DOUBLE THE FUN: Ski New Mexico, in association with the New Mexico Tourism Department, has partnered with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl to provide ticketholders an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy two New Mexico True experiences. From December 17-24, 2017, one bowl game ticket can be redeemed for a free lift ticket. This offer is valid at one of Ski New Mexico’s eight great ski areas: Ski Apache, Taos Ski Valley, Ski Santa Fe, Pajarito Mountain, Red River Ski Area, Angel Fire Resort, Sipapu Ski Resort, and Sandia Peak. The Gildan New Mexico Bowl ticket must be presented in person at the ski area ticket office for redemption and must be used the same day as redeemed. Limit is one per person and there is no cash value or refund.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl tickets are on sale now at the UNM Ticket office, located in the Northeast corner of Dreamstyle Arena, online at www.unmtickets.com or www.gildannewmexicobowl.com or by phone at the UNM ticket office (925-5626) or the Gildan New Mexico Bowl office (925-5999). Discount codes ($5 off $25 North End Zone general admission or $10 off $40 premium bowl tickets) are also currently available on New Mexico Lottery Powerball®, Mega Millions® and Mega Millions® Just the Jackpot™ tickets through Friday, December 8.
MEET YOUR NM TRUE HEROES: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced this year’s New Mexico True Heroes at the Hispano Cultural Center in Albuquerque on Monday.
“Our 2017 New Mexico True Heroes are leaders in their communities and work hard day in and day out to make our state a wonderful place to call home,” Gov. Susana Martinez said in a news release announcing the recipients. “Today we’re recognizing New Mexicans who lead by example to help people and make their communities better. Each of them, through their commitment, compassion, and service, exemplify daily what it means to be New Mexico True.”
Jamar Cotton of Las Cruces is a deputy for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department but spends countless hours volunteering his time and resources while he is off duty. He has awarded scholarships to students, helped local homeless veterans, spent time with youth who are bullied or struggling with substance abuse, created a community fitness program, organized toy drives, and so much more. He mentors within his community and is very active in the quest to be the best role model and leader by example.
Donovan Smith of Albuquerque, age 14, helps the homeless of his city by creating and making homemade soaps. He has made and donated more than 12,000 soaps to homeless shelters. Donovan himself was homeless six years ago and this year he opened a physical store in downtown Albuquerque to not only sell his soaps but to hire and train local homeless.
Gwendolyn “Winnie” Keller of Carlsbad, age 14, began helping others at a very young age. Winnie’s first charitable endeavor was to turn her 5th birthday party into a fundraiser for a friend with leukemia, which was the beginning of her nonprofit, “It’s My Party.” Winnie’s nonprofit helps other children turn their parties into fundraisers. Now a freshman at Carlsbad High School, Winnie continues to help others by raising thousands of dollars for sick families in Carlsbad. Winnie fights her own chronic illness while she raises money for families in need.
Mike and Debbie Torres of Rio Rancho have helped special needs children in their community as coordinators for the Special Olympics for nearly 20 years. Mike and Debbie founded the Rio Rancho Rockets Special Olympics in 1998, initially to help their son meet other special needs children. They coordinate dozens of aspects of the organization and events for hundreds of athletes and volunteers. They are the primary volunteers and have continued to give back while they raised a family and worked full-time jobs.
“New Mexico True Heroes gives us an opportunity to highlight our state’s greatest treasure: our people,” Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham said in a news release. “This year’s class of New Mexico True Heroes and truly exemplary, and show that New Mexico is home to resilient, hardworking people who care about their state and their communities.”
The New Mexico True Heroes Awards were developed by the New Mexico Tourism Department in partnership with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in 2014. Dozens of nominations were submitted from friends, family members, students and coworkers. A panel of community leaders representing areas from all over the state determined the finalists. This year’s honorees will be recognized at the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl both during the player’s luncheon on Dec. 15 and on the field during the game on Dec. 16.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: It’s the final week of the regular season for almost all of the Conference USA and Mountain West programs. Action starts on Black Friday at 1:30 p.m. MT with Rocky Long’s San Diego State Aztecs taking on his alma mater, the New Mexico Lobos. SDSU has won five in a row in the series. At 5 p.m. MT, WKU heads to Miami for a battle with FIU. The Hilltoppers have won four straight in the series and have won their last six consecutive regular season finales. It is not the final week for FIU, which will host UMass on Saturday, Dec. 2.
There are six C-USA league games on Saturday. Most notably on tap is the Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee matchup as both teams are 5-6 overall and need a win to become bowl eligible. Louisiana Tech is also looking to becoming bowl eligible, hosting UTSA Saturday night.
There are four MW conference games on Saturday and one nonconference meeting as Hawai`i hosts BYU. At 1 p.m., UNLV and Nevada battle in the Governor’s Series for the Fremont Cannon. The visitor is this series has won the last five games which could be key to the Rebels, who need a win to become bowl eligible. UNLV is 1-2-1 when needing to win its final game of the season to earn eligiblity. Look for a preview of the Mountain West Championship Game on Saturday as Boise State heads to Fresno State. These two have not met since the 2014 MW Championship and will play in this year’s title game next Saturday in Boise. Please check out the complete schedule with series notes and viewing information on page 1 of the linked PDF.
POSTSEASON OUTLOOK: The first of 78 bowl bids has been officially claimed. Army earned its sixth win in Week 8, solidifying its automatic spot in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. There are 69 other teams around the FBS who are now bowl-eligible. Every conference has at least four teams eligible. The SEC leads the way with nine ready for the postseason, while the ACC and Conference USA boast eight apiece. Two teams, Ole Miss because of a self-imposed penalty, and Coastal Carolina because its transitioning to the FBS, are ineligible for the postseason. There are 37 others have been eliminated from postseason play, leaving 21 still in the running.
Conference USA has eight members that are among the group waiting for an invitation while the Mountain West has six. San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise State, Wyoming, Fresno State and Utah State are eligible to fill the five bowl commitments the league has in tact. Conference USA has six bowl tie-ins which Marshall, Florida Atlantic, FIU, North Texas, Southern Miss, UAB, UTSA and WKU wait to fill. The MW’s UNLV is just one win away from joining the party, as are C-USA’s Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion.
POSTSEASON PROJECTIONS: Several national collegiate football analysts do their best to piece together a prediction for how the bowl lineup will turn out. The projections for the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl vary with five different Conference USA schools and four Mountain West programs getting nods. San Diego State leads the way as the Mountain West representative with seven nods while Colorado State (3), Wyoming (1) and Fresno State (1) also garner votes. For Conference USA, five, up two from recent weeks, are predicting the North Texas Mean Green will be making their first appearance in the Albuquerque-based bowl while UTSA received four bids.