Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Listen Up!

Here at PWtW, we've prided ourselves on offering some of the best in snarky observations, semi-regular updates and occasionally stirring content related to Nevada Wolf Pack football the last few years. Though I haven't been able to devote the time I would like to running This Space, I've nonetheless immensely enjoyed blogging about the football program since I became a contributor here in late 2009.

I come before you today with an important announcement -- no, not like my Mountain West announcement. I'd like to be serious for a moment, if you can believe it.

I was recently contacted by the good folks at Silver and Blue Sports about joining their publishing staff to create content for the site. I am excited to report that I've accepted their offer -- so long, and hello independent message board!

Silver and Blue Sports is the largest gathering place for Wolf Pack fans in cyberspace and was founded by Mark Glodowski and Brad Platt, two University of Nevada alumni whom I have tremendous respect for, both personally and professionally. You'll be hearing from me throughout the coming football season, as well as for basketball and possibly other sports. I'll be part of a one-of-a-kind staff which will include podcast specialist and video editor Neil Henderson, "Cannon Fodder" writer Scott Daniel making his triumphant return, the combined photographic talents of Mark Rauh and Brandon Russell, and two new additions in longtime area freelance writer Joe Santoro and current Reynolds School of Journalism student Lukas Eggen. It will be a diverse and exciting creative team, and I'm tremendously honored to have been asked to join.

Ever since Silver and Blue Sports was first founded, I've been in awe of the strides Mark and Brad have made in using the site to galvanize Nevada's fan base and help it grow. The content created for the site has been and will continue to be unlike anything else available to Wolf Pack fans, and I strongly urge you to consider becoming a premium member to take advantage of it all, if you haven't already. It truly is more than "just a message board," and I'm looking forward to being a part of its efforts for Nevada's official WAC Farewell Tour this year.

For my last words on this site, I'd like to thank Packfan7 for giving me the opportunity to break into the blogging world. I'll miss working with him, but I have a feeling he'll still be around somewhere...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Look Around Week 1

I used to put up a thread like this every week during the season on Silver and Blue Sports, but decided to bring it over here this year. In the past, I've tried to avoid making outright predictions for games in order to save myself the embarrassment of having to potentially look back on something stupid I said (you'll know what I'm talking about if you saw some of the predictions from Boise State fans before last year's game). I've decided to give it a shot this year, albeit just a proverbial dipping of the toe into the water -- I won't be entering any pick 'em contests and I take it as a challenge to myself the same way a good game of golf is designed to test you. Besides, it's kinda nice to sit back and take in a weekend of college football when you know you don't have a vested interest in what's happening yet...provided you don't think about why the Pack isn't playing this week.

The rankings for Top 25 teams will be the AP Poll followed by the USA Today poll, and I'll be using for the betting lines you'll see at the end of every match-up.

Thursday, September 1st

UNLV @ #11/#10 Wisconsin
7:00 PM CT, ESPN
UW -35.5 (opened at -30)

The upside? ESPN hates UNLV enough to make this game their first 3D telecast of the season. The downside? Chris Fowler and numerous other ESPN personalities will still refer to the state we share as "NeVAHda."

Cheeseheads 42, Poopyheads 14

Bowling Green @ Idaho
6:00 PM PT, Altitude
UI -7 (opened at -8.5)

Behold, the Humanitarian Bowl rematch no one was clamoring to see!

Fightin' Akeys 28, Fightin' Clawsons 14

Saturday, September 3rd

Utah State @ #23/#19 Auburn
11:00 AM CT, ESPN2
AU -21 (opened at -32)

There's been a lot of movement on this spread, and it's probably justified. SEC team or not, Auburn is a very different group than the one we saw last year. We have reason to suspect Utah State might just make this game interesting...but not interesting enough to pull out a win.

War Eagles 41, Steer Milkers 21

San Jose State @ #7/#6 Stanford
2:00 PM PT, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area
SU -30 (opened at -28)

Another case of an improved WAC team against a Top 25 team with questions to answer. The Spartans could steal a win or two against favored teams...but it ain't happening here.

