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Q&A With The Mountain West Conference Connection

The MWC Connection fills the blog bill for the entire MWC, and has graciously answered a few questions about Wyoming for our perusal before the game.  As  is customary, I have answered a few of his questions; those questions and answers may be found here.

1.  What is the attitude around Laramie and the team about this game?  Do they see this as a winnable game and a chance to take down one of the big names, or is this generally considered just one of those money-making games where the little team gets paid handsomely for the honor of getting drilled?

The Wyoming fans gave up a while ago because before they defeated San Diego State 35-10 they were averaging 8.8 per game.  I am sure fans have some hope because they are fans and maybe because Tennessee is down this year, but this is a paycheck game for the Pokes and a rent-a-win for Tennessee.  If this game was at the beginning of the year when most non conference games are played then the Wyoming fans would be pumped up for this game, but since they are on their way to their fourth straight non winning season the fans do not care.  Actually die hard fans, if any, want hope because if Wyoming somehow finds a way to win out they would be 6-6 and bowl eligible, but we all no that is a very long shot.

2.  What does this game actually mean to the Wyoming program?  If Wyoming were to win, would they merely be one step closer to a .500 record, or would it resonate beyond the win itself?  Conversely, would a loss be anything besides an expected outcome in a hostile environment?

It is money for the program, but the players have to be excited to play a big name team to see if they can compete against an SEC team. 

If somehow Wyoming were to win it could by Joe Glenn some more time as head coach and would be their second biggest win in his tenure, the other being a 24-21 Las Vegas Bowl victory over UCLA in 2005.  Like mentioned above if a miracle were to happen and they get a win a bowl could come Wyoming's way because their last two opponents, UNLV and Colorado State, currently have losing records.
A loss really would do nothing because Wyoming is not expected to win this game, but if they were to get beat on the same level as they did when they played BYU and Utah that could be the last straw for Joe Glenn.

3.  UT's offense has been a little off this year, to say the least.  How has Wyoming's defense looked, and how do you expect it to match up against the UT offense?  Are there any particular defensive playmakers to look out for?  Are there any particular strengths or weaknesses?

The Wyoming rush defense has been solid this year and in years past.  The MWC has a ton of good running backs in the league and gives up 112 per game, but that also includes a 260 rushing performance by Air Force.  The rushing stats could be that they have been down this year, but it is a pretty good rush defense.  Their pass defense needs work, Wyoming does have experienced players in the secondary but none are any good.

4.  The Wyoming coach, Joe Glenn, was very well-received when he showed up.  He made a good initial splash, even getting his name mentioned for the Nebraska gig at one time, but has had disappointing results recently.  Is he another coach who may be on the way out?  Would a win or loss at Neyland stadium affect his future?

I think Glenn has worn out his welcome with the poor performance on the field, but he is a fiery guy who gets players motivated.  Every year it seems Wyoming starts great and fades fast, look at last year he goes 4-1 and then finishes 5-7 and miss a bowl game. 

My gut says they will keep him around not because he is a good coach but because it is a money issue, because Wyoming is a small school in a very, very rural area that does not have booster money to buy his contract out.  He still could be fired but that may be a reason he hangs around.

Winning at Tennessee would give him at least one more year.

5.  Tennessee has had their quarterback issues this year, but nothing like what Wyoming has faced.  Please tell us a little bit about the 3 QBs who have played for Wyoming and which (if any) appears to be taking the reins.

Wyoming started out with JUCO transfer Dax Crum who was highly regarded, but has failed terribly.  He has seen action in 7 games but only 4 have been significant time.   The other is Karsteen Sween who for the past two years was pretty good, but with all of the quarterback switching once one has failed has done no good for any of the quarterbacks that the Pokes have.  Their current project is Chris Stutzriem and in last weeks 35-10 win was only 6 for 10 on passing with 166 yards.  None are all that good, but like I mentioned earlier the coaching staff keeps yanking in and out quarterbacks which gives none a chance to succeed.  I believe this week Stutzriem will start, but do not be surprised if Sween or Crum get snaps not that either of those would make a difference.

6.  When the Wyoming Brown and Yellow meet the Tennessee Orange and White in Neyland stadium, many people in East Tennessee will be calling DirecTV to complain about the color quality on the screen.  (No, ma'am, those are the actual colors you're seeing.)  Can you think of any uglier combinations of team colors for a game?  (Bonus points for not including Oregon; that's kinda like using Hitler in an argument.)

   The only thing more hideous is if you get the privilege to watch this game in Hi-Def.  Those green Notre Dame jerseys are pretty hideous, but nothing beats these two.