About Blake Hofstad

Blake Hofstad is currently studying International Relations and Communications at the University of San Diego. He has collaborated with Daniel Evans on the OSF Network of websites for four years, and has also contributed to CollegeHoops.Net. Hofstad fiercely supports the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers despite his Minnesota upbringing, but follows both football and basketball religiously.

CFS Computer Rankings: Week 4

The BCS Standings aren’t released until week 8 of the college football season. After doing my first ever set of computer rankings, I found out why.

Although computer rankings are supposed to objectively rank college football teams, clearly, after just four weeks, there simply isn’t enough data at this point to get a very accurate ranking of teams. No, computers don’t lie. But there is no substitute for actually watching games, which is why the BCS relies on two human polls for a more complete picture of the college football landscape.

It’s pretty clear from just looking at this computer poll that it is far from perfect. Oregon State is not the best team in the country. Iowa State is far from a top ten team. Louisiana Tech, San Jose State and Ohio don’t belong in the top 25. And even though USC and Oklahoma have struggled, they aren’t that bad.

The point of doing this wasn’t to really determine who the top 25 teams in the country are. No computer can do that ever, let alone in the first four weeks. And at this point, it’s still pretty unclear who the top 25 teams are to any human as well. We’ll know more in the coming weeks, and this ranking will become more accurate.
1. Oregon State
2. Texas
3. Notre Dame
4. Florida State
5. Florida
6. Alabama
7. Kansas State
8. Stanford
9. Iowa State
10. Georgia
11. Michigan State
12. LSU
13. Texas Tech
14. Ohio
15. Mississippi State
16. Baylor
17. Oregon
18. Cincinnati
19. Louisiana Tech
20. Oklahoma State
21. UCLA
22. South Carolina
23. West Virginia
24. San Jose State
25. Texas A&M
26. Arizona
27. TCU
28. Louisville
29. Ohio State
30. Clemson
31. Boise State
32. Wisconsin
33. Oklahoma
34. Tennessee
35. Arizona State
36. Nebraska
37. Rutgers
38. Miami
39. USC
40. Western Kentucky
41. Northwestern
42. Michigan
43. Washington
44. Virginia Tech
45. Purdue
46. Louisiana Monroe

Playing Out the College Football Season: Standings After Week One

CollegeFootballSaturday.com is playing out the entire 2013 college football season. Our writers are picking a winner in each game for the entire season, but we are giving the fans a vote as well! Our six writers will each get one vote apiece, but the fan majority also gets one vote. The team with the most votes wins that game. Each week, we will post around ten games for fans to help us pick. Since college football has such a large schedule, Daniel Evans and Blake Hofstad are going to play out the rest of the games. Some weeks will have more meaningful games than others, which will result in more games for fans to vote on. Other weeks, like the opening week of the season, will not have as many entertaining games.
For each week of the offseason, we are going to release a new top 25 poll and a Heisman poll. At the end of the season, we will look back and see how we all did. In order to not influence the vote, our writers will wait until Thursdays to announce their picks. We will also reveal the fan vote winners on Thursday and announce the winner of each matchup. On Fridays, we will post the new weeks games available for picking. You can help by TELLING YOUR FRIENDS about this page and encouraging them to vote.

Below are the standings after one week of action. Results from the previous week will be compiled on the Thursday after voting ends and released the next day. For the first few weeks, projected divisional and conference champions will be marked with an asterisk. In conferences with two divisions, the champion will be marked with two asterisks. It isn’t uncommon for teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences to struggle through the non-conference season against tougher opponents only to emerge as the conference champion over teams who played an easier schedule. This is just to give you a better picture of how the smaller conferences might play out before conference play gets going. Throughout the duration of the season, ties in conference and overall record, if no head to head advantage exists, will be determined by us. Especially this week, the standings table is more of a reflection of how we think the season will shake out, before it has even really begun. 

