Posted: Friday August 24, 2012 1:40PM ; Updated: Friday August 24, 2012 1:40PM
Holly Anderson
Holly Anderson>INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
WAC 2012 Conference Report
Can Louisiana Tech bust the BCS? Which FBS newcomer will win the most WAC games? Will we ever see WAC football again after this season? Holly Anderson answers that and more in her WAC preview. For more coverage, visit our preseason content archive.

Note: The projected standings reflect the author's opinion, not SI.com's.
 
How They'll Finish
 
  Conference Overall
Louisiana Tech 6-0 11-1
San Jose State 5-1 7-5
Utah State 4-2 7-5
New Mexico State 3-3 5-7
 
  Conference Overall
Idaho 2-4 3-9
Texas State 1-5 2-10
UTSA 0-6 2-10
 
Offensive MVP
 
WR
Quinton Patton
2011 stats: 79 receptions, 1,202 yards, 11 touchdowns
2012 projection: 85 receptions, 1,300 yards, 13 touchdowns
Patton is that rare breed of receiver who runs off at the mouth -- and who, Louisiana Tech coaches will tell you, can back up every word. He recorded three 100-plus yard games in 2011, and one 211-yard game. For a good time, check out the Biletnikoff Award campaign the school has put together on Patton's behalf, which incorporates imagery from George C. Scott's Patton performance.
 
Defensive MVP
 
DE
Travis Johnson
2011 stats: 36 solo tackles, 15.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 2 blocked kicks
2012 projection: 40 solo tackles, 16 TLF, 10 sacks, 1 blocked kick
No San Jose Sate unit put up big numbers last season apart from the passing game, and the defense allowed well more than 400 yards per game. But one thing you could pretty much always count on in 2011 was Travis Johnson getting burly in the facial area of some quarterback. Johnson tied for 10th nationally in individual sacks, leading the league, and returns for his senior season with the Spartans as the third-ranked active player in the country in career sacks.
 
Three Key Nonconference Games
 
Louisiana Tech vs. Texas A&M
Thursday, Aug. 30
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
In this league, this year, it's Louisiana Tech and everybody else. We're absolute suckers for a well-executed Air Raid, but the gulf right now between the Bulldogs and the other WAC holdouts is a gulfy one, and in terms of exposure, the most important nonconference games are probably all Tech's. This is the first, however, and the most high profile. It's Texas A&M's first game as an SEC program and its first under Kevin Sumlin. First to 100 wins!
 
Louisiana Tech at Virginia
Saturday, Sept. 29
TBD
We're not quite ready to peg LaTech as our second mid-major school (behind Ohio) to go undefeated in 2012, and it's thanks entirely to this tricky nonconference slate. The Cavaliers represent the biggest hurdle between the Bulldogs and a major bowl.
 
Utah State at BYU
Friday, Oct. 5
10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Remember last year, when the Aggies went into Provo and almost knocked off the Cougars and only lost by a field goal thanks to a tipped ball? It was an early Tessitore Effect classic in 2011, and is slated for a Friday late-night slot again this year. Want more of that? Course you do, sicko.
 
Key Conference Game
 
New Mexico State at Idaho
Saturday, Oct. 6
TBD
These teams were left off the conference realignment carousel, and where (or if) they'll be playing next season is up to college football's malevolent trickster gods. This game will be the six-minute Sarah McLachlan dog rescue commercial of college football. Please give.
 
Three Key Questions
 
Will we ever see WAC football again? The conference will ditch football for 2013, but if the ship rights, will America's beautiful game return? Or will the WAC remain a football conference we used to know? This is probably where a Call Me Maybe joke should go, but we have still never heard that song. We are pretty proud of that.
Bullinger: How conference realignment killed the WAC
Which FBS newcomer will prevail? Texas State and UTSA meet over Thanksgiving. It's Larry Coker and Dennis Franchione for all the leftover cranberry sauce! Who ya got?
Is there any level of victory that could convince a conference to take in Idaho or New Mexico State? Crank up "Angel," and take a long look at that conference roster, league execs. As a species, is it not better for us always to err on the side of more football?
 

 
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