Letter to ABQ blog: wants UNM to play us, UT and OSU

NMSooner'80

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(too bad its author didn't think about using paragraphs a bit more...)

"For Sports Speak Up;
Here we go again & see (I think) another weak upcoming Lobo Basketball schedule. Seems like every year we have mostly teams in there that we hope & pray will have good years to boost our RPI. Why don't we just start great regional rivalries with some of our heavyweight neighbors like Texas, Oklahoma, OK ST, Tulsa, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona St. then we don't have to worry about this anymore. NMSU, Texas Tech & UTEP are ok but not like these guys I just mentioned & they all border our state! I'm sure they would schedule home & home with us, we're so close and they'd bring in lots of their fans I'm sure. Now seeing this caliber of teams in The Pit or University Stadium for that matter would be great. Now that crybaby Olson is gone @ Arizona, let's begin with them. Coach Alford is doing a phenominal job and his teams can compete and WILL WIN our share against these teams. Also, what about Coach's Big Ten connections, schedule some of those overrated teams. We'll show them what Lobo Basketball and the MWC is all about. The MWC is not the "Rodney Dangerfield" (I get no respect!) conference anymore thanks to Utah footbal. Maybe we'll even get that Duke/North Carolina homie Dick Vitale back to The Pit! Coach Locksley, how about some of these teams coming to Univ. Statium also. A&M was a good start before your arrival. Get your Big Ten connections going too. Let's go Lobos, lets go out and beat some people! Then we'll get all the national pub & accolades we need! Come on Cass & Coaches, get with the program and lets beef it up! Let's go Big Time! GO LOBOS!!!! "
 
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No advantage for OU to play a home and home versus UNM. Maybe if they come to the All college.
 
No advantage for OU to play a home and home versus UNM. Maybe if they come to the All college.


I've said that for years. When we had our Sooner Caravan stop on May 13, there's a guy who asks why OU doesn't play UNM home-and-home (in men's and women's basketball both). I almost wanted to jump up and intercept the question with, "Because have nothing to gain and everything to lose...."

That's also why UNM basketball couldn't even bring in "big-time opponents" in the mid-to-late 1990's. The media hated the coach at UNM at the time (Bliss) enough not to see the truth in the matter. It was more fun for them to just blame it on Bliss and paint him as the one who avoided the matchups. And, they were dangerous enough then (Top 25 for the better part of three full seasons) that people really did want to avoid the Pit.
 
Whoever wrote this has no sense of reality when it comes to Lobo or Sooner sports. Playing UNM in ABQ or Norman does not offer anything to gain for the Sooners, even if the Lobos were consistently a tournament team...which they're not right now. UNM has already played colorado and Ole Miss the past few years, they need to stick to those non-conference games. UNM fans love to talk about their program as better than it actually is, but let's be honest, win the MWC on a yearly basis and then maybe OU would consider it.
 
Add to that UNM doens't have a great recruiting prospect base. It is more advantage to play Rice and TCU than it would to play UNM. Also, UNM has beat us out on some recruits. A loss to them would give them some computer capital against us.
 
Add to that UNM doens't have a great recruiting prospect base. It is more advantage to play Rice and TCU than it would to play UNM. Also, UNM has beat us out on some recruits. A loss to them would give them some computer capital against us.

If OU would have played in NM, they could of picked up me.:woot
 
One of the weird ironies about the media's non-stop criticism of the Lobo schedules was that they helped make sure that OU wouldn't renew the home-and-home with UNM.

The game in December of '88 was a classic (OU won, 100-96). But the fishwrap guys (there were two papers then) naturally took the tack that OU and Tubbs ( :billy2849: ) weren't a class organization and took some cheap shots. Billy called them on it after the game.

It also didn't help UNM's cause that a few jokers threw coins at the refs, and one hit Tyrone Jones. So it became poetic justice that he hit a deep three out of the right corner (northeast end of the Pit, right by the OU bench) to gave OU the winning points. That trey put us up, 97-96, and we shut them out the rest of the way.

FWIW - they also have NEVER criticized the pathetic schedules played down at NMSU. That program, back about the same time the Albuquerque hacks were ripping OU, was truly a despicable, outlaw program.
 
OU-UNM-2.jpg


That's one of my photos from the game (Skeeter Henry on the tip-in).

By the way, I hope it didn't come across like I was defending Bliss' Baylor misdeeds. I do think it still sucks that some in Albuquerque use that fiasco as a reason to dump on him from his UNM days. He did play some great schedules while at SMU, and the fishwraps just couldn't grasp the notion that big-name teams wouldn't come to the Pit, unless they had a reason. Arizona's '97 team, which won the NCAA tournament, got whipped in the Pit by the Lobos, and they also lost in '99 on a last-second shot.

But, it was so much more fun for the writers to ignore the scheduling situation from the viewpoint of the bigger-name schools. UNM was good enough back then that they were too dangerous to play in Albuquerque (and the altitude factor also probably kept a few other teams away). I'm sort of glad we didn't play them with either of Billy's last two teams, or a couple of Kelvin's. They were definitely better than Billy's last two teams, and slightly better than many of Kelvin's early teams (except maybe in '95).

The extra-weird thing about the Albuquerque media and Lobo basketball is that the "old guard" guys make a lot of noise about keeping heat on UNM to "do the right thing" in sports. But, their favorite all-time UNM coach of the past was Norm Ellenberger, the late 70's college basketball version of a porn star. If you saw pix of him back then (late-40ish guy with shirts unbuttoned to the navel and a porn-star moustache), you'd see what I mean. And his program was every bit as sleazy as he was, but he'd pretty much bought off the local media by then anyway. He's the architect of what's called "Lobogate," when they got caught - on gambling wiretaps - forging transcripts and bribing people at extension universities for bogus transfer credits. And, his players' rap sheets make even Texas' run of lawlessness in football look pretty tame by comparison (and it also included several boosters trying to cover up players' crimes).
 
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GrantOverRobbins.jpg


By the way, you'd think they would have learned their lesson about wanting a piece of OU. Look at how Harvey Grant posterized one of the Lobos' primary underachievers.... I almost missed this shot, but luckily I found Grant in the viewfinder just in time) :woot
 
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