Bill Walsh Red Team 42, Bill Walsh Blue Team 10

Colorado State @ New Mexico
4:00 PM MT, The Mtn.
CSU -6 (opened at -3.5)

The inaugural recipient of our Pillow Fight of the Week distinction.

Steve "Morgan" Fairchild 31, Mike "Bagels and" Locksley 21

Texas State @ Texas Tech
6:00 PM CT
TTU -38.5 (same as opening)

There used to be a series of Youtube videos from a poster known as Psycho Ag that made fun of former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione. Although the one I have in mind doesn't seem to be up anymore, with Coach Fran returning to old rival Texas Tech this week as the Bobcats coach, it's as good a time as any to whip out the one I actually did manage to find.

Tubs 56, Fran 7

California vs. Fresno State (Candlestick Park in San Francisco)
4:00 PM PT, Comcast Sports Net California
UCB -9.5 (opened at -4.5)

Call me uninformed, but I really don't get all the money going Cal's way. Sure, the Bulldogs are breaking in a new quarterback, but they always seem to get fired up for these sorts of games.

Red Wave 30, Hippie Wave 27

Ohio @ New Mexico State
6:00 PM MT
OU -7 (opened at -13)

Ohio is picked by some to win the MAC. I wouldn't know this, and will gladly defer to these anonymous (and possibly made up) individuals.

O-H-I-O 28, You-are-no-good 20

#5/#7 Boise State vs. #19/#22 Georgia (Georgia Dome in Atlanta)
8:00 PM ET, ESPN
BSU -3.5 (opened at UGA -3)

Boise State feels pressure to silence the SEC hype machine, and Georgia feels pressure from said hype machine to keep it chugging along without incident. I'm not sure Georgia deserves to be ranked this high, but if there were ever a situation to level the playing field for them against Boise, it would be a "neutral" field down the road from Athens coupled with Mark Richt's desperation. Even so, it's still really hard for me to pick against the Broncos in these types of games.

Cliched Potato Jokes 28, Cliched Redneck Jokes 27

#4/#4 LSU vs. #3/#3 Oregon (Cowboys Stadium in Arlington)
7:00 PM CT, ABC
UO -3 (opened at LSU -3)

From the creator of "Game of Thrones" comes "Game of Distractions"! Whoever performs the best damage control for their embarrassing off-field side stories will prevail.

Nike Modelers 30, Bayou Brawlers 24

Louisiana Tech @ Southern Miss
9:00 PM CT, Fox Sports Net
USM -13 (opened at -11)

"Yeah, we want you to move the kick-off to nine...No, at night...Of course it's a good idea...What do I care if your kids can't go? Look, you wanna be on TV or not? Yeah, I thought so. *Click* I love being an executive."

Free Birds 35, Muddogs 24

Colorado @ Hawai'i
4:15 PM HT, ESPN2
UH -7 (opened at -11)

Larry Scott: "Congratulations, Buffaloes! You get to start your first year in the Pac-12 in Hawai'i with a new head coach, new coaching staff and no bye weeks! What's that? You're not happy? You're actually mad as hell? Here, have some more TV money. Yeah, that makes everything better, doesn't it? I use $100 bills as toilet paper now."

McMackin 31, What's-his-face 17

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Morning Links

No rants or raves here -- just a collection of morning links.

~ Freshman QB Marcus Mariota is contending for the Ducks' backup duties as Oregon's fall camp concluded. Cliff "Batman" Harris' status for the Nevada game remains unknown.

~ Those weird sideline signal pictures used by the Ducks also got the ESPN treatment, which begs the question of what the sign for "Pretend you don't know Willie Lyles" would look like.

~ JuCo transfer Matt Faulkner will start for San Jose State. I have nothing humorous to add to this.

~ Texas Tech kicker Donnie Carona is struggling to find some consistency. Nothing here, either.

~ The newest members of Boise State's defensive backfield talk about what they can expect this year, but since the words "Rishard Matthews" and "pain" never came up together, I call BS.

