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2007 WAC Football Preview
Welcome to another of our 2007 college football previews here at CollegeSports-fans.com. Today we continue with the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) football preview. 2006 was a magical season as the Boise State Broncos took the nation by storm with a perfect season and an amazing BCS Bowl game win over Oklahoma, and 2007 has high hopes for the WAC. Be sure to keep checking back for updates throughout this great 2007 season of college football, and check out the 2008 NCAA football preview as well.
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WAC Football Preview & Picks from MadduxSports.com
Last year the WAC gave us Boise State, could this year be Hawaii’s turn? Yes and no. There is a very good chance that a WAC team runs the table and makes it to a BCS bowl game in 2007. The candidates are Hawaii lead by Heisman candidate Colt Brennan’s powerful offense and Chris Peterson’s Boise State crew. Fresno State & San Jose State figure to be tough games for both clubs and both the Bulldogs and Spartans could make minor bowl games. With that being said, onto our Western Athletic break down.
1) Hawaii – The Warriors got great news when Colt Brennan decided to pass on being included in this past years NFL draft. What has gone overlooked is 3 of Brennan’s favorite targets at wide out are also back. It will be tough to replicate last years 46.9 ppg but the Warriors should be pretty close to those averages. The O-line does only return 40% of its players, but with Hawaii blowing out opponents left and right last year several backups saw game action. The defense returns 8 starters and is lead by a veteran unit of hard hitting linebacking corps. Hawaii will be favored by the college football odds makers in all 12 of their regular season games with most of them being favorites of more than 7 points.
The most dangerous spot of the season for a Warrior slipup may surprise you as it isn’t Boise State in the regular season WAC finale. November 16th against Nevada figures to be one hell of a barn burner and a tough test for Hawaii. That week they will be playing on short rest and have to the Wolfpack in a Friday night affair while Nevada will be coming off a bye. If they can survive that game, count of Hawaii getting the job done the next week against Boise State.
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2) Boise State - The Fiesta Bowl featuring Boise State and Oklahoma will be talked about as one of the best college football games for a long time. That put the wraps on a WAC title, 13-0 season, and BCS bowl win. So what do you do for an encore? How about do it again. The 2007 edition of the Broncos isn’t as talented as the 2006 crew but they have all the tools to run the table. Junior Bush Hamdan has a strong arm and has exhibited the ability to make plays in the clutch. While he is being groomed in early games against Weber State, Washington, & Wyoming the Broncos can rely on a strong running game lead by Ian Johnson. 4 of the 5 starters that protected Zabransky return and this unit should once again dominate in the trenches. The defense won’t be as good as last year but with a favorable schedule the D should form into a cohesive unit once WAC play begins. Boise State will be expected to win and will be favored by the college football lines makers their first 11 games of the season. If they can run the gauntlet and stay undefeated that will setup a show down at Hawaii with the winner likely earning the WAC title and possibly a BCS birth.
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3) Fresno State - The Bulldogs brass have not made head coach Pat Hill the highest paid coach in the WAC to post 4-8 records. Ever since the close upset win of USC back in 2005, Fresno State hasn’t been the same. This year the offense will improve on the 158.2 passing yards per game, but the big questions are the defense. There are holes all over the place. The schedule unlike in past season is manageable and we will call for the Bulldogs to return to the upper echelon of the WAC standings.
4) San Jose State – The Spartans were another one of those great feel good stories from the 2006 college football season. Besides being one of Maddux’s favorite college football picks week in and week out against the point spread, the Spartans returned to a bowl game. Coming off 3 straight seasons where they didn’t win more than 3 games, San Jose State went 9-4 including a bowl victory over New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl. It was the Spartans first bowl win and appearance since 1990 when they defeated Central Michigan 48-24 in the California Raisin Bowl. This season they return 15 starters and their defense that allowed 20.8 ppg figures to enhance. San Jose State did overachieve and benefited from +9 turnovers but we are not seeing the major drop off that teams generally suffer after a season like the Spartans had.
5) Nevada – The Wolfpack finished with an 8-5 record and 5-3 in WAC play. Once again head coach Chris Ault has challenged his team with 2 non conference road games against BCS conference foes Nebraska & Northwestern. Nevada did benefit from +12 turnovers but a lot of that could be contributed to the Wolfpack’s ball control offense and ball-hawking defense that created 37 takeaways in 06. The schedule is tough, but if new quarterback Nick Graziano can fill the void Jeff Rowe has left, the Wolfpack have the tools to finish as high as second in the Western Athletic Conference.
6) New Mexico State – The Aggies return 9 starters from an offensive unit that shelled out 31.2 ppg and finished 3 rd in the country in terms of total yards. Unfortunately the defense was ghastly allowing opponents 30.8 ppg. With 9 starters back and a grueling offseason working program, head coach Hal Mumme has stated he is very excited about this progression of his defense. The Aggies aren’t quite ready to challenge for the WAC title but a .500 record and bowl bid are not out of the question if the ball bounces their way (-10 in turnover differential last year).
7) Idaho – There is a major drop off from the 6th place WAC team to the bottom 3. We have the Vandals rated the highest out of the bunch and they are the first of the three awful WAC teams. There isn’t much positive to say about any of these 3 clubs. Idaho is breaking in a new head coach and will have to learn new schemes on both sides of the ball. They were outgained by almost 50 ypg last year and only return 12 starters. Luckily for the Vandals they get Louisiana Tech and Utah State at home which should result in 2 wins keeping them above the Bulldogs & Aggies in the standings.
8) Louisiana Tech – The Bulldogs do return 16 starters from their 3-10 team. La Tech does have to travel on the road to Idaho & Utah State the 2 winnable games they have this season, but with Maddux predicting Utah State to go winless in conference play, we can’t place the Bulldogs in the basement even the talent reflects it.
9) Utah State – The Aggies posted a 1-11 record in 06 with that lone win at the time being one of the biggest upsets (13-12 over Fresno State in week 6 as 27.5 underdogs) in college football history. Little did we how down Fresno was last season. All 11 starters are back from a unit that allowed 38.5 ppg. Somehow defensive coordinator Mark Johnson still has his job and was welcomed back for a third year. This isn’t a bold prediction, but Utah State will once again be awful.
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This concludes our WAC football preview. Once the season gets underway visit MadduxSports.com for winning football picks on NCAA games.
For more previews from Maddux Sports check out our list of college football previews for the 2007 season.
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