2022 New Mexico Football Non-Conference Preview

2022 New Mexico Football Non-Conference Preview

Mountain West Football

2022 New Mexico Football Non-Conference Preview


2022 New Mexico Football Non-Conference Preview

Checking in on the Lobos OOC opponents

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New Mexico hoping for some non-con wins

On May 31, 2022, UNM head football coach Danny Gonzales sunk his first hole in one at Spyglass Hill’s 152-yard No. 3 at Pebble Beach.

Not an easy accomplishment for anyone, let alone Gonzales, and it’s something he’s not a stranger to being the face of Lobos football.

The third-year head coach – who might reconsider his day job and stay on the links hitting shots like that – is attempting a rebuild a football program at the University of New Mexico.

UNM – Gonzales played for the Lobos from 1994-98 and is from Albuquerque’s North Valley –is near and dear to his heart.

Gonzales’ focus since he arrived back on University Blvd. and Central Ave. in The Duke City is to #win5. That would be the Lobos trying to win their fifth conference title in school history.

But with another important task during the season, is how to make a splash nationally with wins in the non-conference schedule.

What Gonzales and the Lobos must look forward to heading into the fall of 2022 is a spectrum of out-of-Mountain West Conference opponents. UNM faces a recognizable college football powerhouse and maybe one of the worst programs in the U.S.

Week 1: Maine

The Lobos host Maine to start the 2022 campaign on Sept. 3.

The Black Bears are a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and posted a 6-5 record in 2021.

But Maine will have a new look – with a familiar face – this fall. Former Maine player Jordan Stevens became the 37th head coach in program history. He’s a Maine graduate (2010).

This should be an easy win for Gonzales and the Lobos to kick off the season, hence why it’s ranked the 48th in Mountain West Wire’s non-conference match ups.

Week 3: UTEP

After an unusual Week 2 Mountain West match up with power Boise State, UNM will host a regional rival in UTEP. This coming off a bizarre, COVID-induced mess from El Paso in 2021.

Several Lobo players missed the game against the Miners because of COVID-19 protocols minutes before the game kicked off in the Sun Bowl. Not to mention, UNM blew a 13-3 halftime lead to lose 20-13.

However, this year with the game in Albuquerque, and both teams seem to be at even strength (although, Dana Dimel in his first year at UTEP earned a bowl bid and finished 2021 with a 7-6 record).

Expect this contest to be close regardless of record because of the regional rivalry. Ten of the last 15 meetings have been decided by eight points or less. That’s why this game is listed at No. 30 on Mountain West Wire’s non-conference games

Week 4: Louisiana State University

There is not much to say about the Lobos visit to Tiger Stadium. UNM hasn’t beaten a team from a Power 5 conference since 2008 (beat Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., 29-27, in 2007 and in Albuquerque in 2008, 36-28).

LSU should be favored in this game by 30 points or more.

This UNM-LSU tilt is ranked No. 37 for a reason.

Week 7: New Mexico State University

Perhaps what should be dubbed “The Toilet Bowl.” For more than a decade, these two programs (UNM and NMSU) have been the gutter of college football.

Aggies’ head coach Doug Martin’s contract was not renewed after nine seasons last year. He beat New Mexico twice in nine meetings.

The game has been single-digit affairs six times in the last seven years, but with NMSU having to essentially replace everyone in Jerry Kill’s first year, one would think that UNM should beat the Aggies handly.

That might not be the case with the 2022 edition of the Rio Grande Rivalry.

That’s why this game is ranked No. 17 on Mountain West Wire’s MWC non-conference games.



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