~ The Las Vegas Sun's Ryan Greene offers up five signs the Rebels are headed in the right direction. No word on whether he was able to compile his list with a straight face.

~ A New Mexico student compares Lobo football to "Jersey Shore." Somewhere in this story there's a Snooki joke I'm just not seeing right now.

~ Fresno State's ticket office reports selling more than 12,000 tickets for the Bulldogs' season opener against Cal at Candlestick Park, guaranteeing the stadium will host at least one highly attended game this year.

~ DeWayne Walker sat down for a Q&A session with the Las Cruces Sun-News and showed enormous restraint in not begging the columnist to get him out of NMSU.

~ The UH athletics site offers up a preview of the Warrior secondary, as the Honolulu Star Advertiser recently switched to a subscriber-only format for their stories. Fail.

~ Sonny Dykes named Nick Isham the Bulldogs' starting QB. You know it's a ringing endorsement when an article's first sentence says he "didn't blow the...coaching staff away."

~ A writer for the Logan Herald Journal thinks Utah State has the tools to be successful in 2011. I'll let sleeping dogs lie rather than reach for a joke with the word "tool" here.

~ In response to an Idaho player who wishes to lead the WAC in sacks, Brett Roy was reported to have laughed and said "That's cute."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Day in the Shade

From David Parker of the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Before arriving at today's scrimmage, I was told to sit in the west side stands. Given how much shade the other fans and I were able to enjoy, we certainly didn't have to be told twice. We often wonder why the fans on the west side of the stadium don't make more noise during games -- maybe that nice shade just renders them all docile? Like giving a belly rub to a dog on its back, I tell ya.

Unfortunately I don't yet excel at multitasking during my coverage of scrimmages. I do my best to observe the other happenings on the field, but only if I'm not already furiously scribbling notes or looking up a player's name on my copy of the roster. For this entry, I'm going to try describing each drive individually as opposed to trying to draw an actual theme from the day's action.

~ Like most scrimmages, the kickers were the last players to warm up before the action began. Anthony Martinez missed a couple of short ones to his left and right. Colin Ditsworth, who is listed as a punter on the official roster, took some snaps as well.

1st Drive ~ Lantrip started off at QB. James-Michael Johnson stuffed Mike Ball for a loss on the first play. Ball gained it back on the next play. Corbin Louks dropped an easy pass over the middle, but this might have been due to Duke Williams screaming around the left on a blitz and almost getting a sack.

2nd Drive ~ Louks took a hand-off on a fly sweep to the right and was stopped for no gain. Lantrip then tried an option pitch to his left to Louks, which was also stopped for no gain. I really liked the efforts the offense went to in order to get the ball in Louks' hands, which you'll see the dividends for later. The drive ended when Lantrip threw deep into double coverage and Charles Garrett should've picked it off.

3rd Drive ~ Nick Hale ran for no gain. Shane Anderson caught a quick pass to the sideline for a short gain. Rishard Matthews stretched out for a BIG catch right before getting drilled by the defender, which prompted a penalty flag. Hale ran for a couple up the middle, but a small fight erupted after the play and the offense had to back up again. Matthews went to the corner of the end zone for a fade, but was covered tight and got a questionable PI call. Hale then took three straight hand-offs before eventually finding the end zone.

4th Drive ~ Cody Fajardo took over for the next two drives. After a short gain up the middle for Ball, Fajardo evaded a couple of tackles and rain down the left sideline for a big gain. He then threw a long completion to Aaron Bradley on the right sideline, who stepped out before he could bolt for the end zone. Garrett wrapped up Stefphon Jefferson in the backfield for a loss, who took his next carry for a short gain to his right. The drive stalled when Fajardo threw a play action pass through Kolby Arendse's hands, and Martinez made the short field goal afterwards.

5th Drive ~ The next drive should've ended right away when Fajardo threw a pass right into the hands of Jordan Dobrich, a freshman linebacker, who dropped it. After a no-gain from Jefferson, Fajardo executed a great zone read for another big gain. Jefferson fumbled his next carry, but it was picked up by Bradley for some extra yards. A penalty pushed the offense back a few yards, then Anderson caught another pass for a short gain. Bradley then took an option pitch inside the 10 (I liked seeing the receivers getting involved on these plays). The offense was stopped on three straight goal line carries before Lampford Mark eventually ran it in.