 ACC   Big 12 
ATLANTIC Conference Record Overall Record Conference Record Overall Record
#10 Florida State* 0-0 1-0 #4 Oklahoma* 0-0 1-0
#11 Clemson 0-0 1-0 #8 West Virginia 0-0 1-0
Wake Forest 0-0 1-0 #12 Texas 0-0 1-0
Maryland 0-0 1-0 #15 Oklahoma State 0-0 1-0
NC State 0-0 0-1 #21 Kansas State 0-0 1-0
Boston College 0-1 0-1 Baylor 0-0 1-0
COASTAL Texas Tech 0-0 1-0
#14 Virginia Tech 1-0 1-0 Iowa State 0-0 1-0
Miami (FL) 1-0 1-0 Kansas 0-0 1-0
Virginia 0-0 1-0 #17 TCU 0-0 0-0
North Carolina 0-0 1-0
Duke 0-0 1-0
Georgia Tech 0-1 0-1
Big East  Big Ten
Conference Record Overall Record LEADERS
Rutgers* 0-0 1-0 Conference Record Overall Record
Louisville 0-0 1-0 #13 Wisconsin* 0-0 1-0
South Florida 0-0 1-0 #20 Ohio State 0-0 1-0
Pittsburgh 0-0 1-0 Iowa 0-0 1-0
Connecticut 0-0 1-0 Penn State 0-0 1-0
Cincinnati 0-0 0-0 Illinois 0-0 1-0
Syracuse 0-0 0-1 Purdue 0-0 1-0
 IA-Independents  #18 Michigan State 0-0 1-0
#25 Notre Dame 1-0 #22 Nebraska 0-0 1-0
BYU 0-1 Northwestern 0-0 1-0
Navy 0-1 Indiana 0-0 1-0
Army 0-1 Minnesota 0-0 1-0
#16 Michigan** 0-0 0-1
EAST Conference Record Overall Record EAST
ECU 0-0 1-0 Temple 0-0 1-0
UCF 0-0 1-0 Ohio** 0-0 0-1
Memphis 0-0 1-0 Kent State 0-0 0-1
Southern Miss** 0-0 0-1 Miami (OH) 0-0 0-1
Memphis 0-0 0-1 Buffalo 0-0 0-1
UAB 0-0 0-1 Akron 0-0 0-1
WEST Massachusetts 0-0 0-1
Houston 0-0 1-0 WEST
Tulsa* 0-0 0-1 Eastern Michigan 1-0 1-0
SMU 0-0 0-1 Central Michigan 0-0 1-0
Rice 0-0 0-1 Toledo* 0-0 0-1
UTEP 0-0 0-1 Northern Illinois 0-0 0-1
Tulane 0-0 0-1 Western Michigan 0-0 0-1
Bowling Green 0-0 0-1
Ball State 0-1 0-1
 MWC   Pac-12
Conference Record Overall Record NORTH Conference Record Overall Record
Air Force 0-0 1-0 #5 Oregon* 0-0 1-0
Fresno State 0-0 1-0 #19 Stanford 0-0 1-0
New Mexico 0-0 1-0 #24 Washington State 0-0 1-0
Boise State* 0-0 0-1 Washington 0-0 1-0
Wyoming 0-0 0-1 Cal 0-0 1-0
Nevada 0-0 0-1 Oregon State 0-0 1-0
Hawaii 0-0 0-1 SOUTH
San Diego State 0-0 0-1 #1 USC** 0-0 1-0
Colorado State 0-0 0-1 Utah 0-0 1-0
UNLV 0-0 0-1 UCLA 0-0 1-0
Arizona State 0-0 1-0
Arizona 0-0 1-0
Colorado 0-0 1-0
 SEC   Sun Belt 
EAST Conference Record Overall Record Conference Record Overall Record
#9 South Carolina 1-0 1-0 Western Kentucky 0-0 1-0
#6 Georgia* 0-0 1-0 Louisiana-Lafayette 0-0 1-0
#23 Florida 0-0 1-0 Troy 0-0 1-0
Tennessee 0-0 1-0 Middle Tennessee State 0-0 1-0
Missouri 0-0 1-0 Florida Atlantic 0-0 1-0
Ole Miss 0-0 0-1 Arkansas State* 0-0 0-1
Kentucky 0-0 0-1 North Texas 0-0 0-1
Vanderbilt 0-1 0-1 Louisiana-Monroe 0-0 0-1
WEST Florida International 0-0 0-1
#2 LSU** 0-0 1-0
#3 Alabama 0-0 1-0  WAC 
#7 Arkansas 0-0 1-0 Conference Record Overall Record
Texas A&M 0-0 1-0 Utah State 0-0 1-0
Mississippi State 0-0 1-0 New Mexico State 0-0 1-0
Ole Miss 0-0 1-0 Idaho 0-0 1-0
Auburn 0-0 0-1 Louisiana Tech* 0-0 0-1
San Jose State 0-0 0-1
Texas State 0-0 0-1
UT-San Antonio 0-0 0-1


An Impassioned Plea from a Packers Fan: Keep the Vikes in Minnesota

Boring, right?

