Panel Of Pokes: The Grand Finale?

Ethan Miller

The Aggies will try and eat your children.


Next Game

Wyoming Cowboys
@ Utah State Aggies

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013, 12:00 PM MST
Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium

TV: Root Sports

Complete Coverage >


Is the last Wyoming football this year?  The last game Dave Christensen will coach in Laramie?  Our panels in with their thoughts in this latest installment of Panel of Pokes.

Brad Reed - WyoNation

Poke Pick: Brett Smith. Last game of the season, post season on the line. Why not? Smith is a gamer and has nothing to lose here. Put the ball in his hands and let him do what he does best. Last week he only put up 640 yards.. only. Utah State has a pretty salty defense and if the Pokes are going to compete in this game the defense has to be kept off balance, which means letting Brett Smith do Brett Smith things.

Score: Utah State 48. Wyoming 30.

Thoughts on the game: It sure would be nice to be optimistic about this game and say, "HELL YEAH! A shot at the post season on the line and a chance to ruin Utah State's chance at going to the Mountain West title game! Saddle up, we're kickin' their ass!" Unfortunately the Cowboy defense has given up more than 45 points a metric ton of times in the last few weeks. I've lost count how many consecutive games. Four, maybe? Firing Chris Tormey wasn't the solution (well, maybe it was, I dunno).. the fact that we have 15 people to play 11 spots on a 85 scholarship team is pretty damn sad. Recruiting defensive players has to be a priority. We have some very talented players on defense now, but when they're on the field for 35-40 minutes a game things get a little weird. Utah State is without the services of Mr. Charles F. Keeton (and have been for a while) but Darell Garretson has been a serviceable backup. Joey DeMartino is a fine running back who may have a field day against the Wyoming defense. I would love to say that we're going to the post season and ruining USUs day.. but I just don't see it.

Will Dave Christensen be back next year? Man.. I just don't see it. This season has been awful in just about every way. The Cowboy offense is still one of the most lethal in college football (not Baylor, but you know), but the defense may as well not even exist. The defense has been a problem for just about every single year DC has been around. We're now on our third defensive coordinator in five years. I get the feeling that DC doesn't play nice with others and perhaps meddles in defensive game planning despite being one of the best offensive minds in college football. The attrition rate on the team is VERY high for college football, and the depth on the team is very poor. At the beginning of the season Christensen boasted that this was the deepest team he's had since he's been here. The only position we're deep at is wide receiver and running back.. and probably the linebackers. We have ZERO depth at offensive line, zero depth in the secondary, and some depth on the defensive line but they're still getting roasted every game. That's not depth. It's poor recruiting and not keeping your players happy with being a Wyoming Cowboy.

And don't even get me started on the expectations that are put on this team every single year, and every single year we're (as fans) kicked in the gut. Wyoming was picked to be a contender in the Mountain West, maybe upset Boise and play in the Mountain West championship.. instead we're playing the last game of the season hoping for the magical six wins, but even then would be left out in the cold come bowl picking time. The Cowboys need a change of direction. There are some talented coaches on the coaching staff, but that's not equaling wins. What happens from here? Hard telling. Will Tom Burman still be employed? Will both DC and Burman both go? Lots of questions and the next few weeks should be telling. I can say that the outcry from the fan base will be loud this off season and I can't help but think that recruiting is being severely impacted right now.

Joe Tiller, Paul Roach... where are you?


Ian McMackin - GoWyoGo

Poke Pick: QB Brett Smith: I'll go with the player that has been the key for the Cowboys all season. Brett Smith will lead the Pokes in total offense once again.

Score: Utah State 41 Wyoming 21

Thoughts on the game: The game will feature the Wyoming strength in it's offense versus a good Utah State defense that arguably is the best in the Mountain West right now. The Cowboys aren't helped by a injury riddle offensive line that will be facing an Aggie defense that can pressure the quarterback and it doesn't bode well for the Pokes.

