Weaknesses: A Six-Pack Of MWC West Division Numbers
By Ken Pomponio
From rankings to statistics to advanced analytics to your basic game scores, college football is, more than ever, a numbers game.
That in mind, here’s a countdown of the numbers that need to change — the figures in need of fixing — this coming season for the six teams in the Mountain West Conference’s West Division:
442.5 – Average yards allowed per game last season for Nevada, which ranked 95th in the FBS. The figure went down as the program’s worst single-season average since 2001 (494.8). Despite their 7-6 finish, the Wolf Pack surrendered 400 or more yards in seven of 13 games, including 578 in a defenseless, 49-48 loss to Arizona in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. It’s now up to a new defensive coordinator (2012 USC linebackers coach Scott Hazelton), the school’s fourth DC in five seasons, to get the Pack pointed in the right direction.
175.9 – Passing yards per outing in 2012 for San Diego State, which ranked eighth in the 10-team MWC and a dismal 103rd in the nation. Even more eye-opening in these pass-happy times, the Aztecs averaged nearly 45 more yards per game rushing (220.7) — the first time that’s happened at the school since ’98 — the year before the MWC came into existence.
22 – Consecutive road losses for UNLV, an ugly skid which pre-dates current coach Bobby Hauck’s arrival in the desert, making him 0-20 outside of Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels’ last road triumph came at New Mexico (34-17) on Oct. 24, 2009, but the silver lining for UNLV is that it has only five away dates this season, tied with Air Force for the fewest in the conference.
21.2 – Points per game for Hawaii last season, which tied for dead last with Colorado State in the MWC and 100th in the nation. In all, it was a shocking reversal of fortune for the normally-potent Warriors, who hadn’t seen such offensive lows since their 0-12 season of 1998 (12.4 ppg). With it being coach Norm Chow’s second year on the job and the squad unveiling a promising new starting QB in Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham, Hawaii should bounce back. At least it had better.
0 – Wins in the last four bowl games for Fresno State, a skid dating back through the 2008 New Mexico Bowl. The latest defeat came this past Christmas Eve when the 2012 MWC tri-champion Bulldogs were embarrassed, 43-10, by Southern Methodist in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. FSU entered the game as a nearly two-touchdown favorite.
.239 – Combined winning percentage (11-35) since 2000 for San Jose State against its new chief MWC rivals — Fresno State, San Diego State, Nevada, Bose State and Utah State — as the Spartans prepare for their first season in the conference. SJSU plays all of those teams aside from Boise this season and has been picked to finish third behind the ’Dogs and Aztecs in the West Division.