Thanks to studying abroad and a summer internship, I’ve spent Valentine’s Day in Paris, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Easter break in Italy and the Fourth of July in Washington this year. Oh, and I was in Vegas for my 21st birthday.
But I’ve been looking forward to Aug. 30 as much as any of those days.
To those who haven’t gone to a CU-CSU game yet, you are in for a treat. Some may not think so after the pathetic job ASCSU did with the Plaza line for tickets Saturday. About 2,500 students lined up orderly and our student government decided to start a sprint to the Lory Student Center doors. Thankfully nobody was trampled. For that sacrifice, students hopefully will be treated to a great game and a Rams win.
This game is about much more than football. No single event in the year brings more students of this campus together than the CU-CSU game. Pride in the football team spreads to pride in all that is CSU and pride in Fort Collins. Tailgating with your fellow Rams while trash talking to Buff fans before this game is as good as it gets.
My three previous trips to Denver for the game have all been great times, even the year we got slammed 41-14. Obviously we left that game in bad spirits, but the excitement, anticipation and tailgating more than made up for the loss. This year’s view from the press box probably won’t be as much fun.
Thanks to CU athletic director Dick Tharp, this is the last season the game is scheduled in Denver. CSU will head to Boulder in 2004 and 2005 and the two teams will not meet 2006 and 2007. So take advantage of Saturday, it will be your last opportunity.
With a No. 23 ranking and an easier schedule than last season, there have been some predictions by students and media of a Bowl Championship Series appearance and an undefeated season this year.
Even head coach Sonny Lubick has said the Rams have one of their most talented teams in his tenure.
However, the chances of an undefeated season are slim to none, no matter what the schedule. Usually there are two or less undefeated teams of the 117 in Division I-A at the end of a season. When our rivals from Boulder won a share of the national championship in 1990, they had one loss, one tie and one fifth down.
CSU’s schedule this year is also deceiving in some ways. If the Rams can win their first two games against two-time defending Big 12 North Champion Colorado and California in Berkley, the schedule gets much easier.
The next major test will come against Miami. No, not the Hurricanes, the RedHawks from Ohio, who boast a Heisman candidate in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Rams must also get over the hump against Fresno State. The Bulldogs have beaten the Rams the past two straight years by a total of five points.
Five days after a tough game against Fresno, the Rams must travel to Provo, Utah, to take on Brigham Young. BYU is picked fourth in the Mountain West this year, but the Rams have always had a tough time winning in Provo.
Finally, the Rams ran out of gas last year when they lost their last two games against UNLV and Texas Christian. Late season games at New Mexico and UNLV will be key if the Rams hope to win another Mountain West Conference title.
CSU is by far the best team in the Mountain West and I hope they prove me wrong and go undefeated. However, it is a long season where every team will be giving the Rams their best game. A 12-0 season for the Rams is about as likely as a 6-6 season, but you never know.