I know many of my fellow Packers fans will disagree with me, but I despise the Minnesota Vikings on a level not even the Chicago Bears can rival. No, this is certainly not a declaration that the Vikings-Packers rivalry is more storied or more fiercely contested than Packers-Bears. It isn’t. It will never be.

But as a Packers fan growing up in Minnesota, the smugness and cockiness of Vikings fans before every Packers game, the knowledge that if the Vikings went 1-15, but they beat the Packers, my friends would find reason to trash talk for another year; it just isn’t possible for me to loathe this team any more.

And that’s exactly why I want them to stay put, and why even as a Packers supporter I’m frustrated with the state legislature’s failures to come up with conclusive answers for a stadium plan.

The attempt to pass a bill that would allow the Vikings to build a new stadium in Minnesota after their Metrodome lease expires (next year) has made little headway. Minnesota lawmakers finally seem to be coming to an agreement on a bill that includes funding by the Vikings, gambling expansions and tax revenue to construct the nearly $1 billion stadium, but it seems that every time they take a step forward, it’s followed immediately by two steps back. Vikings fans are getting frustrated, and they won’t feel safe about the future of their team until a bill has actually been passed. After a cycle of breakthroughs and setbacks, who can blame them?

The newest development in the stadium debate at the legislative level is that the new bill accounts for $532 million of the construction cost to be footed by the Vikings. Owner Zygi Wilf pledged $427 million, and said that was a number he would not budge on. Now, both sides obviously want the Vikings to stay put, so I’m assuming Wilf will be willing to negotiate a number higher than $427 million. But over $100 million more? With time running out, are legislators really comfortable asking that of Wilf, who could take his checkbook to another market such as Los Angeles? If that happens, the state legislature will have questions to answer from the people of Minnesota, who I’m willing to venture view a new stadium as an issue of paramount importance.

The reasons why the Vikings are best off in Minnesota are pretty simple. Despite low revenue numbers, there is no question who the number one team in Minnesota is. People are frustrated when the Twins do poorly, but learn to deal with it over the course of a 162 game season. Ricky Rubio generated some interest in the Timberwolves this year for the first time since Kevin Garnett left. And even in the state of hockey, the Wild are incredibly popular when they do well, but fade into obscurity when they aren’t.

That isn’t the case with the Vikings. Even after they have slogged through two seasons in which they totaled nine wins, and the immediate future isn’t very bright, people still care about their hometown football team in Minnesota. A loss ruins their week, but a win lets everyone momentarily forget their problems and take solace in the fact that for at least one week, their team got the job done. Vikings fans want this team. They need this team. I want this team here, not so much because I enjoy the two guaranteed wins it gives my Packers every year (sorry, I had to), but because I can’t imagine Minnesota sports without the Vikings. It just doesn’t register with me.

So if the fan base is so dedicated, why are revenue numbers so low? If you’ve been to a game in the Metrodome, you would know the answer to that question. Simply put, it is arguably the worst place to catch an NFL game in the league, discounting the talent on the field. It features tiny, uncomfortable seating, annoying fluorescent lighting, bland interior furnishings…everything about the Metrodome is just boring. I’d rather drive the five and a half hours to Green Bay to see the Vikings take on the Packers at Lambeau then drive the half hour to see Green Bay play in the ‘Dome. It really doesn’t have any redeeming characteristics, other than the signature Dome Dog, the stadium food of choice for most Metrodome patrons.

To show just how profitable a new stadium would be, look at the Minnesota Twins. They moved to Target Field in 2010, and saw revenue increases of $70 million dollars in their first year. It’s difficult to project how profitable an NFL stadium would be in comparison to an MLB stadium, but what is easy to project is that new stadiums are profitable. The Twins now have one of the best venues in all four of the major sports. Imagine if Minnesota’s favorite team got new digs, and offered a game time experience similar to what Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Seattle offer.

The Vikings really do belong in Minnesota. Their fan base deserves to have a home town team to cheer for, and the Vikings deserve a chance to stay profitable in a location where they already have dedicated fans. I’m a diehard Packers fan, and I vow to never root for our biggest rivals unless it directly benefits Green Bay, and even then it feels wrong doing it. But this is one time when the Vikings will have my full, unbridled support, and I’m not ashamed of that. To the Minnesota state legislature, figure out a way to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, and give their beleaguered fan base some sort of hope for the future. With two annual games with the Packers, they’ll need it.


