Zag's Frags.. Week 5

BroncoCountry.com is proud to bring you Zag's Frags.. musings and 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.

 

ZAG'S FRAGS:  2007 WEEK 5

Copyright Zagco

 A WEEKLY LOOK AT WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL

Zagco's 25-5 on the year, after a tough week last week.  The WAC, however, remains extremely consistent, with yet another loss to a BCS team, moving the conference's record this year against BCS teams to a paltry 0-13.  The conference also lost to Division I program (more on that later). 

Meanwhile, the MWC is closer in overall strength to the Big 10 and the ACC than the WAC is to the MWC.  Of course, when your conference is weighted down with 6 football programs rated below 100 (in comparison to the MWC, which has no programs below 85), you deserve to be bunched together with the CUSA, MAC, Gateway, Colonial, and Great West conferences.  Sagarin Ratings.

Last week was probably the lamest weekend of college football in Zagco's memory.  Man!  Everything about it pretty much sucked.  The big matchups of the week on television were pretty crappy, and the WAC only had 4 games.  Things appear to be a bit better this weekend, starting with the return of America 's Favorite College Football Team, the Boise State Broncos!

Zagco smoked a whole brisket on Saturday, hoping that the aroma and vibe would somehow improve what was a totally lackluster day of college football.  It helped, but when his buddies Rizzo, the nicely dressed black mamba, and Chaka-kan, the water buffalo who is currently on the wagon, showed up unannounced, it really fouled up everything.  Rather than spending a quiet evening watching kid movies and chick flicks with his wife and kids, Zagco ended up sitting in his study smoking cigars with Rizzo and Chaka-kan while the last games of the day were playing out on the television.

Rizzo kept speaking incessantly about his latest idea for the three of us to form an LLC for a Web-based "think tank," the purpose of which would be to offer consulting services focused on providing better role models for teenage girls.  Rizzo, who frankly spends too much time reading the daily dish about Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, etc., on the Perez Hilton website, has convinced himself that society has got to put its foot down hard on the kind of imagery and behavior that exudes from these ultra high profile celebs.  Rizzo's just apoplectic about this issue.

Anyhoo, Rizzo spent the whole night trying to convince Zagco that the three of us could make a fortune by offering a better role model product for our teenagers, especially the young ladies.  It was pretty clear to Zagco that they were both looking to him to front the start-up capital, because he could tell that Rizzo and Chaka-kan had rehearsed the whole thing—while Rizzo was waxing eloquent about seizing the first mover advantage with this Web-based teenage girls-role model-think tank LLC, Chaka-kan was acting like he was watching the football games while quietly singing that Jim Croce song "I Got A Name:"

Like the pine trees lining the winding roads
I've got a name, I've got a name
Like a singin' bird and a croakin' toad
I've got a name, I've got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I'm livin' the dream that he kept hid

At the proverbial end of the day, Zagco was mildly intrigued, so he asked Rizzo to put together a business plan before he comes back next month.  We'll see—sometimes Rizzo gets these things in his head, but then they go away, like the way you can never remember all the good ideas you came up with the night before when you were partying like a rock star.

Utah State AGGIES v. the Utah Runnin' Utes
Where:  Salt Lake City , Utah
When:  Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. MT (mtn.)

Zagco watched Utah State fight hard and nearly win last week's game against San Jose Can You See, until imploding at the end, letting all their hard work and hopes and dreams go down the drain.

Watching Utah State play football is a bit like watching Idaho , except without the Satanism.  They simply suck.  With Utah State , you get crap comet after crap comet….

Zagco was actually starting to become impressed with quarterback Leon Jackson, thinking that Darrell Dickey had finally tamed the beast.  Alas, he was up to his old tricks last week, throwing picks in critical situations.  Leon Jackson should have never been allowed to play quarterback for a Division I football team.  He's athletic, but he just isn't quarterback material.  Zagco thinks Utah State might be the worst football team in America (although Idaho's loss to Northern Illinois at home makes Zagco hesitant to reach any definitive conclusions in this regard), but he does think that return man and receiver Kevin Robinson is a serious talent for the Aggies.

Down Salt Lake way, the Utes are up to their usual trick—winning a big one now and then, but then underperforming.  Two weeks ago, the Ute nation was all excited about the big win over UCLA, but then the Utes go down Vega$ way and get run by the Rebels 27-0, falling to 1-3 on the season.

As little as Zagco respects Utah and their craptastic coaching staff—the same coaching staff that called that final defensive series against BYU last fall, where the Utes only rushed like 2 men, allowing John Beck to pick them apart with all the time he had and lead the Cougars to a thrilling last second victory—he cannot find it in his cold, black little heart to predict a loss for them.  Utah State is that bad.

Utah will defeat Utah State .

Vega$ Runnin' Rebels v. Reno Wolf Pack
Where:  The Biggest Little City in the World
When:  Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. MT

In a game that should have the rival fans of the respective Nevada cities talking smack about who has the better all-you-can-eat buffets, Zagco expects Chris Ault's offense to come out firing its pistols, like some kind of crazy Western gunslinger fighting his way out of a cowtown saloon after getting caught with some extra Aces up his sleeve, swiggin' a bottle of whiskey and rubbing his face with his sleeve while he pops caps all over the place as the patrons dive for cover under the wooden tables, yellin' at the top of his lungs, "I'll kill ye all, ye sodbustin' worms!"

