Predicting records for teams before spring practices have had a chance to take place is a difficult task. ESPN, and their SP+ algorithm, have attempted to make these predictions more analytical.
The SP+ is a number grade assigned to each team, the higher the number the higher the odds to win. Knowing all that, we can begin to figure out, tentatively, how the Wyoming Cowboys will fare for the 2021 season.
Wyoming SP+ (80)
Returning to face the Cowboys in his first game as a head coach, after spending six years as Wyoming’s offensive coordinator, Brent Vigen will get a chance to prove himself against a team that he knows very well.
Montana State isn’t ranked in the SP+, so with no other metric to go off of, other than an assumption, I will put this game as a victory for the Cowboys.
A new coach, going up against an established program like Wyoming’s makes me think that we will see an opening day victory.
@Northern Illinois SP+ (112)
According to SP+ Wyoming should win the second game of the season. NIU comes in at 112 on the SP+ rankings, while Wyoming sits at 80.
Ball State SP+ (71)
SP+ rankings will say that this game goes to Ball State, and analytically it looks like that is the case, but I will say that it will be a good game.
Both teams excel in areas where the other lacks, Ball State has good offense and poor defense, while Wyoming is the opposite. I see this being a great game, but the edge goes to Ball State.
@UConn SP+ (127)
This game should be won easily by the Cowboys. Having the better offense, and defense, the pokes should be able to leave Connecticut with a victory.
@Air Force SP+ (93)
The conference opener will go Wyoming’s way, with a win over Air Force in Colorado Springs.
@Boise State SP+ (39)
Boise State is a perennial contender for the Mountain West title, and 2021 should be no different. As much as I would like to give this one to Wyoming, realistically this will go down as a Wyoming loss.
@San Jose State SP+ (81)
Separated by just 0.2 SP+ points, this will be the tightest game of the season. Wyoming has three defensive edge and should pick up another victory.
@ Utah State SP+ (121)
The last road game of the season looks like it will be a Cowboy victory.
Colorado State SP+ (96)
Good news for Wyoming fans, the bronze boot should find itself back in the friendly confines at 7220 feet above sea level. After last year’s tough Border War loss, a win this year will feel great.
Fresno State SP+ (78)
Evenly matched, based on their SP+ rankings, this game will come down to who plays to their strengths the best while minimizing their mistakes. Wyoming is a defensive team, while Fresno State is a great offensive unit.
The teams are too evenly matched to really, accurately, predict a winner based on SP+, so with that in mind I will put this in the win column based on the fact that it is a home game and Wyoming is a notoriously difficult place to play in.
Hawaii SP+ (105)
Making the trip from the island to Wyoming is not a fun task, add the overwhelming SP+ ranking that Wyoming holds over them, it won’t be fun to be a Rainbow Warrior. Wyoming should add another victory to their season total.
New Mexico SP+ (74)
Wyoming rounds out the regular season with a victory over the Lobos in Laramie.
Final Record: 10-2
If these rankings are correct, Wyoming is in for a great 2021. It will be interesting to see how the season actually plays out with so many new faces among the coaching ranks.