1. Boise State (12-1)
2. Nevada (8-4)
3. Louisiana Tech (7-5)
4. Fresno State (7-5)
5. Hawai'i (6-7)
6. San Jose State (5-7)
7. Utah State (3-9)
8. New Mexico State (3-10)
9. Idaho (1-11)


LOUISIANA TECH - The offense has a chance to be one of the nation’s best rushing attacks with Daniel Porter in the backfield and six starters returning up front to pave the way. Six players that were named to the All-WAC team in 2008 will return from a team that got eight wins and a bowl victory.
HAWAI'I - The Warriors have been to a bowl game in six of the last seven seasons (with five of them at their home stadium in the Hawai’i Bowl). The offense had difficulties in a transition season after head coach June Jones left for SMU. While it may be a hair better this fall with a more experienced quarterback in Greg Alexander and three of his top receivers returning, the defense has only two starters back. The non-conference games are far from easy and a 13 game schedule means Hawai’i needs seven wins to get bowl eligible.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: QB Colin Kaepernick - Nevada
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: KR/PR Phillip Livas - Louisiana Tech
TOP NEWCOMER: DL Donnie Pritchell - Fresno State
TOP BLOCKER: John Estes - Hawai'i
TOP PASS RUSHER: Dontay Moch - Nevada

QB Colin Kaepernick - Jr. - Nevada
RB Vai Taua - Jr. - Nevada
RB Daniel Porter - Sr. - Louisiana Tech
WR Greg Salas - Jr. - Hawai'i
WR Seyi Ajirotutu - Sr. - Fresno State
TE Dennis Morris - Sr. - Louisiana Tech
OL John Estes - Sr. - Hawai'i
OL Andrew Jackson - Jr. - Fresno State
OL Rob McGill - Jr. - Louisiana Tech
OL Alonzo Durham - Sr. - Nevada
OL Mike Iupati - Sr. - Idaho
K   Kyle Brotzman - Jr. - Boise State
KR A.J. Jefferson - Sr. - Fresno State

DL Kevin Basped - Jr. - Nevada
DL D'Anthony Smith - Sr. - Louisiana Tech
DL Carl Ihenacho - Sr. - San Jose State
DL Dontay Moch - Jr. - Nevada
LB Paul Igboeli - Sr. - Utah State
LB Ben Jacobs - Jr. - Fresno State
LB Nick Paden - Sr. - New Mexico State
DB Kyle Wilson - Sr. - Boise State
DB Antonio Baker - Sr. - Louisiana Tech
DB Jeron Johnson - Jr. - Boise State
DB Moses Harris - Sr. - Fresno State
P   Brad Langley - Jr. - Nevada
PR Phillip Livas - Jr. - Louisiana Tech

1. Colin Kaepernick - Nevada
2. Kellen Moore - Boise State
3. Greg Alexander - Hawai'i

Nevada (Vai Taua, Luke Lippincott, Brandon Fragger)

Hawai'i (Greg Salas, Kealoha Pilares, Malcolm Lane)

Louisiana Tech (Lon Roberts, Jared Miles, Ben Harris, Cudahy Harmon, Rob McGill)

Nevada (Kevin Basped, Dontay Moch, Ryan Coulson, Nate Agaiava)

San Jose State (Justin Cole, Travis Jones, Duke Ihenacho, Ryno Gonzalez)

Boise State (Kyle Wilson, Brandyn Thompson, Jeron Johnson, George Iloka)


1. Nevada at Boise State (Nov. 27 - Friday)
2. Boise State at Hawai'i (Oct. 24)
3. Boise State at Louisiana Tech (Nov. 6 - Friday)
4. Boise State at Fresno State (Sept. 18 - Friday)
5. Fresno State at Nevada (Nov. 14)

1. Oregon at Boise State (Sept. 3 - Thursday)
2. Nevada at Notre Dame (Sept. 5)
3. Missouri at Nevada (Sept. 25 - Friday)
4. Fresno State at Cincinnati (Sept. 26)
5. Louisiana Tech at Auburn (Sept. 5)

