Aug. 16, 2010
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If you are looking for a loud bang for your entertainment buck, here is a reasonable suggestion: University Stadium and the New Mexico Lobos.
Really, there isn't a better way to toss down a few dollars and get so much in return for the investment. You have a chance to spend several hours under a New Mexico sky and enjoy a fall climate that has few equals. You get to spend time with one of America's finest games and you get to support a lot of neat Lobos, who play the game with honest effort and pure passion.
For what you get, the price beats a couple of hours in a stuffy movie theater. A Lobo season ticket can be purchased for $72 bucks -- for six games. A single-game adult pass goes as low as $15. There is tailgating, too.
Here is another well-kept secret about the Lobos 2010 home schedule: It's one of the best ever and here are the six reasons why:
Reason No. 1: Texas Tech -- Sept. 11 -- 6 p.m.
First, these Red Raider people are from Texas. 'Nuff said. This visit fires up a prejudice that goes back to skiing days when we laid-back New Mexicans had to put up with cocky Lubbock types, who didn't seem to understand that if they were meant to ski, they would have a mountain. The Lubbock-ites were given a bunch of flat dirt, so they would have something to drive their pickups over, but they want more.
For sure, it was more fun not to be fond of Red Raiders when they had Coach Mike Leach. This guy reminded you of Neil McCarty from NMSU Aggie hoops or maybe Lute Olson from Arizona. Kind of obnoxious.
Reason No. 2: Utah -- Sept. 18 -- 6 p.m.
How sweet. The Utes are on a farewell tour of the Mountain West and don't you want to make this a special time for all Utes? Don't you want to clap and cheer for Utah and say, "Good luck in the Pac-10. We'll always be brothers."
No way you want to say that. You want to jump on the Utes just like every other MWC team wants to jump on the Utes. Utah is dumping the Lobos and the MWC for the Pac-10. The Utes are jumping ship, going to greener pastures, going big time -- so they think.
You have to be thinking every team and fan in the MWC has painted a target on the Utes back. Too good for us, huh? This is one of those games you want to pound the Utes on the scoreboard and then tell them not to let the MWC door hit them in the rear on their way to the Pac-10.
Of course, there is another reason you want to see this game. The Utes are darn good. That's why the Pac-10 wants them. Utah has been one of the class acts of the MWC in football and this is a game against a quality opponent that you don't want to miss. Heck, it might even be the Lobos last game ever with Utah.
Reason No. 3: UTEP -- Oct. 2 -- 4 p.m.
More Texans? You bet, but this isn't really about another chance to whup up on our neighbors to the East. UTEP is in El Paso. That's more South. It's still debatable if Texas even claims El Paso. But there is history between UNM and UTEP and not simply in football. UTEP is Don "The Bear" Haskins. This is a great rivalry game. This is tradition. This is geography.
The geography thing forms that triangle thing between Lobos, Miners and NMSU Aggies. It's the battle for I-25 supremacy and the bragging rights that come with it. This is important stuff.
The Miners were the Kings of I-25 last year. They spanked the Aggies and the Aggies spanked the Lobos. This is a chance for the Lobos to take an early lead in the I-25 race. It's also a key game in UNM's hunt for postseason play. The Lobos need to win the battle of I-25.
Reason No. 4: San Diego State -- Oct. 23 -- 8 p.m.
Two words: Rocky Long. OK, we know that you aren't supposed to say that name around these here parts, but when the Aztecs come to University Stadium, RL comes to town -- wearing Aztec red and plotting against all things Lobo.
Sure, RL was much loved as a Lobo coach and did much good. But he left us like a jilted lover. He signed a big contract, then grabbed a big buyout, and left us a depth-challenged UNM football team under NCAA probation. And RL didn't just leave UNM to fade off into retirement. He jumped from one MWC ship onto the deck of another. He is now an Aztec and you can't help but feel the sting -- like maybe something sharp is in your back.
Sure, for the Lobo coaches and players, it's just an important conference game and one of those 50-50 games that could determine if UNM makes a bowl in 2010. Blah blah blah. For many fans, there are bitter feelings here. There is no such thing as a no-fault divorce on the football field.
Reason No. 5: Wyoming -- Nov. 6 -- 4 p.m.
You almost hope this game is played in a blizzard to give the `Pokes some payback for trying to deep freeze our Lobos a year ago. But cold and ice is to the Cowboys what the hot sun is to a New Mexico lizard. So, let's hope for a heat wave.
Other than the 'Pokes trying to turn the Lobos into snowmen a year ago, the reason this game is attractive is because of where Wyoming ended the season in 2009. They ended it in Albuquerque. They ended it in the New Mexico Bowl. And winning.
What the Pokes did was go where the Lobos wanted to go. OK, the New Mexico Bowl isn't the New Mexico Lobos Bowl, but there is no doubt that the bowl loves to see the hometown Lobos at that dance. Do the Lobos have a chance at the NM Bowl in 2010? A win over Wyoming sure wouldn't hurt.
Reason No. 6: TCU -- Nov. 27 -- 2 p.m.
There are many, many reasons this game is attractive. One reason is it gives the Lobos a shot at making national news by knocking off a TCU team that could well enter this game undefeated and dreaming about perfection. The Lobos have a chance to be spoilers. The Lobos have a chance to put a major dent in the Frogs' season.
Another reason this is a great game is because TCU could enter this game undefeated and looking at perfection. This is a chance for Lobo fans to see one of the top teams in the nation and maybe even a TCU team on the way toward a national championship. Well, if they can get into a BCS bowl. That might be a tougher challenge than an undefeated season.
There are other reasons to be hot for an upset of TCU. The Frogs come from Fort Worth. But maybe that's just me.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and Sports Columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.