Anyhoo, when Zagco first noticed this matchup, he immediately thought of Arte Johnson's German soldier character on Laugh In saying, "Very interesting.'

It is.  This is a VERY interesting matchup.  Vega$ doesn't look half bad.  They played Wisconsin tough at home, losing by a score of 20-13, and they knocked off Utah easily (27-0), the week after Utah creamed UCLA.  On the flip side, they got killed by Hawaii in Vega$ (49-14), and they played a relatively close game (23-16) against Utah State .  While these scores are somewhat schizophrenic, there is reason to think the Runnin' Rebels might be a bit better than we might have all thought they were going to be this year.

Reno is a bit more mysterious to Zagco.  They got blown out at Nebraska , lost a squeaker to Northwestern in Illinois , and easily beat a I-AA team at home.  When you look deeper, you see that Northwestern is truly crappy, losing to Duke and just getting pummeled by Ohio State .  Thus, Reno 's close loss looks even less impressive—Northwestern is a BCS team in conference only; the loss might as well have been to someone like Northern Illinois .

Vega$ is led by USC-transfer quarterback Travis Dixon, who is barely at a 50% completions.  They have a dynamic running attack, with two backs over 50 carries on the year.  The more prolific of the backs, has rushed for 298 yards in 3 games, for a 5.1 ypc clip.  Reno 's Nick Graziono is a 50% passer, but he's more prolific with yards and touchdowns.  Reno 's leading running backs, Luke Lippincott and Via Taua, get 5.7 and 7.9 ypc.  Reno has won the Fremont Cannon two consecutive years in the Battle of Nevada, winning last year's contest 31-3.

At home, hungry for win, Zagco thinks Reno will win again.  They might not be as good as they were last year, and Vega$ might be better, but the gap is still there in favor of our WAC classmates.

Reno will defeat Vega$

Cal-Davis AGGIES v. San Jose Can You See Spartans
Where:  San Jose Can You See, Cali
When:  Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. MT (Comcast Sports Net)

Right off the bat, Zagco would like to get one thing off his chest:  He's sick and tired of schools that use the "Aggie" mascot.  We've got Utah State and New Mexico State in the WAC that BOTH use that name.  Fresno State played the Texas A&M Aggies earlier this year.  Now, San Jose Can You See plays a I-AA team that also calls themselves the "Aggies."  ENOUGH!!!!  Crap!!!!!!!!!!!

Cal-Davis, which is apparently the origin of all that is good in college football, is a I-AA team that is 2-2 on the year, with victories over Portland State (26-17) and Northeastern (28-10) and losses to Western Washington (21-28) and Eastern Washington (31-41).  The Aggies have an impressive array of offensive statistics, averaging 418.5 yards per game behind an accurate quarterback (Tim Plough, 97-147-1,136-8-3) and a prolific running back (Joe Trombetta, 79-449-5.7-5).

San Jose Can You See seemed to get on track last week, with Adam Tafralis finally putting up numbers resembling his game performances from last year.  The Bay Area Spartans should also see Yonus Davis back this week, unless Dick Tomey—a totally decent guy—decides to really save him to salvage their season in conference play.  Zagco thought that by the end of the Utah State game, the Bay Area Spartans actually looked pretty decent.  Maybe, just maybe, they did not give up after the brutal early schedule.

As much as Zagco respects and admires the Cal-Davis machine, he's got to stick with San Jose Can You See.  Zagco's liked them since early last year, and while he sorta gave up on them last week, he's back in their corner.

San Jose Can You See will defeat Cal-Davis.

The Dark Side of the Force v. The Great Satan
Where:  Moscow , Idaho
When:  Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. MT (Oceanic PPV, ESPN Gameplan)

Last week, Zagco made the mistake of picking Idaho to defeat Northern Illinois .  Hey, it was a home game for Idaho against an 0-3 team from the MAC!  Plus, Zagco had been smoking crack, so he felt sorta daring and invincible.  Alas, his little world came crashing down when the Vandals managed to not only get absolutely humiliated in the first half of the game, trailing 35-7 at one point, but then they also managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when their freshman quarterback got sacked again to end the game, to cap off a stunning rally where they came back from 28 points down, recovered an onside kick, and then marched down into the red zone with time running out.  Watching this game was like reading Beowulf while listening to an old Bob Dylan record—totally inexplicable in every way, yet somehow enticing.

Folks, you have not lived until you've seen the Vandals do things like this—it's like losing twice in the same game.  Washington State has long been accused of "Coug'ing" games, but Idaho does something even weirder that might be like "Coug'ing It" squared.  There is NOTHING more wonderful than watching those Satan-worshipping cheat monkeys get totally embarrassed and then lose a close game.  Nothing.  It's like watching Wild Things and reading Maxim at the same time!

Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, Hawaii 's puking quarterback, Colt Brennan—the Sith Lord—sat out to rest his sprained ankle, allowing his apprentice (Tyler Graunke) to fill in for him.  Darth Graunke started out a little shaky, not at all unlike the opening moments of the battle between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn, but by the end of the game he was jumping around and spinning his double-bladed light saber like any good sandbagging Sith Lord.  The Rainbow Warriors also finally got their running game going a little, putting up 147 yards against its second I-AA opponent of the year.  Zagco's favorite Rainbow Warrior, Davone Bess, even got in the act with a crazy, running summersault into the end zone, drawing a flag from the WAC's high and mighty referees who are against fun and happiness.  Hawaii continues to roll.

Idaho will be without its best player, freshman running back Deonte Jackson, who is the best running back in the WAC and is already on Zagco's "Heisman 2008" list.  Mr. Jackson has amassed 537 yards through 4 games, and he's averaging 5.4 ypc.  Thus, with their star player out this week, the Vandals will turn to plodding fullback Jason Bird to carry the ball.

When the local Boise newspaper interviewed Idaho 's team about this week's game, Vandal freshman quarterback and interception machine Nathan Enderle (the lowest rated quarterback in the WAC, behind Leon Jackson) commented on the running back situation:

"People tend to forget he was (close to) a 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman," Enderle said. "He is very capable. I'm hoping and praying that Deonte can go, but if it's not in the best interest of his health or our team, it's nice to have a guy like Jayson. He's a great player."

Quite a vote of confidence, huh!?!  Then, in response to questions about finally getting some carries, Mr. Bird—who was hailed as a star in the making back when he was a freshman—said:

"I've been there before. It's nothing new to me and I'm used to that," Bird said. "Last week, I was able to portray that I can handle that situation. I'm ready for it, and this is what I've been waiting for all season."

"In order to keep backs healthy at the Division I level, I feel like a rotation is necessary," he said.

Idaho Statesman Article. 

Interesting.  VERY interesting.  It seems like only yesterday, Mr. Bird was the BMOC, yet now he's pimping for playing time and being propped up by a freshman quarterback who can't throw a straight pass. 

Hawaii traditionally does not play well on the mainland.  They nearly lost at La Tech earlier this year.  They've played 2 I-AA teams at home, which does nothing to toughen them up for conference road games.  Still, Idaho's super craptastic, thin at so many position groups due to the 19 players that got kicked off the team during the off-season for drugs and whatnot, and starting to show the signs of a team that knows its hopeless.  Plus, with all his seething evil and hate, Satan will play right into the hands of the Dark Side of the Force…..

Hawaii will defeat Idaho .

Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions v. New Mexico State AGGIES
Where:  Las Cruces , New Mexico
When:  Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. MT (Aggie Vision)

New Mexico State put up a fight early against Auburn , but they were worn down and eventually succumbed to all the incredibly sexy girls in the stands at Auburn .

Now, they get to take out all their pent up frustration on a I-AA team.  Like so many times this year, Zagco would rather not patronize his readers by overanalyzing this game.  Aggie quarterback Chase Holbrook is putting up huge numbers, passing Colt Brennan in most categories last week.  He does, however, have problems with the interception.  The Aggies have been able to muster up a running game of sorts too, with two backs (Justine Buries and Tony Glynn) leading the way.  The Aggies should put up eye-popping numbers at home against the 1-3 Golden Lions.

New Mexico State will defeat Arkansas Pine Bluff.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs v. Fresno State Bulldogs
Where:  Fresno , Cali
When:  Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. MT

Last time we checked in with Fresno , they were getting run by the Ducks to the tune of 52-21.  Earlier in the year, they played Texas A&M into overtime at College Station , Texas , but that performance looks less impressive now, after A&M got walloped by Miami .

La Tech gave Hawaii a scare a couple weeks ago, but then they went and got run by the hippies in Berkley .

Zagco thinks this game could be a real battle.  Fresno just doesn't seem to have a breakaway offense.  Plus, La Tech always seems to play the Cali Bulldogs tough.  La Tech has the WAC's third leading rusher in Patrick Jackson.    La Tech's strength is rushing, on both offense and defense.  Quarterback Zac Champion (a cool name) plays a very conservative game.  La Tech's passing defense is horrible.

Fresno 's strength on defense is the pass, which is not going to help them much in this game.  They seem to struggle with the run.  On offense, they are balanced and about middle-of-the-pack in the WAC overall.

Zagco thinks the home field advantage is the key factor in this game.  Fresno , with a week off to lick its wounds after its annual ass-kicking by a couple BCS teams, can now start over and work towards a bowl game.  La Tech, which is a very young team, looks to have a good future ahead, but it's still too early in their development to give them the nod in this game.

Fresno State will defeat Louisiana Tech.

