First off, a list of stories generated from the 2012 WAC Football Preview, held on Thursday in Las Vegas, Nev.:
We look at the league's respective preseason polls from the WAC coaches and media members.
WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd doesn't sound optimistic in terms of the WAC playing football in 2013.
For a video interview with quarterback Andrew Manley, click here.
As far as a 2013-14 Olympic sports model for the conference, that seems like something that can be pulled off.
Lets hope so. The Aggies playing independent football is bad enough — we've written before that if they scheduled appropriately it could be done. But what gives you any reason to think they are in the process of building a quality independent schedule for 2013 at this point? I hope I'm wrong, but I'm just sayin….I really hope it's being done. Like, now.
Anyway, lets not ask coaches such as Marvin Menzies and Mike Jordan to put together an independent schedule. Simply put, it wouldn't be fair, and might not be doable at all. The Aggies need to get into a league for their Olympic sports, although I think the WAC will find a way to hold together with this for 2013 — really, it has too. If not, NMSU should just drop athletics all together.
One quick note on the football side — while the WAC will likely not sponsor the sport in 2013, it could bring in some FCS members to help fill the void in 2014 (the league would need six such members to fill the FBS-required number of eight or more football programs per conference). Well, such additions would have to be additions in all sports, not just football-only affiliates. If and when the WAC got back to the number of eight football members, then it could add football-only affiliates. There has been discussions of some schools in the east — a Jacksonville State, or an Appalachian State, for instance — being considered for WAC membership, although this would seem problematic. Traveling to these schools just for football wouldn't be ideal, let alone for Olympic sports as well. Clearly, when looking at possible FCS programs, the Big Sky conference would likely hold more feasible candidates in terms of moving up to the WAC.
Yes, the WAC is currently below the FBS threshold of eight football members — this year they drop to just seven, and will begin a two-year waver period with the NCAA. When considering next year the WAC currently has — and most likely will continue to have — just two members (NMSU and Idaho), it would mean they have to get back to eight for the 2014 season if they want to remain an FBS-eligible conference. Either that, or commissioner Jeff Hurd said the league would try to extend the waiver.
Some takeaways from the WAC media conference:
• In the coaches poll, the fourth-place Aggies were just two points behind San Jose State for third in the league. The Aggies really want/need to make a push in 2012. I like the way head coach DeWayne Walker and his players — in this case quarterback Andrew Manley and defensive lineman/linebacker Donte Savage — carry themselves at such a conference.
• Utah State is loaded offensively. Yes, they lost running backs Robert Turbin and Michael Smith, who were two really special players, but don't sleep on this year's starter Kerwynn Williams. Chuckie Keeton really stood out as a freshman quarterback last year, they have wide receiver Matt Austin, and a veteran offensive line. They should score points, but will they be able to stop anyone? A tough team to predict, because it would seem they can conceivable finish anywhere from first to third in the league.
• Some possible key scheduling points this year. San Jose State — picked to finish third — hosts the preseason's top-two teams in Louisiana Tech and Utah State. This is a big deal and could allow the Spartans to make a push for top-two in the conference. And, with that being said, Utah State has to travel to SJSU and Louisiana Tech. Tough.
• Love Idaho coach Robb Akey's transparency on issues, including the real possibility his team will be playing independent football in 2013: “….Could be one of the possibilities. The word is, we could see reallocation again in two more years. If that were to end up being the option, hopefully it wouldn't last much longer than that.” In other words, independent football for a year, two years tops, and hope another massive realignment shift happens that could open the door for the Vandals into a football-playing home. Willing to bet NMSU is thinking/hoping for the same thing, if independent football does in fact happen at the school.
• NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker on playing independent football: “Is it two years, three years if that's where we end up?” he said when asked about maintaining an independent football model. “I think the only thing that we would focus on is just, who's on our schedule, and lets just go play football. If we get to that point, that's something we'll worry about later. We're just really focusing on ’12.”
• WAC interim commissioner Jeff Hurd on if the Aggies and Vandals will be independent programs in 2013: “I think it's much more likely than not, that New Mexico State and Idaho, if they're going to maintain FBS status, will play as independents in ’13….From a practical standpoint, that is the most likely outcome.”
“It's one of those deals, you look back now as a coach and say, ‘what was I thinking?’ I must have had some sort of a drug binge or something.”
Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes on having senior quarterback Colby Cameron as a backup for the start of the 2011 season
“Can I see the schedule you've got in front of you?”
Idaho head coach Robb Akey when it was suggested that his team had a favorable schedule in 2012
“You're not supposed to say, ‘every day I've gone to class.’ You go to class every day.”
Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione joking to running back Marcus Curry
“I'm going to have a little more input in terms of what we're doing. It's pretty obvious as a defensive coach I want to play good defense. I think I'm going to kill myself or somebody if we don't play good defense this year. That's something we want to improve on for sure.”
NMSU head coach, and former UCLA and USC defensive coordinator, DeWayne Walker
“I got it on my left shoulder. It was a promise to these fine young lads, and I got it for them. It's there, but only they have seen it. I'm not going to show it today, trust me.”
Utah State Gary Anderson on getting a USU tattoo after his team went to a bowl game in 2012
“We have, I think 43 sophomores on our team, and I think 23 freshmen. We have only six seniors — we had one senior last year, we have six this year. I guess you could say we're a veteran team this year.”
Texas-San Antonio head coach Larry Coker
“We noticed that….We're excited about having them at our place.”
San Jose State head coach Mike McIntyre on hosting Louisiana Tech and Utah State in 2012
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