Let’s take a look at another mid-major college football conference. The WAC loses their premier team in Boise State, who won eight titles. So that leaves a wide open league for schools like Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to take over. There are now eight teams left in the league and unfortunately those teams mentioned above will move to the Mountain West in 2012. Texas State and Texas San Antonio, former 1-AA teams, will join the league in 2012 to try and keep it afloat. Here is the 2011 WAC Preview below with odds to win the division listed from Bodog.com.
Fresno State–WAC Championship Odds: 3-1
2010 overall record 8-5, conference record 5-3. Ret. Starters: 10 (Off: 5, Def: 5)
2010 ATS record: 5-8. Fave: 2-5. Dog: 3-2; Neu: 0-1
Fresno State returns just 10 starters from an 8-5 squad but here's a team that will benefit from the loss of Boise State the most. During Boise State's run, the Bulldogs have usually finished second or third in the league. At quarterback, they have to replace Ryan Colburn (2,817, 23, 9) but may have a gem in soph. Derek Carr (6-3, 190), the brother of David, who set several school records. Fortunately, the pressure will not all be on Carr as junior Robbie Rouse (5-7, 185) returns, after rushing for 1,129yds with 8 TDs last season after missing two games. The receiving corps should be strong, despite the loss of Jamel Hamler (54 for 812yds), who left early for the NFL. The next three receivers return (in receptions) after Hamler. The only returner on the O-line is senior LT Bryce Harris (6-6, 295), though the interior has experienced players who have started in the past. The defense returns five starters including senior DT Logan Harrell (6-2, 275), who led the team in sacks with 10.5. He's the only returning player from the defensive line. The top LB back is junior Travis Brown (6-2, 235), who had 79 tackles and 2 sacks last year. Junior S Phillip Thomas (6-1, 205) was a second-team all-conference player last year, after recording 64 tackles with 3 picks. The non-conf. schedule includes California and Nebraska on the road with North Dakota (FCS), Boise State and Ole Miss at home. They also have to face Hawaii and Nevada on the road. Tough.
Hawaii – WAC Championship Odds: 5-2
2010 overall record 10-4, conference record: 7-1. Ret. starters: 9 (Off: 3, Def: 6).
2010 ATS Record: 11-3. Fave: 7-1; Dog: 0-0; Neu: 0-0
The Warriors return just three starters on offense from a 10-4 team. One of those starters is senior QB Bryan Moniz (6-0, 200), who threw for 5,040 yds to lead the nation (39TDs). The O-line has to re-load with four new starters and that will be tough on Moniz. He also loses his top two receivers, though senior Royce Pollard (64 for 901yds is back). Juco transfer Darius Bright (6-3, 230) should put up huge numbers with his size and speed (4.47 40) combination. They also lose top RB Alex Green (1,199yds, 18 TDs), though they have some talented backs behind him. The defense does return some solid players from a unit that led the nation in turnovers forced (38). Thye return top tackler in senior LB Corey Paredes (5-11, 235), who led the team with 151 tackles and four picks. The D-line is pretty sturdy led by senior DT Kanela Tuipulotu (6-2, 300), who had 34 tackles and 2.5 TFLs last season. The non-conf. schedule includes Colorado, BYU, Tulane and UC Davis at home with Washington and UNLV on the road. They also face Fresno State at home and Nevada on the road in conference.
