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Wyoming came off a surprise season in 2011. The Cowboys were picked to finish 6th in the Mountain West, but ended up 8-5 (5-2) to finish 3rd in the conference behind ranked Boise State and TCU. Here, I will list my predictions for the 2012 season. Keep in mind these are simply predictions from the eyes of a fan with a closet full of Brown and Gold. My attempt to be realistic are somewhat biased on teams’ momentum from last season, so who knows what could happen… I’m no sports expert and if every prediction came true there would be no reason to play the game, but this is what makes sports fun!
September 1st @ Texas Longhorns: Texas 41, Wyoming 17
The final game of a three game slate against the “mighty” Longhorns, Wyoming fans shouldn’t expect a win in this one, but I expect them to remain competitive and not get totally blown out of the water. Coming away from this game with no injuries and some confidence is a must for the Cowboys' remainder of the season. The teams are playing under different circumstances than the last two meetings. I expect Wyoming to keep close until the second half, when Texas’s overall physicality on defense will take over. However, Wyoming should be able to beat the spread with some big plays as long as they keep a lid on Texas’ inconsistent offense and are not afraid to be aggressive offensively.
September 8th Toledo Rockets: Toledo 28, Wyoming 24
A game that could definitely go either way, but Wyoming just might slip this one up late, though they have been dominant in games decided by less than a touchdown recently. While in recent years they’ve had some grinders in home openers, Toledo might be one the more underrated teams around. Toledo was explosive on offense last year, nearly beat Ohio State, and finished 9-4 including a shootout win over Air Force in the post season. This is a team that could run away with the game if Wyoming’s thinned out defense over looks them. The crowd at the War will need to come out in full force to keep them off balance and Wyoming’s defense ready.
September 15th Cal-Poly Mustangs: Wyoming 45, Cal-Poly 14
Wyoming’s only FCS scheduled opponent at home should be a cakewalk for the Cowboys. However, they need to exploit a weak defense to put points up because Cal-Poly was competitive in the Big West and moves up the Big Sky this year, and Wyoming has had a recent history of barely edging out FCS teams from the Big Sky. Wyoming should win big at home, though.
September 27th @ Idaho Vandals: Wyoming 37, Idaho 7
Not to discredit Idaho, but they really should move to the FCS. They have consistently struggled in one of the weaker conferences in college football. However, this is a team that has nothing to lose and could put up a competitive fight, especially if Wyoming gets off to a sloppy start. I expect the Cowboys to keep this game out of reach.
October 6th @ Nevada Wolfpack: Nevada 28, Wyoming 17
This one could honestly go either way. While Nevada finished 7-6 (5-2) in the WAC and Wyoming finished 8-5 (5-2) in the MWC, Nevada’s 2011 very tough preseason schedule drug the win column down. I think it will be close, and a Wyoming win is certainly not out of reach, but Nevada’s offense at home might be a little too much for the Cowboys at the game’s end, especially since the early bye-week may hurt some early season momentum.
October 13th Air Force Falcons: Wyoming 17, Air force 10
The War should be rocking due to the importance of this conference game. The Academy's running attack has taken a blow recently, and if Wyoming stays balanced and doesn’t try to force anything, they should pull this one out in a close one. Defense is will be a deciding factor in who wins this game.
October 20th @ Fresno State Bulldogs: Wyoming 24, Fresno State 10
I had a hard time predicting this one, but I think Fresno State will have too tough of a time containing Wyoming’s offensive attack, which must be quick starting and composed on the road. This one could also swing either way but look for a Poke win here.
October 27th Boise State Broncos: Boise State 31, Wyoming 14
A one point hiccup to an impressive TCU team kept Boise State out of the BCS mix last season, and Chris Petersen seems to lock and reload every season. While I think Wyoming will keep this one respectable and may turn a few heads, I don’t think a win here is likely. Remember though, a mediocre 2006 UW squad only lost to a BSU team 17-10 that went on to win the Fiesta Bowl. Hopefully this late season matchup can generate a sellout on national TV.
November 3rd Colorado State Rams: Wyoming 27, Colorado State 14
Rivalry games can always go one way or another despite a difference in teams’ records, but Wyoming at home versus a rebuilding CSU team that has struggled in recent years seems to be too much, espcially losing in 2010 to a 3-9 Wyoming team 0-44. Look for a CSU team hungry for the boot to key in on some defensive mistakes and hang closer, though.
November 10th @ New Mexico Lobos: Wyoming 21, New Mexico 7
I don’t think struggling New Mexico is much of a threat to a rising Wyoming team, but under the helm of Bob Davie this one could be closer than one might think. The Lobos are just too inconsistent to have much of a chance of an upset here, however.
November 17th @ UNLV Rebels: Wyoming 35, UNLV 14
While UNLV does get a home field advantage and "new helmets", I think they’ll only hang around with the Cowboys for a while before Brett Smith lights up the board in the passing game. The Rebels will score a few times late to keep it closer than it really was, and settle to the bottom of the Mountain West.
November 24th San Diego State Aztecs: Wyoming 28, San Diego State 21
While Wyoming’s win on the road was somewhat of a fluke last season, SDSU is losing most of its offensive weapons. Wyoming will be playing its season finale at home and being late in the year, I see weather being the primary factor against a much offensively-weakened team from southern California.
Predicted Wyoming Record: 8-4 (6-2), 3rd in the Mountain West Conference, New Mexico or Poinsettia Bowl Invite (if Boise State lands in a BCS game).