There is a theory, albeit a weak one, that the Mountain West's warm weather schools, with rosters filled with players used to the beach, will struggle when they play teams like Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force on the Rocky Mountain range.
Especially when there is bad weather, like we're having across the mountains right now.
Today, TCU visits Wyoming, San Diego State is in Fort Collins to play Colorado State and the Air Force Academy hosts UNLV.
There could be snow. It'll get cold for sure. It could drizzle or rain, and conditions could be soggy.
Sometimes it's freezing, and In situations like that, visitors used to warmer climes could unravel. Standing around on sidelines, it's hard to keep warm. Muscles tighten up. Noses run. Eyelashes freeze. And when the wind kicks up, there's a wind-chill factor that penetrates the skin and goes right to the bone. Portable heaters take off the edge, but hands turn to stone and giant thermo coats limit mobility as players await their turn on the field. Footballs don't compress, kicks and punts are even more unpredictable, and passing is a guess at best.
In Laramie, it can get downright nasty. At an elevation above 7,000 feet, situated on a high plain in the eastern part of the state, many fans put something akin to antifreeze in their veins to survive in the stands.
Today's forecast calls for the most questionable weather to be in Laramie. But a noon kickoff with TCU will save the Frogs from the worst part of any changes that call for 55 degrees, wind from 15 mph to 25 mph and a 70 percent chance of rain. By late afternoon, it could snow as temperatures drop to 25 or 30.
Colorado State and San Diego State will have a decent day, with 75 degrees and a wind between 20 to 30. The night game at the
Academy with UNLV will slump to 39 degrees with gusts at 35 mph and a 30 percent chance of rain.
In 2005, when UNLV, San Diego State and TCU visited the Rockies, Wyoming beat UNLV 42-17 but lost to an 8-0 TCU team. San Diego State beat Colorado State, 30-10.
Bottom line this week, weather might not be a factor for the visitors. But it can be, at the right times, like when the Cougars go to Laramie in November.
TCU has the biggest risk of a wet, cold day in Laramie affecting what they do.
But will it?
The other side of this warm/cold argument holds that good teams play good football, regardless of the fishbowl. Execution is a matter of coaching, talent and practice and the so-called elements might be a consideration, but never enough to weigh down a guess on who will win.
That's why the Wyoming-TCU matchup is intriguing. The Cowboys are capable, if they can hold onto the football. TCU is susceptible because its offense is as weak as its defense is stout.This week's predictions? I'm going with the weather as a no-factor angle.
TCU 17, WYOMING 14: This should turn into a defensive battle. The Frogs have enough weapons on defense to make the Cowboy weakness of dishing out turnovers a factor as they hold on with a few offensive plays to get the job done.
SAN DIEGO STATE 23, COLORADO STATE 17: The longer this season goes, the tougher it is for Sonny Lubick's team to have meaningful practices and shake off this streak of losing. The Rams need a win, but the Aztecs might just walk away with another, just like in 2005.
AIR FORCE 24, UNLV 21: If they were really a good football team worthy of challenging for a title, the Falcons shouldn't have lost to Navy. But by the same token, UNLV's loss to Nevada took away a lot of Rebel credibility after beating Utah the week before.
LAST WEEK: 4-2. OVERALL: 25-10 (.714)