Zag's Frags

Zag's Frags are read by tens of thousands of people every week. It is the definitive, most accurate prognostication of WAC football available to mankind. Zagco is not afraid, and he will not be kept down. He is for the people. Fans still speak in reverence of the "streak" when Zagco correctly predicted 39 straight WAC football games during the 2006 season. Behold Zagco and his Frags!

2008: WEEK 1

Welcome to the 2008 WAC football season!  Zagco, a shameless self-promoter who happens to be incredibly accurate in his predictions for the WAC's weekly games, is proud to bring back Zag's Frags for the third consecutive year.  Zagco is a man of the people who will never sell out or back down to the corporate slavemasters and their lawyers!  He writes for you, the people, and he writes whatever the hell he damn wants to write!!!! 

You might remember Zagco's best friends, Rizzo (the nicely dressed black mamba) and Chaka-kan (a water buffalo who has been Rizzo's assistant for years).  Rizzo and Chaka-kan are flying back from Argentina on Friday so they can see the Broncos play against Idaho State .  They love the Broncos, but they are also anxious to get back to their place in Venice Beach, where Rizzo can get busy with his new idea for a television series and Chaka-kan can get back to perfecting his new Double Compound lift that he hopes will be selected to replace baseball or women's softball in the next Olympics games, a lift he calls "Squrls," which is a front squat with a curl when you're down in the hole.  It'll change your life!

Rizzo and Chaka-kan have been very, very busy.  They decided to get a law degree about a year ago, and after submitting and withdrawing a lot of applications they finally settled on Concordia's special night program that is super intense and only takes 5 weeks!  Concordia, a private Lutheran college in Oregon , is the school that is thinking about opening a law school in Boise , which is good because Zagco, for one, thinks we need more Scandinavian lawyers! 

Anyhoo, they got their degree, converted to Lutheranism (which they feel guilty about), and then managed to pass the bar exam in Puerto Rico .  Lo and behold, thereafter, the Irish Republican Army retained them to file an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in the terrorism proceedings being held at Guantanamo Bay , Cuba . 

Upon arrival in Cuba , they were shocked to discover that there is actually an Irish pub at Guantanamo , called "Kelly's Pub," which is, incidentally, the only Irish pub on communist soil!!!  Rizzo and Chaka-kan spent many night there, drinking Guinness with the military folks into the wee hours and often closing the bar by getting everyone remaining to sing Hootie and the Blowfish's "Let Her Cry" ("…She never lets me in, only tells me where she's been, when she's had too much to driiiiiiiiiiiiiiiink…") at the top of their drunken lungs.  Crap, though, who hasn't done that?!?

Anyhoo, it was one night in Kelly's Pub that Rizzo met Rosalita, an Iguana.  It was love at first sight, allowing Rizzo to finally break the emotional bonds that Denise Richards had cast on him before dumping him for Charlie Sheen.  Rizzo and Rosalita spent more than a few nights drinking wine next Rizzo's fire from the Big Gulp cups that Rizzo's been lugging around all these years in his backpack (you get a discount if you bring your own cups back in).  This didn't go over real well with Rosy's papa, who eventually lowered the boom and locked her in her room.  Rosy's daddy does not dig Rizzo, a fact that is probably attributable to the time Rizzo told him that the only lover Rizzo's ever gonna need is his little girl's tongue.  Rosy's mama doesn't like him either, because he used to play in a rock and roll band.  Nevertheless, Rizzo's going to confiscate her, liberate her, because he wants to be her man. 

The whole "represent the Irish Republican Army thing" has also been quite a ride for Rizzo and Chaka-kan.  The military judge (a Navy man) seems to be almost gleeful when he imposes his daily sanctions against Rizzo, who has some difficultly standing when the judge enters the courtroom, which seems highly discriminatory and is the factual predicate for a future Title VII lawsuit.  Chaka-kan, who has a temper, has also been thrown in the brig at Camp X-Ray .  After the judge summarily denied Chaka-kan's Motion for the Right of Parlay, which caused Chaka-kan to scream out "YOU WANT ME ON THAT WALL, YOU NEED ME ON THAT WALL!!!," the judge had a Kevin Bacon-look-a-like Marine escort him to the brig, whereupon Chaka-kan refused to stop clicking his tongue and humming unless he was permitted to watch the Olympics on a color television.