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles v. Boise State Broncos
Where:  The Blue
When:  Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

The Bronco Nation continues to wring its hands over various and sundry things about this year's version of Boise State :

1.                  When's Ian Johnson going to bust out?

2.                  What's going on with our offensive line?

3.                  Can Taylor Tharp throw the ball?

4.                  Will our cheerleaders ever learn to NOT lead the " Boise State " cheer when we're on offense?

Zagco doesn't know the answers to these questions, but he does know that Boise State 's in for a game this week.  It's no longer valid for Bronco fans to discount the loss to Washington by proclaiming the Huskies to be national power, because they aren't.  Hell, this month's edition of Maxim magazine named the Huskies one of the ten worst teams in America !  Plus, it's really no longer valid to proclaim Wyoming 's defense as the reincarnation of the Steel Curtain, especially when a week after Boise State struggled to score against the Cowboys, the Bobcats of Ohio put up 33 on them. 

Southern Miss is 2-1, with wins over Tennessee-Martin and East Carolina, and a loss to Tennessee .  Their offense is very balanced, running for 182 yards and passing for 208 yards per game.  They platoon four running backs, led by Damion Fletcher (57-304-5.3-2) and their passing game appears to be very conservative.

The best thing, so far, about this year's Boise State Broncos is how good the defense appears to be.  The Bronco Nation was worried about this, because many felt that the losses we were suffering up front (Andrew Browning, Dennis Ellis, Korey Hall, Colt Brooks , etc.) would haunt us.  It has not, at least in the sense that we are really stuffing the run.  Plus, our defensive backs appear to be very solid, as good as Zagco's seen here in many, many years.  Zagco hasn't seen a DB spin around like a top and trip on his shoelaces in at least 3 years!

Zagco's biggest concern about Boise State is the offensive line.  What happened?  We have given up 8 sacks this year, third worst in the WAC.  While our running game is second overall in the WAC, it just doesn't appear that the holes are very big—certainly nowhere near as big as they were last year.

Perhaps part of the problem is our opponents' disrespect for our passing game and the scrambling ability of our quarterback.  Z certainly presented a lot of problems for defenses with his running ability, and while you never knew for sure if his next pass was going to be a pick 6 or a touchdown, Z did have that high risk-high reward thing that forced defenses to be very careful.  Tharp does not seem to present the wide range of possibility that Z brought to the table—he's safer, more "by the book," and probably more coachable.  Zagco believes that Tharp needs to run once in awhile (he started doing that a bit against Wyoming ), and we need to go up top and over the middle early, establishing an ability to do it.  We have got to bring the game to the opponent.

This is going to be a close game.  A real battle.  Like so many games this year, Zagco believes the home field advantage is crucial for these young Broncos.  We know they have tremendous talent, but at this point as they work towards getting the Bronco offense off the ground, playing a tough team like Southern Miss at home is a key aspect of our advantage.  It will be enough to get us over the hump.

Boise State will defeat Southern Miss.

All content ©2007 BroncoCountry.com/Scout.com.


Bronco Country Top Stories

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ZAG'S FRAGS: \r\n2007 WEEK 5\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Copyright Zagco\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n A WEEKLY LOOK AT WESTERN ATHLETIC\r\nCONFERENCE FOOTBALL\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco's\r\n25-5 on the year, after a tough week last week. \r\nThe WAC, however, remains extremely consistent, with yet another loss to\r\na BCS team, moving the conference's record this year against BCS teams to a\r\npaltry 0-13.  The conference also\r\nlost to Division I program (more on that later). \r\n\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Meanwhile,\r\nthe MWC is closer in overall strength to the Big 10 and the ACC than the WAC is\r\nto the MWC.  Of course, when your\r\nconference is weighted down with 6 football programs rated below 100 (in\r\ncomparison to the MWC, which has no programs below 85), you deserve to be\r\nbunched together with the CUSA, MAC, Gateway, Colonial, and Great West\r\nconferences.  Sagarin\r\nRatings.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Last\r\nweek was probably the lamest weekend of college football in Zagco's memory. \r\nMan!  Everything about it\r\npretty much sucked.  The big matchups\r\nof the week on television were pretty crappy, and the WAC only had 4 games. \r\nThings appear to be a bit better this weekend, starting with the return\r\nof \r\n\r\nAmerica\r\n\r\n's Favorite College Football Team, the Boise State Broncos!\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco\r\nsmoked a whole brisket on Saturday, hoping that the aroma and vibe would somehow\r\nimprove what was a totally lackluster day of college football. \r\nIt helped, but when his buddies Rizzo, the nicely dressed black mamba,\r\nand Chaka-kan, the water buffalo who is currently on the wagon, showed up\r\nunannounced, it really fouled up everything. \r\nRather than spending a quiet evening watching kid movies and chick flicks\r\nwith his wife and kids, Zagco ended up sitting in his study smoking cigars with\r\nRizzo and Chaka-kan while the last games of the day were playing out on the\r\ntelevision. \r\n\r\n

