Whether you’re ready or not, college football is back Saturday with four games on the schedule. No, there aren’t any big boys playing on the first Saturday of the year, and a lot of people don’t even consider this Week 1, but we have college football action nonetheless. Colorado State and Wyoming are probably the most recognizable schools playing today, so what does that tell you. Wyoming only because it’s the school that Josh Allen attended.
Allen gave Wyoming a solid couple of years as their starting quarterback. He wisely bypassed his senior season and declared for the draft. With a high pick in his future, there wasn’t any reason to stick around in Wyoming. Allen has shown some serious potential in the preseason thus far with the Buffalo Bills. His arm looks stronger than ever and certainly the strongest out of the 2018 draft class. I think the Browns are going to dearly regret passing on him and going with Baker Mayfield.
He didn’t put up gaudy numbers at Wyoming, especially in 2017. He threw for 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in his final college season. Those don’t look like numbers that immediately resonate as a top-10 selection in the draft. However, Allen was doing it all on his own offensively.
He didn’t have any weapons to operate with, yet he still made it work well. Now, Wyoming must find a new quarterback to fill rather large shoes. The Cowboys landed on redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal over senior Nick Smith. Just like Allen, the goal is going to be the same for Wyoming. Allow the defense to control the game and wear down opponents. Even with an arm like Allen’s, Wyoming relied on its defense. No defense and we’re talking about Josh Allen playing on a 3-win team.
The New Mexico State Aggies had to find a new quarterback as well, with the departure of Tyler Rogers. The Aggies will also be looking for a receiver to replace the talented Jaleel Scott, who was selected by the Ravens in the fourth-round. This game will likely come down to which offense gets acclimated and more comfortable quicker with their new quarterbacks. Head below for the rest of our writeup and free Wyoming vs. New Mexico State pick.
Wyoming Cowboys vs. New Mexico State Aggies Betting Odds:
vs. New Mexico State +3.5(+105)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Wyoming vs. New Mexico State Pick:
By New Mexico State standards, the Aggies had a quality year in 2017. They went to their first bowl game since 1960 and won the Arizona Bowl. The Aggies beat Utah State by a score of 26-20 in overtime to finish the year at 7-6. They certainly wish that they still had Tyler Rogers at quarterback and Jaleel Scott to throw to. Junior college transfer Matt Romero will look to will the void.
New Mexico State had their passing offense buzzing in 2017. The arm of Rogers is what got them to a bowl game. The Aggies finished the season 6th in passing yardage per game and attempted the second-most passes in the FBS. Don’t expect their offensive philosophy to change much. They will continue to pass the ball often under Romero. However, perhaps initially, New Mexico State won’t open up everything for him. Wyoming has a defense that could quickly kill his confidence right out of the gate.
This isn’t a matchup that Romero is likely ecstatic to see. The Cowboys’ defense is fast and physical, they will get after him all night long and give him a nice welcome to the FBS. Wyoming allowed just 17.8 points per game a season ago and only 4.7 yards per play. 17.8 points per game was good for 13th in the nation. Opposing teams passed for just 160.7 yards per game for 5th in college football. Wyoming also returns Carl Granderson who recorded 9.5 sacks in 2017. Linebacker Logan Wilson also returns with his 119 tackles. Granderson and Wilson come back in 2018 as all-conference candidates.
The New Mexico State defense has made massive strides in recent years. They went from allowing 38.8 points per game to 29.7 points last season. All three of their best pass rushers are back for 2018. I expect to see another leap in the right direction for a defense that was showing signs of breaking out a year ago. Along with Vander Waal getting his first ever college start, Wyoming will be operating with three freshmen along the offensive line. There is little experience for the Cowboys on that side of the ball. This was an offense to begin with who wasn’t putting up big numbers with Josh Allen and the three offensive lineman who are now gone.
For a New Mexico State defense who were going in the right direction in 2018, they should be able to get after Vander Waal in this matchup. Defense should rule the field on Saturday, as they put a lot of pressure on the first-year QB’s. A 21-17 or 23-20 final looks accurate, which would produce a winning pick on the UNDER. Note, just by rule, I play the first two or three weeks of the college football season smaller than I do thereafter.