This, of course, is where the whole idea of having a weekly prime time television show centered on women's beach volleyball in the rain originated, which is, in turn, what led Rizzo and Chaka-kan to return to Argentina to talk with their financiers about producing just such a show!  It will be awesome, because in addition to the sand, bikinis and rain (a critical component for overall atmospherics), they are planning to have 1980's-era Hair Metal blasted from some humongous Marshall stacks, midgets for referees, Jell-O shots for timeout snacks, and someone like David Coverdale or Sammy Hagar for color commentary.  They have also been trying to reunite the Fly Girls for sideline entertainment.  They wanna call the show "Ride the Lightning," but they are worried that Metallica might sue them, so they might go with something else, like "Baby's On Fire."  Zagco thinks it's a great idea, because when he watched the women's Olympic Gold Medal match with his wife in same room, he could only think of one thing:  Ten years ago, this would have been called porn and his wife would have slapped him for watching it!  Now, it's sports!!!!!!

Anyhoo, enough of this talk!  It's been a great summer!!!  Zagco knows all of you have had a great time, and most of you probably got to see the new Batman flick.  Wasn't that awesome!?!  Crap, Zagco was riveted on Heath Ledger's performance, even to the point of shaking and sweating a bit in his seat.  Zagco believes only three other acting performances on the silver screen can compare to Mr. Ledger's mighty coup de grace:  (1)  Marlon Brando's Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront; (2) Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs; and (3) Denise Richards' Kelly Lanier Van Ryan in Wild Things.

Zagco also watched the cult comedy classic Hot Rod a lot this summer.  His buddy hooked him up with it.  What an awesome guy comedy movie that is!!!!  If you have not seen it, go get it.  NOW.  Hot Rod has more quotable lines than any movie Zagco has ever seen.  Oddly, it did not do very well at the box office.  It only earned $14,334,401 worldwide.  Zagco knows.  He looked it up.  Online.

Finally, one more thing is really sticking in Zagco's craw:  What is up with Red China?  Those girl gymnasts cannot be 16 years old!  What a joke!!!  Is this some kind of zany, cockamamie attempt by the Red Chinese to appeal to the world's pedophile community?  Seriously!  It's that pathetic, and the various logical extensions of the lie take you to so many places that you really don't want to go.  When it comes to cheating in the Olympics, stick with the juice and leave our children out of it!!!!  We finally put an end to this kind of crap when the other Chinese people in Taiwan were finally banned from bringing 18-year-olds to the Little League World Series, but apparently we still need to fight this battle.  Boo to Red China !  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors v. Florida Gators
Where:  Gainesville , Florida
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time

Well, this is a game that Zagco really doesn't want to talk much about, which is a sad reality of many of the early games.  Zagco loves Hawaii , because they have a proud history of lighting up like a pinball machine and paying off in silver dollars.  However, this year they start anew, without June Jones, without Colt Brennan, without Devon Bess, without Ryan-Grice Mullen, without Jason Rivers, and without C.J. Hawthorne.  Those last 4 guys, all receivers, accounted for over 4,000 receiving yards and 44 of Hawaii 's 51 touchdowns.  WOW.  Zagco also understands that Tyler Graunke is in trouble and won't be playing, so they are also without Colt Brennan's backup.  Graunke looked pretty decent when he spelled Brennan in the Sugar Bowl.  Hawaii will turn over the quarterback position to an unknown sophomore named Brent Rausch, a tall, skinny dude.  What Hawaii does have, though, is 3 very good (and big) returning linebackers and both of their main running backs.  Zagco expects Hawaii to be less about the pass this year and more about defense and running.

Florida is Florida .  Tim Tebow returns for another Heisman Trophy.  Florida 's defense was not great last year, but so what!  Hawaii struggles on the mainland against crappy WAC teams!  Until the Rainbow Warriors prove otherwise, it's going to be a long time before Zagco picks them to win a road game, much less a road game against Flori-frickin'-da!