\r\n

Rizzo\r\nkept speaking incessantly about his latest idea for the three of us to form an\r\nLLC for a Web-based \"think tank,\" the purpose of which would be to offer\r\nconsulting services focused on providing better role models for teenage girls. \r\nRizzo, who frankly spends too much time reading the daily dish about\r\nBritney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, etc., on the Perez Hilton website, has convinced\r\nhimself that society has got to put its foot down hard on the kind of imagery\r\nand behavior that exudes from these ultra high profile celebs. \r\nRizzo's just apoplectic about this issue.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Anyhoo,\r\nRizzo spent the whole night trying to convince Zagco that the three of us could\r\nmake a fortune by offering a better role model product for our teenagers,\r\nespecially the young ladies.  It was\r\npretty clear to Zagco that they were both looking to him to front the start-up\r\ncapital, because he could tell that Rizzo and Chaka-kan had rehearsed the whole\r\nthing—while Rizzo was waxing eloquent about seizing the first mover advantage\r\nwith this Web-based teenage girls-role model-think tank LLC, Chaka-kan was\r\nacting like he was watching the football games while quietly singing that Jim\r\nCroce song \"I Got A Name:\"\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Like\r\nthe pine trees lining the winding roads
\r\nI've got a name, I've got a name
\r\nLike a singin' bird and a croakin' toad
\r\nI've got a name, I've got a name
\r\nAnd I carry it with me like my daddy did
\r\nBut I'm livin' the dream that he kept hid\r\n\r\n

\r\n

At\r\nthe proverbial end of the day, Zagco was mildly intrigued, so he asked Rizzo to\r\nput together a business plan before he comes back next month. \r\nWe'll see—sometimes Rizzo gets these things in his head, but then\r\nthey go away, like the way you can never remember all the good ideas you came up\r\nwith the night before when you were partying like a rock star.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nUtah\r\n State\r\nAGGIES v. the \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n\r\n Runnin' Utes
\r\nWhere:  \r\n\r\nSalt Lake City\r\n, \r\nUtah
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, September 29, 2007\r\nat 1:00 p.m. MT (mtn.)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco\r\nwatched \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n fight hard and nearly win last week's game against San Jose Can You See,\r\nuntil imploding at the end, letting all their hard work and hopes and dreams go\r\ndown the drain.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Watching\r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n play football is a bit like watching \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n, except without the Satanism.  They\r\nsimply suck.  With \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n, you get crap comet after crap comet….\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco\r\nwas actually starting to become impressed with quarterback Leon Jackson,\r\nthinking that Darrell Dickey had finally tamed the beast. \r\nAlas, he was up to his old tricks last week, throwing picks in critical\r\nsituations.  Leon Jackson should have\r\nnever been allowed to play quarterback for a Division I football team. \r\nHe's athletic, but he just isn't quarterback material. \r\nZagco thinks Utah State might be the worst football team in America\r\n(although Idaho's loss to Northern Illinois at home makes Zagco hesitant to\r\nreach any definitive conclusions in this regard), but he does think that return\r\nman and receiver Kevin Robinson is a serious talent for the Aggies.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Down\r\n\r\n\r\nSalt\r\n \r\nLake\r\n\r\n way, the Utes are up to their usual trick—winning a big one now and then, but\r\nthen underperforming.  Two weeks ago,\r\nthe Ute nation was all excited about the big win over UCLA, but then the Utes go\r\ndown Vega$ way and get run by the Rebels 27-0, falling to 1-3 on the season.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

As\r\nlittle as Zagco respects Utah and their craptastic coaching staff—the same\r\ncoaching staff that called that final defensive series against BYU last fall,\r\nwhere the Utes only rushed like 2 men, allowing John Beck to pick them apart\r\nwith all the time he had and lead the Cougars to a thrilling last second\r\nvictory—he cannot find it in his cold, black little heart to predict a loss\r\nfor them.  \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n is that bad.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nUtah\r\n will defeat \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Vega$ Runnin' Rebels v. \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n Wolf Pack
\r\nWhere:  The Biggest Little City in\r\nthe World
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, September 29, 2007\r\nat 2:00 p.m. MT\r\n\r\n

\r\n

In\r\na game that should have the rival fans of the respective Nevada cities talking\r\nsmack about who has the better all-you-can-eat buffets, Zagco expects Chris\r\nAult's offense to come out firing its pistols, like some kind of crazy Western\r\ngunslinger fighting his way out of a cowtown saloon after getting caught with\r\nsome extra Aces up his sleeve, swiggin' a bottle of whiskey and rubbing his\r\nface with his sleeve while he pops caps all over the place as the patrons dive\r\nfor cover under the wooden tables, yellin' at the top of his lungs, \"I'll\r\nkill ye all, ye sodbustin' worms!\"\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Anyhoo,\r\nwhen Zagco first noticed this matchup, he immediately thought of Arte\r\nJohnson's German soldier character on Laugh In saying, \"Very interesting.'\r\n\r\n

