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(All information as of June 20, 2008)
COACH AND PROGRAM
If nothing else, if he never wins another college football game, veteran New Mexico coach Rocky Long never again has to hear about the bowl streak. And for that, he's both pleased and a bit annoyed it was an issue to begin with.
In the moments after New Mexico's 23-0 defeat of Nevada in last season's New Mexico Bowl, a win that snapped the program's 46-year bowl win drought -- that included five trips under Long -- the usual jovial coach said, "It gets it off our back. We don't have to listen to it anymore, but this program was good before we won this game. It's you people who make it so important that we have to win to be justified. It's you folks that write that stuff, not us."
In classic Long form he added, "I'm glad you're giving me a soap box, by the way."
As for this season, the goal is somewhat changed from a year ago, that being to maintain momentum in what could be a transition season. Still, New Mexico should at least chal-lenge for yet another bowl invite. And if nothing else, it's worth noting that the only Mountain West program to be bowl eligible in each of the last seven years is ... yes, New Mexico.