Zag's Frags.. Week 13a (Rest of the WAC)

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 13

Copyright Zagco

 

A WEEKLY LOOK AT WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL

Zagco is 57-9 on the year.

Boise State put a little more distance between itself and the other upper echelon WAC teams last week.  As the season has now reached a point where everyone has played pretty much everyone, Boise State is statistically head and shoulders above everyone.  Hawaii has also separated itself from the rest of the pack.  La Tech, Nevada and Fresno are fighting for the third spot.  New Mexico State , San Jose State , Idaho , and Utah State are the cellar dwellers.  

TEAM

WEEK 11

 INDEX

WEEK 12

INDEX

WEEK 13

INDEX

TREND

Boise State Broncos

100%

100%

100%

UP

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

89.43%

86.93%

82.93%

DOWN

Nevada Wolf Pack

76.00%

73.60%

72.70%

DOWN

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

71.27%

70.41%

70.04%

STEADY

Fresno State Bulldogs

71.29%

70.87%

69.78%

STEADY

New Mexico State Gaggies

61.24%

60.79%

59.00%

STEADY

San Jose State Spartans

33.91%

56.51%

56.77%

UP

Idaho Vandals

55.68%

60.61%

56.67%

MIXED

Utah State Aggies

36.12%

42.30%

44.72%

UP

 

Zagco's friends Rizzo (the nicely dressed black mamba) and his assistant Chaka-kan (the water buffalo who has been in and out of rehab) are really, really, really excited for the Hawaii game.  They haven't been to Hawaii since they landed there on a raft with refugees from ‘nam back in '78.  They are both set up at the pink hotel on the beach in Waikiki , and they are just excited as hell to get back to the Rose-n-Crown Tavern to sing old English bar songs with Kiwis.  Rizzo is going snorkeling at Hanauma Bay , where he hopes to find that damn barracuda that came over the reef and tried to attack him the last time he was there.  Rizzo never forgets.  Chaka-kan is not a particularly strong swimmer, so he is planning on chilling out at that bar in the tree at the International Marketplace while Rizzo hunts down his arch-enemy.  It's also a guarantee that they'll be trolling for action on Hotel Street .  Rizzo is even going to bust out his old, authentic Hawaii Islanders cap, from back when Hawaii sported a "AAA" club that competed in the PCL.

Rizzo and Chaka-kan were both present during the whole situation involving the Boise City Police and the Idaho Vandal students last weekend, at the corner of Broadway Avenue and University Drive .  Rizzo said a chick cop took down a mouthy Vandal student like she was some kind of Special Forces geek.  Chaka-kan offered his assistance, but the cops recognized him from his previous arrest when he was arguing with the security guy at the southwest entrance, so they told him to back off.  Rizzo, meanwhile, kept hissing at other Vandals when the cops weren't looking, trying to get them to do something.  Rizzo loves to taunt people.  At the end, a few kids were hauled off to jail, and Rizzo and Chaka-kan caught a cab to Mike's Hillcrest, where they did their favorite karaoke songs all night long.

Rizzo read about the situation with violence at Aloha Stadium during the Hawaii-Fresno game, and he scoffed.  Rizzo thinks the people of Hawaii are solid and upstanding.  He thinks a few malcontents caused the problems.  He has no issues with the fans of Hawaii , the people of Hawaii , the team of Hawaii , or with the Bishop Trust.  In fact, Rizzo once served as a board member of the Bishop Trust, the first and we believe only black mamba to have served as a board member in American history.  Rizzo oozes fiduciary responsibility.  He was even named as an Honorary Hawaiian back in '84.  He assures all of us that the game this weekend will be good, clean fun, with only healthy smack talk and lots of camaraderie.  He advises traveling fans that imbibe to make sure that they order Mai Tais with crushed, slushy ice rather than cubes.  Mai Tai slushies are sooooooooooo much better.  Avoid Blue Hawaii's at all cost.  Finally, Rizzo sends fair warning to the traveling fans to be careful eating fresh pineapple.  The fibers in fresh pineapple can be very rough on the mouth, almost like eating fiberglass insulation, but fresh pineapples are delectable.  All things in moderation.

Utah State Aggies v. Idaho Vandals
Where:  Moscow , Idaho
When:  Saturday, November 24, 2007, at 1:30 p.m. MT (Altitude)

On paper, the Vandals appear to be a fairly solid pick to record its first win of the year against a conference foe and Division I opponent.  On top of being a home game for Idaho (Senior Day, to boot), the Vandals have a better offense and a slightly better defense.

