Tag Archive: College football

*This is the start of my look at the 2012 MWC season. A full team-by-team countdown will begin soon. More details will be coming soon. 

With media days done and the football season just around the corner, the Nevada Wolf Pack make the jump to the Mountain West Conference. And, head coach Chris Ault is looking to help lead the team to a successful first season. The preseason polls picked the Wolf Pack to finish second in the conference, behind Boise State. But, don’t be fooled. This is anyone’s game.

Much will depend on how far quarterback Cody Fajardo develops.We all know the Union is going to be solid. And, though the team will now face a new season without the likes of Mike Ball and other former running backs from the past like Vai Taua, Nevada has a few waiting to take up the mantle. Stefphon Jefferson is the one I’d bet on to get most of the carries, but similar to when the Wolf Pack had three rushers run for more than 1,000 yards, don’t be surprised to see Nick Hale and even redshirt freshman Tony Knight get in on the action. The receivers will also be a big unknown, with Brandon Wimberly returning to the field.

But, Fajardo, last year’s WAC Freshman of the Year, must show progress. I need to see Fajardo develop into a true leader, to be able to run this offense with confidence. We know he can run, being the third leading rusher on the team last season. But, despite completing 68 percent of his passes, he had as many interceptions as passing touchdowns (six). Fajardo must take the next step in the passing game. If he can, he could be Colin Kaepernick good.

The defense has a lot of questions as well after losing defensive end Brett Roy, linebackers Brandon Marshall and James-Michael Johnson and cornerback Isaiah Frey. That being said, the defense will likely take a step or two down from last season, but let’s face it, defense hasn’t been the true strength of this team in recent years.

What am I saying? Nevada is full of questions. But, the potential is there for this team to make some very big waves this season. And, the Broncos are replacing tons of talented players, including running back Doug Martin and quarterback Kellen Moore. That means they’re throwing a brand new quarterback into the fire. For the first time in a while, Boise shouldn’t be considered the runaway favorites. Several other teams in the MWC have potential to break out, but have some questions facing them as well. But, expect teams like Fresno State, Hawaii and San Diego State to contend as well. Meaning, the MWC may be split in terms of team quality, but who finishes on top? That’s a crap shoot. A lot of these teams have issues facing them that could derail their seasons. That should mean we’re in for an entertaining season, but one that will be incredibly hard to predict.

Wyoming, New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State all have serious issues and are unlikely to contend. Air Force just lost so many starters, it’s hard to see them contending.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that Boise State is indeed leaving for the Big East. Bad news for the MWC and the Wolf Pack. I realize Boise’s fans can be annoying. But losing your greatest rival in college football is never a good thing. Never.

Where does this leave Nevada? Essentially in the WAC 2.0 with a few new teams. This conference isn’t nearly as good as it looked a couple of years ago. No more Utah, BYU, San Diego State, TCU and now Boise State. So, the Wolf Pack gets…Fresno State, UNLV and trading New Mexico State for New Mexico. Oh, and they still have to travel to play Hawaii every other year.

Why focus on just college football? Because if the reason we’re moving is because of football, then we better be making a significant upgrade, which we’re not. Head coach Chris Ault and Nevada has a bright future over the next couple of years with Cody Fajardo under center. Over the past several seasons players like Colin Kaepernick, Rishard Matthews, James-Michael Johnson and Dontay Moch have helped elevate the program. But, it needs to take that next step, much like Utah is trying to do in the Pac-12.

Moving to the MWC was supposed to be a giant leap forward. Instead, it feels like a half a step forward.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

ESPN is reporting that Boise State will have to stay in the Mountain West Conference. Reports are that a deal could not be reached between the school and the Big West for its sports other than football. The Broncos announced its intentions to join the Big East earlier.

For Wolf Pack fans, this is great news! Our biggest football rival is staying means the end of the college football season each year just got a lot more interesting. Looking forward to more Colin Kaepernick/Kellen Moore type battles and to see Chris Ault and Chris Petersen face off a few more times.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

In a break from movies, 12 college presidents have approved a four team playoff for college football, beginning with the 2014 season. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the BCS. This will open up so many opportunities for college football programs. It will make regular seasons more exciting as now, four teams get a shot at a national title. Now, more teams will have more to play for late in the season. This is what college football needs. This is what fans want. Finally, it’s happening.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Yes, news that the BCS is close to adding a four-team playoff beginning in 2014 is great news. Here’s a link to Pat Forde’s article. For the record Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson said there was unanimous support for the playoff (not that the WAC’s going to have a team in that playoff anytime soon).

But everyone from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who has been a driving force behind this to BCS executive director Bill Hancock has called this a “seismic” change. One of the best regular season’s in sports will remain tension filled. There will still be big games. Rivalries may take on more importance. And the worst postseason in sports? That just took a huge step in the right direction. There’s still a lot to sort out, mainly, how the four teams will be chosen. And there’s always going to be controversy about it. The fifth team is always going to complain, but we can deal with that. What matters is for the first time, the college football championship will be decided on the field and not limited because of a broken system.

