Wyoming completed its 2011 football schedule Tuesday by adding Football Championship Subdivision foe Texas State on Sept. 10.
That gives the Cowboys two FCS opponents to open the season. The week prior they host Weber State.
The downside is UW has to win seven games to become bowl eligible with an additional FCS school on the schedule, compared to six in most years. But UW should win those two games so that shouldn’t make a difference.
UW athletic director Tom Burman needed a sixth home game in 2011 and he got it, but he also did a good job in getting this particular team.
One, he didn’t have to pay through the nose for it. The going rate for most FCS teams these between $250,000-$400,000. It’s not uncommon for some of the bigger schools to pay even more. And this late in the scheduling process, $400,000 and higher would have likely been the price.
Instead, Burman signed a home-and-home with Texas State, which will move to the FBS level and the Western Athletic Conference in 2012. There is no one-time fee. Instead, both teams will exchange $100,000 to help offset each other’s travel expenses, which is common when FBS teams sign home-and-home contracts.
Financially, that made a lot of sense for both schools.
Second, it gives UW a winnable FBS road game when it makes the return trip on Sept. 28, 2013. You can’t take anything for granted on the road, but Texas State will still be in a transition from the FCS level and you would think UW’s chances to win would at least be better than average. With is 2013 season-opener at Nebraska on Aug. 31, a winnable road game in the non-conference portion of the schedule is a good thing.
Third, it gives UW a chance to play in talent-rich Texas. After next season, TCU leaves the Mountain West, leaving the league with no teams in the state where arguably some of the best high-school football players exist. It helps that UW is playing a game in Texas where perhaps some recruits will take notice, and in a state where UW has targed as a key recruiting area.
This won’t mean the Cowboys will get the best players there. It may not mean a darn thing. But it can’t hurt for potential recruits to see the Cowboys play in their home state.
Fourth, UW’s non-conference schedule in 2013 could be complete, depending on the size of the MWC. If the league is at nine teams, which as of today it will be, then UW will need one more game — likely at home. If the league is 10 teams, and it is expected as early as this week that Hawaii will join starting in 2012, then UW’s scheduling is done assuming there will be nine conference games.
It would have been nice for UW to find a home-and-home with a current FBS team that started in Laramie. But getting Texas State in its current situation is the next best thing.
Here is what UW’s non-conference football schedule looks like:
Sept. 3: Weber State
Sept. 10: Texas State
Sept. 17: at Bowling Green
Sept. 24: Nebraska
Oct. 8: at Utah State
MWC home games: New Mexico, TCU, UNLV
MWC road games: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State