I went through the schedule and highlighted the five biggest games, in my eyes, for the Aggies
Vs. Idaho (Sept. 5): Week 1 will always carry intrigue although this year’s version is really something else.
First off, it’s the first game in the DeWayne Walker era, something that cannot be overlooked or understated. A win would give Aggie fans something to point to as a new coach is hopefully guiding the program in a better direction. A loss, right or wrong, would symbolize that the team is well behind the eight ball.
Adding to the magnitude of it all is the fact that it’s a conference contest to open the season, a rarity, although something the team might also welcome. The Vandals and Aggies have been two of the worst programs within the WAC the past four seasons. Idaho has just ??? conference wins during that span, one of which came last year against NMSU. The Aggies struggles have been well documented in the past.
Simply put, it’s a big game for both programs and one each team feels it has a legitimate shot at winning. It should be fun.
Vs. UTEP (Sept.19): NMSU has won the last two games in this heated rivalry and looks to make it three straight this season when the two teams square off in Las Cruces.
The reality is that the Miners look to be a more talented team than the Aggies in 2009. But in rivalry games, anything can happen. Both teams will come out looking to knock off the other in a contest that could well go down to the wire – again.
At San Diego State (Oct. 3): The Aggies travel to Southern California to battle the Aztecs in a battle of mid-major teams under first-year head coaches.
There are some subplots in this one to keep an eye on. The main one is DeWayne Walker, who was a finalist to get the Aztec job before it went to Brady Hoke. In other words, SDSU passed on Walker for someone they thought was a better candidate.
At San Diego State (Oct. 3): made another big coaching hire during the offseason, picking up for University of New Mexico head coach Rocky Long to be the team’s defensive coordinator. It was a great hire by the Aztecs and Long has has an incredible knowledge of not only the Mountain West Conference, but also NMSU.
It’s also a good challenge for the Aggies. A road game, with the season really starting to heat up, against a team that has had it’s struggles too – although many consider a sleeping giant none-the-less.
Vs. Utah State (Oct. 10): Many expect the Utah State Aggies to be the surprise team of the WAC this season under first-year head coach Gary Anderson. They will come to Las Cruces after beating the Aggies last year in an embarrassing 47-2 season finale in Logan.
While the UtAgs are considered a darkhorse, the last two years NMSU was considered a sleeper by many as well. We all saw how that panned out. There is a lot of uncertainty in the air with each college football season. When this game comes up on the schedule, we will know a lot more about each of these teams. This contest will tell us even more.
Vs. Nevada (Nov. 21): On paper, the Wolf Pack are the most talented team to come to Las Cruces this year.
They will roll in late in the season, and every game will be critical for the program’s postseason aspirations. NMSU will likely be out of bowl consideration by that time, but playing the role of spoiler can be just as much fun. Even if the Aggies simply battle the Wolf Pack, it will be good to see.
This game also signals the arrival of Nevada quarterback Collin Kaepernick, one of the truly special players in college football.