Knudson: And Away We Go
By Mark Knudson, The Mtn. InsiderSeptember 1, 201
Ah, September. Best month of the year. It’s kickoff time.
It’s also time for some stellar non-conference match-ups. We’ve got three juicy ones this week alone with opportunities for the MW to measure itself against some AQ competition. We’ll be keeping a ‘plus-minus’ sort of scoreboard on that as the non-conference season unfolds and see how the MW teams are doing against the so-called big boys. But first… GAME OF THE WEEK: Colorado State (0-0) at New Mexico (0-0)
We interrupt the non-conference schedule to bring you this special first time ever (?) Conference game in Week One of the MW season. I could be wrong, but I believe this is the first time there’s been a league game to open the season in Conference history. At least I can’t remember one. And this one is important for both teams looking for better things in 2011.
New Mexico’s struggles have been well documented. They need to show considerable improvement for Mike Locksley to keep his job. And the Lobos will be much improved this season. But so will CSU. And the Rams have a year or so head start in their rebuilding process. Nowhere is that advantage going to be more evident than under center. CSU’s Pete Thomas is coming off an up and down freshman season and it’s fair to expect marked improvement in him.
Meanwhile, when Stump Godfrey left the Lobos during the offseason, it set UNM back a bit. New Mexico has the home field, which will help them a lot. But CSU should still win this one to give them a jumpstart on gaining a bowl bid this season.
CSU 23, New Mexico 17 UNLV (0-0) at Wisconsin (0-0) (Thursday night…vs. AQ Game 1)
The first of our ‘vs. AQ’ games. Last time we saw the Big Ten Champion Badgers, they were getting whipped by the MW Champion TCU Horned Frogs. Different setting, different teams.
Wisconsin 44, UNLV 20 TCU (0-0) at Baylor (0-0) (Friday night…vs. AQ Game 2)
The big question: Can TCU find the right replacement for Andy Dalton? Is Casey Pachall the answer? We’ll find out. Another question looms, however: Can TCU’s defense slow down Heisman candidate/Olympic hurdler Robert Griffin III? This is no ordinary QB. He can take over a game by himself.
The Frogs were a truly great team last season. Something tells me it’s going to take them a little bit of time to hit their stride this year. Meanwhile, Baylor is primed.
Baylor 24, TCU 21Boise State (0-0) at Georgia (0-0) (vs. AQ Game 3)
Could this be the Broncos year? They’ve been everywhere but to the very top of the mountain and now in their first year in the Mountain West, they’re primed to take another shot at it.
Heisman candidate Kellen Moore sparkled in last season’s opener against Virginia Tech and there’s no reason to expect he won’t do the same against a Bulldogs team that is coming off their first losing season since 1996.
Boise State 38, Georgia 23 South Dakota (0-0) at Air Force (0-0)
A nice tune up for the Falcons before hosting TCU next week.
Air Force 51, South Dakota 16 Cal Poly (0-0) at San Diego State (0-0)
Rocky Long’s start won’t be.
San Diego State 40, Cal Poly 10 Weber State (0-0) at Wyoming (0-0)
Wyoming doesn’t face the murder’s row slate of a year ago, but Weber State is no pushover.
Wyoming 23, Weber State 20
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