6th Drive ~ Lantrip came back in for this one-play beauty: a pass to Anderson who did a little shake and bake to evade two defenders and took it to the house for a touchdown.

7th Drive ~ Louks was tackled hard after a 5-yard gain. After a short gain from Mark, Isaiah Frey stepped in front of a pass for the first actual interception of the day.

8th Drive ~ Lantrip took a zone read for a short gain before getting rushed by two defenders and being forced to throw it away. Anderson hauled in a long catch over the middle right before getting drilled by a defender. After Ball was stopped for no gain, Anderson caught a pass and had it jarred loose by Williams, who took it back for what could be assumed would've been a touchdown.

9th Drive ~ Lantrip threw a couple of nice completions to a new receiver, sophomore Joseph Huber from Las Vegas. After two short gains from Ball, he took his third carry virtually untouched for a touchdown run.

10th Drive ~ Devin Combs came in for the first time, and he's every bit as big as Coach Ault described at his last presser. Kendall Brock then got a couple of carries, with which he lost yards and subsequently made them up. After an incomplete pass to L.J. Washington on the sideline, Brock broke a tackle and took it to his right for a big gain. Anthony Knight then came in for a couple of short gains, the second of which could've been a loss had Knight not nimbly regained his footing after being tripped up. Bubba Boudreaux came up to upend Combs short of the first down and end this drive.

11th Drive ~ Tanner Roderick saw his first action on this drive, but not before Knight got three straight carries, the second of which went for a first down. The offense was whistled for a false start, then Roderick completed a pass to tight end Erik Stewart. Aaron Brown should've picked off the next pass and the drive ended.

12th Drive ~ Lantrip came back in, and Frey nearly came up with his second pick (the secondary's recurring theme today was "close, but no cigar"). Louks caught a pass for about fifteen yards before Lantrip threw ahead of him on the next play for an incomplete. Matthews hauled in a long reception on the right sideline which was book-ended by short gains from Hale. After Ball was tackled for a loss, Lantrip threw a quick touchdown pass to Zach Sudfeld...which was called back by a penalty. Bradley couldn't bring in a pass that was too high on the next play, and Martinez made a short field goal.

13th Drive ~ Fajardo handed it off to Mark next, who carried it a long way for a first down. After another incomplete pass to Arendse, Bradley caught a pass, then spun off a defender for another big gain. Fajardo kept a zone read for no gain, then Ball picked up a couple of yards, then Fajardo took off up the middle after a few seconds of looking for his receivers and was tackled at the six. Jefferson took it inside the one, then Fajardo kept it himself for the score.

14th Drive ~ For his last drive, Fajardo lofted a long pass down the right to Matthews, who was briefly de-pantsed (his defender came back down from leaping for the pass and tried to tackle him as he hit the turf, but his hand found the top of Matthews' pants instead). Matthews caught it in spite of all of this and ran for the score, and I must now wash my eyes after seeing much more of him than I ever wanted to. The consolation in all of this is that his hands never left their grasp of the football. What a trooper.

15th Drive ~ Combs led the day's last drive, which started with a trip-up/sack in the backfield. Washington caught a pass over the middle before Knight ran for the first down. Thaddeus Brown tackled Combs hard after another good gain on the ground. Knight busted out another solid first down run before Roderick came in and threw an incomplete to Dominic Coulter in tight coverage. Roderick ran for a first down on a zone read before throwing to Knight over the middle for a short gain. Roderick evaded three tackles en route to another first before Knight ran it in for the last touchdown of the day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happy Invitation Day!

Exactly one year ago today, Nevada accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference. Although it wasn't under the circumstances most of us would've preferred -- particularly with the debt we owe to BYU's departure and the cloud of chaos that surrounded it -- and the country once again finds itself on the brink of more seismic realignments as of this week, we're still pretty darn lucky to be where we are all the same. If nothing else, we can thank the college sports gods we'll never have to fly to Ruston, Louisiana again.

