University of New Mexico football coach Danny Gonzales would rather not have games interfere with Friday night high school contests.
This year, he won’t have much of a choice.
The Lobos will have four Friday games for TV scheduling purposes, the Mountain West Conference announced Thursday. In all, nine of UNM’s 12 games will air on or be streamed by a national network.
The announcement of the league’s TV package brings additional clarity to each member team’s schedule, UNM’s included. The Lobos however still don’t have a kickoff time or TV/streaming possibilities determined for their nonconference games against Maine on Sept. 3, the home and season opener; home vs. UTEP on Sept. 17; or at New Mexico State on Oct. 15.
UNM, which went 3-9 last year, opens the TV slate on a Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. vs. Boise State on CBS Sports Network.
The Lobos are 0-6 against the Broncos in Albuquerque.
La Cueva High is planning to play against Volcano Vista on Thursday, Sept. 8, Gonzales said, so UNM will have more of the center stage.
“We’re just going to make the most of it,” Gonzales said of Friday games in general. “It’s going to be a big Friday football night. I’d prefer Friday football for high schools but the tradition of high school Friday, college Saturday, NFL Sunday have gone down by the wayside because they play NFL games so many times. We’ll take advantage of playing on national TV nine times.”
The Boise State game is the second of three straight home games to open the Lobos’ season. The first is against Maine, and UNM paid the Football Championship Subdivision program $350,000 for the teams to face each other for the first time.
The Lobos will play at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Friday, Sept. 30, for a 9 p.m. MT game against UNLV.
UNM’s home finale against San Diego State has also been moved to Friday night, Nov. 18. That kickoff time will be announced at a later date.
In addition, UNM will play at Colorado State on Friday, Nov. 25, at 1:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The Rams have beaten the Lobos 11 straight times in the series.
The Lobos’ first road game is at LSU on Sept. 24 at 5:30 p.m. The game will stream online at SEC+ and ESPN+. LSU agreed to pay UNM $1.6 million for the game. The first installment of $250,000 was paid by June 30, 2018.
UNM added significant size to a relatively new offensive line, as there were 14 offensive linemen in spring camp for UNM with just two having experienced playing time. The Lobos also have added support from graduate assistant Byron Bell, a former Lobo who played eight years in the NFL.
The Lobos also added two transfer quarterbacks: Miles Kendrick (Kansas) and, recently, Jake Jensen (Contra Costa College). The defense, in its third year under Gonzales and defensive coordinator Rocky Long, showed remarkable improvement in 2021, finishing at No. 44 in total defense, a 57-spot improvement from 2020.
MORE SCHEDULING: Eastern New Mexico released its 2022 slate Thursday, and the Greyhounds will play both fellow in-state NCAA Division schools (Sept. 1 at New Mexico Highlands, Nov. 12 at home vs. Western New Mexico) in the same season for the first time since 2002.
New Mexico State learned its start time for the Sept. 10 game at UTEP thanks to the Conference USA schedule release. Kickoff is 7 p.m. NMSU joins C-USA in July 2023.