A couple of Mountain West teams desperate to get a win will meet up Friday night as the Colorado State Rams visit the New Mexico Lobos. Kickoff is at 8:00 EST on Friday, October 11 at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fans can catch the game on CBS Sports Network.
The Week 7 college football odds list Colorado State as 4-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the contest is set at 66.5 points.
Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo is currently sitting on one of the hottest seats in the country. Coming off a 3-9 record last year, the Rams have started 1-5 and are in serious danger of missing a bowl game for a second straight year. To be fair, two of CSU’s losses have come against power-conference teams while the other three have come against top-flight mid-major programs like Toledo, Utah State, and San Diego State. But that’s not enough of an excuse for starting 1-5 with the team’s only win coming against Western Illinois. With games against Fresno State and Boise State still left on their schedule, the Rams face an uphill climb with regard to getting to a bowl game. They face a must-win game this week against New Mexico. If Colorado State loses, Bobo’s fate could be sealed.
Things haven’t gone much better for the Lobos, who have been a little distracted by the ongoing health issues of head coach Bob Davie, who has been forced to miss games this season. New Mexico has managed to beat Sam Houston State and New Mexico State in their two home games but has suffered road losses to Notre Dame, Liberty, and San Jose State. After going 3-9 in each of the past two seasons, this was supposed to be the year that the Lobos took a big step forward. We’ve not yet seen a big jump from New Mexico this year. But if they can continue to hold serve at home, they’ll have a chance to get to a bowl game, meaning Friday’s game is a make-or-break point in their season.
The Lobos are also trying to put an end to a 9-game losing streak at the hands of Colorado State. The Rams have won each of their yearly meetings with New Mexico dating back to 2010. On the bright side, the Lobos are getting close, as the last two games between these teams have been decided by three points or less. But New Mexico hasn’t been able to get a win with Davie going 0-7 against the Rams in his career.
This game means a lot to both teams, but it’s a game that Colorado State must win. It’s over for Bobo and the Rams if they lose this game. That should provide them with all of the motivation they need. Plus, despite their 1-5 record, I respect the difficulty of the schedule that Colorado State has played. Playing a team with New Mexico’s talent level should be a breeze, so I’ll lean toward the Rams to win and cover.
Turnovers have been the name of the game for New Mexico this season. The Lobos turned the ball over six times last week against San Jose State, who isn’t exactly known for its ball-hawking defense. On a short week, I question whether the Lobos have had enough time to clean up their ball security issues.
Plus, even when the New Mexico offense hasn’t turned the ball over, they haven’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut. All three quarterbacks who have played this season are completing under 50% of their passes on the season. Those three have also combined for six touchdown passes compared to 10 interceptions. In fairness, running back Ahmari Davis has rushed for at least 96 yards in every game except the loss to Notre Dame. But I don’t think Davis will be enough against Colorado State. At some point, one of the New Mexico quarterbacks will have to step up and provide some consistent production.
On paper, the Colorado State defense has had a world of troubles this year. The Rams are allowing over 36 points per game. But they’ve also played a difficult schedule and faced teams that are far above their talent level. That won’t be the case against New Mexico. The Rams are also coming off their best defensive performance of the season, holding San Diego State to under 100 yards rushing and only 24 points. That kind of performance bodes well for them against the New Mexico offense.
Of course, the CSU offense has struggled since losing quarterback Collin Hill to a torn ACL. Backup Patrick O’Brien has yet to hit his stride and senior running back Marvin Kinsey has ineffective last week against San Diego State. But again, the Lobos aren’t nearly as talented as the other teams CSU has played this year. There should be some holes in the New Mexico defense for Kinsey to find and help open up things for O’Brien and the passing game.
If New Mexico had played a little better the past couple of weeks, I might be a little worried about Colorado State in this game. But the Lobos have lost to bad teams, so I don’t like their chances against a decent CSU team that has played a tough schedule. Against an inferior team, I like the Rams to get a much-needed win and cover the 4-point spread.