State of the conference: WAC

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
When asked about the state of the conference during the WAC media preview in July, several coaches had the same goal -- emulate Boise State.

Boise State has been a model of consistency since joining the WAC in 2002. During those seven seasons, Boise State had five undefeated conference seasons. The other two seasons it had just one conference loss.

It's no surprise that the rest of the teams in the WAC would want similar success, but as of yet, few have found it.

Hawaii completed an undefeated season in 2007, and prior to that Fresno State found itself on the national map with wins against Kansas State and Washington back in 2004 and a near win over USC in 2005.

Other than those small uprisings, Boise State has ruled the roost. Last season, behind a freshman quarterback, the Broncos defeated their conference opponents by an average of 31.13 points per game.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with having a dominant team, but there is a need to have additional teams in the top half or ranked in the Top 25," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. "What the Mountain West did a year ago with BYU, Utah and TCU, that type of strength at the top is the ideal distribution of teams."

But it's not like the other teams aren't trying. Each of the past two seasons Nevada has been within a touchdown or less of Boise State. Louisiana Tech finished second in the conference and went to its first bowl game since 2001 and won its first bowl game since 1977. Teams such as Utah State and New Mexico State hired new coaches in an effort to dig those teams out of the WAC cellar. And Idaho is finally working its way back from NCAA-mandated APR penalties.

Benson said the WAC wouldn't truly have a place on the national map until it can get teams out of the national basement.

"You still always want to guard against having any teams in the 100-120," Benson said. "That's just as important. If you can eliminate the 100-120, and I think last year we had maybe three in New Mexico State, Idaho and Utah State. Those teams bring you down."