\r\n

It\r\nis.  This is a VERY interesting\r\nmatchup.  Vega$ doesn't look half\r\nbad.  They played \r\nWisconsin\r\n tough at home, losing by a score of 20-13, and they knocked off \r\nUtah\r\n easily (27-0), the week after \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n\r\n creamed UCLA.  On the flip side,\r\nthey got killed by \r\nHawaii\r\n in Vega$ (49-14), and they played a relatively close game (23-16) against \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n.  While these scores are somewhat\r\nschizophrenic, there is reason to think the Runnin' Rebels might be a bit\r\nbetter than we might have all thought they were going to be this year.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n is a bit more mysterious to Zagco. \r\nThey got blown out at \r\nNebraska\r\n, lost a squeaker to Northwestern in \r\n\r\nIllinois\r\n\r\n, and easily beat a I-AA team at home.  When\r\nyou look deeper, you see that Northwestern is truly crappy, losing to Duke and\r\njust getting pummeled by \r\n\r\nOhio\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n.  Thus, \r\nReno\r\n's close loss looks even less impressive—Northwestern is a BCS team in\r\nconference only; the loss might as well have been to someone like \r\nNorthern Illinois\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Vega$\r\nis led by USC-transfer quarterback Travis Dixon, who is barely at a 50%\r\ncompletions.  They have a dynamic\r\nrunning attack, with two backs over 50 carries on the year. \r\nThe more prolific of the backs, has rushed for 298 yards in 3 games, for\r\na 5.1 ypc clip.  \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's Nick Graziono is a 50% passer, but he's more prolific with yards and\r\ntouchdowns.  \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's leading running backs, Luke Lippincott and Via Taua, get 5.7 and 7.9 ypc. \r\n\r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n has won the Fremont Cannon two consecutive years in the Battle of Nevada,\r\nwinning last year's contest 31-3.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

At\r\nhome, hungry for win, Zagco thinks \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n will win again.  They might not be\r\nas good as they were last year, and Vega$ might be better, but the gap is still\r\nthere in favor of our WAC classmates.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n will defeat Vega$\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Cal-Davis AGGIES v. \r\n\r\nSan Jose\r\n\r\n Can You See Spartans
\r\nWhere:  San Jose Can You See, \r\n\r\nCali
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, September 29, 2007\r\nat 2:00 p.m. MT (Comcast Sports Net)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Right\r\noff the bat, Zagco would like to get one thing off his chest: \r\nHe's sick and tired of schools that use the \"Aggie\" mascot. \r\nWe've got \r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n and \r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n in the WAC that BOTH use that name.  \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n played the Texas A&M Aggies earlier this year. \r\nNow, San Jose Can You See plays a I-AA team that also calls themselves\r\nthe \"Aggies.\"  ENOUGH!!!! \r\nCrap!!!!!!!!!!!\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Cal-Davis,\r\nwhich is apparently the origin of all that is good in college football, is a\r\nI-AA team that is 2-2 on the year, with victories over \r\nPortland\r\n \r\nState\r\n (26-17) and Northeastern (28-10) and losses to Western Washington (21-28) and \r\nEastern Washington\r\n (31-41).  The Aggies have an\r\nimpressive array of offensive statistics, averaging 418.5 yards per game behind\r\nan accurate quarterback (Tim Plough, 97-147-1,136-8-3) and a prolific running\r\nback (Joe Trombetta, 79-449-5.7-5).\r\n\r\n

\r\n

San\r\nJose Can You See seemed to get on track last week, with Adam Tafralis finally\r\nputting up numbers resembling his game performances from last year. \r\nThe Bay Area Spartans should also see Yonus Davis back this week, unless\r\nDick Tomey—a totally decent guy—decides to really save him to salvage their\r\nseason in conference play.  Zagco\r\nthought that by the end of the \r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n game, the Bay Area Spartans actually looked pretty decent. \r\nMaybe, just maybe, they did not give up after the brutal early schedule.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

As\r\nmuch as Zagco respects and admires the Cal-Davis machine, he's got to stick\r\nwith San Jose Can You See.  Zagco's\r\nliked them since early last year, and while he sorta gave up on them last week,\r\nhe's back in their corner.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

San\r\nJose Can You See will defeat Cal-Davis.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The Dark Side of the Force v. The\r\nGreat Satan
\r\nWhere:  \r\n\r\nMoscow\r\n, \r\nIdaho
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, September 29, 2007\r\nat 3:00 p.m. MT (Oceanic PPV, ESPN Gameplan)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Last\r\nweek, Zagco made the mistake of picking \r\nIdaho\r\n to defeat \r\nNorthern Illinois\r\n.  Hey, it was a home game for \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n against an 0-3 team from the MAC!  Plus,\r\nZagco had been smoking crack, so he felt sorta daring and invincible. \r\nAlas, his little world came crashing down when the Vandals managed to not\r\nonly get absolutely humiliated in the first half of the game, trailing 35-7 at\r\none point, but then they also managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory\r\nwhen their freshman quarterback got sacked again to end the game, to cap off a\r\nstunning rally where they came back from 28 points down, recovered an onside\r\nkick, and then marched down into the red zone with time running out. \r\nWatching this game was like reading Beowulf while listening to an old Bob\r\nDylan record—totally inexplicable in every way, yet somehow enticing.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Folks,\r\nyou have not lived until you've seen the Vandals do things like this—it's\r\nlike losing twice in the same game.  \r\nWashington\r\n \r\nState\r\n has long been accused of \"Coug'ing\" games, but \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n does something even weirder that might be like \"Coug'ing It\" squared. \r\nThere is NOTHING more wonderful than watching those Satan-worshipping\r\ncheat monkeys get totally embarrassed and then lose a close game. \r\nNothing.  It's like watching\r\nWild Things and reading Maxim at the same time!\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Meanwhile,\r\nback on Coruscant, \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n's puking quarterback, Colt Brennan—the Sith Lord—sat out to rest his\r\nsprained ankle, allowing his apprentice (Tyler Graunke) to fill in for him. \r\nDarth Graunke started out a little shaky, not at all unlike the opening\r\nmoments of the battle between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn, but by the end of the\r\ngame he was jumping around and spinning his double-bladed light saber like any\r\ngood sandbagging Sith Lord.  The\r\nRainbow Warriors also finally got their running game going a little, putting up\r\n147 yards against its second I-AA opponent of the year. \r\nZagco's favorite Rainbow Warrior, Davone Bess, even got in the act with\r\na crazy, running summersault into the end zone, drawing a flag from the WAC's\r\nhigh and mighty referees who are against fun and happiness. \r\n\r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n continues to roll.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n will be without its best player, freshman\r\nrunning back Deonte Jackson, who is the best running back in the WAC and is\r\nalready on Zagco's \"Heisman 2008\" list. \r\nMr. Jackson has amassed 537 yards through 4 games, and he's averaging\r\n5.4 ypc.  Thus, with their star\r\nplayer out this week, the Vandals will turn to plodding fullback Jason Bird to\r\ncarry the ball.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

