Wyoming Cowboys 2–4 (0−2 MWC) come home to Laramie to face #11 Utah Utes 5–0 (2−0 MWC) in a difficult Mountain West matchup. The Cowboys will battle another Top 25 team and should expect to be pushed around a bit.
This weekend the Cowboys will face the fourth Top Tier opponent of the 2010 season. The Pokes have already played three Top 5 ranked teams. No other team in the nation has faced that many highly ranked teams in 2010. The only team that has a remotely similar looking schedule is that of the Oregon State Beavers who also played TCU (#6), Boise State (#3), and took on Arizona (#9).
Do not fear Cowboys fans. The final half of the season is the most important for the Pokes. Wyoming finishes with five Mountain West Conference games, none of which are out of reach for the Pokes. Even if the Cowboys only win four of their last five, they will finish at 6–6 (4−4 MWC) and make themselves bowl eligible. I think that the Pokes could actually win all five games and end up 7–5 (5−3 MWC). Some may scoff at the idea of Wyoming finishing above .500 after the beating they have received courtesy of the Top 25, but I think that the Pokes have the ability to win those games.
Perhaps I am biased as a recent University of Wyoming graduate. Or perhaps because the Pokes are the only team that I root for outside of the Boston Red Sox. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.
Head Coach Dave Christensen has given sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels the nod for Saturday’s game. Unfortunately the Pokes often rely, sometimes too heavily, on the fast thinking and the quick feet of Carta-Samuels. Most teams in D-1 ride the shoulders of their quarterback. The Wyoming Cowboys do it more than most.
I don’t see much upside for the Cowboys other than gaining experience against a serious opponent. This will be the last time Wyoming and #11 Utah will face each other on the gridiron as MWC foes. At the end of this year the Utes will leave the MWC for the Pac-10 and the MWC will welcome the Boise State Broncos in their stead.
Prediction: #11 Utah Utes 37 — Wyoming Cowboys 13