2016 was an up and down season for the New Mexico Lobos Football Team. The Lobos started the season 2-3 before going on a five game winning streak. They then lost at Colorado State before beating Wyoming in the season finale. They finished third in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference behind Wyoming and Boise State. Wyoming, Boise State, and New Mexico had identical records at 6-2 in the conference but, by virtue of a tie breaker, Wyoming represented the Mountain Division in the conference championship game.
The University of Texas-San Antonio, under first year head coach Frank Wilson, is in a bowl game one year removed from from a 3-9 record. Like the Lobos, the Road Runners started the season slow by only winning one of their first 4 games. Then, they won four of its next five games. The Roadrunners then lost their momentum and their next two games. One of those games was against Texas A&M in College Station. A game where they covered the spread as a 27 point underdog. In their final game, the Roadrunners beat Charlotte 33-14 to become bowl eligible. For even more winners see our additional free picks .
One element that makes this game difficult to pick or even try to handicap the odds is that UTSA went 6-5-1 this season against the spread. New Mexico went 6-6 against the spread. So, my next step is to take it to the schedule. Were there any common opponents? Not much help there either. They shared Colorado State as an opponent. They both had to go on the road. They both lost. New Mexico was a 7 point underdog to Colorado State and lost 49-31. The Road Runners were a 9 point underdog going into Ft. Collins. They lost the game 23-14, but came out with the push against the spread. UTSA finished the season 4-1 against the spread and was 4-2-1 against the spread as an underdog. During Mew Mexico’s five game winning streak, they went 4-1 against the spread.
New Mexico comes in with one advantage in this football game already. They are playing at home. Not many teams get to stay home for their bowl games. The comfort factor is something to take into consideration. They have the number one rushing offense in the country, but they have also shown improvement throughout the season in the passing game. On the flip side of that though, their secondary needs to step up and be able to put some stops together. The secondary has given up a lot of yards through the air this year.
UTSA needs to have great play from their defensive front. This is an area that has gotten better as the year has gone along, and if they want to stop the #1 rushing team in the country, they have to be ready to play. They also have to continue their high conversion rating on third down which leads to keeping their offense on the field longer than the more potent New Mexico offense. Finally, like any other football game ever played, this game will be won and lost in the trenches. The offensive line for UTSA has to have a solid game or this one may be over from the onset.
Most predictions I have seen give UTSA little or no chance to win this game. It’s very possible that this game could become a shoot out. In fact, I have seen some score predictions that point at just that. In the end, I believe that New Mexico has way too many weapons for UTSA to over come. My prediction: New Mexico 38 UTSA 24. New Mexico will win this game and cover the spread. My betting money is on the Lobos -7.