Rating the WAC coaches

As WAC media days commence in Salt Lake City—Fight, Fight BSU is reminded that the season is just around the corner. The Beijing Olympics should be a nice diversion from the hand-wringing that Fall Camp usually initiates...then POW, it's August 30th and the ISU Bengals are running headlong into a Blue and Orange buzzsaw. Anyway, we'll know whom the preseason WAC faves are in the next few days...but I'd like to bring my own list to the table. How do the WAC coaches stack up? From the bottom...

9. Brent Guy, Utah State—Brent Guy used to be on staff as a Bronco assistant, and I'm sure he misses those salad days. Guy's Aggie teams have been laughably bad since he's taken the reins culminating in last season's 52-0 loss in Logan to the Broncos. Brent's a good guy, but that team is going nowhere fast. He's 6-29 as head man and looks destined to pillow fight it with Idaho for WAC doormat status.

8. Robb Akey, Idaho—Ok, so Akey's Vandals lost to Brent Guy's Aggies last season (Akey's first) AND Akey sports a cringe-worthy mustache and spouts stupid one-liners like he's auditioning for a James Bond role...but we gotta hand it to the guy...he has enthusiasm. Akey's golly-gee media demeanor and sideline fervor are the ONLY thing putting him ahead of Guy right now. Akey's first year at the helm produced 1 measly win...1-AA team...and barely. We think they'll win more games this year...maybe 2. Our only advice: Leave the "donkey" comments at the Corner Club, Akey!

7. Hal Mumme, New Mexico State—It was hard for me not to put Mumme at the bottom out of spite. I can't stand the guy or his shtick. Mumme was even famously dissed by Boise State safety Marty Tadman after last year's beatdown on the blue (Mumme called down the wrath of the Broncos after disrespecting them in '06). Mumme is 8-29 as the head man in Las Cruces and with Chase Holbrook and a smattering of decent offensive players may win 3 WAC games this year...but no more. Mumme, since going to NMSU has showed less of his coaching chops and much more of his post-nasal drip. I think Mumme is a drip...don't forget to bring a towel!

6. Chris Ault, Nevada—This will be considered sacrilege to the Wolf_space_pack fans that think Ault hung the moon. I'll ignore their shouts of "he's in the college football hall of fame" to explain why I think the Lil General is past his prime. Ault, in his most recent head coaching stint in Reno has gone a ho-hum 28-22...it could be worse...but given some of the games I've watched, it could be much better. Ault has been unable to knock off Boise State in his current role (though not for lack of trying last year) and more often than not has laid a stinky egg against the Broncos. Last year in Reno, the Wolf_space_Pack had a Colt Brennan-less Hawaii team right where the wanted them, until Ault intervened with his coaching and gave the game away. Ault is middle of the road, but I think he's peaked. Oh, and we're still miffed about this.

5. Dick Tomey, San Jose State
—Oh sure, Tomey has a worse record in his current SJSU gig than Ault's...but hear me out. Tomey helmed Hawaii and Arizona before landing in San Jose and while Tomey hasn't lit it up at 17-19. Tomey, however has taken San Jose State from Fitz Hill's 2004 2-9 campaign to a 2006 New Mexico Bowl berth and a 9-4 record (where they also beat rival Fresno State for the first time in quite a while). And while San Jose State has not beaten Boise State ever in WAC play...they've scared the bejeezus out of me more times than I would've imagined. Tomey is no miracle worker...they routinely have no offense...but he can get his boys up for some games and I believe that is why he is slightly ahead of Ault in the battle of the blue-hairs.

4. Greg McMackin, Hawaii—Maybe putting McMackin up this high in his inaugural season at Hawaii is a stretch, time will tell. McMackin has his work cut out for him this year as Hawaii basically put their entire 2007 offense on Oceanic flight 815—but with the emergence of Hawaii defense (McMackin was D-coordinator) over the last few seasons that made them much less of a pushover, I think that McMackin knows his stuff. That, or the 30 JC players or ex-cons that Hawaii has on its roster at any given time "got up" for the '07 campaign.

3. Derek Dooley, Louisiana Tech—Derek, the son of Georgia's legendary Vince Dooley is, in my estimation, a star on the rise. He went 5-7 in his first season last year putting scares into Sugar Bowl bound Hawaii and Boise State. The 2006 squad had only managed 3 wins. Dooley, is young...has a lot of enthusiasm and can inspire his athletes to play hard. I was genuinely a little scared last year when the Broncos went to Ruston and am equally pleased that his second year squad has to play on the blue. Dooley won't set the world on fire this year as Bicknell's recruits are still hanging around, but I think they may make a push at a bowl if luck is on their side. Dooley gets the "potential vote" to come in at #3.

2. Pat Hill, Fresno State—If getting guys up for big (read:BCS) games was the criteria for this list, Hill would win easily. Fresno State has put scares into numerous BCS teams and always manages to pull out a win or two a season against teams they "shouldn't". Hill has gone a respectable 85-55 in his tenure and shows a lot of loyalty to his 'dogs by not being led away by the prestige or paycheck of "better" jobs. Hill is a fierce competitor and can really coach. His near-miss against USC in 2005 was a thing of beauty. Hill's ultimate downfall has been his inability to win a WAC title. Even when the coast looks clear (2005) his teams have been snakebit and in 2006...they simply imploded after early season fistfights with BCS opponents. I think they'll be in the hunt this year and will be the media darlings, but ultimately I think #1 will still have his number.

#1. Chris Petersen, Boise State—Petersen's career is still young...but he has the wins and hardware to back up his #1 ranking. In his first year at Boise State, Petersen ONLY went 13-0, won the Bear Bryant coach of the year award and was widely praised for his bold coaching in the epic Fiesta Bowl. The honeymoon was over in 2007 when coach had to settle for second in the WAC...but his team still put beatdowns on some of the WAC's best (and worst) and finished just outside the top-25. Pete is 23-3 as the honcho at Boise State and prior to that won several awards as the top Offensive Coordinator in the country. Coach Pete is a player's coach, is innovative, and really has the respect of his team, assistants, community and administration. He's tearing up the recruiting trail this offseason and should be poised to make a run at another WAC title this year with a very young team. What more can you say? Coach Pete is the man in the WAC until someone else forcibly takes that title from him.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know!


That Guy said...

Hate to be that guy, but Cal Poly wasn't in the Big Sky.

Drew said...

How dare you point out my lack of research, that guy!