I'm already on record with my prediction (UTEP 35, New Mexico 14) but then a reader sent me the following video. If you want to understand the context of this post, you have to put on some headphones (if at work) and watch it with audio. It's a local Albuquerque news affiliates sports coverage of the upcoming UTEP vs. UNM game.
Seriously. Watch this video. In fact if you do one thing today, make it watching this video.
At first, I started laughing in somewhat of a Dr. Evil way. I mean, did you watch the video? About 45 seconds in to the video, I had already started a post titled: "Your Moment of Zen: UNM Bottom 10 Analysis FTW!!"
Then, it clicked.
We're not the only ones watching this video. The kids on the opposing sideline are living in this reality of fan disgust that has seemed to consume the Lobo football team for the past year or two and one that reached a fever pitch after the 0-4 start with an average loss of over 45 points per game. Tarean Austin and Desmond Dennis have seen that video. They know they are in the Bottom 10. They know the town sees them as a laughingstock. They know that the entire community, and possibly their administration, want their head coach booted out of town.
This is a local news stations way of covering UNM's football game this week. It has nothing to do with game plans or the opponents strengths or weaknesses. It's a manifiesto essentially titled: "How much does UNM suck this year?"
And, just when you think it's over, the news guy come along and doesn't nail in the coffin, that was done by the grizzly old guy who said "He (Locksley)_can get a job somewhere else" and the kid who said "can't wait for basketball season." But instead, the anchor burns the coffin to ashes by tossing out "Next week's game against New Mexico State should be the Pillow Fight of the Week also." Damn.
Has there ever in the history of Miner football been an opposing team with so much self-inflicted bulletin board material?
The way I see it, UNM's players will react in only one of two ways. That's it. There won't be a boring 13-3 game this week. I'm certain of it.
First, UNM could buy into the ESPN diatribes and fan fallout. They can roll over and die like their fans and most everybody else in the football world expects them to. We're talking 45-10 or something in that range.
Or, they could stand up and say they've had enough of the local be at down they've endured for what must seem like months. They know UTEP isn't Oregon or Utah. They know that if they play hard, for the full game, they can make a game of it. They know that nobody expects anything but a good old fashioned butt whoopin' this week, so they could enter this game with absolutely no pressure to perform. A desperate man is usually hungry.
In the second scenario, I could see a game where the Lobos catch UTEP off guard and grab an early lead and then do everything they can to fight off the Miner resurgence in the second half, by running the ball and hoping UTEP turns the ball over- essentially a "let's bleed them to death" type of win.
Will the Lobos play for pride this week? Is this the week they say "enough" and find a way to get a win because they know they will probably only get 1 or 2 this entire season?
It's not likely, and I'm sticking with my pick, but after watching that video it made me realize just how large the chip on UNM's shoulder could be. And, you never want to fight a desperate man with nothing to lose.