....will finish last in the Western Athletic Conference in football.
I have been doing some preseason reading. And everything I pick up at the newstand/glance at on the internet, has NMSU finishing in the basement. OK, a few publications has them better than Idaho.
I think the Aggies will definitely be better than the Idaho. Maybe, possibly, this is because I cover the team and my view of them is distorted. But really, I believe that NMSU will have a better record than the Vandals. They have them at home, and I think this is going to be a football team that plays hungry under new coach DeWayne Walker. I won't look at NMSU's win-loss record necessarily, I will look at how they compete on the field. And I think they are going to surprise people with their fight. I think they will fight themselves out of the basement and might even knock off a few teams they shouldn't in the process.
After that, who knows. Utah State is actually a team that intrigues me a bit. First off, they have an exciting player at quarterback in Diondre Borel. He is a tough guy to defend and could make their offense explosive at times. New coach Gary Anderson is similar to Walker - a defensive guy. I like that. Again, I'm not talking bowl here for USU. But I could see the team gutting out 3 or 4 wins. Why not? One of these former Sun Belt teams has to make a move in this conference eventually. Right? Hopefully.
Hawaii could be down. The one thing they will always have going for them is their homefield advantage. The Aggies go to Honolulu this year.
But you know, I think the WAC is tough. Again, maybe this is because I cover the conference and I overate it in my head. But I look at the teams we got here. Boise State speaks for itself. Nevada is going to be a monster this year, particularly if its pass defense pans out. Fresno State is Fresno State. Always solid, no matter the roster. So they will be tough.
This is a big year for Louisiana Tech. Two years ago they were improved. Last year they were solid. They went to a bowl game, they won the bowl game. Where do they go this year? I want to say they keep getting better. But they aren't going to sneak up on anybody anymore, those days are over. Look out for tackle D'Anthony Smith, who is a WAC Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He can move along the interior.
And I think that San Jose State will always be a solid team under Dick Tomey. They will play defense, and they will be able to run the ball. Keep an eye on big-play running back Brandon Rutley, who is always looking to break off a run.
But I think the Aggies are going to be better than people realize too. It will be hard to make a dent this year in the conference. As written above, there are good teams, tough travel and the league goes pretty deep. I believe the overall mentality of NMSU will be better and they will be a tough home team. I think they will be a team Aggie fans can look at with a sense of pride.