After two down games and bye week the Cowboys are back in action. They also happen to be facing the undefeated #16 Fresno State Bulldogs. This is a unique game as kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. Mountain Time. Also the contest will be shown on ESPN 2, giving a very large audience of night owls to tune in. This a "white out" game with the Pokes wearing at home, and fans receiving free white ponchos on their way into the game.
Quick check in on the standings of the Pick Em' Contest.
|Rank||Pick Set Name||Total Pts||W-L|
|2||Macho Camacho Nacho||54||54-13|
|4||Heart Mountain Thunder||53||53-14|
Let's see what our panelists predict.
Pokes Pick: Brett Smith. The defense may not be able to stop anyone, but Brett should be able to have a good day.
Score: 49-35 Fresno
Thoughts on the game: I don't think this one will ever be close, unfortunately. The defense hasn't proven they can stop a nose bleed and the offense can only do so much. I hope I am wrong.
Pokes Pick: QB Brett Smith - The Wyoming quarterback should come out and throw for 300+ yards and rush for close to 100 yards and help keep the Cowboys in the game on Saturday. Fresno State's defense hasn't been overly dominating, especially in stopping top notch passers like Smith.
Score: Fresno State 45 Wyoming 38
Thoughts on the game: I'll pick the Bulldogs to win the game, though I see the Cowboys playing inspired and keeping the game relatively close with their offense led by Brett Smith. The Wyoming offense has shown the capability to both pass and run, and will be a test for the Bulldogs and should have some success moving the ball.
The Pokes should get a home field intangible benefit in playing at 7200 feet and in the cold weather, where they are more used to than their opponent. Head coach Dave Christensen's Cowboys also have the benefit of the bye week in preparation and resting up the team, plus the firing of defensive coordinator Chris Tormey and the promotion of Jamar Cain to the position may have a surprising effect. Potentially the hiring of long-time college D-Coordinator Bill Young could help in some unmeasurable ways in jump starting a struggling UW defense.
It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys perform with all the news developing over the last two weeks and this could end up being a big trap game for Fresno State, who has plenty of motivation in making a run at a BCS Bowl game.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cowboys pull the upset, though at this point I'll take Fresno State to win another shootout and Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr should make enough plays against a questionable UW defense, to pull victory out in the late night, cold contest on the high plains of Laramie.
Poke Pick: Jamar Cain/Dave Christensen
Score: FSU 34 Wyoming 30
Thoughts: I very rarely try to pick against the Pokes but I did it back in June (http://www.pokepride.com/1/post/2013/06/promising-season-for-cowboy-football-in-2013.html so I am going to stick with it. As you can see I went with Co-Pokes for the Poke Pick. If the defense looks in any way better head coach Dave Christensen will look like a genius for naming Cain as the interim defensive coordinator. If Cain can shore up the defense he may lose the interim title as the defensive coordinator. It is a big game for both and if it turns out well how could they not both be Pokes? I will say now if the team wins and the D' is a whole lot better they will be Pokes in the Pokes and Chokes on Poke Pride.
Score: 45 - 42 Fresno.
Thoughts on the game: Yeah, I picked against the Pokes. This is a really tough task for the Cowboys this week, even though they're coming off of a bye. New defensive coordinator Jamar Cain drew a pretty tough game for his first game leading the defense and I just don't think that's enough time to slow down Derek Carr. The guy is throwing for about 400 yards a game against anyone they play. Granted, their SOS hasn't been real tough, but they're having a lot of offensive success. The Cowboy offense has been prone to bouts of slumps throughout the game, and in a game against Fresno, and with the defense as it's been playing, they have to score on just about every possession to win. I had the same feeling about a third of the way through the San Jose State game. Brett Smith got off to a VERY slow start against the Spartans and that just can't happen here. Robert Herron and Dom Rufran have also been quiet at times throughout the game, and for the Pokes to win this they both need to have their names called early and often. The defense is just not getting the stops needed, and three and outs from the offense aren't putting them in a good spot. This game is undoubtedly going to be a track meet and the Bulldogs have proven they can out-sprint anyone. The Cowboy secondary is going to need to be on its heels with Devante Adams and Josh Harper both having terrific seasons so far. But you can't drop 7 into coverage and just expect to beat the Bulldogs because Marteze Waller and Josh Quezada are both very capable running backs who can do their own damage. This is a game the Cowboys are capable of winning. Fresno has looked VERY vulnerable at times this season, especially the last couple of weeks, and an ESPN2 game in Laramie in the cold and snow looks like an opportune time for the Cowboys to knock off the #16 team according to the BCS standings. Remember, if you're attending the game it's a white out! Wear your white and Go Pokes!