The WAC is playing their final season as a football conference, at least for now at the FBS level, and two programs seemingly left behind in the realignment process sweeping the nation continue to struggle on the field. While Idaho and New Mexico State have reached the midway point of their seasons hoping to find something to build off of moving forward, Utah State continues to put up a good fight every week despite being the victims of some close calls once again this fall.
Here is a look at the three WAC programs at the midway point of their respective seasons.
Record: 1-5, 1-0 WAC
Idaho finally got in the win column just before the mid-term evaluations were complete, but it may have been too little, too late in order to change the grade to this point. The Vandals have lost two game sin which they allowed at least 60 points, have lost a tough overtime game at home to Wyoming and opened the season with a home loss to a very solid FCS program, Eastern Washington, while scoring just three points. Idaho ranks toward the bottom in the nation in rushing offense (just 79.7 yards per game), scoring offense (15.5 points per game), and scoring defense (38.0 ppg allowed).
In the final season of WAC football, nothing has been too kind to an Idaho program seemingly left behind in the conference realignment picture. With so much to be down on, junior quarterback Dominique Blackman has shown some sparks on offense, tossing for 300 yards three times this season for eight touchdowns. But he has also been intercepted ten times, four of which came on the road at LSU and another four on the road at North Carolina.
The effort is there, but the results just are not.
NEW MEXICO STATE
Record: 1-5, 0-2 WAC
Like Idaho, New Mexico State appears to have been left behind in the realignment game. Despite slightly better numbers than Idaho though, the Aggies are still looking for their first FBS victory this season. New Mexico State started the year with a 49-19 win against Sacramento State but since have lost five straight games, including a 35-14 loss to new FBS member Texas-El Paso.
New Mexico State can chuck the football, ranked 35th in the nation with Andrew Manley passing for 1,630 yards and 11 touchdowns but turnovers and a weak defense have held New Mexico State from doing much of anything so far this season. The second half of the season does not look much better either, with games against Utah State, Louisiana Tech, Auburn and BYU still to come.
Record: 4-2, 0-0 WAC
Utah State has been one of the more entertaining teams to watch over the last couple of years, but things just rarely happen to work out for the Aggies in late game situations. Utah State was able to sneak out a win against in-state rival Utah early in the year but a missed field goal at Wisconsin and a tough 6-3 loss at BYU have kept Utah State from sniffing the top 25 polls.
There is no doubt Utah State has a defense, holding opponents to just 12.8 points per game so far and their offense may be average but should be good enough to pull out more wins as the season plays out. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton, a sophomore, has passed for 11 touchdowns and is second on the team in rushing with 229 yards.
Utah State plays their first conference game this weekend and they should be able to travel to Louisiana Tech toward the end of the season with the WAC title on the line.
Next week we will highlight Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Texas State and UTSA. Each will play their sixth game of the season this weekend.
Kevin is a national college football writer for quadrust.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Submit your mailbag questions via Tumblr. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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