1. Donnie Pritchett DE Santa Rosa, CA Fresno State
2. Lamon Muldrow RB Roseville, CA San Jose State
3. Aaron Brown DB Mission Viejo, CA Hawai'i
4. Tyrone Duplessis RB New Orleans, LA Louisiana Tech
5. Rufus Porter LB Destrehan, LA Louisiana Tech
6. Joe Southwick QB Danville, CA Boise State
7. Alex Green RB Oroville, CA Hawai'i
8. Travis Brown LB Fresno, CA Fresno State
9. Derek Carr QB Bakersfield, CA Fresno State
10. Malcolm Johnson RB Gresham, OR Boise State

STRENGTHS: The Broncos have plenty of offensive weapons per their usual, with quarterback Kellen Moore, receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, tailbacks Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper and tight ends Tommy Gallarda and Kyle Efaw in the mix. WAC Freshman of the Year Moore set a school record by completing 69.4% of his passes. He makes sharp reads and accurate throws. All four DB starters will return to a secondary that finished 34th nationally defending the pass. Star cornerback Kyle Wilson is also a top-rated return man, and kicker/punter Kyle Brotzman was nearly spotless last fall, giving BSU great special teams.

CONCERNS: The offensive line could do more by opening holes for the ball carriers (departed tailback Ian Johnson fell off the Heisman map last year due to this). Coaches have been vocal about getting better OL production, but it will be with players that remain a work-in-progress. The front seven on defense goes through major turnover; outside of leader Ryan Winterswyk at defensive end, new faces abound. TCU rushed for 275 yards against this group in winning the Poinsettia Bowl, and the Broncos have not had an All-Conference linebacker since 2006.

PROGNOSIS: The home opener with Oregon on Labor Day weekend will determine whether or not Boise State becomes another mid-major contender in the BCS Bowl race. Otherwise they will simply be chasing their seventh WAC title in eight years. Chris Petersen is proving to be yet another amazing head coach at this university, going 35-4 in three seasons. He has as much skill talent on offense and in the defensive backfield as on any Bronco team he has coached. Football 101: how well the line of scrimmage holds up will determine their fate. Everything else is in place to continue a 12-win season (in a 13-game regular season).


STRENGTHS: Every single running back and receiver is back. Touted Ryan Mathews returns from injury, while Lonyae Miller and Anthony Harding, who combined for 1,634 yards rushing last fall, lead a very potent ground game. The Bulldogs spread the ball around quite a bit. Upwards of six-to-seven receivers can boast his share of catches. The defensive back seven returns six of its starters. All-WAC selections Ben Jacobs at linebacker (113 tackles) and safety Moses Harris lead sturdy units. Dangerous kick returner A.J. Jefferson continues to be one of the national leaders.

CONCERNS: No quarterback on the roster attempted a pass last fall. Ergo, replacing departed Tom Brandstater will be a huge need. Both full-time offensive tackles are gone making life for a new signal caller that much more imposing. The defensive line has a few holes to fill after an inconsistent year of breakdowns and run stopping problems that crippled efforts last season.

PROGNOSIS: Consistency was a sore issue a year ago. But there are upwards of 17 starters returning, and this offensive backfield is deeper than any other conference opponent can muster by a long shot. The problem will be trying to avoid a one-dimensional attack as quarterbacks without any playing experience grow into the system, and one is methodically procured for the starter’s role. The improvements up front on defense should be good enough to afford more than a six win regular season. And to no surprise, Pat Hill has more than enough talent (outside of QB) to pull a few upsets.


STRENGTHS: Offense...JUCO quarterback Greg Alexander finished last fall on a roll, so he should be one of the top passers in the WAC. Three of his top receivers (Malcolm Lane, Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares) are back, and a few newcomers had solid spring outings. John Estes is one of the better centers in college football while two other experienced seniors line up at the tackle spots.

CONCERNS: Defense...Only two starters are back. Replacing Solomon Elimimian, the second-leading tackler in WAC history, won't help matters. It's difficult to know exactly what this defense will look like until the season progresses. Unfortunately, such a statement also holds water for the coaches. This defense is the true definition of a "rebuilding effort". Both a new kicker and punter will have to be found.

