Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The new defense and Walker's decision

Being head coach and a main coordinator on a football team is a lot to carry.

So, when news got out that DeWayne Walker was going to relieve a lot of his defensive coordinator responsibilities to linebackers coach Dale Lindsey, I thought it was a step in the right direction.

There are a few things that concern me, however.

For one, making such a switch in the middle of the season isn’t preferred. Lindsey is much different than Walker in style and demeanor, and represents a new voice for the defensive unit to adhere to. Having an offseason to adjust would be one thing, but switching mid-week, when you have No. 3 Boise State coming to town this weekend no-less, is a tough order of business for any coaching staff and team to navigate through.

Lindsey brings a world of experience to the position as well, but is he the right man for the job? That’s something that will be answered in the coming weeks. But he has a mountain of work in front of him and will need to hit the ground running, with literally zero time to ease into the position.

Lindsey said he has a good grasp of the defensive personnel and will lean strongly on his assistants.

“I will put my two cents in where I think it will help,” he said. “But, we’ve got a good defensive line coach, we’ve got two good secondary coaches. I’m not a micro-manager. I’d like everybody’s input, I’d like to help. If I can help, fine, if I can’t, then step back and let the people do what they’re hired to do and let them produce. I’ve been accused of being too democratic. Not here, but I had been in the past when I was a coordinator. But....when I was a (coordinator), I had something to help the guy with, I had input. If it’s good, use it, great, if he didn’t, that’s great too.”

Both he and DeWayne Walker said slight adjustments will be made to the scheme.

“We’re looking at this (Boise State) game a little differently, yeah,” Lindsey said. “That’s all I’m gonna say.”

Again, I think as a head coach, delegating work and having your assistants do as much heavy lifting as possible is a good idea.

And I think Walker will make a fine head coach for NMSU. And that’s his title — head coach. He can try to be a hero and lift everything on his back, or he can delegate, rely on the people around him and put all his focuses and energy on running the program.

Lindsey was the best assistant on this current staff to take things over. Again, it may not be at the most opportune time — mid-season, with the team struggling badly on defense and with a top-flight Boise State team coming to town.

I do think it’s the right idea and will pay off in the long run.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The week that was, and the future weeks

Now that we are two weeks into the Aggie football season, what are your thoughts?

I know, I know, not good, I’m sure.

But this is the thing with football. There's just 12 games in a season, but it’s a long year. And each game is under heavy scrutiny.

In basketball, the Aggies lose on Tuesday night, they’re back on the court on Friday or Saturday. There’s a quick turnaround. In football, the games stew and are under a microscope for probably too long.

How many games will the Aggies win in 2010? That answer depends on how you view this team, but the Aggies have looked like no better than a three-win team.

It’s all about matchups.

Since last year, the Aggies have not matched up well with quarterbacks that can throw the ball over the top of the secondary.

This season, that weakness was apparent once again with how the team defended Ryan Lindley and Trevor Vittatoe in the first two weeks of the season. A consistent pass rush just isn’t there and if cornerbacks Davon House and/or Jonte Green aren’t on top of their games, it can get ugly.

So, who do the Aggies match up well with the rest of the way?

I think this weekend against Kansas, the team will be in the game. A 23-point spread, I think the Aggies will cover. Am I crazy? This is how I feel.

Kansas is playing a redshirt freshman at quarterback and a true freshman at running back. I don’t see the Aggies applying pressure on the backfield, but I think the secondary can keep the play in front of them.

Alas, they won’t win.

They match up well against New Mexico and I think the Aggies will get that game.

They match up well with San Jose State and I think the Aggies will get that game.

I think they match up well with Idaho, but it’s away. And the Vandals are simply further along than NMSU in Robb Akey’s fourth year with the program.

Louisiana Tech is in a transitional stage and I think the Aggies could — could — get that game. Still, it would be an upset. But it’s one I feel.

Hawaii has looked good so far, actually. But, on the last game of the year and with a sound gameplan, the Aggies could beat them in Las Cruces.

The first two games weren’t a great start to the season, but this is a week-to-week business. Hopefully, the Aggies can be at least competitive in Kansas. It will make the next week more bearable — for the team and the fans.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 2 thoughts following loss at UTEP

It was sad how the Aggies came out on Saturday night against the Miners.

