Colorado State Rams vs. New Mexico Lobos
Date and Time: Friday, October 20, 2017, 10:15 p.m. ET
Location: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Opening College Football Odds: Colorado State -6.5
Colorado State vs. New Mexico TV Coverage: ESPN2
Losses to Colorado and Alabama won't matter one iota in the end for Colorado State, but if the Rams are going to be serious MWC contenders this year, they can't be struggling at home against teams like Nevada. Last week's 44-42 escape was a true sigh of relief. The Rams were 24.5-point favorites and really had to hold on tight against a team that is now just 1-6 on the season.
Still, the weapons this offense has are out of this world. Nick Stevens might be the best quarterback in the conference, completing 63.8 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns on the season. Dalyn Dawkins is coming off of a career rushing day in which he had 195 yards and a touchdown while both Izzy Matthews and Rashaad Boddie are putting in good time in reserve roles, too.
But the real threat on this offense is Michael Gallup. Gallup had three touchdowns last week against the Wolf Pack, and he's up to 59 receptions, 953 yards and five scores on the season. Gallup is a threat to get to 2,000 yards when this year is said and done with, particularly in the Rams end playing 14 games this year including the MWC Championship Game.
The Lobos are tough to figure out. They started off the year at just 1-2, and they really underachieved in all three of their games. They turned around and went on the road and beat Tulsa as 10-point dogs, then took out Air Force in a dominating 56-38 victory as three-point pups. But last week at Fresno State, a team that is perceived to be one of the worst in the conference (yet is ultimately the only undefeated team in the West Division), New Mexico laid an egg and was beaten 38-0.
44.1 – The percentage of the time Colorado State is allowing opponents to convert on third downs this year.
The Rams have to figure out how to get off the field on third downs more consistently than this if they want to beat the teams like Boise State and San Diego State in this conference. The Rams are No. 106 in the land in third down defense.
It isn't from a lack of opportunities either. Colorado State is forcing teams into a healthy 17 third downs per game. But if you can't get off the field, getting teams to third down doesn't do anything for your defense whatsoever.
New Mexico, meanwhile, ranks No. 127 in the nation in third down conversions at just 27.4 percent, including going just 2-for-14 against Fresno State last week. Opportunity could be knocking for the Rams, especially if they can force a run-first team into a bunch of third-and-long situations.
Colorado State vs. New Mexico Free Picks
We'll be the first to admit that we can't figure out this New Mexico team. It's like when good things happen for this offense in the first quarter, it's fine the rest of the way. Get shut out in the first quarter, and good luck finding the end zone at any point on the day.
With as crazy as Friday nights have been thus far this year, why not another upset? The Lobos aren't massive underdogs at +6.5 at all of the best internet sportsbooks, and dogs have won three straight and four of the last five games that New Mexico has played in.
Colorado State hasn't been convincing to us yet this season, and this is a spot where it could see its New Year's Six dreams go by the wayside.
College Football ATS Pick: New Mexico +6.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: New Mexico 28, Colorado State 24