PROGNOSIS: The offense won't face the same issues they did heading into last season, when both a new QB and a new set of receivers had to be located. Additionally, they won’t have to start fresh in the coaching ranks. The nucleus of the offense is back to again start putting points on the board, but it will be a more balanced approach (not all passing). The defense, on the other hand, is what keeps Hawai'i from being a conference contender. They will be swallowing more points than poi.


STRENGTHS: The running back unit is the strength of this team. Deonte Jackson and Princeton McCarty provide a capable one-two punch. Jackson is a former 1,000-yard rusher from 2007 who got fewer carries last season because he shared time with the rising McCarty. Idaho will follow the same run-first formula. The secondary has some experience; getting team leading tackler Shiloh Keo back from injury at safety is a huge plus. He is a true playmaker on defense and special teams.

CONCERNS: There is never a shortage of problems at Idaho. The nation's 116th ranked total defense has holes to fill at linebacker. The defensive line won't help a team that has won just 18 games since 2001. Only two starters return to the offensive line, and quarterback Nathan Enderle had to fight dearly for his job this spring after an up-and-down two years (18 interceptions continue to haunt his stats). Gone is NFL draft pick Eddie Williams at tight end, who caught twice as many touchdowns as the next leading receiver.

PROGNOSIS: The Vandals have question marks everywhere. Their saving grace will likely be a ground game where their two best players line up at running back. QB Nathan Enderle is at least improving with each campaign but has a long ways to go in terms of owning the job behind center. Oh man, the defense is not helping matters and is full of holes. Idaho will once again be heavy underdogs in the WAC cellar.


STRENGTHS: This offense has a chance to be one of the nation's best rushing attacks. First Team All-Conference senior running back Daniel Porter may be the WAC's best rusher. A big reason for his future success is based on six returning starters to this offensive line, led by offensive tackle Rob McGill. Electric return man Phillip Livas and his 2,105 all-purpose yards is another name to keep an eye on at receiver. The defensive line is extremely stout with big D'Anthony "Boo" Smith anchoring the middle.

CONCERNS: Where the running game is priority, the passing game is abysmal. Ross Jenkins will return under center as a mere game manager, but he won't beat anyone with his arm. Defending the pass is also a weak point (second last in the WAC) and two new corners will take starting roles, although safety Antonio Baker is a First Team All-WAC selection. The linebackers, too, go through a reconstruction phase; they have to get better results with such a sturdy line in front of them.

PROGNOSIS: Louisiana Tech had six players named to the All-WAC team at the end of 2008. Five of them are back. Derek Dooley's ball club got eight wins last fall and an Independence Bowl victory. They'll continue this success if the pass defense can secure some form of consistency. Look out when the Bulldogs face off against poor run defenses...other than the nouveau spread formations used at Nevada, this is best traditional rushing attack in the conference.


STRENGTHS: The nation’s No. 1 ranked offense returns the WAC Offensive Player of the Year in QB Colin Kaepernick, the league's top rusher in Vai Taua, and two All-Conference tackles in Alonzo Durham and Mike Gallett. Also in the backfield is 2007 star Luke Lippincott, whose been granted another year of eligibility after an injury set him back last fall. Nevada also may possess the country's best defensive end combo. Dontay Mock is the league’s top sack producer, and Kevin Basped is just as good.

CONCERNS: The Wolf Pack lost six games last year because they just could not stop anyone from throwing the football. The secondary is by far their Achilles’ Heel where this defense ranked 119th nationally trying to stop the pass. The linebackers are still young and continue to suffer through growing pains. The losses of Marko Mitchell and Mike McCoy will leave the receiving duties in undeveloped hands.

PROGNOSIS: Wow, this offense is loaded. Kaepernick is a special dual-threat quarterback, able to burn foes either running or passing (as he feigns LBs by convincingly rolling out). In short, this was the nation's No. 1 ranked offense in ’08, and most of its parts are back (reloading at WR). The Wolf Pack has a great chance at being the top surprise team in both the WAC and the nation. If the porous secondary can find some relief with a bevy of experienced players, returning the defensive line in a new 4-3 alignment has the potential to make this entire D better, especially with these two studs at defensive end. While the opener at Notre Dame has “big time” upset special already written all over it, the final game at Boise on Thanksgiving weekend should be for all the WAC marbles.