UTEP was up 21-0 quickly, scoring on their first three drives of the game and it really looked easy.

Vittatoe went up top and also kept the ball and ran for yardage. Third down was not a problem for the Miners.

For the second straight week, the Aggies were pushed around on the defensive side of the ball.

To me, it's not a surprise the Aggies are 0-2. I knew that San Diego State and UTEP were ahead of NMSU on the football field coming into the year.

But I am surprised that the Aggies are playing this poorly on defense. I said it following last week's loss - defense was supposed to be the bread and butter for this team in Year 2 of the DeWayne Walker era. But the unit has been invisible up to this point.

It's the perimeter of the defense that has been the biggest disappointment. Where are defensive ends Pierre Fils and Donte Savage? There has been zero pressure put on the quarterback to this point.

And cornerbacks Davon House and Jonte Green have underperformed. House was decent in Week 2, but Green had easily the worst game of his Aggie career. What was the problem? Something was off with him against the Miners. It looked like his head wasn't in the game.

I think the team's gotten decent production from its defensive tackles John Finau and Kawika Shook. Donyae Coleman has been the secondary's best player to this point and I think backup safety George Callender's shown some ability to this point.

But the Aggies will do nothing if they don't get to the quarterback more often. That's the name of the game - it's how a team swings field position and creates turnovers.

The Aggies didn't blitz a whole lot on Saturday - they are relying on their front-four to generate a push. So far, it's going nowhere.


Offensively, the Aggies have been decent - anything would be better than last year and the fact they're getting 15-to-20 yard pass plays downfield is reason for excitement after 2009.

I'm not going to sit here and say the offense contributed to the defense's bad start. Sure, the Aggies didn't get a first down until the 11:00 mark of the second quarter, with the score 21-0 UTEP.

But it's hard as an offense when you're not on the field to generate any type of rhythm. And that's what happened in this one - the Aggies ran six offensive plays in the first quarter.

In the first game, there was talk of the offense leaving the defense hanging in the second quarter. On Saturday, the defense left the offense hanging in the first. You gotta get your team the ball to see what they can do. No use being on the sidelines for all but three minutes of the opening period.

I do think the Aggie offense has been hot and cold in the first two games of the season. The second quarter, the unit got moving, but that was really it all night. And when it's been off, first downs have been hard to come by.

I feel for running back Seth Smith, because he's not the type of back who's going to be at his most effective with just 5-to-10 carries per game. He needs 15-to-20 at the bare minimum for his impact to be felt. I still believe he's the team's most complete player on the offensive side of the ball, but it's tough to tell with the team trailing and he being under utilized.

Marcus Allen looked good again and Todd Lee made a couple big grabs. Kenny Turner catches the ball well out of the backfield, although I would have liked to see him get out of bounds during the two-minute drill to close out the half. Instead, with under 20 seconds remaining, he caught a ball near the sideline but turned in back inside where he was brought down near the 15 yard line. It led to an Aggie field goal, cutting the UTEP lead to 21-10 at the half, but it also forced the team to burn its final timeout of the half.


Special teams was average at best on Saturday and the Aggies were hurt by a 28-yard punt by Tanner Rust that gave UTEP the ball at midfield to start out the half. The Miners quickly turned the possession into points, another Vittatoe touchdown pass, to go up 28-10.

The return game was nothing special and Taveon Rogers fumbled the opening kickoff of the half, only to recover. Still, scary.

Tyler Stampler hit a field goal and an extra point on the evening.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Aggies lose....

....42-10 to Miners.

I thought the Miners would win by double digits - but not by 32. I was thing 10-17 would be the difference.

I can't say I'm surprised though. The Aggies have a long way to go. I did think the NMSU defense would be much better at this point. They have been torched since the opener against San Diego State.

There has been zero pass rush and cornerback Jonte Green and Davon House have been disappointments. I don't know if Green was hurt or what on Saturday but he had a bad game.

Thoughts are encouraged following this one.....

