Panel Of Pokes: It's Howdy Doody Time

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pokes Travel To Colorado Springs for Mountain West Opener.



The Cowboys look to keep their momentum going with an early start to Mountain West play.  The oddsmakers now have the Pokes four point favorites.  That is a nice vote of confidence but you can always guarantee a close game when the Pokes and Falcons meet.  

Here are the latest top five standings in our Pick Em Contest.

Rank Pick Set Name Total Pts W-L
1 Heart Mountain Thunder 20 20-5
1 Macho Camacho Nacho 20 20-5
3 BlackBoisDen Broncos 20 20-5
4 Parson 20 20-5
4 WyoMidd 20 20-5

And now our panelists weigh in on the game this weekend.

Ian McMackin - GoWyoGo

Poke Pick: QB Brett Smith - The outlook is to have Brett Smith bounce back from a hurt ankle in the first quarter versus Northern Colorado and find his full mobility again. If he can get back to moving 100% in the pocket, I see him having a big game versus the Falcons.

Score: Wyoming 38 Air Force 28

Thoughts on the game: I wouldn't be surprised to see this game a close contest down to wire, the usual tough, close game between two conference rivals. On the flip side, I like the possibilities that the Cowboys come out on fire and making an ammends for last season's lost, a game they let get away in the second half. I'd expect the Falcons to play hard with their backs against the wall after two consecutive conference losses.

The Cowboys are the better team in my mind with more weapons and talent, while Air Force is down compared to past years. The game this weekend should be the Pokes to win, though history doesn't always guarantee the better team wins.

UW coach Dave Christensen remembers the situation last season with AFA coach Troy Calhoun and I think will have the Pokes ready to go in this very critical early season conference opener. When DC sets his mind to getting his team ready, an example in the 4-0 record against CSU, Wyoming tends to play well against teams they overmatch.

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Matt Blaylock - Poke Pride

Poke Pick - Dominic Rufran

Score: Wyoming 28 Air Force 27

On paper this year Wyoming leads Air Force in every offensive category so if this game was played on paper the Wyoming would run away with it. That is never how Wyoming/Air Force games go, no matter records they always seem to be close. The Pokes always have problems with the triple option and Air Force is bound to have problems with the speed that the Cowboys are playing on offense this year. This game is a redemption game for Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. Last season he had a meltdown after the Air Force game and it was all caught on video and it cost him some coaching time. He may not fake an injury to his quarterback but he will open the playbook like never before. That open playbook will be the difference as the Cowboys squeak this one out.


Connor Cunningham - WyoNation

Poke Pick: Sonny Puletasi- Sonny had a great game against Nebraska defending their option attack. I expect him to make some big plays Saturday night. 

Score:
35-24 Pokes

Thoughts on the game:
Wyoming is much improved defensively and have been preparing for this game all off season. DC wants this one bad, and I feel like the players want it just as bad.  We have a experience defending the option and have done well with it lately. I think the pokes get this one. 

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Brad Reed - WyoNation

Poke Pick: Brett Smith. Easy pick here, the Pokes are going to fling the football all over the field this week because Air Force has proven they cannot stop the pass. Brett was hobbled last week against Northern Colorado but he'll be back to full strength this week and will look to help Dave Christensen extract some revenge on Air Force.

Score: 38-24.
These games are never blowouts, these teams always play each other close. However, the Cowboy offense won't be stopped and they're going to put some points on the scoreboard this week. The team is amped for this game.

Thoughts on the game:
Pokes should win this one going away. Reports indicate that the team has been preparing for AFA for several weeks.. this game means a lot for the Pokes and if they want a chance to play in the first annual Mountain West championship game they will need to beat Air Force. Last time the Pokes were in Colorado Springs they played in what may have been a tornado that never actually danced through Falcon Stadium. Hopefully this time that will not be the case. The game is a late kickoff to accommodate the ESPNU broadcast. Brett Smith should regain his form this week after an injury last week which severely limited his mobility out of the pocket. Also returning this week is Jalen Claiborne who was serving a one game suspension. The combination of Herron, Rufran, and Claiborne are going to make life very difficult for the Air Force secondary. The emergence of Shaun Wick in the offense will keep the offense moving.

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