Sunday, August 19, 2007
Aggies, Spartans could surprise in 2007
By Ivan Maisel
Peering into the crystal ball revealed the following five predictions for the 2007 WAC season:
1. If Hawaii runs the table, it will win a BCS bid even though the Warriors play two I-AA opponents. There's something to be said for where you start the race. Quarterback Colt Brennan has earned enough respect to get the voters' attention, and Hawaii's toughest games are in the back half of the schedule.
2. Boise State's win streak will not survive September. The Broncos return only 11 starters, and senior quarterback Taylor Tharp has inched ahead in the race to replace Jared Zabransky because he has made the fewest mistakes, not because he has made plays. Early games at Washington (Sept. 8) and at home against Southern Mississippi (Sept. 27) mean Boise State has to be ready earlier than it can be.
3. New Mexico State will go to its first bowl game since 1960. The Aggies have a smart offensive coach in Hal Mumme and a quarterback worthy of teaching in junior Chase Holbrook, who came with Mumme from Southeastern Louisiana. They've got two I-AA opponents to help them get over the six-win hump. That story is too much for a bowl to ignore.
4. With corner Dwight Lowery and linebacker Matt Castelo, San Jose State will continue to bring this strange animal called defense to the WAC. The Spartans open with four consecutive road games (Arizona State, Kansas State, Stanford and Utah State). They're going to win the last three and cruise to a second consecutive bowl game. Upset alert: Hawaii at San Jose State on Friday, Oct. 12.
5. Brennan will be a Heisman Trophy finalist. His talent and his backstory, rising from an arrest at Colorado to junior college to Hawaii walk-on to second-team All-American, are just too much to ignore.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.