Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cowboy football schedule finalized

Richard Anderson photo
Wyoming outside linebackers coach Mike Fanoga explains a drill to the Cowboys during Tuesday's practice.

by Richard Anderson

The release of the 2009 Mountain West Conference football schedule on Thursday finalized what could be one of the strongest in University of Wyoming history.

Wyoming will kick off the 2009 season at home against Weber State on Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. The next week on Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m., the Texas Longhorns will make their first-ever appearance in Laramie, in what is expected to be the biggest game in War Memorial Stadium history. The following Saturday, the Cowboys will face their second consecutive Big 12 opponent when they travel to Boulder, Colo., to take on the Colorado Buffaloes on Sept. 19 in the first meeting between the two Front Range schools since 1997.

Wyoming will begin Mountain West Conference play at home on Sept. 26 against the UNLV Rebels. The remainder of the 2009 home schedule will feature the New Mexico Lobos on Oct. 10, the BYU Cougars on Nov. 7 and the final home game of ‘09 will pit the TCU Horned Frogs versus the Cowboys on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium on Nov. 21.

“I’m extremely excited about this schedule,” first-year Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen said in a release. “I like the fact that we start the season at home the first two weeks, and we are fortunate to have four of our first six games of the season at home.

“I like having the open date in the middle of the season. I think it is a plus having two home games in November, and we are really excited about playing at Colorado State the Friday after Thanksgiving -- with the limited number of games being played that day it should give our program a lot of national exposure."

In addition to their Sept. 19 road trip to face Colorado, Wyoming will travel to Boca Raton, Fla., to play Florida Atlantic on Oct. 3 in UW’s one other non-conference road game. The Florida Atlantic game replaces a previously scheduled road game at Bowling Green on the same date. The game versus Florida Atlantic will be the first game in a two-game home-and-home series with the Owls. The second game of the series will be played in Laramie between Florida Atlantic and UW on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

“From a recruiting standpoint, it is a real postive to have at least eight of our games and possibly nine being televised nationally," Christensen said.

Wyoming’s first Mountain West road game of ‘09 will be at Air Force on Oct. 17. The Pokes will have their one open date of the season the following Saturday on Oct. 24, before they travel to Salt Lake City to face Utah on Halloween night, Oct. 31. UW will play at San Diego State on Nov. 14, and will conclude the 2009 regular season at archrival Colorado State on Friday, Nov. 27 -- the day after Thanksgiving.

All six of Wyoming’s home games in 2009 will kickoff between Noon and 1:30 p.m.

“We are very pleased with the game times that the conference office selected for our home games," UW Athletics Director Tom Burman said in a release. “We feel that the early afternoon starts are best for our fans who travel long distances to come see the Cowboys play.

“It is very exciting to offer this outstanding home schedule to our fans. We hope our fans are equally excited about the opportunity to see three of the nation’s Top 25 programs in Laramie in the same season -- two of which finished ranked in the top seven teams in the country.”

The three teams that will be appearing in War Memorial Stadium this coming season that ended the 2008 season ranked in theTop 25 are Texas, TCU and BYU. Texas headlines Wyoming’s ‘09 home schedule.

Not only did the Longhorns finish last season ranked No. 3 in both the final USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the final BCS Rankings, but they are one of the favorites to win the national championship this coming season. They are ranked among the Top 3 teams in virtually every preseason poll for 2009. Texas has been ranked No. 2 in early preseason polls released by and Sports UT has also been ranked No. 3 in 2009 preseason polls by and The Longhorns defeated Ohio State, 24-21, in last season’s Fiesta Bowl.

Texas will be led by one of the favorites for the 2009 Heisman Trophy in senior quarterback Colt McCoy. Last year as a junior, McCoy finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting to quarterback Sam Bradford of Oklahoma. McCoy received 1,604 points to Bradford’s 1,726 points. The 2007 Heisman winner, Tim Tebow of Florida, finished third with 1,575 points. McCoy won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award in 2008.

Texas possesses as rich a tradition in college football as any team in the country. The Longhorns have captured four National Championships including their most recent BCS Championship in 2005. In addition to their BCS Championship in ‘05, Texas also won National Championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970.

“To have Texas, one of the elite programs in college football, come to Laramie for the first time we believe makes the 2009 schedule the greatest in our school’s history,” said Burman. “We expect that game to be a sellout well in advance of Sept. 12, so we want our fans to plan ahead to assure they get an opportunity to see what we believe will be the biggest game in the history of War Memorial Stadium.”

The other two Top 25 teams from a year ago that will visit Laramie in ‘09 are Mountain West Conference foes TCU and BYU. TCU concluded the 2008 season ranked No. 7 in both the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and AP Poll and was No. 11 in the final Harris Interactive ranking. TCU entered the bowl season ranked No. 11 in the BCS rankings. The Horned Frogs defeated Boise State, 17-16, in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. TCU is also receiving recognition in 2009 preseason polls, has ranked the Horned Frogs No. 15.

BYU was ranked No. 16 in both the 2008 BCS standings and the Harris Poll prior to its appearance in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, and ended the season ranked No. 21 by USA Today and No. 25 by Associated Press. The Cougars fell to Arizona, 21-31, in the Las Vegas Bowl. has BYU ranked No. 22 in its ‘09 preseason rankings.

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