With seven home games and with five road dates restricted to two time zones, the New Mexico Lobos appear to have a favorable football schedule for this fall.
There’s even a Saturday off before a murderer’s-row finish against four teams that won a combined 42 games last season.
The Mountain West Conference on Monday released its composite football schedule for 2015, providing UNM with dates for its eight league games.
The Lobos’ four non-conference games – at home against Mississippi Valley State, Tulsa and New Mexico State and on the road against Arizona State – already had been scheduled.
New Mexico will begin the season with two games at home (Mississippi Valley State on Sept. 5, Tulsa the following Saturday) and finish with two at home (Colorado State on Nov. 21, Air Force on Nov. 28).
The Lobos’ game at Arizona State, originally scheduled for Sept. 19, was moved at ASU’s request to the previous night. The Friday game gives UNM an extra day to rest and prepare for its Mountain West opener at Wyoming on Sept. 26.
The annual game against intrastate rival NMSU is scheduled for Oct. 3 in Albuquerque.
The Lobos have the weekend of Oct. 31 off before finishing against Utah State, Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force.
As in the past, the Lobos will play all five of its fellow MWC Mountain Division teams: in order, at Wyoming, Utah State (Nov. 7), at Boise State (Nov. 14), CSU and Air Force.
The inter-division schedule rotates this season. Gone from UNM’s slate are West Division schools UNLV, Fresno State and San Diego State. In come road games at Nevada (Oct. 10) and San Jose State (Oct. 24), and a home contest against Hawaii on Oct. 17.
The game at San Jose State will be the Lobos’ first Mountain West contest against the Spartans. New Mexico has not played a game at SJSU since 1998, when both schools were members of the 16-team Western Athletic Conference.
For the first time since 2010, the Lobos will not venture east of Albuquerque. There are no games in the Central or Eastern time zones.
Six of UNM’s 2015 opponents – Arizona State, Nevada, Utah State, Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force – went to bowl games last season. Four of those – ASU, Utah State, Boise State and Air Force – won their bowl games.
The Lobos were 2-4 last season against the teams they’ll play again this fall, having beaten New Mexico State (38-35) and Wyoming (36-30).
Of UNM’s four non-conference opponents, only Arizona State (10-3, including a 58-23 rout of UNM at University Stadium) had a winning record.
Mississippi Valley State, a Football Championship Subdivision school, was 2-9 last year. Tulsa was 2-10, as was New Mexico State.
The Lobos’ 12 opponents had a combined record of 76-76 last season.
Other than an 8 p.m. MDT kickoff at Arizona State, starting times have not been announced.