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WAC Conference Football Preview

   by Ben Burns - 08/13/2009

The WAC has two teams—Boise State and Nevada--capable of busting the BCS. It also has a handful of teams capable of being complete busts (Hawaii, New Mexico State, Idaho).

Either way, there is money to be made on the WAC. The below power rankings will help.

WAC Preseason Power Rankings

Boise State

ATS: 21-15 (Home: 10-6. Away: 9-8)

Thing to remember: The Blue Turf has been one of the best home-field advantages in recent years.

Since 2003, the Broncos are 29-9 against the spread in home conference games.

But odds makers caught up to the power of the Blue Turf last season. 2008 was the first time Boise State had a losing ATS record at home in five years.

Bonus note: There’s been a lot of bulletin board material coming from Oregon about the season-opener at Boise State. Duck tight end told reporters that Boise State is “one of those teams that really doesn’t rub right with me.”

The Broncos are 5.5-point favorites over Oregon. Boise State is 19-9 as a home favorite since 2004.

Nevada

ATS: 21-26 (Home: 10-6. Away: 10-9)

Thing to remember: Coach Chris Ault’s “Pistol” offense is peaking. Seven starters, including All-WAC quarterback Colin Kaepernick, return for a unit that averaged 37.6 points last season, the most of Ault’s five-year tenure.

Bonus note: Nevada’s defense appears tailor-made to face Notre Dame’s passing attack in the season opener in South Bend. The Wolf Pack have an experienced secondary, featuring three seniors, and a great pass rusher, featuring All-WAC end Kevin Basped. The Wolf Pack led the WAC in sacks last season. Watch out Irish (-14).

Fresno State Bulldogs

ATS: 11-26 (Home: 3-13. Away: 7-12)

Thing to remember: Three weeks before the season opener, Fresno State had not named its starting quarterback. Junior Ryan Colburn and red shirt freshman Derek Carr, younger brother of NFL bust David Carr, are the two top candidates. Neither has attempted a pass in a game.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

ATS: 17-24 (Home: 8-5. Away: 6-15)

Thing to remember: Since 2000, few teams have been worse on the road than Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are 19-41-1 on the road the last nine years.

They return 16 starters, including their quarterback, leading rusher and leading receiver, and have a shot to buck that trend in back-to-back opening road games at Auburn (-13.5) and at Navy.

San Jose Spartans

ATS: 20-14 (Home: 11-4. Away: 9-10)

Thing to remember: Senior quarterback Kyle Reed returns behind the same five offensive linemen. Look for the offense to improve on last year’s 18.7 points a game.

Don’t look for coach Dick Tomey’s Spartans to put a scare into USC (-34.5) in Los Angeles to open the season.

Utah State Aggies

ATS: 18-18 (Home: 5-7. Away: 11-10)

Thing to remember: Under new coach Gary Andersen, the Aggies have a chance to take a real step up in the conference. They return 16 starters from a team that went 8-4 ATS last season.

Andersen comes over from Utah, where he was the Utes’ defensive coordinator.

Hawaii Warriors

ATS: 20-17 (Home: 11-9. Away: 7-6)

Thing to remember: Things could get ugly for the Warriors, who return the fewest starters in the WAC (9), only two of which are on defense.

Idaho Vandals

ATS: 12-21 (Home: 5-9. Away: 7-12)

Thing to remember: What was supposed to be an experienced defense took two big blows in the spring with starting linebackers Justin Allen and Jonathan Faraimo left the program. That leaves just 12 seniors on the roster.

New Mexico State Aggies

ATS: 15-17 (Home: 8-7. Away: 7-10)

Thing to remember: New coach Dewayne Walker inherits a young squad with only 10 returning starters. He scrapped former coach Hal Mumme’s wide-open spread attack with a more run-oriented system.
Bonus: The Aggies own the WAC’s worst ATS mark in conference play. Since 2000, they are 23-38 ATS against WAC opponents.

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