We've blitzed through the 6 BCS leagues thus far in our 5-year recaps, so now we move to the little guys. We'll start with the WAC, a league that has been dominated not only for the past 5 seasons, but also for the past decade by Boise State.
First off, here are the combined WAC standings from 2005-2009.Boise State is a robust 10 games clear of the the second best team since 2005. The largest gap between a first and second place team from the BCS conferences in this same span is 7 games (Ohio State over Penn State in the Big 10). Boise is also an amazing 33 games better than last place New Mexico State. Similarly, the largest gap between a first and last place team from the BCS conferences in this span is 27 games (Ohio State over Indiana in the Big 10 and Virginia Tech over Duke in the ACC). I guess what I'm trying to get at is that Boise has been really, really good against their league. Outside of Boise, the 3-team upper class of Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno have performed very well. If we remove games against each other (and Boise), those 3 teams are a combined 64-11 against the bottom 5 teams in the conference since 2005.
Now here is the standard deviation of each team's conference record (in wins). Teams are ranked from the most inconsistent to the least.Hawaii has been the most inconsistent team over the past 5 seasons. They have been great (8-0 in 2007), very good (7-1 in 2006), pretty good (5-3 in 2008), average (4-4 in 2005), and kinda bad (3-5 in 2009). Boise State has been the most consistent team in the conference, winning either 7 or 8 games in each season. New Mexico State has also been very consistent, albeit on the other end of the winning spectrum. The Aggies have rolled off 3 consecutive single win conference seasons.
Now here is each team's point differential in conference play since 2005.In an average conference game for Boise State over the past 5 seasons, the Broncos have won by a shade more than 25 points. Their scoring margin is nearly more than double that of the second best team. The scoring margins for the WAC teams line up identically with their position in the aggregate conference standings meaning no team has been exceptionally lucky or unlucky over the past 5 seasons.
With this being the end of the decade, here's the tally of conference titles.Boise State joined the WAC prior to the 2001 season. In 9 seasons of WAC football play, the Broncos have won 7 league titles (6 of them outright). Hawaii broke up their streak in 2007. Louisiana Tech captured the title in 2001, the Broncos first season of play in the WAC, and TCU (remember them?) won the WAC title in 2000 on the back of LaDainian Tomlinson. The Horned Frogs bolted the WAC after their league title and began playing in Conference USA before joining the Mountain West prior to the 2005 season.
And finally, what was the biggest takeway from the 00 decade in the WAC?
Without a doubt, its the dominance of Boise State. In 2001, the WAC opened its doors and allowed a relatively unknown school from Idaho into the fold. True, Boise State had posted consecutive 10-win seasons as a member of the Big West conference prior to joining the WAC, but its doubtful anyone could have envisioned what Boise would become by the end of the decade. Since joining the WAC, the Broncos have gone 102-15 overall, finished undefeated in the regular season 4 times, and won a pair of BCS bowl games. However, Boise's most impressive accomplishment since joining the WAC is their record at home against WAC foes. The Broncos have not lost a conference game at home, compiling a gaudy 36-0 record against the WAC. And with rare exceptions, they have not been challenged in doing so. The average home game against a WAC team has seen Boise score 50.1 points and their opponents score 15.8. Only thrice has a team come within one-score of Boise. Tulsa lost by 7 in 2003, Hawaii fell by 7 in 2006, and Nevada came the closest in 2007, losing by 2 in a 4 overtime classic (on a Sunday night no less). When a WAC team comes to Boise, rest assured, the lumber will be laid.