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2006 WAC Preview


Offensive-Laden Teams Are Conference’s Elite


By: Jordan Adams




The poor man’s Pac-10, the WAC is known for highly explosive offenses and porous defensive efforts. Among the conference’s best are Nevada, Boise State, Fresno State, and Hawaii and will all vie for the league’s top spot. The Broncos of Boise State have long dominated the conference and won at least a share of the title since 2002, but after Nevada rose up and grabbed that shared piece, a new titleholder could reign in ’06.

Nevada came out of nowhere to become co-champs in 2005, and under head coach Chris Ault’s ‘Pistol’ offense, good things are sure to come this year. The ‘Pistol’ offense is a slight variation of the shotgun. The quarterback still stands directly behind the center but up a little so the tailback is behind the signal caller. Senior Jeff Rowe is the catalyst of this wacky offense and did well to make it a success last year. Scoring better than 34 ppg, the Wolfpack know how to put up scores with ease. However, the defense also knows how to allow them. Ranked 101st in points allowed and 104th in passing yards allowed, the Nevada defense will need to drastically improve in case the offense is not up to par as it was last season.

2006 is finally the year when Boise State is not a lock to win the conference outright. Jared Zabranksy leads the offense and after a so-so ’05, his senior year should speak highly of the kind of talent he really is. Boise State is still coming off a year where they averaged 425 yards per game and over 36 points an outing. Zabranksy’s turnover headache was the reason for a less than stellar year. Overall the team ranked 94th in turnover differential at -8. 20 starters return so anything less than a ten-win season will be looked at as a letdown.

Hawaii is a dangerous team and will be deadly on offense. June Jones’ offense is loaded with talent, among its quarterback Colt Brennan. A gunslinger on the field, and rightfully so after pronouncing his name, his starting tailback and top four wide outs return. Two spectacular receivers in Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullen will again impress after their wonderful freshman campaigns. Bess was WAC Freshman of the Year after he brought in 89 catches for 1,124 and 14 touchdowns. Grice-Mullen caught 85 balls for 1,228 and 12 scores. The defense will again be terrible but nonetheless it will be very enjoyable to watch this offense go to work.

Fresno State was most notably remembered for its almost-upset of powerhouse USC, but eventually lost 42-50 in one of the better games of the year. This year they no longer have the services of quarterback Paul Pinegar and will have a difficult time finding someone who could make up half of his production. Eight starters do return on defense and should be one of the better units that lack press. A tough non-conference schedule against the likes of Oregon, Washington, and LSU will most likely keep them from more than eight wins at best.

 

FEATURED SPORTSBOOK

 

2006 WAC COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

 

Friday, September 1
Nevada at Fresno State (ESPN2)

Saturday, September 2
Sacramento State at Boise State
Hawai‘i at Alabama
Idaho at Michigan State
Louisiana Tech at Nebraska
SE Louisiana at New Mexico State
San Jose State at Washington
Utah State at Wyoming

Thursday, September 7
Oregon State at Boise State (ESPN2)

Saturday, September 9
Oregon at Fresno State (ESPN)
TBA at Hawai‘i
Idaho at Washington State
Nevada at Arizona State
New Mexico at New Mexico State
Stanford at San Jose State
Utah State at Arkansas

Saturday, September 16
Boise State at Wyoming
Fresno State at Washington
UNLV at Hawai‘i
Idaho State at Idaho
Nicholls State at Louisiana Tech
Colorado State at Nevada
Texas Southern at New Mexico State
Utah at Utah State

Friday, September 22
Northwestern at Nevada (ESPN2)

Saturday, September 23
Hawai‘i at Boise State
Idaho at Oregon State
Louisiana Tech at Texas A&M
Cal Poly at San Jose State
Utah State at Brigham Young

Saturday, September 30
Boise State at Utah
Colorado State at Fresno State
Idaho at Utah State
Louisiana Tech at Clemson
Nevada at UNLV
New Mexico State at UTEP
San Diego State at San Jose State

Saturday, October 7
Louisiana Tech at Boise State
Fresno State at Utah State
Nevada at Hawai‘i
New Mexico State at Idaho

Saturday, October 14
Boise State at New Mexico State
Hawai‘i at Fresno State
Idaho at Louisiana Tech
Utah State at San Jose State

Saturday, October 21
Boise State at Idaho
Fresno State at LSU
Hawai‘i at New Mexico State
Utah State at Louisiana Tech
San Jose State at Nevada

Saturday, October 28
Idaho at Hawai‘i
Louisiana Tech at San Jose State
New Mexico State at Nevada

Wednesday, November 1
Fresno State at Boise State (ESPN2)

Saturday, November 4
Hawai‘i at Utah State
Nevada at Idaho
Louisiana Tech at North Texas
San Jose State at New Mexico State

Saturday, November 11
Boise State at San Jose State
New Mexico State at Fresno State
Louisiana Tech at Hawai‘i
Utah State at Nevada

Saturday, November 18
Utah State at Boise State
Idaho at Fresno State
San Jose State at Hawai‘i
Nevada at Louisiana Tech

Friday, November 24
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech

Saturday, November 25
Boise State at Nevada
Purdue at Hawai‘i
San Jose State at Idaho
New Mexico State at Utah State

Saturday, December 2
Fresno State at San Jose State
Oregon State at Hawai‘i
Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State

 

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