Florida will win.

UC Davis Aggies v. San Jose Can You See Spartans
Where:  Do You Know The Way To San Jose ?
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Dick Tomey, a totally decent guy, has an experienced team this year, albeit one that will be without former quarterback Adam Tafralis and some other key contributors.  There are 55 juniors and seniors on this Bay Area Spartans club.  Yet, Coach Tomey says they will be playing a lot of young guys.  Most exciting, though, is the return of Yonus Davis, who is a scat back on steroids!  You Bronco fans that remember the nailbiter we had with San Jose Can You See two years ago might remember some of his freakish jukes at the line of scrimmage.  The guy can move sideways, and he appears to be pretty dang fast, but he is, of course, returning from a bad injury, so who knows….

Cal Davis is a tradition-rich small college that has lots of potential—the Aggies are often mentioned as a possible future WAC member, although Zagco thinks it would be ridiculous to have three teams nicknamed the "Aggies" in the same conference.  Crap!  Davis is, however, coming off a losing season (5-6), so Zagco is not quite as concerned.  The Bay Area Spartans should be solid on defense, and Tomey's offense should be reasonably and smartly conservative, limiting the mistakes by new signal caller Myles Eden.  It is also unknown to what degree Yonus Davis will play early in the season—they may ease him into carrying the load again. San Jose 's depth will also be a concern as the season develops, but for now, at home against a team that they beat last year 34-14, San Jose Can You See should be fine.

The Bay Area Spartans will pull out a win.

Mississippi State Bulldogs v. La Tech Bulldogs
Where:  Ruston , Louisiana
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 4:45 p.m. Mountain Time (ESPN 2)

Zagco was impressed with the job that new coach Derek Dooley did last year.  La Tech has long had an absolutely craptastic schedule, traveling to and fro and constantly playing teams that they are just not going to beat.  They exceeded expectations, won 3 of their last 5 games, including a conference road win in Logan , and they played Hawaii , Fresno , and Boise State pretty dang tough at home.

The Southern Bulldogs (La Tech, since Mississippi State is ALSO the "Bulldogs," but will hereafter be referred to as the Redneck Bulldogs), welcome former Georgia Tech quarterback and former Boise State commit Taylor Bennet.  They also have some key people coming back, including the running back Patrick Jackson, who impresses the crap out of Zagco.  Daniel Porter, another runner, is also no slouch.

The Redneck Bulldogs, meanwhile, are an SEC team that finished 8-5 last year, including 4-4 in the SEC.  Quarterback Wesley Carrol really spreads the ball around to a fleet of very tall receivers.  It's an offense that comes at you from all angles, like the curtain call at a girlie bar danced to the tune of Motley Crue's Hell on High Heels!

Honestly, Zagco does not think La Tech can win this game.  However, he would not fall over if they did.  He thinks Coach Dooley (the son of former legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley) will have his team prepared for this SEC team, and it should be a battle.  Zagco warns all WAC fans to respect La Tech. 

Mississippi State will win.

Idaho State Bengals v. Boise State Broncos
Where:  The Blue
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time (KTVB, ESPN Gameplan)

Our friends in Pocatello , the Idaho State Bengals, come sauntering into town to renew a rivalry that has only been played once since 1995, a game that resulted in a 62-0 shellacking on The Blue in 2003.  Jared Allen played for the Bengals in that game.  The Broncos and the Bengals were rivals in the Big Sky Conference, before Boise State made the jump to Division I college football.  At present, Boise leads the all-time series 23-6.

Many Bronco fans remember the infamous "Globe of Death," a kickoff return that led Idaho State to a stunning victory over Boise State back in the day.  It was a freakish play, where all the kickoff return team runs into a huddle-like circle after the ball is caught, and then someone pops out with the ball.  That Boise State team was obviously not prepared for the play, and Idaho State ran the ball back deep into Boise State territory, leading to the game winning score in the final seconds.  Zagco was relieved to hear Ian Johnson say in an interview this week that Boise State knows about that play, because apparently New Mexico State has it in its package.  Whew!

