Zag's Frags.. Week 7

This weeks WAC football predictions from the irrepressible, irreverent and sometimes irrational Zagco. From Honolulu to Ruston, Moscow to Las Cruces and beyond, Zagco tells you exactly what you need to know about what is happening this week in the WAC.

Zagco's season record stands at 33-6.

Zagco would like to say "hello" to the good folks at the BroncoCountry tailgate. Last weekend, Zagco was honored to finally meet his best Internet friend broncobilly/cajunbronco, a moment that Zagco will forever refer to as "When Zagco Met Billy."

MEMO TO THE WAC: When you send up a referee to cheat for La Tech, you might want to find one without a southern accent.

MEMO TO MR. RABB: Never stop dancing!!!

MEMO TO GENE: Why are the concessions in the far ends of the horseshoes not open? Why did we build them? Bronco Stadium's concession lines are ridiculous at halftime. The whole foyer area is a fire hazard. If those stands were open, it would shift a lot of people down into those now almost empty areas, freeing up precious space in the middle and making the other lines smaller.


Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors v. The New Worst Team in Division I College Football
Where: Fresno, California
When: Saturday, October 14, 2006, 3:00 p.m. MT (WAC.tv)

Perhaps foolishly, Zagco has stuck with Fresno the past two weeks, even though he has felt that they were toast after the loss to Washington. Now, as Fresno comes off what must be the most embarrassing loss they have ever suffered, they must face a Hawai'i team that has a phenomenal offense. Last week, against Nevada, a handful of major mistakes prevented Hawai'i from putting up seriously eye-popping numbers. Similar in some respects to our inability to put the Rainbow Warriors away when we had a chance in the third quarter, Hawai'i failed to put Nevada away and, in the process, made a blowout win look much closer than it really was.

Fresno has entered a dimension where picking them to win or lose is a total crapshoot. It all comes down to attitude and emotion with Fresno. Talent, hard work, and schemes don't mean jack to Pat Hill. It's all about emotion. Pat Hill is a college football version of Billy Crystal's Fernando, except instead of saying "It is better to look good than to feel good," Pat Hill might say "It is better to work hard for a couple big games a year and coast by on the reputation we get from those wins than it is to work hard every week and go through the drudgery of winning our conference title."

Hawai'i has the WAC's best quarterback, best receiver, and the most unstoppable, freakish running back Zagco has seen since Azuza Pacific's own Christian Okoye ruled the roost in Super Tecmo Bowl. Nate Ilaoa tips the scale at close to 300 pounds, he runs like a Mack truck, and I just don't think any team in the country has the personnel to match up with him. He's fifth in rushing in the WAC (on a heavy passing team, mind you), but he's running for 8.2 yards a clip! Wow!!!

Hawai'i has the WAC's second highest scoring offense (behind Boise State) and the top overall offense. Fresno's defense is statistically better than Hawai'i's, but even Boise State's WAC-best defense had trouble stopping Hawai'i. Moreover, Zagco believes Hawai'i is playing to win, for a late-season surge into the rankings, and for an elite matchup in a bowl game. Other than running back Dwayne Wright, Fresno looks hopeless.

Hawai'i will beat Fresno.


The New Second Worst Team in Division I College Football v. San Jose Can You See Spartans
Where: Do You Know The Way To San Jose?
When: Saturday, October 14, 2006, 4:00 p.m. MT (WAC.tv)

Man oh man! Whodathunk that Utah State would beat Fresno? Amazing. Just amazing. It's an inspirational story that all you dopers should keep in mind when being told that you won't ever amount to anything!

Zagco is on the San Jose bandwagon. San Jose's offense, including several individual offensive players, has been very good this year. They are spreading it around nicely. Defensively, 8 different Spartans have caused a turnover. So, while the Spartan defense might not conjure up images of Dick Tomey's Desert Swarm, it does appear to be creating some havoc, which is the next best thing to a pure shutdown defense. San Jose has always had some good skill, and it appears that the wily gridiron Methuselah Dick "Don't Call Me Richard" Tomey has them playing with a little purpose. As Zagco used to say to all the ladies: "Purpose and skill are a dangerous combination." The Spartans are marching towards an inevitable confrontation for the WAC title.

Utah State finally replaced inept quarterback Leon Jackson with a freshman named Charles Nelson Riley (or something like that), who turned in a workmanlike performance, going 9-19 for 120 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. That's a HUGE improvement from what the Aggies were getting from Leon Jackson, who had thrown 5 picks returned for touchdowns. Still, Utah State is a bad, bad team that will probably not win a game the rest of the year.

San Jose will get an easy win over Utah State.


Pea and Lentil Capital of the World v. Terry Bradshaw's Alma Mater
Where: The Deep South
When: Saturday, October 14, 2006, 5:00 p.m. MT (WAC.tv)

Having eked out wins against two of the worst teams in the WAC and, indeed, in all of college football (Utah State and New Mexico State), the Satan-worshipping cheat monkeys in Moscow can finally claim that elusive Sun Belt Conference championship banner. Seriously, the Vandals remind Zagco of Rex from Rex Kwan Do, wearing those "bad boy" parachute pants and getting all lathered up about Starla -- they're that gay. The Vandals are lthe WAC's Reggie Miller, a player that Michael Jordan famously described as like "chicken fighting with a woman."

