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All look up to Boise

Aug 19, 2008 6:58 PM

On The Mark by Mark Mayer |

EDITORíS NOTE: This is the ninth in a 10-week series running through Aug. 26 focusing on season openers, betting strengths and weaknesses among college footballís premier conferences. So clip and save.

Of the nine teams in the WAC, six had losing records and two lost 10 or more games. A bad conference on paper, but thereís "plenty of gold in them darn hills" from a betting perspective.

Boise State is the elite team of the league and spent $37 million to add four levels of skyboxes at Bronco Stadium. So itís not just the blue turf anymore.

Hawaii is off a 12-1 year that ended in flames against Georgia and saw HC June Jones head back to the mainland. Fresno State was 9-4 and always solid under Pat Hill. When a team can go 9-4 with a -9 in takeaway/giveaways, you know this is a team to bet on. Weíll know early in an intriguing intersectional battle with Rutgers.

As for the rest, when the combined record of the six teams last year was 23-51, itís best just to move on.

Hawaii (12-1 SU, 4-8 ATS): Itís the Greg McMacklin era, which begins without record-setting QB Colt Brennan, now doing nicely with the Washington Redskins. Hawaii opens up with Florida in Gainesville. Like getting killed by Georgia wasnít bad enough?

Fresno St (9-4, 7-5): The Bulldogs are ranked No. 36 in the Jim Feist Top 40. Eight starters are back on offense and seven on defense. In a weak league, Fresno is a definite title contender. They were 3-1 ATS outside the league last year. Hear that Rutgers?

Boise St (10-3, 7-5): The Broncos are 23-3 over the last two seasons so no wonder they cracked Feistís list at No. 33. Remember Neil Lomax, the former Cardinals QB and Portland State star. Well, his son Neil is after the QB job. Points at Boise come in bunches.

Nevada (6-7, 6-6): So much for top bananas of the WAC. Nevada was 0-5 SU as an underdog last year and there are sure to be plenty of those situations this season. Thereís hope for UNLV. The Wolf Pack play Texas Tech and Missouri before coming to Vegas.

Louisiana Tech (5-7, 6-5): Last season was cut and dry. The Techsters were 4-0 SU as a favorite, 0-6 as a dog. La Tech is a 10-point home underdog to Mississippi State in the opener, but itís a coup for the school to get an SEC team in their yard.

San Jose St (5-7, 5-5): The Spartans are opening the season against UC-Davis, a California branch school that we didnít know played football. Thatís good scheduling since not many, other than Stanford, know San Jose plays. Good news: Jose was 3-0 ATS at home.

Utah St (2-10, 6-5): More good news for UNLV, drawing a team with just two wins for the home opener. But remember that UNLV also won two games and the Rebs are a 12Ĺ-point favorite against State, which was above .500 against the number.

New Mexico St (4-9, 5-6): The Aggies must improve on the road, where they were a horrible 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS. At least the opener is home against Nicholls St. But a team that was -15 in takeaways (-10 outside the WAC) canít really be totally trusted.

Idaho (1-11, 3-8): Is it Vandals or the Vandalized? Could be the latter come Aug. 30 when Idaho travels to Tucson to face Arizona. The line opened at 28 and stayed there. The good news is that the beating will be less severe later until Boise comes around.

Next week: College roundup.

Copyright 2008 GamingToday
Saturday, Aug. 30
Hawaii at Florida
Miss St at Louisiana Tech
UC-Davis at San Jose St
Idaho at Arizona
Grambling at Nevada
Utah St at UNLV
Idaho St at Boise St
Monday, Sept. 1
Fresno St at Rutgers
Thursday, Sept. 4
Nicholls St at N. Mexico St