Dec 222003
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

In 2001 and 2002, the CSU football team won consecutive Mountain

West Conference titles.

Their reward: Spending most of the holiday break practicing in

cold temperatures and then traveling to Memphis, Tenn., where

temperatures were usually even colder, for the AXA Liberty Bowl to

play against the Conference USA champion.

This season the Rams struggled in close games and just managed

to finish above .500 at 7-5.

Their reward: Practicing in 55-degree weather on a brand new

synthetic field that feels like summer grass and traveling to San

Francisco for a New Year’s Eve match against a prominent Big East

team.

While the Rams are disappointed in the outcome of the 2003

season, they certainly look forward to playing in the Diamond

Walnut San Francisco Bowl against Boston College(7-5).

“It’s my last game, I’m going to enjoy it,” said senior

linebacker

Drew Wood. “I wanted to win conference, but I’d much rather go

to San Francisco than Memphis. I’ve been to Memphis plenty and I

don’t really like it there, so I’m going to have fun in San

Francisco.”

CSU’s fifth-year seniors have been to a bowl game every year

since becoming a Ram, including three Liberty Bowls.

The Rams lost the 1999 Liberty Bowl to C-USA champ Southern Miss

23-17, beat Louisville 22-17 in the 2000 Liberty and lost to Texas

Christian 17-3 in Memphis last year.

In 2001, the Rams struggled to a 6-5 mark, but landed a birth in

the New Orleans Bowl and crushed North Texas 45-20.

Five straight bowl games were unthinkable before the arrival of

head coach Sonny Lubick in 1993. Before Lubick, the Rams had only

gone to two bowl games in 100 years of competition.

In 1948, CSU, then called Colorado A&M, lost the Raisin Bowl

to Occidental College, now a Division III school, 21-20. They

didn’t appear in another bowl game until 1990 when they upset

Oregon in the Freedom Bowl 32-31.

However, since Lubick’s arrival, the Rams are in their eighth

bowl game in 11 years.

Before the eight teams of the Mountain West Conference broke off

from the ever-expanding 16-team Western Athletic Conference in

1999, the WAC champ played the second or third place team from the

Big 12 or Big Ten conferences in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. CSU

lost its first Holiday Bowl 24-14 to Michigan in 1994, was blown

out by Kansas State 54-21 in the 1995 Holiday Bowl and finally

triumphed in San Diego with a 35-24 win over Missouri in the 1997

Holiday Bowl.

Lubick has said many times that he really enjoyed the Holiday

Bowl and thought it was a great place for the Rams to play as

conference champs.

He said the Rams’ return to California should be a good reward

for the players. “Going out to San Francisco should be a great city

to be in,” Lubick said. “It’s as good of a venue as we’ve been

to.”

Playing at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco is also an

advantage for the 37 players on CSU’s roster that are from

California. Senior wide receiver Chris Pittman, from suburban San

Diego, said that dozens of people have been asking him for tickets

to the game.

“Man, I only get six tickets, I don’t know what I can do,”

Pittman said. “It’s going to be like a home game, pretty much.”

Notes: The Rams wrapped up their workouts in Fort Collins with

practices on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. They will take a

break for the holidays before arriving in San Francisco on Dec. 26.

They are scheduled to practice three times in San Francisco before

the game.

Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt continued to throw without full

padding Sunday, but Lubick said he is improving every day and

should be ready to play on Dec. 31.

Lubick said that other than senior linebacker Eric Pauly, the

Rams could have their entire roster ready to play against BC.

Linebacker Courtney Jones has tendonitis in a knee, linebacker

Jahmal Hall is recovering from a knee injury and tight end Joel

Dreessen has not been practicing because of lingering problems with

an abdominal injury. But Lubick said all three could play.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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