The braggadocio oozing forth from the denizens of Moscow is so tedious and predictable! Having been whipped like a submissive French poodle by their only decent opposition so far, the latest crack-induced high for Vandal fans conjures up images of the comically overconfident lothario that Johnny Cash told us about in the duet masterpiece he sang with the lovely June Carter Cash, "Jackson." The image of Dennis Erickson and his wife is, however, not as charming as the one created by The Man In Black and his smokin' hot wife, but the point is basically the same:

Dennis Erickson's Wife:  Well, go on down to Ruston; go ahead and wreck your health.  Go play your hand you big-talkin' man, make a big fool of yourself, Yeah, go to Ruston; go comb your hair!

Dennis:  Honey, I'm gonna snowball Ruston. 

Mrs. Erickson:  See if I care.

Dennis:  When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow. (Hah!)  All them women gonna make me, teach 'em what they don't know how, I'm goin' to Ruston, you turn-a loose-a my coat.  'Cos I'm goin' to Ruston.  "Goodbye," that's all she wrote.

Mrs. Erickson:  But they'll laugh at you in Ruston, and I'll be dancin' on a Pony Keg.  They'll lead you 'round town like a scalded hound, With your tail tucked between your legs, Yeah, go to Ruston, you big-talkin' man.  And I'll be waitin' in Ruston, behind my Jaypan Fan…

We Broncos got to see La Tech and its traveling referee crew last week, and we were not real impressed. Other than the almost-400 pound offensive lineman (number 78), the southern Bulldogs didn't leave much of an impression in Zagco's mind. Clearly, La Tech has played what must be the most difficult schedule in America, relatively speaking. Lining up against the Vandals at home in the Bayou will be a most welcome respite for them. They don't look Utah State-bad, they just look like a team that doesn't match up against the best.

The Vandals have not shown us much of anything either. They have greatly benefited from a couple key plays and freakish turnovers (and a bad call in Logan that went in their favor) to beat two really bad football teams. On the flip side, it appears that Dennis Erickson figured out that Jason Bird has all the lateral movement and quicks of a poor man's Rocky Bleier – the Flowers kid is getting more and more carries. The bottom line, however, is that Idaho occupies a spot near the very bottom of the WAC in total offense, scoring offense, total defense, and scoring defense, and the Steven WIchman Interception Show and Cocktail Hour keeps throwing picks in between highballs.

La Tech will pull out a comfortable win at home against Idaho.


Boise State Broncos v. New Mexico State Aggies
Where: Las Cruces, New Mexico
When: Sunday, October 15, 2006, 6:00 p.m. MT (ESPN)

When ESPN came calling and asked us to play this game on a Sunday night, the time period the Lord said we should set aside for watching PROFESSIONAL football, especially now that Alias and the pre-pregnancy and pre-Ben Affleck Jennifer Garner moved on to a different night, we, like a San Francisco hooker on a Wednesday night, couldn't say "yes" fast enough.

Where do we draw the line with this scheduling crap? We've still got a freakin' Wednesday night game against Fresno State coming up! The only thing we haven't done so far is start a game during Oprah on Thursday and televise it on some network that no one's ever heard of, like the morons in the Mountain West Conference.

Zagco has the following observations for Boise State: (1) our special teams play is our biggest weakness this year – we are losing the field position battle in this area that we once, for many years, dominated; (2) Quinton Jones looks hesitant in his returns and he clearly has a problem holding onto the ball -- maybe he should focus exclusively on his corner responsibilities; (3) Marty Tadman can mow my lawn any time, Coach Petersen; (4) with all due respect to Hall & Oates and Seals & Crofts, Johnson and Peretta are the best duo since England Dan and John Ford Coley; (5) GA would have had another hit of the week if he would have wrapped up instead of trying to use his shoulders; and (7) Drisan James has been making some GREAT catches the last two weeks! Finally, to the guys inside the defensive trenches -- Andrew Browning, Dennis Ellis, Phillip Edwards, etc. -- I had to laugh watching you guys try to push and run around that 400 pound offensive lineman last weekend! Every time I saw him sauntering to the line of scrimmage, I couldn't help but think of the scene in Stir Crazy where Grossberger sits down next to Skip in the prison cafeteria.

Boise State fans need to understand that New Mexico State will be airing it out. Aggie Quarterback Chase Hollbrook leads the WAC with almost 400 yards passing per game. He's reasonably accurate too, if a 66% completion rate, 16 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions tell you anything. In New Mexico State, we will be facing a team with nothing to lose and the desire to put the ball up between 50 and 70 times per game. Hawai'i, the only team we have faced with such a pass-heavy scheme, gave our defense fits.

Boise State wins a laugher in Las Cruces.

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