STRENGTHS: The group of returning linebackers - all seniors - is likely to be the strength of the team. Nick Paden is the glue. The nation's No. 3 ranked passing defense has a chance to be more than sufficient with three starters back in the secondary. New head coach/defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker comes here from UCLA with an impressive resume. Expect defense to be the new order in Aggie Land.

CONCERNS: The spread passing attack (with record setting QB Chase Holbrook and receivers Chris Williams and A.J. Harris, making sure high scoring affairs transpired every Saturday) is a thing of the past. None of the incumbents at quarterback was very impressive this spring, adding much concern as to who will be pulling the trigger under center. The defensive line is breaking in four new starters. This aspect has absolutely killed NMSU (to date), and the DL will again repeat its marginal performance if the linebackers don't take up some of the slack.

PROGNOSIS: With a brand new coaching staff and accompanying playbook(s), this won't be the same Aggie football team. The schemes change, as do the philosophies. The excitement of having one of the top passing attacks under former coach Hal Mumme quickly gives way to reconstruction, an attempt to sure up the running game and overall stopping power (105th ranked scoring defense). The transition(s) won't be easy in the first year; the line of scrimmage is still highly questionable. The road schedule isn't trouble-free either. Outside of the two openers, the Aggies will struggle.


STRENGTHS: Brothers Carl and Duke Ihenacho lead an ever-improving defense that is leaps and bounds better than when head coach Dick Tomey took over in 2004. The aggressive nature and experience of the front seven on defense is capable of matching up with any WAC opponent(s). The offensive line returns five players that have earned significant starts, which can only help their 115th-ranked rushing attack. Getting 2007 All-WAC standout Kevin Jurovich back healthy at receiver will be a big lift.

CONCERNS: This offense is the worst in the league at scoring points. The Spartans need to break out of their conservative approach and get something more out of what has become an anemic ground game. This offense is lacking playmakers across the board, with an unknown receivers corps. While the defense looks to be much better, they still have to replace three players that were selected in last April’s NFL Draft.

PROGNOSIS: The 53 returning lettermen and 30 seniors on the roster represent the most experience since coach Tomey took over the program. This will mostly be evident on the defensive side, where efforts/results wore down after the offense was so ineffective last year. They have a senior quarterback in Kyle Reed but he still has a shaky hold on the position. They desperately need more out of their hurler (whoever it may be) and from the ball carriers behind him. An 0-3 start won't help confidence with heavy hitters USC, Utah and Stanford being the opponents. This team is better than last year's 6-6 squad, but the record probably won't show it.


STRENGTHS: Biondre Borel is the star of this football team from his quarterback spot. A new coaching staff will now use a no-huddle, shotgun spread to maximize his talents since Borel was the team leader in both rushing and passing. Nine other starters are back for the offense. The receiving corps, while lacking experience, appears deep. Senior linebacker Paul Igboeli is a good place to start over with on defense. His 242 career tackles will likely make him the school's all-time record holder by the time 2009 is done.

CONCERNS: The school administration wanted more than just a coaching change, so the Aggies have 15 players who have switched position in some form or another, including several to the opposite side of the ball. Borel needs somebody to help him carry the pigskin. Only one time last year did another ball carrier rush for over 100 yards. While the experience appears good on paper with 19 starters back, Utah State is severely lacking players worthy of All-Conference honors. Teamwork must prevail.

PROGNOSIS: The good news is that Utah State showed some progress last season while also managing to steal in-state rival Utah’s defensive coordinator, Gary Andersen, and make him the new head coach. The bad news is that the Aggies have been woeful since joining the WAC in 2005. There seems to be no avenue for this team to get remotely close to a .500 season, especially considering eight bowl teams rule the schedule. The defensive minded Andersen has his work cut out trying to repair a leaking defense that gave up over 34 points a game. At least the best playmaker is behind center.



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