Here�s another bar bet guaranteed to stack a few extra shot glasses in front of you�re your seat at the bar.
Next to the PAC 10, the SEC and the ACC, name the conference with the 4th best all-time win percentage in bowl games.
It�s not the BIG 10. Not the BIG 12, nor the BIG EAST. It�s the WAC, whose current team members� .522 percentage in post-season play ranks the conference 4th best in the land.
Two new coaches make their debut in 2009 with DeWayne Walker (UCLA) taking over at New Mexico State and Gary Andersen (Utah) assuming the reins at Utah State.
Here is my overview on the WAC CONFERENCE for 2009. Returning starters are listed alongside each team�s name (returning QB�s designated with an *). Enjoy�
BOISE STATE � *6 / 6
Team Theme � SAME OLD SONG
Some coaches just don�t get their due and Chris Petersen can relate. After going 35-4 in three years with the Broncos, including 31-1 versus .750 or less opposition, Coach Pete now realizes the lack of respect is due mainly to the neighborhood in which he resides (read: the WAC). That�s confirmed by the fact that all the other WAC teams, were 43-58 combined overall last season. Nonetheless, Boise has the best overall, conference and home win percentage of all Division 1 teams over the last 10 years, has posted the highest per game scoring average in the land over that period and has its starting QB returning for the first time in three years. The biggest test will be 7 road games on this year�s slate. The last time that happened (2003) they went 13-1. Ho hum.
PLAY AGAINST: as favorite vs. Tulsa (10/14) � *KEY
FRESNO STATE � 7 / 9
Team Theme � PLEASE HELP ME I�M FALLING
When Bulldogs head coach Pat Hill issued his �Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere� proclamation, little did he realize that his missive would come back to bite him in the end. �Anyone� has included the likes of LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Southern Cal, Tennessee and Wisconsin. �Anytime� showed up with several interruptions to inside their conference season while �Anywhere� sent them packing on the road, more often than not against superior opponents. The toll has taken its course and the Bulldogs have lost their bite. Over the last three seasons they have allowed more yards than they have gained. As a result, Fresno has gone 20-18 overall and is just 4-19 ATS laying points. It doesn�t get any better in 2009 with Fresno hitting the highway seven times (same as last year) and traveling to tough venues at Cincinnati, Illinois and Wisconsin. Unless the defense (9 returning starters) plugs a three-year free fall, it won�t matter who, what, where or when.
PLAY ON: as dog vs. Boise State (9/18) - *KEY +4.5 or more
HAWAII � *7 / 2
Team Theme - SPIN-N-RINSE
For a football team that was hung out and left to dry with the departure of its head coach and his staff, Hawaii lived up to its nickname. To put another spin on it, the Warriors refused to throw in the towel when June Jones took the money and ran off to SMU. Instead, on the heels of a 7-win bowl season last year, Hawaii will celebrate its 100th anniversary of UH football this fall. With last year�s gutty effort, Greg McMackin equaled Jones when he became only the second head coach in Hawaii school history to lead his team to a bowl game in his first year. We love the fact that that the Islanders feast on home cooking late in the season. It�s where they earn bowl bids and where they are 19-5 SU and 14-10 ATS in their final three home games the last eight years. Cycle that, if you will.
PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Wisconsin (12/5)
IDAHO � *7 / 8
Team Theme � ONE NAIL AT A TIME
It�s easy for a team that doubles its win total from one year to the next to suddenly become full of themselves. Here�s hoping that�s not the case for the Vandals in 2008. If it is, they could be in a world of hurt. The win total we�re alluding to was two, last year, as opposed to one in 2007. To make matters worse, Idaho saw its offense and defense decline a combined total of 83 yards in that �improved� season. Those are not the kind of blueprints you use to build a new house. Nonetheless, 3rd year head coach Rob Akey realizes a house needs to be solid before it becomes a home. It starts this year with 9 starters back on defense, including the entire secondary. On the offensive front, SO RB Deonte Jackson is back after gaining 696 rushing yards in his debut last year. Let�s hope he�s the hammer Akey so desperately needs.
