Monday, February 21, 2011

WAC: Four Teams Jumping Off an Already Sinking Ship

Karl Benson, you had your chance to save your small insignificant conference. Instead, you came out looking like a fool and it cost you your top four teams. The only reason anyone knew who the Western Athletic Conference actually was.

So, you'll watch your television as Boise State begins their first, of what I'm sure will be many, seasons in the Mountain West Conference taking on conference opponents that would make you drool. Except, you can't really show that you're drooling because it would make you seem weaker than you already are. Though I'm not sure how that's really possible.

Not only is your top dog gone but you're about to lose three other teams to the same conference the Broncos favored over your own. They will play the final season in the WAC and though I'm sure they'll play hard for whatever bragging rights are actually left and they'll shake your hand and smile.

Then, when they know you're out of ear shot, they'll snicker and bet on how long the WAC stays in existence. Fresno State might say three years, Hawaii will probably go four years, and Nevada will be the gambler of the trio, pun absolutely intended, and say two years. They'll laugh and they'll tell about days gone by and when the conference was actually legitimate.

Now I know it's not completely your fault that the WAC is slowly falling apart. I know that eight schools stuck a knife in your back while you were sleeping and formed a conference of their own. But you have to admit that doing so was the best decision they've ever made.

Those that left include the likes of San Diego State, Air Force, BYU, Utah and TCU among a few others. While the Aztecs haven't brought a winning brand of football since Marshal Faulk wore red and black, 2010 seemed to be a turning point for their program. That was until their head coach, Brady Hoke, left for greener pastures. Or blue and gold pastures as it were.

The Mountain West has had some very competitive years at the top of the conference with BYU, TCU, and Utah battling it out with the occasional surprises from Air Force. The WAC, on the other hand, has become the conference dominated by one team--Boise State.

No matter how good Hawaii or Nevada might be from year to year, Boise State just ends up slapping them around the football field for four quarters. Nevada would change that trend in Boise State's final year in the WAC, upsetting a Broncos' team that look destined for the Rose Bowl.

I'm not here to take shots at the WAC commissioner. Far be it for me to tell him how much he failed at keeping the second worst conference in Division-I college football just above the Sun Belt. I don't want to make him feel like he's done a less than adequate job.

Oops. Too late.

The Broncos will begin the 2011 college football season as members of the Mountain West Conference and will undoubtedly be a powerhouse right out of the gate. While they'll have to deal with TCU in 2011 before the Horned Frogs head to the Big East and their automatic BCS bowl birth, it will be the only road block for yet another Broncos' undefeated season and BCS bowl game.

Don't get me wrong, I do hope the best for those remaining teams in this dying conference. But I don't know how excited fans are going to be about buying tickets to a showdown between San Jose State and New Mexico State.

Even sadder still, Utah State might be the only exciting thing left in the conference though don't count out an invitation for them to be the next program on their way out.

Again, I'm not hating on the conference that Fresno State, Boise State, Nevada and Hawaii have called home for so long, but what I won't be doing is looking back at a sinking ship.

After these four teams officially depart, it will take James Cameron and his camera crew to be able to find them again at the bottom of the collective college football ocean.

You can follow Todd Kaufmann @T_Kaufmann on Twitter

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