Were The WAC's Other Bowl-Bound Teams Overrated? Is Nevada?

Brian: Three of the WAC's four programs that earned trips to college football's postseason have already completed their bowl games.

Fresno State kicked things off with a listless 40-17 loss to Northern Illinois on the blue turf of Boise. The Bulldogs were a 1.5 point underdog to the Huskies, but the game wasn't really close and NIU was playing without head coach Jerry Kill, who accepted the top spot at Minnesota.

Four days later, Boise State acquitted the WAC well, drilling Utah 26-3 in a game that wasn't even as close as the score indicated. The Broncos probably deserved a better opponent, however, coming within a missed field goal (or two) of likely playing in a BCS bowl. The Broncos will take their talents from the WAC to the Mountain West next season.

Next up was Hawaii, who was playing in their home state against a Tulsa squad that was a double-digit underdog for the Hawaii Bowl. The Golden Hurricane rolled up 62 points and won going away, 62-35.

The WAC is already in an 1-2 hole this bowl season, with one of their three co-champions getting drilled in a glorified home game. The WAC has been outscored 105-78 in those three games and their one win comes from a team that is moving to the Mountain West next season. Did we all overrate the WAC heading into this bowl season? Your thoughts?

Jeff: I would not say we all overrated the WAC this bowl season. Picking Hawaii to win at home against Tulsa is nothing you can beat a guy up over. All that is really happening though is that we're realizing what we already knew. Boise State was and is by far the best team in the WAC. Beating Utah didn't prove that. Certainly it would have been nice for them to have a chance at another statement victory like they got against Virginia Tech at the beginning of the season but that's not how things played out. It's tough to know how good Boise State is because their regular opponents are really not very good as we are seeing. We have a pretty decent idea of how good Minnesota is because they play in the Big Ten. Even Tulsa played in Conference USA and Notre Dame and Oklahoma State on the road out of conference to help us have a better idea of how good they are.

 

Brian: Like Hawaii, the WAC's fourth and final 2010-11 bowl participant goes into its bowl game as nearly a double-digit favorite. Given the WAC's struggles in bowl games so far, would you go so far as to say Nevada is similarly overrated in your opinion?

Jeff: Despite the fact that I agree that the WAC has performed terribly so far this bowl season, I don't know if we can say Nevada is overrated. They simply did not play a schedule with good enough competition to prove anything. We all know what happened against Boise State and that the Broncos are really the better team between the two of them. However, being slightly worse than Boise State is quite a statement these days and Nevada can hang their hat on that as the best measuring stick they had all season. Nevada only lost one game this season and that was at Hawaii. Losing at Hawaii is very excusable any year because of the traveling and especially in a season where Hawaii won ten games. If I were filling out a Top 25 ballot today I would drop Nevada a little for what Fresno State and Hawaii didn't do in their bowl games. But if Nevada had the chance to play in a 64 team college football tournament, would I be shocked if they made the Sweet 16 or Elite 8? Absolutely not.

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