The question is how does this affect head coach Chris Ault and the Wolf Pack? Probably not much. Even in the team’s 13-1 dream season with Virgil Green, Colin Kaepernick and Dontay Moch, it likely wouldn’t have been chosen for the playoff. But, the potential effects for the MWC-CUSA merger could be big. Mainly, there’s a chance this means San Diego State and Boise State stays. For Wolf Pack fans, the Broncos staying would be huge. I understand everyone has basically said screw em. But, like I’ve been saying, Boise is the key football rivalry for the Wolf Pack. Kaep and Kellen Moore? The 69-67 four-overtime thriller? The Miracle at Mackay? Face it. The Wolf Pack-Broncos is the exciting rivalry that Nevada-UNLV isn’t.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

With the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA set to form a mega conference the question facing Nevada is simple: is this a good thing?
When the Wolf Pack announced it was joining the MWC, it seemed like a slam dunk. But now? This is essentially the WAC lite, especially with other WAC schools apparently set to join the new conference. Sure, Nevada and UNLV will play each other and it will have conference implications. However, the Wolf Pack is losing its most important rivalry…its football game against Boise State. Make no mistake anyone that’s been to a Nevada-Boise game knows the fans hate each other. It’s the one game Nevada fans look forward to.
This new mega conference will have little impact on the college football world. It will still be on the outside looking in. And both conferences lost many of its strongest programs. What started as a chance to get a big upgrade has turned into something that is slightly better than the WAC but not much else.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Nevada hires Hawaii OC

One of the best passing minds in the nation is joining the Nevada Wolf Pack’s staff. Nevada hired former Hawaii quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Wolf Pack fans should be familiar with Rolovich’s work, who spent four years with the Warriors. He served as quarterbacks coach all four seasons and the offensive coordinator the last two.

“I am pleased to have Nick join our staff. I’ve had the chance to watch him grow as a player,  quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator,” Nevada head coach Chris Ault said in a press release. “He is a young gun who coached and coordinated the best passing offense in the country. It was clear to me and my defensive staff this past year he is not afraid of change as he introduced the Pistol formation to the Hawaii offense. And they didn’t miss a beat.”

During the three seasons that Rolovich called plays for Hawaii, the Warriors averaged  347.9  pass yards per game and 96 touchdowns.

“I am very excited to be part of a program that I am very familiar with and for which I have a lot of respect,” Rolovich said. “It feels great to be at a school with a history of high offensive production and putting points on the scoreboard. I’m here to learn, teach and win. This is a great opportunity for me to learn from a guy with so much knowledge like Coach Ault and then to hopefully combine that with some things I’ve done in the past and continue to win here.”

Rolovich will help guide quarterback Cody Fajardo, the WAC’s Freshman of the Year next season and one of the top overall offense’s in the nation in terms of yards per game.

What do you think of the hire?

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Tuesday saw the closing of Ohio State’s case as the NCAA handed down a one-year bowl ban and a loss of nine scholarships. Except, it didn’t end matters. It just made them more pathetic.

The NCAA seemed to ignore the actual players’ conduct, instead focusing on former head coach Jim Tressel. Also, as this SI article points out, the NCAA says no two cases are alike. Yet, here they have used former cases as precedents. This whole process is dumb and pointless. So a one-player violation gets USC a two-year ban and 30 scholarships while multiple players and the coach gets a university a one-year ban?

On a more positive note I guess, this should give hope to Miami that perhaps they will get off light too. For people who say the punishment is severe, I think they’re doing new head coach Urban Meyer a huge favor. Now, the pressure is largely off because, they can’t play in a bowl game anyways.

Good job, NCAA. You’ve officially become the most inept governing body of an organization in the world.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

TCU to join the Big 12

A year after announcing that TCU would join the Big East and leave the Mountain West Conference, the Big 12 announced that TCU would, in fact, join its conference instead. The move makes sense for TCU. The Big East has been rocked by Syracuse’s and Pittsburgh’s intentions to move to the ACC. Still, it’s a shame that TCU has to leave. The MWC with Boise State and TCU is much stronger obviously than with just one of those teams. But, TCU will now get to face teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

The question is whether this move will solidify the Big 12 enough. It’s become dangerously focused in Oklahoma and Texas with a few smaller schools outside of the state. While this is probably better for fans as they will be able to travel to games easier, from a conference stand point, I’m sure they rather be in larger markets and expand. Also, we’ll see whether TCU’s run with Andy Dalton started  a process to turn TCU into a perennial contender or whether that was a flash in the pan.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Here’s the problem I have with the MLB season. One, the regular season is way too long. People get excited for opening day. And then? I stop paying attention until September. Why? Because a 162-game season that results in maybe two teams fighting for one last playoff spot for the final month of the season (like this year in the AL and NL). Then, its playoffs are in the middle of football season. I think it’s true for most of America Saturday is a college football day, Sunday is NFL day and Monday night is football night. Which leaves the MLB playoffs with what?

It’s an afterthought in the sports world. Who cares when Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees lose in the first round? Who cares when the other teams, maybe with the exception of Philly, barely got any prime-time coverage during the season, so no one really knows or cares about those teams? Who cares when there’s no transcendent baseball stars? The MLB would do well to make some big changes. Otherwise, it will continue to be nothing more than a minor distraction for sports fans.

To make matters worse, baseball wants to add a wild card team. If that had been in effect this season, there would have been no great drama at the end of the regular season. In fact, the regular season would be come even more meaningless than it already is.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.