Be sure to read these next paragraphs out loud to your friends in your best Moses voice:

Let me declare that every August 18th should henceforth be known as Invitation Day, and ask that many libations be consumed on those occasions. And when the official move happens on July 1st of next year, we will celebrate Mountain West Day, where many more libations shall be consumed, songs of triumph will be sung and cruel jokes will be cracked at the WAC's expense. If Repeal Day can have its own holiday movement, there is no excuse. So says Pack Backer, the wise and devastatingly handsome blogger.

Now we shall sit back and watch these year-in-review Youtube clips, which are not at all an attempt to relieve Pack Backer of his usual blogging responsibilities.

The day when the invitation came down, and the ensuing reaction from Nevada fans.

Our advice to the remaining WAC members at the time.

The general preseason prognosis on the football team's potential.

The team's Top 25 appearance after the Cal, BYU and UNLV wins.

Immediately following the Hawai'i loss.

After the basketball team's 1-7 start.

A settlement is reached for the WAC's exit fee.

The feeling among fans after the first half of the Boise State game.

The speech that was probably given to the Wolf Pack players at halftime.

Coach Ault watching from the sidelines as his players began their comeback.

My reaction to Titus Young's 4th quarter catch.

The missed field goals, overtime and celebration immediately following the game.

The magnificent times we all had at the bowl game.

Utah State's rumored "done deal" invitation to the Mountain West.

A summary of the entire basketball season.

The baseball team continues to struggle.

The public's reaction immediately following the introduction of the new Mountain West logo.

The entire realignment situation across the country summed up in one sentence.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ault Addresses the Local Media and I Openly Weep

There were moments when I thought this day would never come. You've all seen the lengths to which I've gone to keep us occupied these last few months: a drinking game, the entire Summer Filler and Better Know the Units series, fake news stories, a farewell to Boise State, a history lesson and even an attempt to make "gimmick" a dirty word. Now, after all of that foolishness, the time has come to invoke the holiest of names to signify the end of summer and the beginning of fall practices: in the name of Saint Motley, the Holy Kaepernick and the sacred day of football season is BACK!!!

I don't care if it's pretty much the same as spring practice -- it's something substantive to report on. Let's have a look at the Cliff Notes version of Coach Ault's recent address to the local media from the other day.

~ As you've likely heard from elsewhere by now (breaking news still isn't our strong suit here), the program was able to procure external funding to hire for two new-to-them positions: Jon Haskins for Director of Player Personnel and Dave Brown for Director of Football Operations. No word yet on whether the football staff will be asked to continue working by candlelight to save on electricity.

~ In all seriousness, both of these hires are fantastic -- if LONG overdue -- developments. They will both take a significant work load off of Coach Ault and the other members of his staff, particularly with the coordination of recruiting efforts that Coach Mastro was formerly tasked with, which will now fall to Haskins. Ault is always palpably excited at these events, but it was particularly evident just how grateful he was to have filled these two positions.

~ He went into some detail about Haskins' playing and coaching background and the role he played in building a recruiting network for Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford (interesting that they went to Stanford again after Coach Buh's first year here). On what the DPP position will mean: "Our recruiting will take a different complexion now. We will be much broader, much much more efficient, and now all of my coaches can get on the road and recruit."

~ For further evidence of the impact Haskins has already had in the five weeks he's been here, Ault mentioned that their recent senior day event -- a camp traditionally held for high school seniors and their parents to take a trip up to Reno and be evaluated by Nevada coaches -- had 111 players in attendance. Their previous high was 61 players. The two hires were called "one of the biggest moves we've made in football."

~ Also as you may have heard elsewhere, Brandon Wimberly is re-enrolled in summer school and on track to graduate in December. He will be on the sidelines assisting with coaching duties in various ways, but also giving the other players a reality check simply by being there. In Ault's words "I expect him to be as inspirational about this football program as I am."

