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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

The WAC is Dead, Officially

The WAC has been through several incarnations, beginning with the conference’s initial six-team formation — Arizona, Arizona State, B.Y.U., New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — through its several permutations since, including the most recent nine-team league which takes its last breath at the end of the 2011-12 academic year. The WAC is now dead, dead as a doornail, well beyond resuscitation; completely irrelevant, more so than before, following Hawaii’s decision to join fellow conference brethren like Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State and bolt for the Mountain West.

The WAC, as it stands today: Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State. Not the finest conference in the F.B.S., though it’s certainly not weak. Boise State’s an annual national title contender, for instance; Hawaii and Nevada have been ranked at one point this season — Nevada’s still ranked; Fresno State is a yearly bowl participant; and Louisiana Tech, Idaho and San Jose State have been to at least one bowl over the last three seasons.

Next season’s WAC: Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State. The same group, minus Boise State. That prestige hit is bad enough; the WAC will lack a big-name program, one that grants an otherwise pedestrian conference a platform on the national stage.

The WAC in 2012, when Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada join Boise State in the M.W.C.: Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Utah State, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State. That’s a league that rivals the Sun Belt for mediocrity — it might be worse. It likely is, as no program in that future league could play with Troy, for instance.

It’s the death of the WAC as we know it. The conference goes on life support once Boise departs; once the three remaining power programs leave for greener pastures, this becomes the worst league in major college football.

The U.T.S.A. program has yet to play a down. Texas State is currently in the F.C.S. — and 4-6 on the year, 1-5 in Southland Conference play. My goodness. The five WAC teams who will remain part of the league have combined for a 15-33 mark on the 2010 season; N.M.S.U. and San Jose State are a combined 2-17. This is a disaster.

At least Hawaii granted the program a taste of respectability: the Warriors are 7-3 on the year, 5-1 in the WAC, with that lone conference loss coming to Boise State. U.H. has regained the momentum lost following June Jones’ departure for S.M.U. after the 2007 season; in his final season, if you recall, the Warriors rode a powerful offense to a 12-0 regular season and a B.C.S. berth.

Now, a program like Louisiana Tech, for example, might get lucky, schedule an easy non-conference schedule and roll through the pitiful new WAC in 2012, leading to a 12-0 regular season. In no way, however, would the Bulldogs — in this hypothetical — be a serious B.C.S. contender. Quite simply, this new WAC will be a disgrace.

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  1. Burnt Orange says:

    UTSA, under Coker, has the potential to become a South Florida. If the WAC could identify and land a similar school or two in California – Cal Poly perhaps – that would be a start.

  2. WarriorBrad says:

    The biggest loser in this is Utah State basketball. The WAC could lose its automatic bid. If so, the Aggies will be on the outside looking in come March unless they change their non-conference scheduling philosophy. Tough break for Stew Morrill.

  3. Colin says:

    I don’t know that Boise State is an annual national title contender. This is the first year where they’re seriously in the picture. An annual BCS bowl buster candidate, certainly.

  4. Damien says:

    This is the oddest thing to happen. Who saw this coming?! I am the UH presser was very bizarre in that they weren’t formally accepting the invite, but giving a heads up about about the talks with the MWC. Really odd and I do feel kind of bad for those left in the WAC. Not a good situation.

  5. N. Kawanakakoa says:

    UH has been a loyal WAC member for quite a while; but the handwriting was on the wall, particularly for ‘Bows football. Once Boise decided to go, with Nevada and Fresno State, the was no question that future UH football success in the WAC would receive no national recognition. So a once-proud conference falls because of how the BCS and money make power conferences essential. UH recruiting outside of the islands should be improved now.

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