WAC Notebook | NevadaAppeal.com

WAC Notebook

DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

From now until the end of the season, the Bowl Champioship Series standings and bowl games will be a weekly topic of discussion among the media, fans, players and coaches.

The most recent BCS standings came out Sunday afternoon, and Western Athletic Conference leader Hawaii has moved up to 14th, two spots shy of the promised land, and Boise State was 22nd.

If a non-BCS conference is 12th or above, it automatically gets an at-large spot in one of the BCS games, or if a non-BCS conference school gets to 16th and there is a BCS conference champion with an automatic berth ranked below that, the non-BCS school would receive a bid.

Hawaii is ranked 10th and 11th, respectively, in the human (Harris and USA Today) polls. However the computer rankings don’t give Hawaii any respect because of the Warriors’ nonconference schedule, which included two Division 1-AA opponents.

The Warriors have an average computer ranking of 33. The high and low are thrown out to get an average. Billingsley has Hawaii ranked 13th (high) and Massey has Hawaii 50th.

Hawaii was forced to take a second Division I-AA game when Michigan pulled out of its contract last February, and Hawaii was unable to find an opponent to come to Hawaii late in the season, or an opponent on the mainland.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson pointed out that the Warriors are in the same exact position as Boise State was a year ago. The only difference is that Boise State’s computer ranking was 11th, while the human polls favor Hawaii slightly.

Hawaii coach June Jones again stressed that he doesn’t feel his team is in “limbo” at all.

“You can’t control what you have no control over,” Jones said. “I feel for us to get in, we’re going to have to win them all. The kids have bought into that. The only poll that matters is the one after the 12th game.”

A reporter asked Benson if the WAC has tried to help Hawaii with its scheduling.

“ESPN is a scheduling factor,” Benson said. “ESPN can guarantee TV for a nonconference game at Hawaii. We’ve tried to use ESPN.”

Benson said some of the bonus money can add up to $500,000.

There is talk that Boise State could move into a BCS slot if it runs the table and finishes 11-1. The Broncos play at Hawaii on Nov. 23 in a game that will undoubtedly decide the league championship.

If Hawaii goes undefeated and get s BCS berth, then the fourth-place WAC team, should it have enough wins overall, would qualify for one of the three WAC bowls – Humanitarian, Sheraton Hawaii and New Mexico.

The Pac-10 has five bowl bids plus a possible BCS game for Arizona State and/or Oregon. Six teams in the Pac-10 have five or more wins, and all six have soft enough schedules that they should reach the required six wins.

The Poinsettia Bowl is a possibility if 4-4 Navy doesn’t get to six wins.

ROBINSON HAS FANS

Utah State’s Kevin Robinson has 5,799 all-purpose yards, and is 73 yards away from breaking the school record currently held by Emmett White.

Robinson is more dangerous on kickoff and punt returns than he is receiving the ball. Robinson averages 19.6 yards per punt return, and he’s returned three kicks or punts for touchdowns.

“Maybe the best return game in America,” Jones said when asked about Robinson. “They have made a big commitment to special teams. Brent Guy has done a great job. He has a gift in the way he makes people miss. He has a sixth sense.”

Nevada’s Chris Ault agreed.

“He makes you defend the whole field,” Ault said. “He has a sixth sense returning the football.”

JOHNSON RETURNS

Boise State has been give the OK by team doctors to play running back Ian Johnson next week.

Freshmen Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper combined for 292 rushing yards and four scores in the win over Fresno State last week.

Johnson complained publicly that Nevada may have taken some cheap shots in the 69-67 four-overtime game. Johnson didn’t name names, however.

Chris Petersen, Boise State coach, said he had “no opinion” on that.

WAC HONOREES

Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan and BSU kicker Kyle Brotzman were named the conference’s offensive and special teams players of the week, respectively. Nevada’s Ezra Butler was named the top defender.

Brennan completed 29-of-46 passes for 425 yards and six touchdowns in the Warriors’ 50-13 win over New Mexico State. It was the fourth time this season that Brennan had eclipsed the 400-yard mark. The six TDs leaves him with 119, two shy of the tying the NCAA record held by former BYU star Ty Detmer.

Jones said Brennan wasn’t at his best. The veteran UH coach said Brennan missed on five passes that would have been touchdowns.

Brotzman kicked two field goals and four PATs in the Broncos’ 34-21 win over Fresno State.

His 43-yard field goal in the second quarter snapped a 14-all tie and gave Boise State the lead for good.

AGGIES STILL STRUGGLING

Utah State stretched its losing streak to 14, which dates back to last season after a 13-12 upset of Fresno State. The Aggies’ streak is six shy of Florida International’s 20-game skid.

Guy told reporters Monday that the Aggies are better on both sides of the ball than they were three years ago when Guy guided the team to three victories.

THE HARRIS POLL

As some of you know, I have the privilege of voting in the Harris Poll which helps decides the national championship participants.

For the rest of the regular season, I will reveal my top-10 picks.

This week’s voting: 1. Ohio State 2. Boston College 3. Arizona State 4. LSU 5, Oklahoma 6. Oregon 7. West Virginia 8. Kansas 9. Hawaii 10. Missouri.

Agree? Disagree? I welcome any comments, but please keep them clean.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281