Friday, September 17, 2010

5 keys vs. UTEP

Aggie defensive line: The Aggie defensive line was a no-show last week against San Diego State. No sacks. seldom a quarterback hurry and the Aztecs ran wild throughout. And that was against a suspect offensive line, which won’t be the case tonight. UTEP comes in loaded up front, with all five starters — tackles Will Osolinsky and Alex Solot, guards Anthony McNac and Rod Huntley and center Tanner Cullumber — bringing senior experience to the table. How will the Aggies fare any better this week? They gotta find a way, or this one will be over quickly.

Holding up without Fakalata: Last year, the Aggies remained relatively injury free. They got bit quickly by the bug in Week 1, with Sioeli Fakalta going down with a left leg injury that had head coach DeWayne Walker saying the senior right guard could miss the remainder of the season. In steps Ruben Escarsega to fill the void up front, but the Aggies will be lucky if he plays close the Faklata’s level. The one saving grace: NMSU offensive line coach Jason Lenzemeier has been making chicken salad — the Aggies talent up front — into a gourmet dish since the day he arrived in Las Cruces. Time to pull another rabbit out of the hat.

Aggie running game: One of the bright spots in last week’s loss? New Aggie running back Kenny Turner showed a burst around the corner and the ability to make defenders miss. The Aggies gave Turner the ball 10 times, a number that’s sure to increase against the Miners. The team also needs to give the ball to Seth Smith more — last year’s 1,000 yard rusher got just five carries in the loss, for two yards no less. The Miners have been playing Ole run defense for the past four years. NMSU’s backs can take advantage if given the chance.

UTEP’s injuries: At the beginning of the year, talk in the Borderland was on UTEP running back Donald Buckram, and his elevation to elite status in the nation. Alas, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back has yet to see the field in 2010, nursing a bruised knee during the Miners’ first two games of the season. He said he felt confident that he could take the field on Saturday, although we’ll see how effective he is in shaking off the rust. Perhaps more important is the loss of safety Braxton Amy, an animal in the defensive backfield who was nothing short of the heart and soul of the Miner team. He’s done for the year, tearing his ACL in the loss at Houston last week.

Bouncing back: Both of these clubs lost last week. UTEP is now 1-1, while the Aggies hold an 0-1 mark in 2010. No time to sulk for either club, just time to get back on their horse and play some hard-nosed football. Whichever team takes the field ready to rebound will come out on top.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Aggies: Week 1 recap

It was a disappointing opening night for the Aggie football team on Saturday against San Diego State.

Of course it was a disappointing. The team lost, which is always tough, and it was a game they could have won. They were in it late, and the 41-21 final does not accurately reflect the competitive nature of the contest that was.

As in most cases, there were positives and negatives. The team played hard and at times well. It also didn’t step up late, it faded down the stretch.

For me, the biggest disappointment, and surprise, was the Aggies play on defense.

I figured the team would be stronger in this area in 2010, barring injury.

Granted, the Aztecs have a lot of weapons on offense, but I felt NMSU could hold San Diego State under 30 points. I felt like the Aggies could do it, and I believed they would do it.

Early on, it looked like they were well on their way. They stuffed the Aztecs on fourth down during SDSU’s first offensive possession, which led to NMSU’s first score of the game. 7-0 Aggies, and things were looking up.

But, when it was all said and done, the Aztecs carved up the New Mexico State defense. 563 yards of total offense – 319 passing, 244 rushing; 9-of-19 on third downs – and it felt worse than that; 83 offensive plays total, compared to the Aggies’ 60.

NMSU generated zero pressure on the quarterback. Where were Fils and Savage, along with the improved and deeper defensive line? It was a no-show.

The fact of the matter is that I may have overrated NMSU’s defense \ going into the season. Here’s what I was thinking were positives as the new year approached:

*Year 2 in head coach DeWayne Walker’s system.

*A better defensive line and a nice secondary with two good corners. Neither Jonte Green or Davon House stood out on Saturday though. SDSU has some toys at wide receiver. The nicest play either made was House breaking up a ball in the back corner of the endzone on a third-down play in the second quarter.

*I knew the linebacking corps had some question marks but figured if the top-three stayed healthy, they would be fine. Alas, Frank Padilla went down with a leg injury in the second half on Saturday.

