The Aggies have a pretty wild schedule for the 2009 season.
The team gets three straight home games to start the year off - vs. Idaho, Prairie View A&M and UTEP. First off, beginning the year with a conference game is not conventional. I think in this case, it is good for the Aggies and the Vandals. Both teams have had their struggles lately and both will see it as an opportunity to sneak out a win early in the season. I do think it plays in NMSU's favor for two reasons. The first is obvious, it is a home game. And the second is that the Aggies will come out fired up under DeWayne Walker. No better way to get a new era going than to come out and get a conference win off the bat. It's a fresh start.
What's going to happen against UTEP and UNM? It's really anyone's guess. The Aggies have beaten the Miners the last two seasons. So they should have some confidence going in, even if both teams are drastically different from past years. Going up to UNM, it's going to be a tough task. The Lobos are starting out new too though. Nobody really knows what either team is going to bring to the table.
NMSU gets the underbelly of the WAC schedule out of the way very early. They open with the Vandals and then their second conference game of the season is against Utah State. NMSU could open the year 2-0 in WAC play - quite easily actually. Everyone will be jumping for joy. But then the real tests will come. At Louisiana Tech followed by a home date against Fresno State. Both teams should be solid. At Ohio State before the bye. I could do without that game smack-dab in the middle of the schedule. And the last four games of the year are absolute monsters. At Hawaii, hosting Nevada, at San Jose State and at Boise State. The WAC is a darn good football conference. Those last four games on the schedule will be real tough to win all the way around.
It's tough to predict NMSU's record simply because we don't know how they'll play under Walker. Each team takes on their own personality and NMSU's is really being developed right now during spring ball. I think they'll win four games this year, maybe five. I actually think in DeWayne's first year that's a decent step in the right direction.