~ DeAndre Boughton will miss the season with a broken leg, and Lampford Mark is still recovering from mononucleosis and will not be pushed too hard in practices just yet.

~ At one point, Ault went on another small tangent in which he could barely contain himself from gushing even more over the two new hires, particularly Haskins, adding (paraphrasing him slightly) "We used to turn over rocks, but now we're turning over boulders." He used the word "rejuvenated" to describe what the hires have done to him personally, and if this presser was any indication I would agree.

~ Continuing on one of his themes from the WAC media day, competition at running back will be intense. For this unit, at least, they had a great summer of conditioning and weight lifting. There will be more two back action similar in certain ways to what we saw last year.

~ Another theme reappearing was the depth and speed in the defensive backfield, with Ault now saying that this is the deepest the secondary has been in five years.

~ He feels very confident in the first-string offensive line, but says it's time for the younger players to start stepping up. The line as a whole is every bit as athletic as last year's line and possibly a little bit quicker than they were.

~ Zach Sudfeld was referred to as "the Luke Lippincott of this football team," citing his upper class status and the amount of work he's put into finally making an impact on the field. Interestingly, Kolby Arendse was called the best all-around tight end of the group. They lack a player with Virgil Green's speed, but are just as strong on the block as they were last year.

~ He reemphasized Tyler Lantrip's strong performances in spring practices and said he has "paid his dues" and earned his role as the starter. Devin Combs could apparently be easily mistaken for a linebacker, but is very raw and would be redshirted if possible so he could have three years of eligibility starting in 2012. He left open the possibility of pursuing another freshman quarterback in the near future, citing the quality of the quarterback camp they recently had on campus. He doesn't have plans to move any current quarterbacks, but said this recruiting class is similar to the one that produced Kaep in that the players are so talented you could find a spot for them somewhere on the team even if it isn't at quarterback.

~ The replacement to fill Wimberly's starting spot is still unknown, but Shane Anderson is penciled in at the position right now. He mentioned two players he'd like to bring in at camp -- both remaining unknown at this time -- who could possibly contribute to the two-deep there.

~ Regarding Zack Madonick's recovery, he says he looks and feels fine, but they're not counting on him at this time and would prefer to see him in contact drills first. Between Roy, Faataualofa and the younger players behind them, there is a good upgrade in inside strength from last year to this year.

~ Defensive end is a lot like the tight end spot in that it's a conglomeration of different kinds of athletes that they're nonetheless optimistic about. Albert Rosette was mentioned first, then Kaelin Burnett, but not in a way that convinced me either of them are starting just yet.

~ JMJ and Brandon Marshall are exceptional starters at linebacker, but the depth behind them is unproven at this time. Burton DeKoning was brought up as being a really intriguing new player, but one who has to actually get out there first before any anointing happens. Along with the younger offensive linemen, this was highlighted as an area needing an infusion of depth and playing experience as soon as possible.

~ Anthony Martinez is kicking, but others have been brought in to compete with him, while Chase Tenpenny is more or less the best of the punters right now and just completed his share of summer school to become eligible.

For the sake of having a preview picture for those of you who came here from Facebook, here's a party hat to reflect my mood.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Most Unwatchable WAC Teams of the Last Decade

Today I'm drawing my inspiration from a well-written and very funny article from Spencer Hall of SB Nation. And by "inspiration," I mean "That oughta bide me some time for a few days."

In the article, Hall looks back on some of the worst college football teams of the last few years -- not just teams who ended up being terrible in the record books, but were so utterly wretched as to be deemed nearly unwatchable. While I think he compiled a solid list, I take issue with one very glaring omission: there are no WAC teams on it. And as I said all the way back in my Summer Filler entry for San Jose State, "when WAC football is bad, it's really bad. Horrifically, stupendously, hilariously bad." Not putting even one WAC team on a list of the most unwatchable football teams is like calling "Braveheart" historically accurate.

To rectify this injustice, I'm taking a look back at the worst WAC teams of Nevada's time in the conference from 2000 to the present. You want unwatchable, Hall? I got yer unwatchable right here!

