Utah State The Aggies lose the dynamic backfield duo of Turbin and Smith, but have guys waiting in the wings! Quarterback Chuckie Keeton and a solid receiving corps return looking to improve on last year’s numbers. A tough non-conference slate will get the Aggies ready, and they will run the table in league play. I expect the offense to start slow, but eventually top the 33.6 PPG from last year. Defensively, the Aggies strength will be an experienced secondary and solid line! If they can replace 2 linebackers that were lost to graduation they will be solid at all three levels. I look for overall improvement from the 27.9 PPG allowed last year. I predict a conference championship and trip to the Humanitarian Bowl!
Big Game: November 17 at Louisiana Tech My prediction — 8-4
Louisiana Tech Sonny Dykes is building something special here! Last year, Tech played everyone extremely close, including a heavily favored TCU team in the bowl. The offense is loaded with eight starters back including four of five on the line. The key will be finding someone to replace leading rusher Lennon Creer! Quarterback Colby Cameron returns along with leading receiver Quinton Patton, who had 79 catches and 1,202 yards last year. The defense is what concerns me. Only five starters return, as the Bulldogs lost five of the front seven. The secondary is strong, but stopping the run may be a challenge. I do see them as the second team in the conference to qualify for a bowl. Tech faces a brutal non-conference slate, including Texas A&M, Houston, Illinois, and Virginia. If they make it through four games, they will be a potential BCS buster.
Big Game: November 17 hosting Utah State My prediction – 8-4
Idaho It is going to be tough for the Vandals to put up better numbers than the 20.3 PPG they averaged last year The Vandals must replace the starting quarterback, running back, and three offensive linemen. And they travel to North Carolina and LSU. But I do believe by the time they hit league play, they will have developed some consistency. The story is not much better on the defensive side. Gone are six starters, including two all-conference players. They gave up 33.3 PPG last year and I expect that to jump.
Big Game: September 22 host Wyoming My prediction – 5-7
San Jose State The Spartans could be a spoiler in league play, even though the offense must replace the quarterback, running back and three linemen. New starter David Fales has potential and he’ll have the top four receivers back from last year. The backfield features De’ Leon Eskridge, a former starter at Minnesota. The D gave up 30.3 PPG last year, but I expect better numbers this year. The front seven are strong and if the Spartans have better secondary play, they should improve dramatically.
Big Game: October 13 host Utah State My prediction – 4-8
New Mexico State The Aggies return only seven starters from last year. The skill positions we’re hit the hardest and it will be extremely challenging for the Aggies to mount much of an offense this year. The defense might be in even bigger peril. Gone is the entire secondary and three starting linemen.
Big Game: September 22 host New Mexico. My prediction – 3-9
Texas State The Bobcats, featuring solid leadership at the top with Dennis Francione, move up to the FBS level and into the WAC. State plays an ambitious schedule with a trip to Houston and a home game against Texas Tech. But the Bobcats may surprise — the top five rushers all return along with dual threat Quarterback Shaun Rutherford, and three starting lineman. On defense, nine starters return.
Big Game: November 24 at UT San Antonio My prediction 2-10
Texas- San Antonio (UTSA) This is only the second year for this program, led by Larry Coker, who won a National Championship at Miami. The Roadrunners have 21 of 22 starters back from last year, and this team is loaded with underclassmen. The should get their first conference win.
Big Game: November 24 hosting Texas State My prediction 3-9