Friday, April 25, 2008

Post-Spring MWC Footbal Round-up: the Rebuilders

Two of the MWC's five bowl teams (AFA and UNM) lose so many pieces of their '07 squads that they must measure success in '08 by their record in '09. Add to these the hapless Colorado State Rams, who dwelt with UNLV at the bottom of the conference last year, but have only a new coach to show for it, and SDSU, who'll be breaking in 4 new starters on the O-line and another at QB, and you have the conference's 2008 rebuilders.
  • NEW MEXICO-- 2007 was the best year for New Mexico in a generation. Don't expect 2008 to exceed it, however, because the Lobos have to rebuild the offensive line, again. They also must find new go-to receivers, too. The defense ought to be stout, and UNM has talent eventually to get back on track in a big way-- in 2009.
  • AIR FORCE-- AFA lost its top 6 rushers to graduation, including the MWC offensive POTY, Chad Hall; it will rely on a brand new QB in '08 as well. In short: Troy Calhoun's coaching challenge begins in earnest. The Academy's rebuilding project will depend on how quickly young and new players can master Air Force's ground attack.
  • COLORADO STATE-- Can a new coach reverse the Rams' slide into mediocrity? CSU will be one of the conference's biggest question marks in 2008. The defensive line must be replaced-- not that the old one will be missed-- and so must the quarterback-- who will be missed. The good news is that runningback Kyle Bell returns, and is just the kind of player you can build a team around.
  • SAN DIEGO STATE-- The Aztecs sent four players into the NFL via its draft, the most of any MWC team. For the first time in Chuck Long's tenure, however, the cupboard doesn't seem bare. His young team tasted winning last season, but must mature in a hurry to taste it again in '08.

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