 

Utah State

 

Category

Idaho

Rank

Stats

Stats

Rank

1.468

278.5

Total Offense

342.5

1.346

1.880

122.3

Rushing Offense

151

1.523

2.859

156.2

Passing Offense

191.5

2.332

1.577

20.3

Scoring Offense

21.7

1.548

1.488

452.4

Total Defense

430.9

1.417

1.629

192.5

Rushing Defense

161

1.362

1.453

148.9

Pass Efficiency Defense

154.9

1.511

1.923

35.2

Scoring Defense

38.1

2.082

1.021

6.722

Zagco's ST Index

6.580

1.000

15.298

 

TOTALS

 

14.121

Zagco was not going to hesitate to pick Idaho to beat Utah State in Moscow , until he saw how good Utah State played at Las Cruces .  Clearly, Utah State 's players did not quit on Coach Guy after the Boise State debacle.  Utah State 's impressive road win requires further analysis for this game.

In leading the Aggies to its first win of the season, quarterback Leon Jackson had the best game of his collegiate career.  He went 14-20 for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Aggies also had a running game, led by Derrvin Speight, who carried the rock 17 times for 79 yards.  Running back Curtis Marsh added 11 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.  These two freshman running backs give the Aggies some real hope for the future.  All together, the Aggies rolled up 355 yards against the Gaggies—not great, but not half bad for a road game.

Clearly, New Mexico State gave up on its lame duck coach.  Zagco does not, however, mean to diminish the value of Utah State 's first win, because it was a win for a winless team, on the road, and it required the Aggies to rally from a 10-7 halftime deficit, which they did by scoring 3 fourth quarter touchdowns to secure a 35-17 win.  The amazing Kevin Robertson returned ANOTHER kickoff for a touchdown (his 3rd this year), and he added just over 200 all-purpose yards to bring his season total to an incredible 2,175 yards.

Idaho got worked by Boise State last week.  Nothing about the game surprised Zagco, although he did think at times Boise State seemed a bit flat on offense and porous on defense.  Five things about Idaho stood out to Zagco:  

  1. Deonte Jackson, who now has 1,100 yards rushing, is a legit running back, but he really needs a big blocking back to come in a block now and then, mixing things up. 
  2. Nathan Enderle makes a lot of mistakes, but he does not seem to be phased in the least by them.  This is both good and bad, but overall Zagco is impressed with how he has survived the year without appearing to lose his confidence. 
  3. The old Vandal chippy-ness reared its ugly head against Boise State .  On virtually every play, you could find a Vandal screaming at or locking down a Boise State player, oblivious to the play that was in progress.  Very strange.
  4. David Vobora is a very, very good linebacker, but too many of Idaho 's defenders seemed physically outmatched.  They tire quickly.
  5. Zagco believes that Idaho goes to the air too much and too fast.  They need to find a way to keep the score lower and time running off the clock.

Zagco does not believe Idaho has given up on the season.  Likewise, it appears that Utah State is still playing to win.  Having watched them both back-to-back, Zagco believes Idaho is a slightly better team.  He thinks Deonte Jackson is a real weapon that should get the rock 30 times this week.  Eddie Williams, who was shut down by Boise State , is also a weapon on offense.  The biggest challenge for Idaho this week will be to prevent Kevin Robertson from hurting them.  Idaho 's kicker is top notch, so you would think that he would be capable of kicking it away from Mr. Robertson.  On punts, which are probably the biggest question marks, Idaho may very well resort to angled kicks out of bounds.  With Mr. Robertson's talents, Zagco thinks it would be smart for Idaho to give up 10-15 yards in distance just to keep the ball away from him.  Zagco also expects Stanley Franks to return to playing football this week, having spent much of that last game jawboning with Boise State 's receivers, who torched him.

Idaho will defeat Utah State .

Kansas State Wildcats v. Fresno State Bulldogs
Where:  Fresno , Cali
When:  Saturday, November 24, at 1:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Kansas State is 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12 North, which puts them in 4th place behind Colorado .  They defeated San Jose State at home in the second game of the season, 34-14.  They had an impressive 41-21 win over then-# 7 Texas on the road in Week 4.  They also beat Colorado with ease, but they have lost 4 out of their last 5 games, including a crushing 73-31 loss at Nebraska .  

 

Kansas State

 

Category

 

Fresno State

 

National

Rank

Stats

Stats

National

Rank

61

421.5

Total Offense

386.6

116

172

133.4

Rushing Offense

195.7

62

31

288.1

Passing Offense

190.9

168

36

35.7

Scoring Offense

31.2

68

146

387.1

Total Defense

411.9

180

75

133.0

Rushing Defense

197.4

191

205

254.1

Pass Defense

122.5

121

154

29.5

Scoring Defense

27.1

130

N/A

N/A

Zagco's ST Index

6.595

1.002

 

 

TOTALS

 

 

Kansas State 's running game is led by James Johnson, who has rushed for 1,087 yards this year.  He's also scored 11 touchdowns, and he has a long run of 68 yards.  Wildcat quarterback Josh Freeman has an efficiency rating of 126.6, completes 63.1% of his throws, has 16 touchdown passes, and accounts for 281.5 yards passing per game.  Thirteen different Wildcats have caught passes, and the primary receiver rotation goes 7 deep, led by Jordy Nelson (107 catches, 1,441 yards, and 10 touchdowns) and Deon Murphy (52 catches, 568 yards, and 5 touchdowns).  You ALWAYS must respect dudes named "Deon."  K-State is a high-octane/spread-it-around offense.