The defense has to turn it around, starting immediately. Next week, they have another opponent with weapons and a coach who can draw it up, when they travel to face UTEP. The defense has to – repeat has to - be the backbone of this team. I know the offense didn’t do the job at points in time on Saturday, namely during the second quarter, when NMSU couldn’t get a first down and the defense was forced to fend for itself for virtually the entire period – that’s tough to be on the field for that long. But I hold this unit to a higher standard. The Aggies only chance at approaching five wins this year is if this group plays like they said they would during fall camp – as the best defense in the WAC.


With all that being said, the Aggies are a better team in 2010 than they were in 2009. For starters, from an entertainment standpoint, they are far more appealing. Mike Dunbar was a fine hire at offensive coordinator and has the savvy and gameplanning skills to vastly improve the offense during one offseason.

Three receivers made nice plays on Saturday night – and all did nothing in 2009. Marcus Allen had over 100 yards, Todd Lee was impressive catching the football and Darrius Preston got loose on some screens.

Matt Christian displayed nice attributes at the quarterback position. He threw on the run, hung in and took the big hit and didn’t turn the ball over. He also showed ability as a rusher upfield.

Christian is a streaky thrower and I am concerned about his health. He took at least four big shots on Saturday night and the team needs him to stay on the field. He was limping around after the game.

The Aggies threw the ball downfield, with Christian averaging over 13 yards per completion – he went 17-of-34 on the evening for 223 yards.

The running game didn’t do much – Kenny Turner was the team’s best back on Saturday. The Aggies cannot forget about Seth Smith on offense, but he needs to ball 15-to-20 times to be effective. He got five carries for eight yards on Saturday, not enough on either end.

Defensively, the Aggies played well for a half, but broke down in the final two quarters. Still, I think this unit will improve and the offense will continue to show some spunk, making for more competitive games in 2010.


The Aggies are similar in this regard from last year to this year: they have zero margin for error.

These are things that happened on Saturday that simply can’t happen if the Aggies want to win:

*Nine penalties for 86 yards.

*A Kenny Turner muffed punt late that ultimately led to a SDSU touchdown as the Aztecs put the finishing touches on the win.

*A Tyler Stampler miss on a 37-yard field goal to open the game. The Aggies had a nice first drive and were aided by a poor pass interference penalty call on SDSU. NMSU also got a 20-yard completion from Christian to Lee down to the SDSU 26-yard line on 3rd-and-11. Stampler then comes out and misses what should be a make.

*Special teams in general just weren’t very good. Tanner Rust averaged 40.4 yards per punt with a long of 54, but was aided by some friendly bounces and did not get the hangtime that we were used to from Kyle Hughes a season ago.


I looked up in the third quarter and saw half the student section emptied out. It had a nice gathering in the first half, but I guess everyone went home after two quarters.

Too bad, because it totally takes away from homefield advantage. That could be the difference in the Aggies winning and losing that game, too. It was a close game going into the fourth quarter. A loud and enthused crowd could have only helped the Aggies. Having half the students leave at halftime can only hurt them.


Padilla and offensive guard Sioeli Fakalata both left the game with what appeared to be lower-left leg injuries.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

5 keys vs. San Diego State

What to watch as Aggies gear up to host Aztecs in 2010 football season opener....

Along the front: The Aztecs have one horse on the offensive line, that being two-year starting center Trask Iosefa. Other than that, the unit is unproven, with Alec Johnson and Nik Embernate at the guards and Tommie Draheim and Kurtis Gunther at the tackles. The Aggies come in with some old reliables along the defensive front. Donte Savage and Pierre Fils return at the end positions while John Finau will man the nose tackle and Kawika Shook will line up in the three-technique. Backing up the front four will be David Mahoney and Tommy Stuart at tackle and Brandon Warner and David Nuimatalolo at ends as NMSU added depth in the offseason. The unit will look to blast holes in the SDSU blocking scheme.
“Our starting four guys, they played in this game last year and we feel like we’ve recruited some quality backups,” NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker said. “That would be nice to get an advantage up front (on Saturday).”

Aggie passing game: Aggie fans are familiar with San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long, the former head coach at the University of New Mexico. Long runs a unique 3-3-5 system, bringing blitzers from all angles to try and pressure an opposing quarterback into making costly mistakes. It will also open up opportunities in the passing game if the Aggie line can buy quarterback Matt Christian time in the pocket. And then the NMSU wide receivers have to get open and make the catch if it’s delivered on time and on target. It didn’t happen quite like that last year, but the plan is for the Aggie passing attack to be in better harmony in 2010.