Anyhoo, Zagco's not going to waste much brain power on this game.  Yes, it will be interesting to see former Idaho Vandal Jason Bird (who confirmed in an interview this week that his coaches at Idaho routinely said that beating Boise State was all that really matters to Idaho) carry the ball.  It will also be interesting to see Mitch Rudder, a former Boise State (and Utah State ) offensive lineman block for them.  Mitch is listed at 6'3" and 290, which is clearly TOO BIG for Boise State 's offensive line. 

For you younger Bronco (and Bengal) fans, it also wouldn't be right for Zagco to neglect to mention that he used to root a bit for Idaho State back in the day, when he got caught up in their epic basketball win against UCLA in the Dance and when they followed Boise State's I-AA National Championship with one of their own.  The Bengals' punter back then, a guy named Case deBruijn (yes, a Dutchman), was the BEST punter Zagco ever saw play in college football—he was Ray Guy-like with his sky-high (and long) punts.  Respect to the Bengals!

Zagco's main concerns about Boise State are well known on these boards:  (1) we are small and inexperienced on the offensive line; (2) we are small with our starters on the interior of the defensive line, and we have two listed starters at linebacker who need to eat in the morning to break 200 pounds.  Yeh, Zagco loves speed, and he loves smart players who execute, but every single time Zagco sees a big guy collide with a small guy, the big guy wins.  The Broncos are scary good at wide receiver and running back, and he thinks the defensive secondary has enough experience and talent to also not be a huge concern for him.  Corner Kyle "Fright Night" Wilson is the real deal, and Zagco expects him to be a shut down guy who finally starts picking off passes and showing us what he can do WITH the ball.  And, it goes without saying that Zagco will be pimping Jarell "Voltron" Root, the redshirt freshman defensive end from Boise 's Capital High School , until the sun doesn't shine anymore!  Voltron will make his mark known at Boise State .  Lion force Voltron!!!!

Zagco really is not super concerned with our quarterback situation.  Yes, we have a freshman, young Kellen Moore.  But, that kid can sling the ball.  His box score stats in high school were like reading the box in a Harlem Globetrotters game.  Seriously, game after game after game, he would go something like 27-33 for 618 yards and 8 touchdowns IN 2 ½ QUARTERS OF PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   HOLY CRAP!!! SIGN HIM UP!!!!!  Plus, the senior Bush Hamden has all the tools to come in—that pass he through last year against Idaho was one of the prettiest passes Zagco has seen since Ryan Dinwiddie's salad days on The Blue.  Zagco thinks we're going to be fine at the quarterback position.

Boise State has tremendous offensive skill talent, but Zagco believes the key to a super good season this year comes down to the trenches, where we are as young and small as Zagco can ever remember.  If those trenches hold up, watch out!  This is overall a young Boise State team with some really nice talent, so this is going to be the year where other WAC teams better give us their best shot, because we are loaded for the next few years.

For now, however, Boise State will beat Idaho State .

Grambling State Tigers v. Nevada Wolf Pack
Where:  The Biggest Little City in the World
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Yet another laugher.  Nevada, with Chris Ault's "Pistol Offense" and Colin "Krazy Legs" Kaepernick at the helm, should have no trouble with Grambling, unless perhaps Grambling lets its band play, because that band could cause trouble for just about anyone.  In addition to Krazy Legs, the Wolf Pack also has running back Luke Lippincott returning.  Mr. Lippincott is a big boy for a running back (6'2," 215), and he would be a wonderful addition to Boise State 's offensive line!  He also rushed for over 1,400 yards and over 5 yards per carry last year.  Nevada also has former starting quarterback Nick Graziano in the wings, a man who Zagco believes once played Laverne's boyfriend on Laverne & Shirley.  The Pack lost receiver Marko Mitchell, but Mike McCoy returns, along with several others.  Zagco would not be surprised to see Nevada become more and more run-oriented this year.  That's Chris Ault's M.O., despite his more recent reputation as an innovator of the "Pistol Offense."