LOUISIANA TECH �*9 / 7
Team Theme � DDDEFENSE
When Derek Dooley took over this program three years ago the Bulldogs were toothless. Thanks to a defense that was dead last in the nation, they allowed 23 PPG more than they scored and 138 YPG more than they gained. Last year, because of a Top 10 ranked rush defense, they won 8 games, including their first bowl win since 1977. The five conference victories they registered in 2008 was one more than they earned in the previous two years combined. It doesn�t figure to stop there, either. They return 4 of 11 WAC 1st team performers. In addition, all starting linemen, on both sides of the ball, return. Dooley may be the only coach in the FBS that is also the school�s AD, but that doesn�t detract from the fact that coaching genius is in his genes.
PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Boise State (11/6)
NEVADA � *7 / 7
Team Theme � BANG, BANG
We are huge fans of Chris Ault. In his 25 years on the sidelines in Reno, Ault has averaged 7.7 wins per season. It�s because the 6th active winningest coach in the country is continually adapting to the times. �Offensively we want to modify some the things within the pistol offense and that includes widening the spectrum of the passing game. Defensively, we need to form and build a rock. We are going to flat-out get after it,� said Ault. The fact of the matter is Nevada has the perfect gunslinger to pull the trigger on the pistol in QB Colin Kaepernick, who rushed and passed for 3979 yards last season. Good news came when a 6th year of eligibility was granted to RB Luke Lippincott, the 2007 WAC leading rusher who sat out with an ACL injury last year. Color this team dangerous.
PLAY ON: vs. as dog vs. Missouri (9/26)
NEW MEXICO STATE � 6 / 5
Team Theme � NEW STATE IN MEXICO
Another new coach will debut in New Mexico this season. DeWayne Walker has taken over the Aggie reins from departed Hal Mumme. Walker is a former defensive coordinator at both UCLA and USC and was also a DB coach in the NFL with the Giants, Patriots and Redskins this decade. Much to his liking, he takes over a defense that improved 61 YPG last season. �DeWayne is a great coach who has proven that on many levels. He has all the skills to be a highly successful coach and will build his team around a great defense,� contends Pete Carroll, USC head coach. The entire offensive line and all 5 top RB�s return, offsetting the loss of QB Chase Holbrook. Look for the emphasis to switch back to the NFL standard formula for winning � run the ball and stop the rush.
PLAY ON: vs. Louisiana Tech (10/17)
SAN JOSE STATE � *8 / 7
Team Theme � CSI: SAN JOSE
It�s a crime Dick Tomey does not receive the accolades he�s due. He is the 7th active winningest coach in the country with a 181-135-7 overall record and he inherited a San Jose State football squad that was riding a 4-year losing steak prior to his arrival in 2005. It�s understandable that Tomey�s DNA is all over this program. His M.O. is to limit his team's mistakes in hopes that the other team will beat itself, which is why the Spartans have ranked in the Top 15 nationally in turnover margin the last three years. Unfortunately, this year�s team will likely continue to add to its miserable 1-4 finish in the season�s first two games that pit the Spartans against a pair of foes that were 25-1 combined in 2008. Don�t worry, though. The Tominator will be back.
PLAY ON: vs. Louisiana Tech (12/5)
UTAH STATE � *10 / 7
Team Theme � BYE GUY
It�s been 13 years since a coach last steered Utah State to a winning season. Brent Guy (9-38) couldn�t get it done in four years with the Aggies and as a result he�s gone. Gary Andersen, Utah�s defensive coordinator the past five years, assumes the wheel. In retrospect, it was a season of firsts for USU last year. The first time they did not allow a TD in a game since 2003; the first time they held an opponent to minus rushing yards since 1998; and the first time they won 3 WAC games in a season. Anderson finds the cupboard loaded with seventeen returning starters. As much as we�d love to cheer for Anderson in his debut against his former team, we can�t. Not with the knowledge that new coaches in debut games are 6-18 ATS as non-conference home dogs. That�s good to know.
PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. Idaho (11/28)