Well the Western Athletic Conference sure is feeling a bit lost. Boise State left for the MWC this season and Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada are following suit next year. A conference that has seen more exoduses then any other, as the founding members bolted long ago. Even schools that joined afterwards have left and next season San Jose State will be the longest tenured member, joining in 1996.

Other Previews: MAC, C-USA, MWC, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac 12, Big Ten

1) Hawaii
QB Bryant Moniz had more passing yards last season then the rest of the presumed starters combined. Star RB Alex Green must be replaced as well as 4 O-line starters and the top two WRs, though the latter group is deep. The defense will be strong, led by DTs Kaniela Tuipulotu and Vaughn Meatoga and tackling machine Corey Paredes at LB.

2) Fresno State
The Bulldogs do a time warp of sorts with Derek Carr at QB, brother of former QB David. He has RB Robbie Rouse and a solid group of WRs to help him succeed, but must contend with new starters on the O-line. DT Logan Harrell is a beast on defense, but the team lost several productive players from last season.

3) Nevada
There is no way Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua can be replaced, so Nevada will struggle. Those slated to fill their shoes on offense are short on expierence, but the O-line is very good, with 3 all-WAC candidates. DT Brett Roy, CB Isaiah Frey and FS Marlon Johnson also have all-WAC potential and must lead a defense that will be relied upon as the new offense gels.

4) Lousiana Tech
A team that puts the Western in WAC has perhaps the best RB in the conference with Lennon Creer. WR Taulib Ikharo will be a top target for new QB Colby Cameron, who has a decnt O-line for protection. Defense is another story as ‘flat’ would be a diplomatic way to describe the unit. The Bulldogs were torched repeatedly by the pass.

5) San Jose State
The Spartans have the opposite problem of L-Tech. The offense is young but talented and experience will help their second to last ranking in rushing last season. The defense is the key as there is depth at linebacker and in the secondary. DE Travis Johnson, a QB’s nightmare, leads a front line with questions.

6) Utah State
The offense was inconsistent at best last season, but that was due to injuries at the skill positions. JC transfer Adam Kennedy fills in at QB but will have trouble with big turnover on the O-line. The linebacking corp will lead the defense, but the line and secondary are questionable.

7) Idaho
The Vandals will be hard pressed to replace 7 productive starters on offense, but at least the hulking O-line will give the skill players time to get plays off. Conversely, the defense returns 8 starters, but lose top talent in SS Shiloh Keo and DE Aaron Lavarias, who had more then double the amount of sacks any other Vandal had.

8 ) New Mexico State
The Aggies could well be the worst team in the nation this season. OT Aundre McGaskey has all-WAC potential, but when your top player on offense is an the line, you’re in trouble. The defense won’t be any better, as they didn’t get to the QB much and weren’t able to prevent offenses from moving the chains.