Grambling won 8 games last year against vastly inferior competition, as compared to Nevada .  La-Monroe and Pittsburgh easily beat them.  They appear to spread it around to several receivers, and they also seem to rely on several running backs.  The offense is balanced.  Regardless, with Nevada 's offensive line and running backs, not to mention two very experienced quarterbacks, the Wolf Pack should start off the season with a bang.

Nevada will win.

Idaho Vandals v. Arizona Wildcats
Where:  Tucson , Arizona
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Oh, Gawd.  It's that time.  It's the time of year when Vandal fans start sounding really optimistic and hopeful, sorta like a crack whore about to get her fix.  Has it already been 9 months since we got to see the 3,000 Idaho fans who bothered showing up at their last home game to send off the seniors?  Crap!?!   Time flies.  Good luck trying to meet that attendance requirement, Vandals! 

Now it's a new season, so we can all look forward to diminutive Vandal running back Deonte Jackson telling us about how hungry he is.  Deonte, for those of you who don't follow Idaho football, is a fan of using food metaphors when discussing his games.  He's hungry.  The defense looks like a big, juicy steak.  Etc.  It actually makes sense, though, because Zagco doubts Idaho can afford to feed its players much when they are suffering from so much financial distress and whatnot.

Zagco digresses, though.  This is about a game.  A game between the WAC's crappiest football team and one of the very worst football programs in college football history and one of the Pac-10's historically mediocre football teams.  What could happen?  It almost makes one fall asleep….

Wait!  Arizona , though, could be very good this year.  The Wildcats have 10 returning starters on offense, including a very good quarterback in Willie Tuitama.  They have 8 guys on pre-season watch lists.  Plus, this might be Mike Stoops' last year, unless he can show some real results.  They went 5-7 last year, but this year they could easily be 3-0 heading into a big game with UCLA, a game that could make or break the year for this experienced team.  If Stoops is going to keep his job, he couldn't ask for a more experienced team and a better schedule.

Idaho has lots and lots of young guys, but they are playing with a severe scholarship limit handed down by the NCAA for various and sundry problems that Zagco will be happy to elaborate upon as the season progresses.  Young Nathan Enderle returns to quarterback the team.  He sometimes looks okay, but he's a plodder.  They had an experienced offensive line returning, but a couple key injuries has depleted its depth.  Deonte Jackson, who had a couple nice games at running back last year, also returns, but it sounds like he hurt his back, which Zagco suspects is attributable to improper form in his squats.  The Vandals return lots of receivers, but since they drop the ball all the time, what does that matter?!?  The NFL's Mr. Irrelevant, former Vandal linebacker David Vobora, is gone, as are other defensive contributors.  Idaho actually won ESPN's Bottom 10 award last year, and this year is shaping up to be another run for the dandelions for Idaho .

Arizona will win.

Utah State Aggies v. UNLV Runnin' Rebels
Where:  Vega$
When:  Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Utah State is crappy.  Really crappy.  Zagco is still stunned that a team that had offensive scheme issues hired former North Texas State coach Darrell Dickey to be the offensive coordinator last year.  Respect to Coach Dickey for what he's done, but his offensive philosophy is hardly the kind of solution that you reach for when you need a better offense in the WAC.  If you have not seen Utah State 's offense in action, don't.

UNLV is no beast either.  Yet, it's a home game for them, and that's about all that matters at this point.  The cupboard is bear in Logan , and while it might be pretty bare in Vega$, Zagco always goes with the home team in these pillow fight games.

UNLV will win.

Fresno State Bulldogs v. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Where:  Piscataway , New Jersey
When:  Monday, September 1, 2008, at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Ah, Fresno .  The giant killers.  The premature footballation team of the WAC—a team that always blows its load early in the year against some BCS team, only to stumble home limping in the WAC, only to then recover and beat some 6-6 ACC team in the Roady's Truck Stop Humanitarian Bowl or whatever, giving its fans another off-season to puff their chests about how they play such a great schedule!  Hey, Zagco respects them.  He likes Fresneck.  He really does.  But, he also likes to point out that they have never even won a conference title under Pat Hill.  Not once.  Nada.  They are the Darth Maul of the WAC—scary looking and everything in red and black, but ultimately taken down by a mere Jedi Apprentice.