Reaching for Quarterbacks: Does it Work?

Is Brandon Weeden a first rounder?

When Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are the top two picks in the NFL Draft this year, no one is going to be surprised. They are the consensus top two players on the board, they play the most important position in the game, and both the Colts and Redskins are in need of a quarterback. It makes sense.

But what if Ryan Tannehill goes to the Dolphins at 8? How about Brandon Weeden potentially becoming a Cleveland Brown at pick 22? What happens if Brock Osweiler sneaks into the first round, as Daniel Evans projects him to? While the Tannehill pick might not be all that surprising, it would be because the precedent has been set in recent years that it is OK to take quarterbacks well ahead of where their talent level suggests they should actually go. My question is, does it work?

Think about it. It isn’t a surprise when teams reach for quarterbacks any more, but how often do those reaches end up working out? I went back and looked at every first round quarterback selection of the last 10 years, used old prospect ranking numbers and my personal knowledge to determine which of these selections were reaches, and how much NFL success these “reach” quarterbacks have had.


 First round quarterbacks: David Carr (1), Joey Harrington (3), Patrick Ramsey (32)

Patrick Ramsey: 38 games, 24 starts (10-14), 56%, 5,930 yards, 35 TDs, 30 INTs, 74.9 passer rating.

While Carr and Harrington didn’t have very successful NFL careers, their selections made sense. Ramsey was taken by the Redskins with the final pick of the first round. After a moderately successful college career at Tulane, Ramsey was considered a mid second round prospect by most. During the Steve Spurrier/Joe Gibbs era, Ramsey started 24 games in four seasons, was part of a revolving door of Redskins quarterbacks that never got the job done, and was traded to the New York Jets in 2005. Although technically still a free agent, Ramsey hasn’t started a game since the 2005 season. It’s pretty fair to say this is a reach that most definitely did not pan out, considering the Redskins are likely to select Robert Griffin III with the second pick. Ten years later, they still don’t have an answer. BAD REACH.


First Round Quarterbacks: Carson Palmer (1), Byron Leftwich (7), Kyle Boller (19)

Although none of these quarterbacks turned into long term solutions for the teams that chose them, at the time, these were not reaches. Palmer was an easy choice at 1 for Cincinnati, Leftwich had a rocket for an arm and many projected him to go to the Jaguars at 7, and Boller was considered a first round prospect.


First Round Quarterbacks: Eli Manning (1), Philip Rivers (4), Ben Roethlisberger (11), JP Losman (22)

Philip Rivers: 100 games, 96 starts (63-33), 63.5%, 24,285 yards, 163 TDs, 78 INTs, 95.5 passer rating.

Drafted by the Giants and traded to the Chargers after Eli Manning threw a fit, Rivers was a reach that definitely paid off. He was not the consensus number two quarterback that year, with Roethlisberger also getting media respect. Rivers has developed into one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL. GOOD REACH.

JP Losman: 45 games, 33 starts (10-23), 59.2%, 6,271 yards, 33 TDs, 34 INTs, 75.6 passer rating.

Losman’s NFL career was doomed from the start, when he broke his leg in training camp of his rookie season. He started 8 games in his second season, losing 7 of them. His third season in the league showed some promise, leading the Bills to a 7-9 record while compiling an 84.9 passer rating with no running game and a porous offensive line. However, after the Bills drafted Trent Edwards and Losman got injured in 2007, he lost his job, and never won it back. BAD REACH.


First Round Quarterbacks: Alex Smith (1), Aaron Rodgers (24), Jason Campbell (25)

Was Jason Campbell a reach? Maybe. But he was the SEC Player of the Year and a proven winner. Like Ramsey, he was never the answer for the Redskins. That’s now two quarterbacks the Redskins have taken in the first round that didn’t turn out. Uh-oh, RGIII.


First Round Quarterbacks: Vince Young (3), Matt Leinart (10), Jay Cutler (11)

I considered calling Jay Cutler a reach, but many people had the Cardinals taking him at 10 before Matt Leinart fell. Some had him as high as 7 to the Raiders. Considering he has easily been the best of those three quarterbacks, Cutler was not really a reach here. He had all the skills of a top quarterback prospect.


