I think the Western Athletic Conference has five, six teams that are either very good, solid or pretty good. The bottom three - NMSU, Utah State and Idaho - have struggled since coming into the league four years ago.
The reality is that the last two years the Aggies seemed primed to separate themselves from the UtAgs and Idaho. And they did in an abstract sort of way. The Aggies put up gaudy offensive numbers at times and had some legitimate talent on their team. They had an explosive element with the likes of Chris Williams, Chase Holbrook, A.J. Harris, Derrick Dubois and Nick Cleaver that were legitimately tough to defend. They also beat UTEP the last two years, won in Reno and gave some other solid conference teams some legitimate scares during that period.
Alas, they also lost to Idaho last year, Utah State the past two seasons and at times have looked awful. While for people who saw them every day it seemed like they were close to turning the corner, for passive followers of the program and general followers of the league, they were packaged with the UtAgs and Vandals.
Here's what I'm getting at. The league needs these three teams to do well. The past four years the three have formed a soft underbelly for the conference. Many are saying that Utah State should be better this season. They have some pieces, they still have some holes. It starts on their home field, where they host Nevada, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State and Boise State. If the UtAgs can take two of those games and steal and conference game or two on the road, that's a major step, maybe even steps in the right direction.
I've said it before, I think NMSU will be a good home team. To see it through, they need to beat USU and Idaho at Aggie Memorial. If they can upset Nevada or Fresno State when one of those teams visit Las Cruces, yes, it would help the individual program and the WAC.
Idaho as well. There home conference schedule features La. Tech, Fresno State, Hawaii and Utah State. Get a few upsets in there. Battle in the other ones. It will be a shot in the arm.
These teams having success will help the WAC, as it will bring further legitimacy to the conference and push the top tier teams each and every week they take the field.