SDSU weapons: The Aztecs have plenty of toys to play with on offense. Junior quarterback Ryan Lindley returns after throwing for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2009. A three-man backfield of Davon Brown, Ronnie Hillman and Walter Kazee can all run the ball effectively while wide receivers Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson are impressive targets downfield. They will face an Aggie defense that continues to scheme and improve under second-year head coach DeWayne Walker.

Opening night: While San Diego State had their season opener last week — a 47-0 thrashing over Nicholls State — New Mexico State had their bye to start the 2010 campaign. In other words, tonight is NMSU’s season opener, which can be a blessing or a curse. When it’s all said and done, expect the Aggies to come out strong with something to prove against SDSU, in what should be a competitive football game.
“We have some new offensive coaches, our players have bought in. So, we’ve done things right,” NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker said. “You’d just like to see our guys improve and we’d like to have success too. I think this is an important game for us.”

Last year’s meeting: Last season saw the two teams compete in San Diego, with the game holding close until late in the fourth quarter. Down 17-7, the Aggies got two second-half scoring drives, led by backup quarterback Trevor Walls, to tie the score at 17-17. Late turnovers, though, ultimately led to three late Aztec touchdowns in the final eight minutes of action, as SDSU pulled away with a 34-17 victory. NMSU is a drastically different team this time around, however. Equipped with a brand new passing attack on offense and three new starters at linebacker, the Aggies have a brand new look in 2010. Will it lead to better results?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Mexico State/San Diego State depth chart

Here are the starting lineups for Saturday night's game....

New Mexico State
Pos. Player, class No. Size
QB Matt Christian, Jr. 2 6-3, 220
Tanner Rust, RFr. 8 6-2, 195
RB Seth Smith, Sr. 20 5-8, 198
Kenny Turner, So. 3 5-10, 195
FB Brandon Perez, RSr. 38 5-8, 231
Ronald Opetaia, Jr. 21 5-9, 219
X Taveon Rogers, Jr. 1 6-0, 175
Marcus Allen, Sr. 32 6-0, 187
LT DeWayne Barton, Sr. 75 6-4, 270
Davonte Wallace, Fr. 74 6-4, 250
LG Dejuan Yates, RJr. 58 6-2, 274
Mike Yocius, So. 63 6-4, 296
C Mike Grady, Jr. 62 6-3, 302
Robert Rodriguez, Sr. 70 6-2, 290
RG Sioeli Fakalata, RJr. 72 6-3, 321
Ruben Escarsega, RJr. 66 6-4, 273
RT Aundre McGaskey, Jr. 76 6-6, 315
Matt Passwaters, RSr. 78 6-3, 270
Z Darrius Preston, So. 19 6-1, 169
Marcus Williams, Jr. 10 6-3, 185
TE Kyle Nelson, Sr. 17 6-4, 222
Tonny Torres, Sr. 85 6-4, 241

End Pierre Fils, Jr. 48 6-3, 249
Brandon Warner, Sr. 92 6-2, 291
DT Kawika Shook, Sr. 94 6-3, 275
David Mahoney, Jr. 95 6-3, 300
NT John Finau, Sr. 54 6-1, 300
Tommy Stuart, So. 51 6-3, 315
Rush Donte Savage, Jr. 52 6-3, 240
David Nuimatalolo, RJr. 90 6-2, 250
Sam Frank Padilla, Sr. 5 6-2, 248
David Quiroga, So. 22 6-1, 230
Mike Boyblue Aoelua, Jr. 47 5-10, 235
Numi Lolohea, So. 96 5-11, 237
Will B.J. Adolpho, So. 36 5-11, 215
Bryan Bonilla, RFr. 53 6-1, 221
LC Davon House, Sr. 4 6-0, 190
Darien Johnson, Fr. 6 5-9, 180
RC Jonte Green, Jr. 1 6-0, 185
Donyae Coleman, Jr. 3 5-10, 181
FS Donyae Coleman, Jr. 3 5-10, 181
George Callender, Fr. 11 6-1, 195
SS Alphonso Powell, Sr. 2 5-9, 190
Justin Smith, Fr. 27 6-2, 200

