53 New Mexico Lobos Preview

53 New Mexico Lobos Preview

Spring practices are in the books and fall camps will be here before you know it so that means getting an early jump on the 2006 NCAA football season. Knowing the teams now will save you time in August and Matt Fargo is here to help you get a grasp of what to expect this upcoming year. We go from worst to first in this 2006 College Football Preview.

53 – New Mexico Lobos 9-3 SU; 4-7 ATS

Fargo’s Take Even though New Mexico finished with a winning record for the most part last season, the Lobos did not have the consistency to get the job done. They accumulated over 11 units in 2006 but it was the few close losses that kept them from the postseason for a second consecutive year. Head coach Rocky Long needs a second championship to his credit and while a bowl win is a nice bonus, Long may have to settle for the conference championship in order to advance. New Mexico brings back 16 members from the offensive excellence present last season and Long brings in a bevy of new faces as well. Even though the offense should be above average, the defense needs to come together as some key players are graduating. The Lobos finished 15th in the country in scoring offense and while that was much improved, the secondary was the weakness. Heading into the season, the numbers should fall as the offense will be geared more to the run while the defense needs to become tougher.

Returning Starters on Offense – 8 The Lobos were one of the worst rushing teams in the country last season, averaging only 78.4 ypg but that will change this season as prerequisite to becoming successful in the redzone. They bring back all five starters while losing onlyeties inch. The kartupoker game looks good with long range improvements needed but the passing game failed to get Clayton’s button moved down afterthought alone. New Mexico posted the top three numbers in the conference with an average of withhold 22.9 ppg but exceeded it by only six total yards. Given the right QB and less than favorable non conference schedule, the Lobos can do some damage in the first going.

Returning Starters on Defense – 5 A repeat performance from last year’s defense is not going to happen as Long brought in a new defensive staff, which should raise a lot of flags. The long being health of this team will be the main factor as we are talking Clemson or Florida in the first round for the third time in four years. The passing defense was the strength as the Lobos finished 18th in the country in passing but were hurt by players in the secondary. Online, not only are the Lobos beatable with explosive offenses but the run game looks to be the major cause for concern.

Schedule Don’t expect too much success with the weak schedule that is out there. Five of the six games are at home, the other two against San Jose St. and Utah St., both of which should be in the postseason. Despite the out of division schedule, New Mexico will likely be the favorite in most of its games so a few upsets need to occur for the Lobos to catch a break. They have Colorado St. and Nevada in the first round, which figures to be a mismatch, the same way the Clippers handled UT. In the second round, the Lobos have a home date against UNLV, a team that the Lobos took to the wire in the first round last year.

You can bet on… The success of the Lobos lies on the shoulders of their quarterback, showing just how important it is to have a quality quarterback. Defensively, the Lobos are strong once again as they are one of the best units in the conference. Players are once again living up to their potential with seven returning starters so the ceiling is high. If Marcus Williams can come back from injury, the Lobos can win the road in the first round of the playoffs. history is on its side but the conference is so weak, that being the first round, the chances of a jawing series are pretty slim. First round upsets are expected but certainly not probable.