This is 11th in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How’s season preview. Today’s conference is the Western Athletic Conference.
Conference: Western Athletic Conference (WAC)
Active Since: 1962
Current Member Schools: Boise State Broncos, Fresno State Bulldogs, Hawaii Warriors, Idaho Vandals, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Nevada Wolfpack, New Mexico State Aggies, San Jose State Spartans, Utah State Aggies. (nine)
Bowl Affiliations: New Mexico Bowl, Humanitarian Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Fight Hunger Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl. (five)
Conference Champion: Boise State
Conference Runner-up: Nevada
Overall Bowl Record: 2-2
Heisman Vote Recipients: Boise State QB Kellen Moore (Seventh Overall)
AP All-Americans: Idaho OG Mike Iupati (First Team), Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews (Second), Boise State CB Kyle Wilson (Second), Boise State QB Kellen Moore (Third)
Returning 20 of 22 starters from a decent team would probably lead any casual observer to expect great things from a team.
But returning 20 of 22 starters from an undefeated team that nearly crashed the BCS party at its highest level? We could be in store for the most surprising national title contender in the BCS era.
Yes, Boise State is back in full force and will once again be the class of the Western Athletic Conference. Coach Chris Peterson, QB Kellen Moore, and the Broncos have an outside chance this season to do something that no other non-BCS school has done—make the BCS National Championship Game.
And it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to think the Broncos could just pull it off. Their schedule, while including two BCS conference foes, is more than conquerable for a team that proved its worth time and again last season. Plus, Boise will likely start the season among the top of the polls, leaving very little climbing needed in order to get to the championship game. For more on their chances click HERE.
Boise aside, there is some real depth to the WAC this season, which, while beneficial to the Broncos, could spell their downfall somewhere along the line. Nevada, who other than a disastrous first quarter, hung quite well with Boise State in a late-season matchup in ’09 and they are poised to improve in 2010.
Wolfpack dual threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick looks ready to improve on an impressive 2009 season, where he ran for more than 1,000 yards, while throwing for 22 TDs. If Kaepernick can improve his aerial prowess, Nevada could prove a thorn in Boise's and the rest of the conference’s sides, and when the teams collide in late November, they could derail the Broncos’ hopes.
Fresno State and Idaho aren’t far behind, as both return starting quarterbacks looking to improve upon solid ’09 campaigns, with Idaho’s Nathan Enderle seemingly ready to step into the class of Moore and Kaepernick in the WAC.
New Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes could help the Bulldogs make a surprise run at a bowl after a 4-8 record in 2009.
2010 Heisman Hopefuls
Boise State QB Kellen Moore, Idaho QB Nathan Enderle, Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick
BCS Know How’s 2010 Predictions
Conference Champion – Boise State (12-0, 8-0)
Conference Runner-up – Nevada (10-2, 7-1)
Heisman Finalists: Boise State QB Kellen Moore
BCS Bowls: One – Boise State – Fiesta Bowl