Kicking specialists
K Tyler Stampler, Fr. 18 5-10, 175
P Tanner Rust, RFr. 8 6-2, 205
Jake Capraro, Fr. 42 6-1, 220

Return specialists
KR Taveon Rogers, Jr. 1 6-0, 175
Kenny Turner, So. 3 5-10, 195
PR Donyae Coleman, Jr. 3 5-10, 181
Darien Johnson, Fr. 6 5-9, 180

San Diego State
QB Ryan Lindley, Jr. 14 6-4, 220
Jake Bernards, RFr. 12 6-5, 210
RB Davon Brown, Sr. 30 5-9, 190
Ronnie Hillman, Fr. 13 5-10, 185
FB Brandon Sullivan, Sr. 23 5-11, 215
Chad Young, RFr. 40 5-11, 240
Z Demarco Sampson, Sr. 1 6-2, 205
Dominique Sandifer, So. 18 6-0, 190
Y Alston Umuolo, Sr. 7 6-4, 255
Gavin Escobar, RFr. 88 6-6, 245
X Vincent Brown, Sr. 80 6-0, 195
Osmond Nicholas, RFr. 83 6-3, 210
LT Tommie Draheim, Jr. 60 6-4, 300
Riley Gauld, Jr. 66 6-5, 300
LG Alec Johnson, So. 71 6-3, 295
Mike Matamua, Jr. 74 6-4, 300
C Trask Iosefa, Sr. 50 6-0, 300
Alec Johnson, So. 71 6-3, 295
RG Nik Embernate, So. 68 6-4, 305
Jimmy Miller, So. 51 6-3, 290
RT Kurtis Gunther, Jr. 79 6-8, 290
Kellen Farr, Jr. 73 6-7, 300

DE Ernie Lawson, Sr. 99 6-3, 275
J.J. Autele, Jr. 49 6-1, 250
DT Jerome Long, Jr. 94 6-5, 280
Neil Spencer, Jr. 55 6-2, 280
DE B.J. Williams, Sr. 90 6-3, 250
Jacob Tauanuu, Sr. 47 6-1, 260
LB Logan Ketchum, Jr. 31 6-3, 220
Colin Shumate, So. 33 6-2, 220
MLB Marcus Yarbrough, Sr. 52 6-2, 230
Rob Andrews, So. 44 6-2, 220
LB Miles Burris, Jr. 9 6-3, 235
Demetrius Barksdale, Jr. 54 6-3, 210
CB Leon McFadden, So. 2 5-10, 180
Romeo Horn, Jr. 4 6-0, 185
War Darryn Lewis, Sr. 3 5-9, 165
Nat Berhe, RFr. 20 5-10, 185
Azt. Andrew Preston, Sr. 22 6-1, 210
Khalid Stevens, So. 41 5-11, 195
War Brandon Davis, Jr. 11 6-2, 190
Marcus Andrews, RFr. 26 6-0, 190
CB Jose Perez, Sr. 15 6-1, 180
Josh Wade, So. 12 6-0, 180

Kicking specialists
K Abel Perez, Jr. 38 6-1, 225
Bryan Shields, Sr. 29 6-1, 195
P Brian Stahovich, Jr. 14 6-0, 190

Return specialists
KR Davon Brown, Sr. 30 5-9, 190
Brandon Davis, Jr. 11 6-2, 190
PR Larry Parker, Jr. 29 5-11, 170
Leon McFadden, So. 2 5-10, 180

Monday, September 6, 2010

Boise State wins thriller

Who saw Boise State's thrilling 33-30 win over Virginia Tech?

If you didn't, you missed out.

But my real question is this: Who's excited for Boise State to come to Las Cruces on Oct. 3 to face the Aggies? This is a top-3 program if things hold until then, folks.

If you're not excited to see that at Aggie Memorial Stadium, someone needs to check your pulse.

I, for one, can't wait for it.....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The WAC shuffle

Nice work by the WAC to land BYU on the Aggies’ schedule for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

But it doesn’t erase the fact that the conference is losing Boise State. Nor does it help ease the pain of Fresno State and Nevada leaving, either.

It’s a nice consolation prize.