This Fresno team could be different.  For those of us who have watched Fresno so closely over the years, one thing stands out about them in WAC play against the good teams (Boise State, Hawaii, and sometimes another team—La Tech always gives them trouble):  Fresno's offense is just not real scary, and it seems to be pretty predictable, in that Boise State, at least, always seems to call the right defense against them.  Plus, Fresno brings out the best in everyone, similar to Boise State .  Personally, Zagco believes that the Broncos have Fresno 's number mainly because of the secret practices our coaches run during the summer, which are geared SPECIFICALLY to game-planning for Fresno .

Anyhoo, Fresno is loaded on offense.  Zagco thought quarterback Tom Brandstater looked really good at the end of the year.  Until then, Zagco didn't like him much, but now he thinks Tommy Boy looks pretty dang good.  They also have two bruising, solid 205 pound running backs in Lonyae Miller and Ryan Matthews.  Tight end Bear Pascoe (6'5", 260) is a future Sunday player.  This Fresno offense has a chance to be very good, but Zagco emphasizes that its coaches must call a game that gets its talent into a good rhythm.

Rutgers is coming off an 8-5 season, but they have had a couple terrific recruiting classes.  Plus, they honestly seem to have turned the corner as a football program.  Mike Teel is a fine quarterback (a 145.4 rating), but they lost all-world, 2,012 yard running back Ray Rice.  They do, however, have a bevy of receivers coming back, including 2 1,000+ yarders in Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood, both of whom are very big targets.  Rutgers will have to rely on very young running backs.

Zagco is torn about this game.  It's a long way to travel, and it's being played on a holiday Monday afternoon in Jersey, which means that the malls in Piscataway should just be packed with bubblegum-smacking, big-haired girls.  Fresno always plays up in these games, but Zagco thinks this might be a bit more than the Cali Bulldogs can handle.  Zagco expects Rutgers to rely on its passing game, and Zagco does not have confidence in Fresno 's ability to stop it.  Fresno , meanwhile, may not have the quick-strike and sheer scoring ability to stay with or throw off Rutgers .  Zagco needs to really see this Fresno offense light it up and stay in rhythm before he'll be sold on them.

Rutgers will win.

Nicholls State Colonels v. New Mexico State Gaggies
Where:  Las Cruces , New Mexico
When:  Thursday, September 4, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Last and least, we have the Gaggies of New Mexico State, led by the kooky snotgobbler head coach, Hal Mumme, who is constantly wiping his nose with a towel during games, a sort of Bizzaro-world version of Tark the Shark.  Tark's probably eating spaghetti somewhere right now, whining about how Hal should be chewing on the damn towel, not wiping his sweat and boogers with it!!!

New Mexico State returns prolific quarterback Chase Holbrook.  They also get star wideout Chris Williams back.  He's the real deal.  That little dude can catch, run, and take a hit.  Watch out for him this year.  Plus, the Gaggies, who loaded up on some JC guys, are apparently going to implement a very aggressive defense.  They are going to light up some scoreboards this year, and on defense they are clearly going for broke trying to force mistakes.  Don't forget that they also have running back Tonny Glyn back, who is not half bad and should be even better with Chris Williams to account for on offense.

Zagco thinks New Mexico State could break some hearts this year in the WAC.  Theoretically, this could be a very potent offense, and its crazy new defense might cause some problems.  They are one of those teams that always has talent.

Nichols State just isn't worth talking about much.  They hardly pass at all, and it looks like about 10 running backs carry the ball.  They were waxed by Nevada last year, but they did beat Rice at Rice, for whatever that is worth.  They finished 6-5 in the Division I-AA (or whatever it's called these days) Southland Conference.  This is a glorified scrimmage for the Gaggies.

New Mexico State will win.

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