WAC coaches were recently polled by the league office on "What is the toughest place in the WAC for a visiting team to play and why?"
Eight coaches responded and Wyoming won by a hair over Hawaii 3 1/2 to 3, with BYU getting 1 1/2 votes.Wyoming got the nod because of location, location, location.
"It's hard to get there from here," said Hawaii's Bob Wagner. "It's such a long trip, you fly a long way and then you still have to ride in a bus."
UTEP's David Lee echoed Wagner, saying "You have to fly to Denver and then drive the rest of the way. It's just a very long trip."
Hawaii received votes because of travel distance (New Mexico's Mike Sheppard) distractions (BYU's LaVell Edwards) and crowd noise (Wyoming's Paul Roach).
San Diego State's Al Luginbill split between BYU and Wyoming. The other BYU vote came from Air Force's Fisher BeBerry, who said, ". . . we haven't been successful there. They do a really good job getting the crowd involved."
The only coach who didn't have an answer was Colorado State's Earle Bruce. He probably would have said Michigan.GOING BOWLING: During the 1980s, the WAC put 21 teams in bowl games, an average of 2.1 teams per year. In each of the past three years, the WAC has put three teams a year in bowls. Only in '80 and '81 did only one team make a bowl.
BYU led the way with 10 bowl teams, followed by Air Force with six and Wyoming with two. San Diego State, Hawaii and UTEP each made one bowl appearance.
This year, three again looks like a good possibility again with BYU a sure thing, Wyoming a near-certainty and Air Force a probable.
The only thing that can keep BYU out of its 13th straight bowl appearance would be five consecutive losses. And the Cougars haven't done that in two decades.
With a 9-0 mark Wyoming would appear to be going somewhere, but three losses to end the year, quite conceivable considering the schedule (at CSU, BYU, at Hawaii), could keep them home for the holidays.
Air Force needs to beat Army and either UTEP or BYU to land a berth in the Liberty Bowl, which takes the winner of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy as long as it has a winning record.
WORST IN NATION: Over the years, the WAC has usually had a team lead the nation in passing offense or total offense. The WAC also has a knack for leading the nation in negative categories.
Currently a WAC team is worst in the country in two categories and close to it in three others.
San Diego State ranks last (106th) in total defense and Air Force is last in passing offense. The Aztecs are also 105th in scoring defense and 104th in pass efficiency defense.
Utah's anemic rushing game is 103rd in the nation, slightly worse than New Mexico (100th) and BYU (98th).
STRANGE STAT DEPT.: San Diego State leads the WAC in turnover margin and is 16th in the nation in that category. What's interesting about that is that the Aztecs haven't had a single interception this year. And they've recovered only 12 fumbles.
What the Aztecs do exceptionally well is hold onto the football. They have lost just three fumbles this year and allowed only three interceptions.
SATURDAY PICKS: It's supposed to be nasty weather on the other side of the Rockies, which could mean a nasty day for BYU. A Wyoming loss would put a real damper on next week's Cougar-Cowboy showdown.
BYU (6-1, 4-0) at Air Force (4-4, 2-3), Noon - The Falcons certainly don't have the personnel to stay with the Cougars. However they are overdue to beat the Cougs, who may be looking ahead to Wyoming . . . Air Force 37-34.
Wyoming (9-0, 5-0) at Colorado State (5-3), Noon - The Cowboys have scraped by all season, but will finally fall against a revved up bunch of Rams . . . CSU 28-24.
Utah (3-5, 1-4) at San Diego State (2-4, 1-2) 8 p.m. MST - The Ute offense might have a chance against the worst-in-the-nation Aztec defense. But the Aztec offense (6th in nation) should cruise against the U. . . . SDS 38-22.
New Mexico (2-7, 1-3) at Hawaii (4-3, 1-2), - The Lobos won't lose 60-14 like they did last year, but they'll have a hard time keeping up with the 'Bows . . . Hawaii 31-21.