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Yankee Stadium
The House That Ruth Built
Facility statistics
Location 161st Street and River Avenue
Bronx, New York 10451
Opened April 18, 1923
Owner New York City
Surface Grass
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Western Athletic Conference

Revamped for 2005, the Western Athletic Conference has added New Mexico State, Idaho, and Utah State. Even with these additions, the teams to beat are Fresno State and Boise State. The WAC has two automatic bowl bids and the rest of the WAC will be watching the bowl games. November 12, when Boise plays at Fresno State will determine the conference champion.2005 Predicted Order of Finish.1.

FRESNO STATE
After closing out the 2004 with six consecutives victories, including a bowl victory over Virginia, the Bulldogs are sure that they can beat last season's record. Part of the reason is that they have nine starters back for the offense, including senior quarterback Paul Pinegar. Also coming back will be their running back, Bryson Sumlin. There will very few holes to fill on the defense.

They have returned almost the entire unit led by All-WAC defensive tackle Garret McIntryre.2. BOISE STATE
With 17 starters returning, the Broncos plan to improve on their almost perfect record of 2004.

With the exception of their loss in the Liberty Bowl, it would have been the dream season. The offensive is led by Daryn Colledge in the line and senior Jared Zabransky at quarterback. Besides having a passing attack, they can count their leading rusher Lee Marks. The only junior, linebacker Korey Hall will be the leader on defense.

3. NEW MEXICO STATE
Paul Dombrowski, quarterback and wide receiver, and leading rusher Muammar Ali will be the backbone of the offense. The defense has six returning starters including linebacker Jimmy Cottrell.

Contrell has led the team in tackles for three consecutive years.4. NEVADA
Wide receiver Nichiren Flowers will try to beat his 2004 record of 91 receptions along with quarterback Jeff Rowe will be the focal point of an explosive offense. The defense has linebacker Jeremy Engstrom and defensive lineman J.

J. Milan returning along with six other members of the defensive unit. However, they will have to be better than in 2004 if they are going to be contenders.5. LOUISIANA TECH
Freddie Franklin will start as the running back. However look out for freshman Patrick Jackson who rushed for more than 3,000 yards and 58 touchdowns during his senior year in high school.

All three linebackers, including Bryon Santiago, have returned.6. HAWAII
The Warriors will have a completely new offense with quarterback Timmy Chang taking over at quarterback. Michigan transferee Kainoa Akina will be handling the center duties on the offensive line.

Three members of the defensive secondary will provide a stable influence.7. IDAHO
The Vandals have an experience team on both sides of the ball. Running backs Jayson Bird (859 yards0 and Rolly Lumbala (614 yards) along with quarterback Michael Harrington return for the offense.

A good group of linebackers, led by Cole Snyder (136 tackles last season) is the core of the defense. There a total of eight defensive returning starters.8. SAN JOSE STATE
For a team that went 2-9 last year, it will be a tough conference.

There is one excellent receiver, Rufus Skillern, on the team. There is only one quarterback (Adam Tafralis) on the team with any experience. Safety Josh Powell anchors the defense. In short, the Spartans are going to struggle.

9. UTAH STATE
Utah State needs a quarterback to go along with Chris Forbes, who led the team in rushing last season (396 yards, 3.7 yards per carry). Wide receivers Tony Pennyman and Kevin Robinson are solid.

It is going to be hard for Utah State to improve on their 3-8 record from 2004.

.Garth Belkins is the senior sports writer for 365SportsNews.com.

By: Garth Belkin



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