(Click here to see the 2017 UNM schedule.)
The New Mexico Lobos will come in from the cold this fall.
The 2017 Mountain West Conference football schedule, released Thursday, does not send UNM to a cold-weather city in November. Instead, the Lobos’ two November road games are at Texas A&M on Nov. 11 and at San Diego State in the Nov. 25 season finale.
This is a change from the past four years, when UNM played a total of six November road games in Boise, Idaho, Logan, Utah, and Fort Collins, Colo.
The Lobos open the season with nonconference home games against Abilene Christian on Sept. 2 and New Mexico State Sept. 9. The Lobos will be looking to avenge their upset, 32-31 loss to the Aggies last year in Las Cruces.
The conference season begins for UNM on Sept. 16 at Boise State, followed by a nonconference game at Tulsa on Sept. 23. The Lobos resume conference play at home against Air Force on Sept. 30, then have a bye week — conveniently scheduled five games into the season with six conference games left to play.
The Lobos play at Fresno State on Oct. 14. They host Colorado State on Oct. 21, then go to Wyoming on Oct. 28.
Utah State comes to University Stadium on Nov. 4. The Lobos then play at Texas A&M in a rare November nonconference game. For the trip, UNM will get a reported $1 million payout.
In future years, the Lobos have guarantee games scheduled at Wisconsin (2018), Notre Dame (2019) and Southern California (2020).
Beginning with last fall’s game at Rutgers, the UNM athletic department will get more than $5 million from those contests.
New Mexico plays its 2017 home finale against UNLV on Nov. 18 and ends the regular season the following Saturday in San Diego.
Neither kickoff times nor TV arrangements were released Thursday by UNM or the Mountain West. All Mountain West conference games are scheduled as of now to be played on Saturdays, but that likely will change once the league’s television partners (ESPN, CBS Sports, ROOT Sports) get involved.
Undoubtedly, as well, there will be some late kickoff times to accommodate television. Last season, New Mexico finished the season with four consecutive games that started after 8 p.m.
Every two years, the Mountain West rotates its interdivisional schedule. After playing West Division opponents Hawaii, Nevada and San Jose State the past two years, going 4-2 in those games, the Lobos will face Fresno State, San Diego State and UNLV this year and next.
The Lobos will be playing Abilene Christian, an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school, for the first time. They’re 2-5 all-time against Tulsa, 0-3 against Texas A&M.
The Lobos finished the 2016 season with a 9-4 record, the program’s best since 2007, including a 23-20 victory over UTSA in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. They were 6-2 in Mountain West play, tied with Wyoming and Boise State for the Mountain Division title.