Photo: Bob Davie raises his arms in celebration in the final seconds of the Lobos’ win against New Mexico State this season. It was one of just two victories that UNM had against FBS teams. (Courtesy/LoboPhotoStore.com)
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
So, is Bob Davie in or out?
I have no clue. But I do have a take (or four) on Davie’s days as New Mexico Lobo football coach.
It’s a little ditty I doubt that you’ve have heard. It’s not exactly sports information department material. And I doubt if it has been written or announced by the “rugged” Albuquerque sports media.
In fairness, maybe I missed it, considering my lack of local news viewing or reading. But I don’t think so.
And I’m darn sure you haven’t heard it during a Lobo football game broadcast.
However, in my eyes (insert your joke here), here’s a tidbit that best sums up Davie’s Lobo career:
His win total against FBS teams that finished the season with a winning record.
Remember, through seven seasons, Davie is 33-54 at New Mexico. And there were those two “monster” seasons that included bowl games! One, a win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl!!!
OK, it was UTSA, not Bama. And it wasn’t the Sugar Bowl. But still, it was still bowl win. And there are only 39 these days.
So, any guesses about that wins against winners total?
Geoff Grammer, a former co-worker of mine, and I used to track the aforementioned subject during Davie’s early years at UNM. We each kept a list in our computers at work. I haven’t seen that computer for a couple of years, so this week I asked Geoff if he remembered the number as of 2016.
We both recalled it was “six.” And we were both pretty sure that number hadn’t increased during the Lobos’ past two 3-9 seasons.
We were right. And wrong.
Davie’s wins against FBS season-winning teams certainly didn’t increase in 2017 or 2018.
The total, however, wasn’t just six after all.
It was four!
In 2015, the Lobos took that historical win at Boise State (9-4) and beat Air Force (8-6). In 2016, they beat Air Force (10-3) and Wyoming (8-6).
And that’s been it.
Woe is Us – No Longer the Bulldogs
Davie’s overall record at UNM is sort of woeful — not Mike Locksley woeful (2-26) – but pretty woeful, nonetheless. And Davie’s 17-39 Mountain West Conference record isn’t exactly Nick Saban-esque.
But just four wins against FBS teams that finished the season with winning records?
Let’s put that in perspective: UNM’s Mountain West brethren, Fresno State, already has four such wins this year. And the Bulldogs still have at least one more chance – and probably two – to increase that total.
And this is a program that didn’t beat a single FBS team – winning record or otherwise – in 2016. The Bulldogs were 0-11 vs. the FBS that year. Oh yeah, and they were 2-9 vs. the FBS the year before.
Since then, they’ve gone a combined 18-5 against FBS opposition, with two losses to Minnesota, and one each to Alabama, Washington and Boise State.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs (11-1) take on Boise State (10-2) in the Mountain West title game for the second straight year. Then, they head to their second consecutive bowl game.
The Bulldogs crushed the Lobos 38-0 last season and 38-7 this year.
Suddenly, 2016 seems more like two decades away, not two years. For both the Bulldogs and Lobos.
OK, back to Davie. While he has only four wins over winning-record FBS programs, he does have 23 wins against all other FBS schools. But the combined end-of-season records of those 23 teams is 79-203.
A bad record against bad teams isn’t a good way to retain a coaching job. And that, of course, is only the edge of this recent disaster of the post-Rocky Long Lobo football book.
So, should it be the end of the Bob Davie chapter of that book? Maybe. Maybe not.
Let’s remember, there are a million reasons to retain Davie.
Actually $1.3 million.
Next: Rocky’s road hasn’t exactly been smooth this season.
The above research was done by Enchantment Sports. If any numbers are incorrect, we are sure to hear about it from the UNM sports information department – and we are sure to correct them. If everything, indeed, is correct, we will only hear from our readers – and we always enjoy that.
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for four decades, and is one of the New Mexico’s most decorated sports journalists in history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.