While I think the Cowboys will make some plays on offense and score a few touchdowns, It is hard to see Wyoming moving the ball at ease, as they did against the San Jose State or Hawaii games. For the Pokes to have a chance, they are really going to have to find away to run the ball and score consistently on Saturday and it will be a tough task versus USU's solid defense.

On the flip side, Utah State lost their talented quarterback Chuckie Keeton earlier in the season and don't have quite the prolific offense as Fresno State or Boise State, though they have the capability to make plays on offense and against a Wyoming defense that hasn't stopped anybody.

I do see the Cowboys coming out an playing inspired with bowl eligibility on the line and could be a close game heading into halftime, while Utah State has plenty to play for themselves with a Mountain Division championship on the line.

How do the Cowboys pull the upset? Produce a lot of turnovers and play above their heads defensively, while finding different routes to scoring and not becoming predictable. It seems like a lot to ask for a defense that has given up at least 48 points in the last five games. 

Will Dave Christensen be back next year? From talking with some folks I know, Christensen will have to win this game to save his job. He wins and the Pokes go bowling, I think he'll be around for sixth year, but that's not a guarantee. The Cowboys are relatively young and don't lose a lot of seniors and perhaps another year with the right additions, the program can turn the corner in 2014.

****************************

Matt Blaylock - Poke Pride

Poke Pick - Brett Smith

Score - Wyoming 31 Utah State 29

Thoughts - I know it was just Hawaii but Brett Smith looked to be back and that is good news for the Cowboys. Look for Smith to follow last weeks performance up with one more good week. Both teams will be motivated one going for a bowl birth and the other looking to play in the inaugural MW Championship Game. This game will come down to who executes better, the Cowboys offense or the Aggies defense. Wyoming has the 14th ranked offense in the country while Utah State has the 12th ranked defense in the country that is just a matter of who wants it more. I still believe this week Wyoming will want it more and in the end they will pull it out.

Will DC be back next year? - I went to this link http://www.ask8ball.net/ and I asked this question "Will Dave Christensen be back as Wyoming's head coach in 2014?" and the answer I got was "Most Likely"

****************************

Connor Cunningham - WyoNation

Poke Pick: Rob Herron- He has been on fire lately and him and Smith seem to be on the same page as of late. I expect Rob to continue to get balls thrown his way.


Score: 38-28 Utah State


Thoughts on the game:
I think the Pokes compete in this one, but with USU playing for a conference championship it will be tough to win. Unfortunately, this disappointing season comes to a close early and Wyoming stays home again for bowl season.

Will Dave Christensen be back next year?
If we win, yes. If we lose, no.

****************************

Matt Hargleroad - Cowboy Altitude

Poke Pick: Shaun Wick and Robert Herron who will both be gunning for the 1000 yard mark in this game.

Score: Utah State 34 Wyoming 10

Thoughts on the game: The Cowboy defense has struggled to stop anyone the second half of the season.  I expect that trend to continue in the season finale.  Utah State is highly motivated to clinch a trip to the Mountain West Championship game on their home turf.  The Cowboys are struggled to find 11 healthy players to put on the field.  The defense has been depleted and now the offensive line will be missing Tyler Strong and Albert Perez.  A weak offensive line means bad news when facing  the stellar defense of Utah State.

Will Dave Christensen be back next year?: A season of brightness and hope has turned dark over the last month.  With that decline we've seen faith in Christensen falter as well.  The defense has turned into a MASH unit with a unprecedented number of injuries.  The offense has put up impressive offensive numbers and made big strides this year.  I don't think the chances are great for Christensen returning if the Cowboys fail to become bowl eligible.  I think Christensen should be brought in 2014 regardless of the outcome on Saturday.  The Cowboys are only expected to two lose two senior starters on offense and defense.  This veteran team deserves to try and finish what they started together.  If things don't work in 2014 then Wyoming can start a new era in 2015 with a new coach who can begin rebuilding the roster the way they want.

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