16 September 2011

My WAC football picks for Saturday

Nevada at San Jose State: SJSU by 7. SJSU has gone 8-2 in its past 10 home openers including last year a barely won contest against the FCS Southern Utah 16-11. As of now on ESPN.com, SJSU QB Matt Faulkner, a jr. college transfer who went to high school in Texas, has a passer rating of 113.3 compared to Nevada's starter Tyler Lantrip with 110.6. SJSU's backup Dasmen Stewart showed much promise last week against UCLA (15 of 31 completions, 111 yards) and has a rating of 72.4 vs. Nevada's backup Cody Fajardo (29.4). Both are redshirt freshmen! Brandon Rutley's 65-yard touchdown carry from last week notwithstanding, Nevada has an edge in rushing (average 5.5 yards per carry vs. SJSU's 3.8). Same with receiving, but no one in Nevada has outdone Noel Grigsby (with a high of 24 yards) or Jabari Carr (high 64 yards).

Idaho at #9 Texas A&M (Big 12): TAM by 28. Too easy to predict a regular national powerhouse is going to run over a mediocre mid-major conference team. Just like all those lopsided SJSU games vs. Stanford (lost 57-3) this year or last year v. Alabama (56-3).

Houston (Conference USA) at Louisiana Tech: Houston by 7. The C-USA Houston Cougars are coming off an abnormally mediocre 2010 season after being in bowls from 2005 to 2009. This game should come off similar to last week's UCLA/SJSU game where SJSU, coming off two very poor seasons, showed much potential against UCLA, whose 2010 season was also mediocre despite many bowl appearances in recent past seasons. In its opener, La. Tech faced another C-USA team, Southern Mississippi, and lost 19-17 following a 49-yard field goal by Southern Miss' Danny Hrapmann with 2.5 minutes remaining. Southern Miss is another routine bowl school like Houston...and Brett Favre went to USM!

UTEP (C-USA) at New Mexico State: NMSU by 3. UTEP used to be in the WAC but joined C-USA in 2005. Last time these two teams met (Sept. 3, 2005), UTEP won 34-17 in Las Cruces, N.M. However, UTEP has struggled in C-USA and made runner up bowl appearances in 2005 and 2010 and otherwise had below-.500 seasons the other times. In rushing, NMSU has the edge (2.3 vs. 1.3) and same in receiving (15.5 vs. 13.4).

North Dakota (Great West, FCS) at Fresno State: Fresno State by 21. What's more to say about a Division I newcomer and unimpressive FCS team that lost to the WAC's Idaho 44-14?

Hawaii at UNLV (Mountain West): Hawaii by 17. The U of Nevada Las Vegas team has had a HORRENDOUS several seasons recently compared with the WAC's U of Nevada RENO. And Hawaii has also been a regular WAC hotshot. To the bookies and gamblers in Sin City, it's obviously stupid to bet on the home team just because.

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