The New Mexico Lobos end their football season on Saturday with a game at Colorado State, but it is a game that will go virtually unnoticed.
The Lobos are 4-9, and are expected to lose again. Interest in football was strong when New Mexico hired a new coach who brought in a new attitude. When the Lobos started 4-3 with wins over Hawaii and New Mexico State there was real hope. Losing six in a row and going for No. 7 in a row on Saturday has seen all of the interest in football evaporate.
Even if the Lobos beat CSU, no one cares. The men's basketball team assumed control of everything Lobo on Sunday night when it beat No. 23 Connecticut to win the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. Football is a distant thought. A lot of people couldn't even tell you if the season has ended.
This is nothing new at UNM. Basketball has always been king. Even the women's team is 4-0 and there is regenerated interest in that program.
Meanwhile, the worst salesman for football might be coach Bob Davie. He keeps talking about reality, a rebuilding process that will take 3, maybe 4 years. He points out that his secondary is slow and short and that his team has a long list of shortcomings. He notes that other programs have stability and have been in the same schemes for several years while it is all new to the Lobos.
When the Lobos were 4-3, he said that his team might not win another game. That is a good way to rain on your own parade, though his prediction is turning out to be real insight.
The Lobo football team might be even worse next year. After going 1-11 for three straight years, 4-10 is an improvement, but not much of one. UNM plays in a weak league. Even mediocre should be able to beat UNLV, Wyoming and Colorado State.
Freshmen played a big role this year. Next year, when they're sophomores, they'll be even more important. And the new freshmen will have to play right away. Former coach Mike Locksley didn't leave much talent. His players will be the upper classmen and should be the heart of the team. There are some who have evolved into good players, but not enough to make the program strong.
So between the two home men's basketball games this weekend and the women's tournament in the Pit, people will look up and say, ``Oh yeah, how did the football team do?''
And then they will respond with either, ``Oh good'' if they won or ``That's too bad'' if they lost. And that will be about the extent of the conversation and all the thought that will be given to the football game.