The Weber State Football team knew the road would be uphill one year after it finished with a 2-10 record. But Big Sky Conference media obviously don't see any improvement in the Wildcats now that new coach Jay Hill has taken command.
At the conference media days in Park City, Utah on Tuesday, July 15 the media picked Weber State to finish 11th out of 13 teams --just ahead of perennial conference doormats Idaho State and Northern Colorado.
Now to hear Weber State being mentioned in the same breath as rival ISU or former Division II power Northern Colorado is a bit of a shock. But it tells you how far the Wildcats have fallen after Ron McBride retired and John L. Smith came and went to Arkansas in the middle of the night.
Smith's departure cast a giant dark cloud over the program, not just in the way he left Ogden--his alma mater--but in the way he left a football team without a leader and without an identity.
Being that Hill played under and learned from McBride and then got his coaching stripes under Urban Meyer and then Kyle Whittingham at Utah, one would sincerely doubt Hill cares even a whit, no pun intended, about some conference media poll.
If the Weber State athletics department cared about some poll, it certainly didn't show on Tuesday either--because there wasn't a word about it on the school's Web site. Instead the school focused on celebrating its only all-conference preseason selection, senior cornerback Deon’tae Florence—which is all well and good; it just doesn’t tell the whole story.
And the story is, Hill’s team will struggle mightily. Yep, there it is, black and white. For a team that went 2-10 there is little in terms of gray area. Even Hill should understand, as the media does, that the road ahead of this Weber State team is daunting to say the least.You can sugarcoat it, heck, you can even bury it under text--or in the case of Wildcat athletics staff, not discuss it at all.
The schedule in and of itself is without question harrowing, beginning with what will be a sure 60-point plus blowout loss at Arizona State of the Pac-12, and continuing with a tough home opener against FCS power North Dakota State. Those are just the first two games.
The slate just doesn’t let up until November, when winnable games against North Dakota, and the afore-mentioned doormats Idaho State and Northern Colorado take place. With this schedule, the Wildcats could be considered fortunate to go 3-9 overall. But even that is a better outcome than last year—when the football program was on life support.
So CPR has been performed on this valiant, hard-charging bunch of Wildcat kids; it’s just that the obstacles in their pathways won’t give them a chance to breathe until it’s too late.