Idaho- WAC Championship Odds: 14-1
2010 overall record 6-7, conference record 3-5 Ret. Starters: 12 (Off: 4, Def: 8)
2010 ATS record: 6-7. Fave: 3-4. Dog: 3-3.; Neu: 0-0.
Idaho returns 12 starters but only 4 on offense, from a 6-7 team. Unfortunately, the Vandals lose Nathan Enderle (3,314yds, 22, 16), an outstanding qb who was drafted in the fifth-round by Chicago. Senior Brian Reader (6-3, 224) gets the job after tossing for 568yds with 5 TDs and one pick as Enderle's backup. The running game will need to pick it up after raking 118th last year in FBS. Enter junior Ryan Bass (5-9, 207), a transfer from Arizona State, who should improve an inept ground attack. The O-line returns both tackles, which is a good thing. At receiver, they lose the top two targets. On defense, the Vandals return most of their key players including senior WLB Robert Siavii (6-1, 217), who led the team in tackles with 91 last year (3.5 scks, 10 TFLs). The strength of the D-line should be the return of senior Michael Cosgrove (6-4, 294), who had 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year. However, the Vandals have to improve against the run (188.9ypg). The non-conf. schedule includes Bowling Green and North Dakota at home with Texas A&M, BYU and Virginia on the road.
Louisiana Tech- WAC Championship Odds: 14-1
2010 overall record 5-7, conference record 4-4. Ret. Starters: 13 (Off: 6; Def: 7)
ATS record: 5-6; Fave: 2-2; Dog: 3-4; Neu:0-1
The Bulldogs have a chance to be a sleeper in the WAC. Sonny Dykes returns for his second season at the helm of a team that went 5-7 last season. Dykes was a former OC at Arizona and assistant under Mike Leach at Texas Tech. He understands the spread attack and should be able to transfer that knowledge to junior Colby Cameron (6-2, 205), who threw for 461 yds last year with just 1 TD and 5 INTs, backing up Ross Jenkins (1,760yds, 12, 6). If Cameron can't get the job done, they have jc transfer Zach Griffith (6-3, 185) waiting in the wings. At running back, senior Leonnon Creer (6-1, 215) had an outstanding junior season with 1,181yds rushing and 10 TDs (5.6ypc). The second-team All-WAC performer started just six games. At WR, they return the top two targets including senior Taulib Ikharo (5-11, 185), who had 50 catches for 530yds last year. Junior WR Tim Molton (6-2, 180)They return just two starters on the O-line and hope that two juco transfers (they have 12 this year) will be able to fill the holes. On defense, the Bulldogs have their top five tacklers back. Senior WLB Jay Dudley (6-3, 225) led the team in tackles last year with 94. The secondary returns three starters but they need to improve after giving up 290 yds/game (ranking 117th). The non-conf. schedule includes Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Miss. State on the road with Central Arkansas and Houston at home. The conf. schedule features Nevada and Fresno State on the road and Hawaii at home.
Nevada - WAC Championship Odds: 2-1
2010 overall record 13-1, conference record 7-1. Ret. Starters: 12 (Off: 5, Def: 7)
ATS record: 7-7. Fave: 5-6; Dog: 2-0; Neu: 0-1.
The Wolfpack return 12 starters from a 13-1 team, but they had the biggest losses in the WAC on offense. QB Colin Kaepernick (3,022yds, 21, 8, 1,206yds rush) is off to the NFL as is RB Vai Taua (1,610yds, 19TDs). Senior QB Tyler Lantrip (6-4, 220) is the most likely successor to run the Pistol offense for Chris Ault. Junior Mike Ball (5-10, 215) and senior Lampford Mark (6-1, 200) will vie for the starting RB spot. At WR, senior Rishard Matthews (6-2, 215) is the team's best receiver (56 for 879yds, 5TDs) and also won the MVP in their bowl win over Boston College (20-13). The O-line returns just two starters. On defense, they return seven starters including second-team All-WAC players James-Michael Johnson (6-2, 240) and CB Isaiah Frey (6-0, 190). Johnson had 88 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year, while Frey had 14 pass breakups and 52 tackles. The D-line returns both tackles but loses top DE Dontach Moch (8.5 sacks). The non-conf. schedule includes Oregon, Texas Tech and Boise State on the road (ouch). They also face UNLV and New Mexico at home. In conference, they take on Fresno State and Hawaii at home.
