Wyoming Football: First Look At The 2020 Schedule
How many wins will the Cowboys earn in 2020?
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Taking a look at Cowboys schedule.
The Mountain West released its football schedule a few weeks ago and we are now going to breakdown the Wyoming Cowboys schedule in a few different areas.
We will have a record prediction using SP+ and ESPN FPI PI which ranks the Cowboys at No. 77 FPI and 90 in SP+ preseason rankings. Plus how the schedule is set up from when rivalries are played, off weeks, and tough stretches.
There are a lot of things we do not know about this Wyoming team and one key piece is quarterback which saw Levi Williams come in as a backup and ran and threw well in the Arizona Bowl in the 38-17 win. Williams rushed for 53 yards and rushed for a touchdown, but more importantly, he threw fairly well. His 11 of 26 is not a great percentage but he had three touchdowns and 234 yards, so his yards per attempt was good at nine and per competition at 21.2 yards per completion.
He is not necessarily the starter as Sean Chambers suffered an injury late in the year and was not going to be ready to practice this spring. There will very likely be a quarterback competition this fall. Both players have similar attributes but it does appear that Williams is a better thrower than Chambers, but the small sample size leaves that up in the air a bit.
“The fact both of these guys show a really good ability to run at times that are pre-determined and at times are unscripted, that really opens up our playbook,” head coach Craig Bohl said in February. “Now we would not like to have them run as much as we have, but the dual-threat of both of those guys I think warrants that both of them are going to get a really hard look.”
Sept. 5 Weber State (N/A)
Sept. 12 at Louisiana – (SP+: 51 | FPI: 61)
Sept. 19 Utah – (SP+: 31 | FPI: 24)
Sept. 26 at Ball State – (SP+: 84 | FPI: 94)
Oct. 10 at UNLV – (SP+: 121 | FPI: 117)
Oct. 17 San Diego State – (SP+: 74 | FPI: 88)
Oct. 24 Air Force – (SP+: 65 | FPI: 76)
Oct. 31 at Colorado State – (SP+: 79 | FPI: 96)
Nov. 7 Utah State – (SP+: 100 | FPI: 95)
Nov. 14 at Nevada – (SP+: 110 | FPI: 98)
Nov. 21 Boise State – (SP+: 38 | FPI: 51)
Nov. 28 at New Mexico – (SP+: 122 | FPI: 124)
1. Wyoming should be back bowling, probably?
Looking at these advanced numbers it seems that the Cowboys are a fringe bowl team. It could have something do with the lack of offensive scoring from last where they scored only 25.4 points per game which was below average in the conference.
That may change with the quarterback seemingly better with either Chambers or Williams under center. Wyoming also has arguably the best running back in the conference in Xazavian Valladay and an offensive line that is going to be even better in 2020.
These early preseason rankings seem to have some quirks but also the Cowboys have a fairly tough non-conference schedule, but even with that they should make a bowl game with probably at least seven wins. They host the former Mountain West team in Utah and even with the Utes returning the least amount of experience in the country, it will be a tough game. Ball State and Louisiana are toss-ups with the latter being a team that could be a loss with it being on the road.
2. Cowboys home schedule makes them contenders.
All of the tough games for Wyoming come at home for conference play. San Diego State, Utah State, Boise State, and Air Force are at home. That makes for a pretty nice setup for Wyoming to compete for a Mountain West division title. Going to Colorado State may not be easy as it is a rivalry game but also the Patrick O’Brien to Warren Jackson combination in the passing game.
Cowboys likely won’t win all of those games but getting the best competition at their place where there is a pretty good home-field advantage gives them a chance to realistically winning half of those.
3. People will write off this team early but shouldn’t.
The non-conference schedule is not easy taking on a Weber State team that has been able to play at a high level at the FCS level behind head coach Jay Hill, Utah is from the Pac-12, Louisana should be the favorite to win the Sun Belt and then going on the road to Ball State who should be an upper end of the MAC. If the Cowboys are 2-2 or even 1-3 they will be coming from behind and surprise some teams once they go on a winning streak.
Hardest stretch: at Lousiana, vs. Utah, at Ball State
Easiest stretch: at Colorado State, vs. Nevada, vs. Utah State
Guaranteed wins: Weber State, at New Mexico, UNLV
Guaranteed losses: Utah
Worse than 50/50 games: Boise State, Air Force
50/50 games: San Diego State, at Ball State, at Louisiana, at Colorado State
Better than 50/50 games: Utah State, Nevada
Preliminary projected record: SP+: 5-7 | FPI: 7-5