First Round Quarterbacks: JaMarcus Russell (1), Brady Quinn (22)

JaMarcus Russell: 31 games, 25 starts (7-18), 52.1%, 4,083 yards, 18 TDs, 23 INTs, 65.2 passer rating.

JaMarcus Russell was a reach at 1. Before his Sugar Bowl performance, Russell was not even considered a first round prospect by many. For some reason, one game made him the number one selection in the NFL Draft. The hype factor definitely played into this selection. Russell’s opponent in the Sugar Bowl was Notre Dame, and Brady Quinn was considered the top Draft prospect before the game. Russell’s Tigers rolled, and because of that one game, Russell was considered a better, safer pick than Quinn. Six years later, and he’s considered one of the biggest busts in Draft history. Go figure. HORRIBLE REACH.


First Round Quarterbacks: Matt Ryan (3), Joe Flacco (18)

Matt Ryan: 62 games, 62 starts (43-19), 60.9%, 14,238 passing yards, 95 TDs, 46 INTs, 88.4 passer rating.

One of the best draft picks in recent memory. I was hesitant about this pick, because I wasn’t sure Ryan merited third overall consideration. I thought the Falcons were drafting a quarterback prone to questionable decisions and wasn’t sure how he’d hold up in late game situations. I was wrong. Ryan is one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the NFL today, and was an excellent choice at 3. GOOD REACH.

Joe Flacco: 64 games, 64 starts (44-20), 60.8%, 13,816 yards, 80 TDs, 46 INTs, 86.0 passer rating.

Look at the similarities between Ryan and Flacco. Their numbers are nearly identical! Just like Ryan, Flacco has been great for Baltimore. He’s helped them develop into a team capable of winning with offense. After struggling to find a franchise quarterback for years (remember Elvis Grbac, Jeff Blake, Trent Dilfer, Kyle Boller, and Anthony Wright?) Flacco has started every game for the Ravens for the last four years. He isn’t going anywhere, either. GOOD REACH.


First Round Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford (1), Mark Sanchez (5), Josh Freeman (17)

Josh Freeman: 41 games, 40 starts (17-23), 60.5%, 8,898 yards, 51 TDs, 46 INTs, 79.0 passer rating.

It’s hard to tell how Josh Freeman’s career will pan out. After an excellent second season, his first full year as a starter, many had high hopes for Freeman last season. He disappointed in a big way. This will be a crucial season in determining Freeman’s future.


First Round Quarterbacks: Sam Bradford (1), Tim Tebow (25)

Tim Tebow: 23 games, 14 starts (8-6), 47.3%, 2,383 yards, 17 TDs, 9 INTs, 75.1 passer rating.

One of the most polarizing sports figures of our time, Tebow is hated by purists who don’t like how he plays the game. The completion percentage and yardage numbers are ugly. The touchdown/interception ratio is great. The first 50 minutes are usually agonizing to watch. The last 10 are incredible. Tebow wins football games, and nobody is faulting him for that, but at this juncture of his career, it is really hard to say whether he’ll be around for years to come or out of the league by 2016. With Peyton Manning taking over in Denver, it may be a few years until we know the answer to that question.


First Round Quarterbacks: Cam Newton (1), Jake Locker (8), Blaine Gabbert (10), Christian Ponder (12)

Jake Locker: 5 games, 0 starts, 51.5%, 542 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.4 passer rating.

Blaine Gabbert: 15 games, 14 starts, 50.8%, 2,214 yards, 12 TDs, 11 INTs, 65.4 passer rating.

Christian Ponder: 11 games, 10 starts, 54.3%, 1,853 yards, 13 TDs, 13 INTs, 70.1 passer rating.

Because only Gabbert has a full season under his belt, it would be ridiculous to speculate whether these guys were worth the reach or not. Gabbert and Ponder had awful numbers, but that is characteristic of many rookie quarterbacks. What is a bit disconcerting is that fellow rookies Cam Newton and Andy Dalton were very, very successful, but they also have more weapons at their disposal. Let’s give all these guys two or three more years before we make any judgment.

In conclusion, three of the 11 reaches over the last 10 years were smart. Three were pretty bad. And five, all coming in the last three years, will need to play at least another year or two before we can determine whether or not their careers will pan out.

Look for those quarterback reaches this year. As this proves, the trend is moving towards taking chances on quarterbacks earlier. Tannehill, Weeden and Osweiler are three names to remember. Who knows, one of them could be the next Matt Ryan…or the next JaMarcus Russell.

