One of the best stories of this college football season was the resurgence of the Wyoming football program under coach Craig Bohl. The Cowboys were a power in the late 80’s and 90’s under coaches like Paul Roach, Joe Tiller and Dana Dimel in the old Western Athletic Conference. However, since moving to the Mountain West in 1999, the Cowboys had experienced just four winning seasons and were coming into the season after finishing 2-10 in 2015.
They were picked to finish last in the consistently tough MWC, but they surprised everyone by going 8-4 and winning the Mountain Division for the right to face San Diego State in the conference title game. They fell to the Aztecs in the title game, but still earned a berth in the Poinsettia bowl where they will face BYU later this month. It certainly seems like coach Bohl and his staff have the program moving in the right direction.
“You’re always striving to get better, our goal is to return Cowboy football back to national prominence,” said Bohl on CBS Sports Radio’s DA Show with Damon Amendolara. “I think we’re relevant, to take that next step is going to be another leap and that’s going to need to be done in the bowl game and in the offseason. Not to discredit what these seniors have done and some of the accomplishments we’ve made this year, the arrow is pointing up and that’s one of the goals we set at the beginning of the year.”
Bohl previously served as the head coach at North Dakota State, helping to build the Bison into an FCS power that won five consecutive FCS national championships. He did it in a state not exactly known for producing top college football players and he faces a similar challenge at Wyoming. However, Bohl says that recruiting in a state like Wyoming is only a problem if you make it one.
“If you look at it as an obstacle that’s exactly what it will be,” said Bohl. “For me, the past history I had, I spent time at the University of Nebraska and at NDSU, both of those two states are sparsely populated in comparison to the rest of the college football map. We choose to take what people would perceive as an obstacle and turn it into an advantage. We know that when a young man’s coming here, they’re coming here with a laser-like focus to get a meaningful degree from a great land grant research institution. Number two, is to win the Mountain West Conference championship. You’re going to get the guy who is really bought in. College football, I know there’s two different models, you can have a recruiting model where you’re constantly recruiting the five-star guy, but we have chosen to take the model that we are a developmental program. When the Cowboys were really good, and it’s been a long time now, that mantra has not changed and that’s what we’re going to march forward with.”