Tonight is stop #2 on the Bronco revenge tour as Boise State takes on the Lobos of New Mexico. Bob Davie's squad stunned the Broncos on The Blue a season ago and would like to do it again in front of a less hostile crowd. Brett Rypien, Jeremy McNichols and at least another 20 guys would very much like to stop them. We've wrung our hands about the triple option enough...it's time for a deeper dive into the storied and/or checkered past of New Mexico. Let's really get to know our enemy.
Ten things you might not know about the University of New Mexico or their arid adobe abode
10) Long before it became the place where Bugs Bunny routinely made wrong turns, Albuquerque, New Mexico was being settled by Spanish colonials who saw some dirt, rocks and cacti and thought it the perfect backdrop for wearing those curved metal helmets. The city was founded in 1706, to be exact, and was first a colonial outpost by the name of Ranchos de Albuquerque...a name they got off a local taco truck. In the ensuing years, the settlement served as a farming community, military outpost and "sheep herding center of the West"...that is, until sheep herding became unfashionable—then only hipster sheep herders would congregate there, but would do so ironically.
9) The University of New Mexico was founded in 1889 with the passage of House Bill 186 by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico. The bill was extremely specific and stipulated that "...said institution is hereby located at or near the town of Albuquerque, in the county of Bernalillo within two miles north of railroad avenue in said town, upon a tract of good high and dry land...". Of course, stipulating that something in or near Albuquerque be built on dry land is like stipulating that something in Atlanta be built in a "humid area" or that frat houses in Moscow be built with shoddy sleeping porches.
8) UNM played their first season of football in 1892, without a coach mind you, and dropped both contests that year to Albuquerque High School. The following year—again with no coach—the squad went 3-1 and exacted revenge on Albuquerque High School with a stunning 4-0 upset to start the year. Until last season's win at Boise State, that was the greatest win in program history.
7) New Mexico athletic teams weren't known as the "Lobos" until 1920 when a student newspaper editor named George S. Bryan cemented his place in university history by knowing a little Spanish ("lobo" is español for "wolf"). Prior to Bryan's bilingual foray, the school's teams were referred to as the "University Boys" or "Varsities".
6) The first recorded head coach in UNM football history was the mysterious W.A. Zimmer, who hit for the cycle in his one year at the helm (1894) and went 1-1-1...all against the same opponent, the unambiguously named "Albuquerque Indian School". Zimmer faded from history after that season in Albuquerque, but wherever he is, I'm sure he's proud that his name lives on the masthead of a patio covering company in Huntington, Indiana.
5) The only head coach to leave Albuquerque in the last 50 years with a moderately successful record was Mr. Marvin "Marv" Levy, who coached the 1958 and 1959 seasons for the Lobos and sauntered out of town having won 70% of his contests. Of course, you probably remember Marv as the coach that lost four straight Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills...one of which was to a Redskins team featuring a fella named "Rypien".
Boy, I Love Losing Super Bowls..
4) Only one coach "post-Levy" has left Albuquerque with a record above .500 (Joe Morrison, since you asked) but none have been quite as feeble as Mike Locksley, who was given 3 years in the bosses' chair despite failing to win even 10% of his games—.7% or the collective BAC of Moscow, Idaho. Locksley's coaching acumen couldn't get him the heave-ho...but punching an assistant after a loss to Sam Houston State did the trick. "Mike Locksley will never coach again", you're probably thinking. NOT SO..he was the interim head coach at Maryland just last year...presiding over a 1-5 record for the Terrapins before being hired as an offensive analyst at Alabama. Remember Mike Locksley when lamenting that you haven't got a raise or promotion in 5 years. Life is pain.
3) "The Battle of Albuquerque" is not the name of the annual rivalry game between UNM and New Mexico State...it was a bona fide battle fought in the American Civil War, even though New Mexico pretty far west of the hostilities. In 1862, a band of 800+ confederates just "passing through" Albuquerque after retreating from a loss at the Battle of Glorieta Pass were set upon by General Edward Canby's men and "persuaded" to leave after two days of artillery fire. There was a single death in the "battle" and it wasn't W.A. Zimmer.
2) The Microsoft Corporation was founded in Albuquerque by Paul Allen and Bill Gates in 1975 after the duo took a long enough break from playing Dungeons and Dragons and applying eczema medication to dream up the Altair BASIC programming language. I won't bore you with the rest of the details (and oh...how they are boring), but Bill Gates dropped out of college and is now worth about $56 billion. Y'know what? Mike Locksley's rise still burns me up a bit more than professor Nerdington having a higher GDP than Switzerland.
1) New Mexico has a section in their state laws devoted to pecans, so don't even think about entering the "Land of Enchantment" with "leathery, unpalatable, or decidedly shrunken" pecans or you're in for a world of hurt. I assume flouting these laws will get you a fine, but frankly, I'm in the "zero tolerance' camp for "excessively shriveled, worm-injured, or rancid" pecans and believe (as did my father before me) that violators should be drawn and quartered.