Mike Hlas is an award-winning columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette and force behind The Hlog. Each week, he will break down the worst matchup in college football. Considering the increasing number of uncompetitive and uninteresting games, Mike's task is harder than giving swine flu back to a pig.
It's an exciting weekend in the Mountain West Conference.
Texas Christian plays at Brigham Young on national television (well, Versus, anyway). Eighth-ranked TCU is unbeaten and trying to work its way into a BCS bowl. No. 16 BYU is 6-1 and trying become the boss of the MWC. Utah, which went unbeaten last season, will try to continue its climb in the national rankings when it plays host to Air Force.
But that's not our concern. No, we're looking at the bottom of the Mountain. Bottom-feeders Nevada Las Vegas and New Mexico meet in Albuquerque. Someone must win. We think.
After he left Iowa to become the basketball coach at New Mexico, Steve Alford called Iowa a "football school." Alford found himself a basketball school.
New Mexico is 0-6 this year under first-year coach Mike Locksley. The Lobos have dropped 10 straight dating to a 70-7 win over San Diego State last year that led to Chuck Long's undoing as the Aztecs' coach.
Locksley won't be with the team when it takes on the Rebels. He is finishing a 10-day suspension by the school for getting in a fight with assistant coach J.B. Gerald.
"It was a heated argument, with some grabbing, pushing and shoving. It was broken up pretty immediately," Locksley said. "I did not throw a punch."
Which makes him sort of like his team. They're not getting in any clean shots, either. The Lobos have been outscored, 227-87. Locksley left his post as Illinois' offensive coordinator for this? He could have stayed put and been part of an Illini team that has a win this season, albeit over Division I-AA Illinois State.
The basketball arena at New Mexico is called The Pit, but the football office may fit that description, too. It's a pit of despair. Before the suspension, there was a dispute when where a former Lobos football administrative assistant accused Locksley of sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation. According to the plaintiff's lawyer, Locksley told the woman she was too old to be attractive to recruits.
That problem somehow went away earlier this month. The school issued a statement saying all sides agreed the dispute had been resolved.
Then Gerald suffered a split lip in an altercation in which Locksley "did not throw a punch."
Maybe with Locksley in absentia, the Lobos can rise up and defeat UNLV, which has its own woes.
The Rebels are 2-5, with wins over Sacramento State and Hawaii. But they have flopped badly in the Mountain West, with an 0-3 start that includes a 59-21 loss to BYU. UNLV also was on the wrong side of a 63-28 score against state-rival Nevada.
UNLV Coach Mike Sanford, under contract through 2012, would be paid $287,500 if he gets fired before Dec. 4. In his sixth year as the head coach, Sanford has a record of 13-41. At least he hasn't punched, er, grabbed, pushed and shoved an assistant coach. That's the good news. The bad? The UNLV program has only one winning season (2000) in the last 14 years.
Luckily, there are other things one can concern one's self with in Las Vegas.