilty pleasure, it needs to be.

Team That'll Surprise
New Mexico State – The offense will simply bomb the weaker teams into submission. The Aggie defense couldn’t stop you and your grandma’s knitting circle from scoring, but when you have an attack that’ll roll for close to 500 yards per game, little things like stopping the opposition don’t tend to matter. There are just enough cream-puffs (SE Louisiana? Arkansas Pine-Bluff?!) to keep the Aggies in the hunt for a bowl game.

Team That'll Disappoint
Boise State – When you’ve lost one game or less in four of the last five years, dropping two would qualify as a disappointment, especially if it means the Broncos don’t win the WAC again. After the Fiesta Bowl, everyone will expect that every time out, and it’s not going to happen. Ho hum, the team that’s rebuilding a bit on both sides might slip into a disastrous abyss … and go 10-2.

Offensive Player of the Year
QB Colt Brennan, Sr. Hawaii – He could throw for 5,000 yards and 45 touchdown passes and some will be disappointed he didn’t break 6,000 and sixty. The stats could overshadow his leadership if the Warriors win the WAC title.

Defensive Player of the Year
LB Ezra Butler, Sr. Nevada – Being the WAC’s best defensive player is sort of like being the winner of a Don Imus look-alike contest, but Butler really is good. He’s a terror in the backfield with a league-leading 17.5 tackles for loss last season, and he’s the type of veteran leader who can make the Wolf Pack defense shine in the offensive-mad conference.

5 Big-Time Players Who Deserve a Bigger Spotlight ...
1. WR Chris Williams, Jr. New Mexico State
2. WR Davone Bess, Jr. Hawaii
3. DE Ben Calderwood, Jr. Utah State
4. LB Matt Castelo, Sr, San Jose State
5. LB David Vobora, Sr. Idaho

Coach on the Hot Seat
Brent Guy, Utah State – After going 4-19 in his first two seasons, and likely needing to pull off a big upset to come up with a victory this year, Guy’s team at least has to show signs of being ultra-competitive to be around for year four. 

5 Non-Conference Games the WAC opponents had better take, very, very seriously
1. Kansas State at Fresno State, Nov. 24
2. San Jose State at Arizona State, Sept. 1
3. New Mexico State at New Mexico, Sept. 8
4. Nevada at Northwestern, Sept. 1
5. Fresno State at Texas A&M, Sept. 8

5 Best Pro Prospects
1. QB Colt Brennan, Sr. Hawaii
2. CB Dwight Lowery, Sr. San Jose State
3. WR Davone Bess, Jr. Hawaii
4. OL Jeff Cavender, Sr. Boise State
5. QB Chase Holbrook, Jr. New Mexico State

5 Biggest Shoes to Fill
1. Taylor Tharp or Bush Hamdan for Jared Zabransky, QB Boise State
2. Josh Bean for Korey Hall, LB Boise State
3. B.J. Batts, Jayson Rego and Kealoha Pilares for Nate Ilaoa, RB Hawaii
4. Nick Graziano for Jeff Rowe, QB Nevada
5. Lonyae Miller or Clifton Smith for Dwayne Wright, RB Fresno State

5 Bold Predictions
1. Hawaii and New Mexico State will wage a war for the ages. October 27th. Make sure you’re schedule is clear to watch two of the nation’s best offenses (if not the top two) put on a show. The Warriors won 49-30 last year with the two combining for 956 yards of total offense. Expect 100 points and well over 1,000 yards.
2. Boise State will slip a bit before roaring back in 2008. Fine, so a slip for Boise State still might mean a double-digit win season, but the team will play more like 2005 (when it went 9-4) than 2006. Next year, the program will be back to BCS challenging form.
3. No one will keep Hawaii to under forty points. Sound crazy? Only Alabama, Boise State and Oregon State were able to do it last year, and even those games were tight until the end. The offense rolled for over sixty in four games and should do that in at least six.
4. Utah State won’t win. At least, the Aggies won’t be favored. The easiest game on the slate is at Idaho. The second easiest is against Louisiana Tech. The team will be far better than last season when it struggled to do anything offensively, but it still won’t be enough to turn the woebegone program around.
5. Fresno State won’t pull off any big upsets, but San Jose State will. The Bulldogs will have their chances against Texas A&M and Oregon in early September, but they won’t have enough run defense to come away with wins. However, the Spartans will beat either Arizona State, Kansas State, or Stanford (if that’s actually an upset).

What Will Happen
- The focus and attention will be off Boise State after an early loss at Washington. Then things will quickly change as Chris Petersen’s club rolls through the WAC schedule, including an emotionally-charged battle at Fresno State, only to lose at Hawaii to close things out.
- Hawaii won’t lose. As long as Colt Brennan stays healthy, the Warriors will be this year’s dangerous WAC threat for the BCS. The toughest non-conference game is against Washington at home. The toughest road date is at Nevada.
- The loser of the San Jose State – Fresno State game on October 20th will be eliminated from a bowl game.
- Hawaii, Boise State, and Nevada will go bowling.

 

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