The Wyoming Cowboys kicked off their 2018 season at New Mexico State with a 29-7 win over the Aggies. Not too shabby for a team that lost their starting quarterback in the first round of the draft. They stopped the Aggies from scoring in the first half, potentially silencing the skeptics who doubt that they have the best group of five defense. Their offense does have a way to go, but running back Nico Evans had quite the game last night rushing 190 yards, with two touchdowns. As an unbiased observer of Wyoming football, I think the Wyoming offense will hit its stride midseason. Coach Bohl, I’m sure, is hoping the offense hits their stride sooner in hopes of not getting blown out against two power five teams early in the season, Washington State and Missouri.
The Pokes are going to receive more attention than they’re used to this season, mainly because of the success of Josh Allen during his time at the great University of Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, the Cowboys had a decent season in 2017, but it helped that in the spring of 2017 Josh Allen was in Sports Illustrated. He received hype post 2016 season, which naturally stirred the pot for the 2017 season. Then the Bills drafted him first round, so of course people continue to talk about him and the Wyoming Cowboys. Now they have to live up to the hype, and I think they will.
I could spend time talking about Craig Bohl’s success as a coach at NDSU and how his coaching style brought the Cowboys back to life after Dave Christiansen ran the program into the ground. Instead, the focus now needs to be on the team. Bohl’s first couple of years leading the Cowboys were rough. Like, I walked out to the stadium 15 minutes before kickoff and the student section was empty for a conference game. Now students happily stand in that Wyoming wind to support the Pokes. Nobody should be shocked that a good coach made a subpar program good again. That’s literally why Tom Burman hired him. The “building” years lead to the Cowboys going to bowl games two years in a row and winning one. The Cowboys are gaining traction because they now have the tools to succeed. Players like Andrew Wingard, Carl Granderson, Logan Wilson, and Austin Fort obviously have the talent and with Bohl have the right leadership to make something special happen with the Wyoming Football program. Bohl will continue to recruit similar talent, because it yields success and the program can be a player focused program when promoting the team instead of a Bohl focused program. Don’t get me wrong, who the coach is matters, but young recruits also care about the long-term success of the former players.
This season Wyoming Football is going to prove that they deserve to be a part of the national football conversation that earns them more great players. Timing is everything in sports, and right now is Wyoming’s time with a great coach, team, and recent success.
Their real chance to make an impact on the conversation starts Saturday, September 1 when they host Washington State and then travel to Missouri the following weekend. Holding their own against power five teams will prove to more than Wyoming fans that the program isn’t a joke. Especially when they play those teams back to back and then host Boise State at the end of the month. September Wyoming basically auditions to be a group of five team that people nationally can talk about. As an unbiased observer, I think the Cowboys have the talent and grit to crank out some W’s, especially with the best defense of group of five teams.