UTSA football has made changes to its 2020 schedule of games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season opener against Louisiana State University (LSU) and the game against Old Dominion University (ODU) were canceled. The Roadrunners added games against Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) on Sept. 19, Brigham Young University (BYU) on Oct. 10 and Army West Point on Oct. 17. UTSA has done a great job of finding opponents, but it remains to be seen if these changes to the schedule will improve the ‘Runners’ record or leave it looking worse.
The first changed game was against the LSU Tigers. The Tigers are coming off a 15-0 run and a national championship and are widely considered one of if not the best team in college football right now. A season opener against LSU would have been a great way of showing what Jeff Traylor had been working on in the off season, but unfortunately, we will not be seeing that this year.
The ‘Runners will also be losing out on playing the ODU Monarchs, who went 1-11 last year and lost to the ‘Runners in a close game that ended with a score of 24-23. While the Monarchs finished last in Conference USA, it would have been interesting to see a rematch between the two with the new ‘Runners coaching staff. If these teams had played each other, it would have been a great way to see if the ‘Runners could separate themselves from the bottom teams of the conference, which, given the talent this roster has, should not have been difficult.
The next change to the schedule is the game against the SFA Lumberjacks, who finished 3-9 last season. UTSA getting this game on their schedule is great for padding the record. The ‘Runners are currently picked to win this game according to ESPN matchup predictions, which is great to see, but there is not much benefit in playing blowout games when the ‘Runners should be showing they are capable of winning games against tougher opponents.
The next opponent for the ‘Runners is the BYU Cougars. They went 7-6 last year. BYU is a great pick up for UTSA; the Cougars are definite favorites coming into this game, giving the ‘Runners the perfect opportunity to show people they are a team to be worried about. If the ‘Runners upset BYU, who are considered a top-40 team in college football, they could become a name no longer associated with losing. While this would be amazing, the chances of this happening are low unless we see a lot of change on both sides of the ball.
The last game UTSA added is against the Army Black Knights, who finished last year with a record of 5-8. Last season, the ‘Runners lost to the Black Knights 31-13, and while the score may not reflect it, this game was rather close. However, the ‘Runners ran out of steam late into the game and let the Black Knights run away with the win. UTSA is a considerable underdog once again, but this time, there is a strong chance the result could be different. If the ‘Runners beat Army, it is likely they could be seen as being in contention for the conference championship.
The changes this year have made for an exciting schedule that leaves most games a toss up. The ‘Runners finished last year with a 4-8 record, one not indicative of the talent on the roster. Finishing with a 7-5 record this year is not out of the picture for the ‘Runners based on the current strength of schedule. With this year being what it is, it is likely the ‘Runners could change the culture around their football program into a winning one.