When\r\nthe local \r\nBoise\r\n newspaper interviewed \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n's team about this week's game, Vandal freshman quarterback and interception\r\nmachine Nathan Enderle (the lowest rated quarterback in the WAC, behind Leon\r\nJackson) commented on the running back situation:\r\n\r\n

\r\n

"People\r\ntend to forget he was (close to) a 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman,"\r\nEnderle said. "He is very capable. I'm hoping and praying that Deonte can\r\ngo, but if it's not in the best interest of his health or our team, it's nice to\r\nhave a guy like Jayson. He's a great player."\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Quite\r\na vote of confidence, huh!?!  Then,\r\nin response to questions about finally getting some carries, Mr. Bird—who was\r\nhailed as a star in the making back when he was a freshman—said:\r\n\r\n

\r\n

"I've\r\nbeen there before. It's nothing new to me and I'm used to that," Bird said.\r\n"Last week, I was able to portray that I can handle that situation. I'm\r\nready for it, and this is what I've been waiting for all season."\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n

"In\r\norder to keep backs healthy at the Division I level, I feel like a rotation is\r\nnecessary," he said.\r\n\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Idaho\r\nStatesman Article.  \r\n\r\n

\r\n

Interesting. \r\nVERY interesting.  It seems\r\nlike only yesterday, Mr. Bird was the BMOC, yet now he's pimping for playing\r\ntime and being propped up by a freshman quarterback who can't throw a straight\r\npass.  \r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n traditionally does not play well on the\r\nmainland.  They nearly lost at La\r\nTech earlier this year.  They've\r\nplayed 2 I-AA teams at home, which does nothing to toughen them up for\r\nconference road games.  Still,\r\nIdaho's super craptastic, thin at so many position groups due to the 19\r\nplayers that got kicked off the team during the off-season for drugs and\r\nwhatnot, and starting to show the signs of a team that knows its hopeless. \r\nPlus, with all his seething evil and hate, Satan will play right into the\r\nhands of the Dark Side of the Force…..\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nHawaii\r\n will defeat \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nArkansas\r\n\r\n Pine\r\nBluff Golden Lions v. \r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n\r\n State AGGIES
\r\nWhere:  \r\n\r\nLas Cruces\r\n, \r\nNew Mexico
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, September 29, 2007\r\nat 6:00 p.m. MT (Aggie Vision)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n put up a fight early against \r\nAuburn\r\n, but they were worn down and eventually succumbed to all the incredibly sexy\r\ngirls in the stands at \r\n\r\nAuburn\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Now,\r\nthey get to take out all their pent up frustration on a I-AA team. \r\nLike so many times this year, Zagco would rather not patronize his\r\nreaders by overanalyzing this game.  Aggie\r\nquarterback Chase Holbrook is putting up huge numbers, passing Colt Brennan in\r\nmost categories last week.  He does,\r\nhowever, have problems with the interception. \r\nThe Aggies have been able to muster up a running game of sorts too, with\r\ntwo backs (Justine Buries and Tony Glynn) leading the way. \r\nThe Aggies should put up eye-popping numbers at home against the 1-3\r\nGolden Lions.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n will defeat Arkansas Pine Bluff.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nLouisiana\r\n Tech\r\nBulldogs v. \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n Bulldogs
\r\nWhere:  \r\nFresno\r\n, \r\n\r\nCali
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, September 29, 2007\r\nat 8:00 p.m. MT\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Last\r\ntime we checked in with \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n, they were getting run by the Ducks to the tune of 52-21. \r\nEarlier in the year, they played Texas A&M into overtime at \r\nCollege Station\r\n, \r\nTexas\r\n, but that performance looks less impressive now, after A&M got walloped by \r\n\r\nMiami\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