What the Conference Realignment Means for College Football

Geno Smith hoists the Orange Bowl trophy after routing Clemson in January.

After all the conference realignment hype died down last year, many people seem to have forgotten that this is the year those changes will take place, and what those changes will mean for college football. Here’s a quick overview of the realignment before I delve into how it will impact the season.

The Big 12 lost Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC, but added TCU from the MWC and West Virginia from the Big East. TCU’s departure from the MWC was compensated for by the addition of Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii from the WAC, which added Texas State and Texas-San Antonio to make up for the losses. The final change was the MAC‘s addition of Massachusetts. All in all, six of college football’s 11 conferences underwent some kind of realignment in the offseason.

So what does all this moving and shaking mean for the sport immediately next year?

1. The Big 12 will be tougher because of the changes. This one is pretty clear. The Big 12 adds Orange Bowl champion West Virginia, who bring back every key piece of one of the nation’s most dynamic offenses, and TCU, the 2011 Rose Bowl champion and, along with Boise State, was the mid-major that had people questioning the BCS system. They lose Missouri and Texas A&M, middling Big 12 teams with a combined conference record of 9-9 last year. West Virginia and TCU give the Big 12 two more surefire preseason top 25 teams. In a conference where offense comes first, West Virginia will shine. Led by Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, the Mountaineers hung 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl, and that number could have been higher. TCU’s defensive scheme employing five defensive backs should counter the Big 12′s pass happy offenses well, but three of those backs will be first time starters, and Gary Patterson’s defense wasn’t as good as we’ve come to expect it last year.

2. SEC newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri will take time to adjust. How’s this for a welcoming party? Missouri kicks off their season at home against Georgia, and two weeks later heads to South Carolina. Texas A&M squares off with Florida and Arkansas in weeks 2 and 4, respectively. The good news for the Aggies is that both games are played at Kyle Field, and College Station is known for creating a formidable home field advantage. Despite the losses of Ryan Tannehill and Cyrus Gray, I think Texas A&M will have an easier time adjusting. Christine Michael is better suited to SEC football than Henry Josey, and run first quarterbacks like James Franklin usually struggle with SEC defenses. Still, I wouldn’t expect more than 4 conference wins from either of these teams, and 2-3 is probably more likely.

3. The Big East continues to get worse. Obviously, losing your best team isn’t the key to improving as a conference, and once again, the Big East will be the most maligned automatic qualifying conference, as it should be. Rutgers and Louisville appear to be the early frontrunners of an uninspiring conference. Both teams rely on their defenses, as they lack the firepower to compete in games where the combined score exceeds 45. Rutgers loses its most dynamic offensive player in Mohamed Sanu, which will make scoring even rarer. The bottom line is that this conference has been losing respect in the college football world ever since the Rich Rodriguez era ended at West Virginia. That trend won’t change in 2012.

4. The MWC adds 3, loses 1, but can’t be happy. Everything was going right for the MWC. They had lured Boise State from the WAC to join with TCU to form what would have been an extremely compelling conference rivalry. Then TCU bolted for the Big 12 and got replaced by Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii. Three for one, that seems like a good deal, right? Wrong. Although each of those three teams have had excellent seasons in recent memory, those days appear to be over. Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua are no longer with Nevada . Hawaii’s offense loses a little bit of firepower every year, it seems. Pat Hill and his “play anyone, anywhere” mentality are all but forgotten on the mid-major scene after a brief period of relevance a few years ago. This is not a good trade for the MWC. Nevada’s the best of the group, and they are mediocre at best. And with the majority of Boise State’s core getting shredded by graduation, the MWC will fall off the radar in 2012.

5. Welcome to the big leagues. College football’s top division sees three new schools join its ranks in 2012. Massachusetts joins the MAC, while Texas State and UT-San Antonio help compensate for the three team exodus in the WAC. As is customary with schools moving up from FCS, there will be some growing pains. Western Kentucky, the last team to make the jump, was awful in its first few years, but last season won 7 Sun Belt games en route to a second place conference finish. Don’t expect much from the new teams. Massachusetts played one FBS opponent last year, losing 45-17 at Boston College. Texas State fell 50-10 to Texas Tech and 45-10 to Wyoming. UT-San Antonio’s football program had its first season last year, finishing 4-6. They are coached by former Miami Hurricanes coach Larry Coker.