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31 Jalen Washington miss a pass during spring practice at University Stadium on Friday, February 24.

OPINION: 2023 Lobo’s football schedule predictions

The University of New Mexico football team will begin to get back on track after a 2 - 10 season last year. This year on their schedule, six of the teams they played against went to bowl games, two were last season division winners and three are teams that go by the nickname “Aggies.”

Sept. 2. Texas A&M - Last Season: 5 - 7 - Bowl Game: None

This should be a loss for the Lobos against the Aggies. The team will go to College Station, Texas to collect their $1.6 million check for playing A&M. UNM played another member of the Southeastern Conference in their 38 - 0 loss against Louisiana State University last season. While the team might not be ready to compete against any team from the SEC, it will be a great learning opportunity to see how close the team is.

Sept. 9. Tennessee Tech - Last Season: 4 - 7 - Bowl Game: None

The home opener will end in a win for the Lobos. The Golden Eagles play in the Football Championship Subdivision below the Lobos. Talent trumps all in football and, in theory, any FBS team should beat an FCS team. Last season’s opener, the Lobos triumphed over Maine in a 41 - 0 win and the team should do something similar to Tennessee Tech.

Sept. 16. New Mexico State - Last season: 7 - 6 - Bowl Game: Quick Lane Bowl

The Battle of I-25 will be played in Albuquerque this season and will be a competitive loss for UNM. Unfortunately, these programs are just in two different places. While the Lobos lead the rivalry in all-time wins, the Aggies’ rebuild is ahead of schedule. The Lobos lost 21 - 9 to them. While a good crowd can change the pace of the game and they will have more stability in their offense, NMSU will find ways to score.

Sept. 23. Massachusetts - Last Season: 1- 11 - Bowl Game: None

UNM may have been second-to-last in scoring last season, but UMass was dead last. This will be a win for the Lobos. If the offense doesn’t score, it won’t matter because the defense should be able  to contain the Minutemen all-game. Their offense averaged 4.0 yards per play. The Lobo’s defense just needs to shut down their ability to run the ball.

Sept. 30. Wyoming - Last Season: 7 - 6 - Bowl Game: Arizona Bowl

The Lobos will have a very competitive start to conference play in Laramie, Wyoming but it will end in a loss. The last conference win the Lobos had was against Wyoming on Oct. 23, 2021 in a 14 - 3 game. Last year, the Lobos lost 27 - 14 against the Cowboys. With a depleted secondary quarterback, Andrew Peasley, he will be able to throw the ball downfield more confidently than the past couple of seasons.

Oct. 14. San Jose State - Last season: 7 - 5 - Bowl Game: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 

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Late last season, the Spartans were close to winning their division and their success will continue while competing for a top spot in the conference. This will be a loss for the Lobos. When healthy, their offense and defense is dynamic and can play with anyone in the Mountain West.

Oct. 21. Hawaii - Last Season: 3 - 10 - Bowl Game: None

This will be another competitive loss for UNM. The conference’s worst defense (HIU) meets the worst offense (UNM) from last year. Hawaii likes to throw the ball. Quarterback Brayden Schager threw 400 attempts – the second most in the conference – with a 55.3% completion percentage. Without the talented safeties of last season, if UNM can’t find a way to protect the backfield it will be a loss.

Oct. 28. Nevada - Last Season: 2 - 10 - Bowl Game: None

This will be the Lobos first conference win of the season. Last year, Nevada was the only other Mountain West team to win zero conference games. UNM shouldn’t have to worry about the passing game on defense and just needs to slow down their running to secure the win.

Nov. 4. UNLV - Last Season: 5 - 7 - Bowl Game: None

The Lobos will defeat both Nevada-based teams. Last season’s matchup ended in a 31 - 20 loss, but the game was tied 17 - 17 going into the fourth quarter, and this year they play in Albuquerque. UNLV fired their head coach last season despite a three-win improvement. They might see another improvement but their fast paced offense could be taken aback by the Lobos gritty defense.

Nov. 11. Boise State - Last Season: 10 - 4 - Bowl Game: Frisco Bowl

The Broncos will again prove to be too much for the Lobos this year. The conference runner up dominated the Lobos last season and will likely do the same again. Last year, the Lobos were down 24 - 0 early in the fourth quarter and were only able to score on a 69 yard pass and a 100 yard kick-return to end the game 31 - 14.

Nov. 18. Fresno State - Last Season: 10 - 4 - Bowl Game: LA Bowl

The conference champions will take care of business in Fresno this year. The Lobos lost against them last year 41 - 9, and this late in the season every game will be a must-win if this team is competing for a top spot in the conference.

Nov. 24. Utah State - Last Season: 6 - 7 - Bowl Game: First Responder Bowl 

UNM will end the season on a loss against the third and final Aggies. Last season, Utah led the conference in total offensive plays. Utah’s defense only started to break down after too many snaps, and if Utah can continue to extend their drive, they will be able to break down the Lobo defense.

The predicted finish for the Lobos is a 4 - 8 season with two conference wins. It will be an improvement on last year, but if the offense remains stagnant and the defense takes a step back from last year, it will be difficult to predict how the fan base will react.

However, the men’s basketball season last year proved that if a team is ready to compete, the fans will be ready to support their team.

Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

Thomas Bulger

 Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @thomasbulger10 

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