La\r\nTech gave \r\nHawaii\r\n a scare a couple weeks ago, but then they went and got run by the hippies in \r\n\r\nBerkley\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco\r\nthinks this game could be a real battle.  \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n just doesn't seem to have a breakaway offense. \r\nPlus, La Tech always seems to play the Cali Bulldogs tough. \r\nLa Tech has the WAC's third leading rusher in Patrick Jackson.   \r\nLa Tech's strength is rushing, on both offense and defense. \r\nQuarterback Zac Champion (a cool name) plays a very conservative game. \r\nLa Tech's passing defense is horrible.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n's strength on defense is the pass, which is\r\nnot going to help them much in this game.  They\r\nseem to struggle with the run.  On\r\noffense, they are balanced and about middle-of-the-pack in the WAC overall.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco\r\nthinks the home field advantage is the key factor in this game. \r\n\r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n, with a week off to lick its wounds after its annual ass-kicking by a couple\r\nBCS teams, can now start over and work towards a bowl game. \r\nLa Tech, which is a very young team, looks to have a good future ahead,\r\nbut it's still too early in their development to give them the nod in this\r\ngame.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nFresno\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n will defeat Louisiana Tech.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles v.\r\n\r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n Broncos
\r\nWhere:  The Blue
\r\nWhen:  Thursday, September 27, 2007\r\nat 5:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The\r\nBronco Nation continues to wring its hands over various and sundry things about\r\nthis year's version of \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n:\r\n\r\n

\r\n

1.                 \r\nWhen's Ian Johnson going to bust\r\nout?\r\n\r\n

\r\n

2.                 \r\nWhat's going on with our\r\noffensive line?\r\n\r\n

\r\n

3.                 \r\nCan Taylor Tharp throw the ball?\r\n\r\n

\r\n

4.                 \r\nWill our cheerleaders ever learn\r\nto NOT lead the \"\r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n\" cheer when we're on offense?\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nZagco doesn't know the answers to these questions, but he does know that \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n's in for a game this week.  It's\r\nno longer valid for Bronco fans to discount the loss to \r\n\r\nWashington\r\n\r\n by proclaiming the Huskies to be national power, because they aren't. \r\nHell, this month's edition of Maxim magazine named the Huskies one of\r\nthe ten worst teams in \r\n\r\nAmerica\r\n\r\n!  Plus, it's really no longer\r\nvalid to proclaim \r\nWyoming\r\n's defense as the reincarnation of the Steel Curtain, especially when a week\r\nafter \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n struggled to score against the Cowboys, the Bobcats of Ohio put up 33 on them. \r\n\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Southern Miss is 2-1, with wins over Tennessee-Martin and East Carolina, and a loss to \r\n\r\nTennessee\r\n\r\n.  Their offense is very balanced,\r\nrunning for 182 yards and passing for 208 yards per game. \r\nThey platoon four running backs, led by Damion Fletcher (57-304-5.3-2)\r\nand their passing game appears to be very conservative.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The\r\nbest thing, so far, about this year's Boise State Broncos is how good the\r\ndefense appears to be.  The Bronco\r\nNation was worried about this, because many felt that the losses we were\r\nsuffering up front (Andrew Browning, Dennis Ellis, Korey Hall, \r\n\r\nColt\r\n \r\nBrooks\r\n\r\n, etc.) would haunt us.  It has not,\r\nat least in the sense that we are really stuffing the run. \r\nPlus, our defensive backs appear to be very solid, as good as Zagco's\r\nseen here in many, many years.  Zagco\r\nhasn't seen a DB spin around like a top and trip on his shoelaces in at least\r\n3 years!\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco's\r\nbiggest concern about \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n is the offensive line.  What\r\nhappened?  We have given up 8 sacks\r\nthis year, third worst in the WAC.  While\r\nour running game is second overall in the WAC, it just doesn't appear that the\r\nholes are very big—certainly nowhere near as big as they were last year.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Perhaps\r\npart of the problem is our opponents' disrespect for our passing game and the\r\nscrambling ability of our quarterback.  Z\r\ncertainly presented a lot of problems for defenses with his running ability, and\r\nwhile you never knew for sure if his next pass was going to be a pick 6 or a\r\ntouchdown, Z did have that high risk-high reward thing that forced defenses to\r\nbe very careful.  Tharp does not seem\r\nto present the wide range of possibility that Z brought to the table—he's\r\nsafer, more \"by the book,\" and probably more coachable. \r\nZagco believes that Tharp needs to run once in awhile (he started doing\r\nthat a bit against \r\n\r\nWyoming\r\n\r\n), and we need to go up top and over the middle early, establishing an ability\r\nto do it.  We have got to bring the\r\ngame to the opponent.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

This\r\nis going to be a close game.  A real\r\nbattle.  Like so many games this\r\nyear, Zagco believes the home field advantage is crucial for these young\r\nBroncos.  We know they have\r\ntremendous talent, but at this point as they work towards getting the Bronco\r\noffense off the ground, playing a tough team like Southern Miss at home is a key\r\naspect of our advantage.  It will be\r\nenough to get us over the hump.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Boise State will defeat Southern\r\nMiss.

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

All content ©2007 BroncoCountry.com/Scout.com.\r\n

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