Fresno State has earned somewhat of a brand image as a tough mid-major that will play anyone, anytime, anywhere.  All time against current BCS schools, Fresno has won 23 games and lost 46 games (33.3%).  Since 2000, Fresno has gone 10-14 against the BCS schools (41.67%).  During the 2000-era, Fresno has been able to play 4 home games against BCS teams, losing only to Oregon in 2006.  Fresno has lost 6 straight games to BCS schools, remaining winless against the big boys since the fans in Boise turned out in droves to root the Cali Bulldogs on to victory over Virginia in the MPC Computers (Humanitarian) Bowl on December 27, 2004.  Zagco admires and praises Fresno for its record against the BCS schools.

In past years, Zagco would not have hesitated to pick Fresno to win this game at home.  This year, however, Fresno is so lacking a passing game, and the Cali Bulldogs struggle big time against the run.  Still, Zagco was impressed with the way they fought back against Hawaii 's initial onslaught.  Zagco thought Fresno stubbed its toes several times during its rally against the Rainbow Warriors, but they kept their composure and fought through their mistakes.  If they'd played close to perfect ball, they could have won that game.  Fresno is also 6-4, and a win over Kansas State would certainly secure a bowl spot for the Bulldogs, which would be a huge accomplishment for a team that had such a bad year last year. 

Zagco thinks Fresno is going to have to work very hard to beat Kansas State .  He thinks they will work that hard.  He thinks they'll gut it out with a tough run game and with some opportunistic turnovers.  He also thinks Fresno 's dangerous return man, A.J. Jefferson, will hurt Kansas State .  Fresno will finally get the BCS monkey off the WAC's back this year, and in so doing, will help Boise State's and Hawaii's cause in seeking a BCS bowl game.

Fresno State will defeat Kansas State .

Nevada Wolf Pack v. San Jose Can You See Spartans
Where:  Do You Know The Way To San Jose ?
When:  Saturday, November 24, 2007, at 2:00 p.m. MT

The statistics tell us that this is a game that pits the strength of Nevada (offense) against the strength of San Jose (defense), although Nevada 's comparatively worse defense is not that much worse.  

 

Nevada

 

Category

 

San Jose

 

Rank

Stats

Stats

Rank

1.084

480

Total Offense

340.5

1.350

1.000

229.9

Rushing Offense

83.5

2.753

1.785

250.1

Passing Offense

256.9

1.738

1.246

36.2

Scoring Offense

19.8

1.588

1.377

418.7

Total Defense

406.4

1.337

1.633

193

Rushing Defense

164.6

1.393

1.350

138.4

Pass Efficiency Defense

124.7

1.217

1.956

35.8

Scoring Defense

29.8

1.628

1.110

7.407

Zagco's ST Index

7.378

1.108

12.805

 

TOTALS

 

14.111

Nevada is 5-5, and with two more games on the schedule (at San Jose , La Tech at home), the Pack is still playing for a possible bowl bid.  San Jose is 4-7 and is playing its last game for pride.

San Jose dropped a close game to La Tech last week, rallying from a 24-6 halftime deficit to end up losing 27-23.  The Bay Area Spartans running game, which surged the week before against New Mexico State , was held in check by the tough La Tech defense, gaining only 105 yards.  Meanwhile, Nevada lost another heartbreaker last week, watching Hawaii kick a game winning field goal.  Nevada 's rushing attack looked very good against the Rainbow Warriors (Luke Lippincott gained 140 yards and the team gained 216 yards).  Zagco thought Crazy Legs looked nervous, and he just doesn't seem to exude a real confidence out there.  Chris Ault often appears to be berating him on the sidelines, which is a sadly common scene for Nevada 's quarterbacks.  Chris Ault must be a very, very smart and perfect man.  Zagco wonders if he kicks puppies?

San Jose just does not have a good or consistent running attack.  Thus, San Jose will go to the air against Nevada .  Adam Tafralis threw 47 passes against La Tech, and Zagco expects him to throw it at least that many times against Nevada .  Nevada , meanwhile, will continue to pound the ball with Mr. Lippincott, who is a big, physical runner that cannot be stopped by any WAC defenses.  Zagco does think if anyone can slow him down, it could be a Dick Tomey team.

San Jose will not fold its tent.  Dick Tomey's teams don't quit.  However, at the end of the proverbial day, Zagco believes Nevada will prove to be a bit too much for the Bay Area Spartans.  Nevada 's offensive line and running attack are very good, which Zagco believes is enough to win this game.

Nevada will defeat San Jose Can You See.


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