No one can hate on BSU for taking off and going to the Mountain West. The Broncos have dominated the WAC for the past decade and truly are a cut above the rest of the field. Are they supposed the stick around and continue to pulverize teams week-in and week-out? No one’s getting better because of that.

Fresno State and Nevada leaving, to me, are a different story. They certainly are in the upper-echelon of the conference — nobody’s going to deny that. They have been premier WAC teams, but they aren’t in Boise State’s category.

Here are the past five years and how the teams have fared against equal or above competition outside of the WAC, as well as their WAC records during that span:

@ Notre Dame: 35-0 loss
@ Colorado State: 35-20 loss
vs. Missouri: 31-21 loss
vs. UNLV: 63-28 win
vs. SMU (Hawaii Bowl): 45-10 loss

vs. Texas Tech: 35-19 loss
@ Missouri: 69-17 loss
@ UNLV: 49-27 win
vs. Maryland (Humanitarian Bowl): 42-35 loss

@ Nebraska: 52-10 loss
@ Northwestern: 36-31 loss
vs. UNLV: 27-20 win
vs. New Mexico (New Mexico Bowl): 23-0 loss

@ Arizona State: 52-21 loss
vs. Colorado State: 28-10 win
vs. Northwestern: 31-21 win
vs. Miami (MPC Computers Bowl): 21-10 loss

vs. Washington State: 55-21 loss
vs. UNLV: 22-14 win
@ Colorado State: 42-21 loss
vs. Central Florida (Hawaii Bowl): 49-48 win (overtime)

That’s a 7-14 record during that period. Four of the seven wins have come against UNLV....

Fresno State
@ Wisconsin: 34-31 loss (overtime)
@ Cincinnati: 28-20 loss
@ Illinois: 53-52 win
vs. Wyoming (New Mexico Bowl): 35-28 loss (overtime)

@ Rutgers: 24-7 win
vs. Wisonsin: 13-10 loss
@ Toledo: 55-54 win (overtime)
@ UCLA: 36-31 win
vs. Colorado State (New Mexico Bowl): 40-35 loss

@ Texas A&M: 47-45 loss (overtime)
@ Oregon: 52-51 loss
vs. Kansas State: 45-29 win
vs. Georgia Tech: 40-28 win

vs. Oregon: 31-24 loss
@ Washington: 21-20 loss
vs. Colorado State: 35-23 loss

@ Oregon: 37-34 loss
vs. Toledo: 44-14 win
@ USC: 50-42 loss
@ Tulsa (Liberty Bowl): 31-24 loss

That’s a 7-13 record during that time.

Also, during that time, the Wolf Pack have gone 28-12 in the WAC while Fresno State has gone 26-15 in conference. There’s no doubt they have been elite teams in the league.

Lets look at Boise’s numbers during the same period.

vs. Oregon: 19-8 win
vs. Miami, Ohio: 48-0 win
@ Bowling Green: 49-14 win
@ Tulsa: 28-21 win
vs. TCU (Fiesta Bowl): 17-10 win

vs. Bowling Green: 20-7 win
@ Oregon: 37-32 win
@ Southern Miss: 24-7 win
vs. TCU (Poinsettia Bowl): 17-16 loss

@ Washington: 24-10 loss
vs. Wyoming: 24-14 win
vs. Southern Miss: 38-16 win
vs. East Carolina (Hawaii Bowl): 41-38 loss

vs. Oregon State: 42-14 win
@ Wyoming: 17-10 win
@ Utah: 36-3 win
vs. Oklahoma (Fiesta Bowl): 43-42 win

@ Georgia: 48-13 loss
@ Oregon State: 30-27 loss
vs. Bowling Green: 48-20 win
vs. Boston College (MPC Computers Bowl): 27-21 loss

That's a 15-6 record against similar or above-average competition outside of league play. It's also two Fiesta Bowl wins during that span.

Also, the team has gone 38-2 during that period in WAC play.

Boise State needs to move on to bigger and better things. They have proven they can manhandle the WAC.

As for Fresno State and Nevada, they are clearly a cut above the WAC field. But are they on Boise State's level? No.

I would have preferred them to stick around the WAC for at least a few more seasons. It would have been good for the league, and would have made more sense for those respective programs. They still have much to prove before moving up…..