New Mexico State will enter into Saturday’s game against Utah State as a twenty-four point underdog.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Utah State has played one game, and played well in almost upsetting Michigan State.
New Mexico State has struggled offensively in two games and wound up on the wrong side of two lopsided scores.
But I don’t think that justifies this spread. And that doesn’t even tell the whole story.
This line actually opened at -16 for Utah State. That means that the Blue Aggies opened as just more than a two-touchdown favorite, and people were betting so heavily and confidently for USU to cover that spread that it increased by another eight points.
For comparison’s sake, here are some other teams that are roughly 24-point underdogs on Saturday: UTEP at UNLV, Tulsa at Texas, Georgia State at NC State, and Western Michigan at Michigan.
Do you really think that the NMSU/USU game is comparable in terms of matchup? I certainly don’t.
Utah State looked much better in their one game than NMSU has in their two, so I could understand a 10-12 point spread, but twenty-four?
Then again, you’re talking about an Aggie team that dropped 15 passes and missed 23 tackles against Minnesota, and which is now focused on just playing a lot better.
The Aggie schedule is front-loaded, perhaps a bit more so than initially anticipated. Things that I personally would like to see from this game in order to refresh my optimism a little bit:
- Chemistry and rhythm between Matt Romero and his receivers
- Getting Jason Huntley involved earlier
- Pressure from a healthy and effective defensive front seven
- Sound tackling on the back end
The outcome of Saturday’s game, especially compared to what seems like a really absurd Vegas line, should tell us how outlandish that set of expectations is, and just how far this team has to go to match last season’s achievements.
It’s hard to call a third game of the season the most important of the season, but there are definitely some very important things that could happen in this game.
Sidenote: I’m kind of excited, as someone who lives nowhere near Las Cruces, that three games into the New Mexico State football season I will have been able to watch all three of their games live. This one is on Facebook via Stadium, but I’ll take it.