#5 Nevada 2000 (2-10)

Sorry guys, but I'd like to at least maintain the illusion of having an impartial list here. New coaches and new conferences don't traditionally mix well, and Chris Tormey's first year in Reno was no exception. Blowout losses were everywhere that year, including a few to some equally terrible opponents. No matter how much his teams improved from year to year, he never beat UNLV, and for this he shares equal blame with those idiot Rebel fans for the heinous travesty pictured above.

#4 Idaho 2008 (2-10)

Sure, the 2007 edition of the Vandals finished 1-11, but that team was actually fairly competitive in many games that year, and you have to respect a team that at least fights back in spite of their own suckitude. But in addition to the greater number of lopsided defeats this season produced, I have a two-word explanation for why this team is more worthy of the "unwatchable" designation: butt logos. No, your eyes are not deceiving you -- that is, in fact, an Idaho logo placed directly on that poor defender's Idahole. Even worse, they lost that particular game 70-0, and even had a bizarre cheerleading outfit "controversy" a few weeks later. On and off the field, this season resembled a dumpster fire slowly spreading from one trash heap to the next.

#3 San Jose State 2009 (2-10)

Here's another instance of off-field issues contributing to a team's unwatchability. After leading the Spartans to a bowl win in 2006, Dick Tomey went 11-13 the next two years. In 2009, things finally devolved to a sad, bittersweet climax. Scholarship reductions from APR sanctions took their toll on his team, and a season full of blowouts was painfully punctuated by a 62-7 loss to the Pack on a sparsely attended Sunday night. It remains to this day the only Nevada road win I actually felt a little dirty after witnessing. Tomey's resignation eight days later just put an "I give up" cherry on this sundae of failure.

#2 New Mexico State 2005 (0-12)

The New Mags haven't played in a bowl game since 1960 and Las Cruces has become, in the words of Football Study Hall "the most consistent coaching graveyard at the FBS level." So why does this particular season sparkle amidst the team's numerous other diamonds of ineptitude? Well, the Oh-fer obviously helps, but it set a precedent for other bad WAC teams after the realignments of 2005 that hasn't been equaled record-wise since. This was a team that yelled "I call the basement!" when they moved into the WAC and has definitively stayed there ever since. Simply put, NMSU is the poster child for just how bad WAC football is capable of being, and 2005 was their magnum anus.

Now you must be asking yourself "If that's true, then how come you only have them at number two?" An excellent question. And even after you see who I have at number one, you may look at the records and say "That doesn't make sense. You're an idiot." Just keep reading, and let me explain why.

#1 Utah State 2006 (1-11)

If the 2005 New Mexico State team is the usual gold standard for WAC worthlessness, then this Aggie team is the real Hall of Shame entry, the Guinness World Record holder that truly went below and beyond, then went even lower after that. Some of their infamous distinctions include three straight shut-out losses and four overall, failing to score a single offensive touchdown until five games into the season, and being forced to punt from inside the 30-yard line on at least one occasion out of genuine fear of their place kicker. Did I mention their punter was also their original quarterback? And their uniforms had "AGGIES" on the back like some all-man-child Pop Warner team? Even their lone win -- a 13-12 comedy of errors against Fresno State -- still managed to be every bit as depressing as each of their eleven losses. I remember watching Nevada pummel them in a slurry of horizontal rain and snow at Mackay that year thinking "This is one of the worst football teams I've ever seen. Also, I can't feel my fingers or toes." Give Brent Guy a college football program and four years of free reign and his path of (self) destruction will be unparalleled.

So while NMSU may hold the dishonor of being the only winless team on this list, as far as the quality of play on the field and who was less competitive more often, the Aggies from Utah have everyone else beaten. And at least on this blog, they will be forever immortalized as the WAC's most unwatchable team of the last decade.

Shameful Mentions Who Didn't Quite Make the Cut: UTEP 2002 (2-10); SMU 2003 (0-12); Louisiana Tech 2006 (3-10); San Jose State 2010 (1-12)

So who would you put on your "most unwatchable" list?