New Mexico State–WAC Championship Odds: 33-1
2010 overall record 2-10, conference record 1-7. Ret. Starters: 16 (Off: 9, Def: 7)
2010 ATS record: 4-8 Fave: 0-1; Dog: 4-7; Neu: 0-0.
The Aggies need some offensive spark so they hired Doug Martin, a former head coach at Kent State, to take over as off. coordinator. This program has never won more than two league games in six years in the WAC. They'll need to find a QB between senior Matt Christian (6-3, 211) or soph. Andrew Manley (6-3, 225). They ranked 117th last year in scoring offense and 112th in total offense. so something needs to change. The O-line returns intact and RB Kenny Tuner (5-10, 182) is back after rushing for 461yds with 2 TDs. The top two receivers are gone though senior Taveon Rogers (6-0, 181) returns after making the second-team All-WAC as KR (27.1ypr) and receiver (18 for 278yds). The defense returns their top five tacklers. They do lose top CB Davon House (57tckls, 2INTs) to the NFL. They do return 3 of the top 4 D-linemen. Junior WLB BJ Adolpho (5-11, 207) is back after recording 77 tackles and amassing two sacks. The non-conf. schedule features Ohio U and UTEP at home with Minnesota, New Mexico, Georgia and BYU on the road.
San Jose State–WAC Championship Odds: 16-1
2010 overall record 1-12, conference record 0-8. Ret. Starters: 18 (Off: 7, Def: 11)
2010 ATS record: 5-8 Fave: 0-3; Dog: 5-5; Neu: 0-0.
San Jose State returns 18 starters from a 1-12 team. Mike McIntyre has his work cut out for him after his first season. The Spartans will need to find a qb as Jordan La Secia (2,860, 16, 16) is gone. Senior Matt Faulkner (6-2, 210) has a little experience but they could just go with the future by using freshman Joe Gray (6-2, 190), an All-City player from Los Angeles. They lost their top target in Jalal Beauchman (60 for 835yds) but return the rest of their receivers including Noel Grigsby (56 for 822) and Chandler Jones (54 for 474). Senior RB Brandon Rutley (5-11, 190) is also back after rushing for 461yds and 4 TDs last year. At least they'll have some weapons back behind a veteran offensive line. The defense returns every starter and also adds All-WAC safety senior Duke Ihenacho (6-1, 210), who redshirted last year. Soph LB Keith Smith (6-1, 225) leads the way with 116 tackles and 4 sacks, while junior DE Travis Johnson (6-3, 244) anchors the line with 62 tackles and 7.5 sacks. The non-conf. schedule is tough, featuring Stanford, UCLA, BYU and Colorado State on the road with Navy at home.
Utah State–WAC Championship Odds: 20-1
2010 overall record 4-8, conference record 2-6. Ret. Starters: 14 (Off: 9, Def: 5)
2010 ATS record: 5-7 Fave: 1-3; Dog: 4-4; Neu: 0-0.
The Aggies return 14 starters from a 4-8 squad that was obviously not good enough for coach Gary Andersen, who made himself def. coordinator, moved to a 3-4 scheme and shoop some of the personnel. It starts at QB, where Dionde Borel (2,108yds,8, 13) has moved on. Junior QB Adam Kennedy (6-5, 210) will likely get the job. At running back, junior Robert Turbin (5-10, 216) is back after missing last year with an ACL injury. He ran for 1,296yds in 2009 and was second-team All-WAC. The top five WRs are back and four of the five O-linemen return. On defense, they return senior ILB Bobby Wagner (6-1, 232), who led the team in tackles with 133 (7.5 TFLs). Seniors Quinn Garner (6-3, 252) and DE Levin Koskan (6-4, 241, 4.5scks) will play inside in the 3-4. Kerywnn Williams (5-9, 184), a slot receiver returns as the team's top kick returner (27.2ypr, 1444yds), who set an NCAA record for yardage on kick returns. The non-conf. schedule includes Auburn and BYU on the road with Weber State (FCS), Colorado State and Wyoming at home.