Wyoming has come a long way the last couple of years from two wins in 2015 to an MWC Championship Game appearance in 2016 with an 8-6 overall record. Now with what many believe to be one of the top quarterbacks in next year’s NFL Draft, the Cowboys will look to reach double-digit wins and this time win the MWC and their bowl Game.
Josh Allen showed his stuff last season in every area from the 3,203 passing yards and 28 touchdowns to the 512 yards on the ground and seven more TDs. However, his 56% completion rate and 15 interceptions can’t be overlooked, especially without top RB Brian Hill and top WR Tanner Gentry (1,326 yards, 14 TDs) around. Everything will be on Allen this season after this offense scored 35.9 points per Game a year ago. The experience on the line will at least help out with Four starters returning. Milo Hall, who doesn’t have a collegiate carry, topped the spring depth chart at running back, although Nico Evans and Kellen Overstreet will see work as well. C.J. Johnson (304 yards, 3 TDs) is the top returning receiver, which is another worry. Allen had top talent around him last season, but with so many new faces, it’s a wonder what kind of the numbers the quarterback will post.
Despite success last year, the defense still had its fair share of issues allowing 34.1 points per Game. In two of their final three losses of the regular season, Wyoming gave up 69 and 56 points. The good news is that more starters return with eight in all, giving experience at every level. Safety Andrew Wingard is the biggest name after 131 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss, but he’s joined by a slew of upperclassmen with experience, with fellow safety Marcus Epps included. Linebacker Logan Wilson should be even better after a solid freshman campaign and leading sacker Kevin Prosser is back with Carl Granderson on the edges. To mix things up after last year’s disappointment, head coach Craig Bohl recruited his former defensive coordinator SCottie Hazelton (from South Dakote State) and that should help a bit.
Both sides of the ball will be tested early with the offense facing a tough Iowa defense and then the defense having to deal with Oregon a couple weeks later. Winning one of those Games would be great, but both will be difficult after this team was gashed by Nebraska early last season. The Cowboys have a workable MWC Schedule that could lead to Four home wins, but the trip to Boise State may be the most important one. A win there would give them a great chance at winning the Mountain division again, but winning on the blue turf is not something to bet on for this team.
It’d be surprising if Wyoming surpassed last year’s eight wins, given a tougher non-Conference slate and having to face Boise State on the road. Throw in the new players at skill positions and a defense that is still unproven and it’ll be hard to take the Cowboys for more than eight wins, no matter how good Allen is. Because of that, Wyoming’s odds to win the Conference come in at +1200 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), placing them well behind BSU and CSU in the division.
2017 Wyoming Cowboys Football Schedule
Sept. 2 at Iowa
Sept. 9 vs. Gardner-Webb
Sept. 16 vs. Oregon
Sept. 23 vs. Hawaii
Sept. 30 vs. Texas State
Oct. 14 at Utah State
Oct. 21 at Boise State
Oct. 28 vs. New Mexico
Nov. 4 vs. Colorado State
Nov. 11 at Air Force
Nov. 18 vs. Fresno State
Nov. 25 at San Jose State