Jan 192006
Authors: Scott Bondy

The AFC Championship game is two days away and the hype all over Colorado is mounting. The buzz around CSU is no different.

It's even tearing families apart. Twins, Brittany Kokes, a senior agricultural major, and Brett Kokes, a senior zoology major are equally excited about the game, yet can't agree on the victor.

"The Steelers are actually going to win. Ben (Roethlisberger) is a much better quarterback," Brett said. "My sis is going to kill me for saying that, she's a huge Bronco fan."

Brittany thinks the game will be a tough one but doesn't feel that the Steelers' momentum will be enough to win.

"The Broncos will win 21-17," she said.

The game has special meaning to CSU considering ex-players and coaches will grace the sidelines of both the Broncos and Steelers. Cecil Sapp, the seventh all-time leading rusher in CSU history, will likely be the only ex-player to see action Sunday for the Broncos. Although he is a backup running back, he could get some playing time on special teams. Bradlee Van Pelt, currently the backup to Jake Plummer, will likely watch from the sidelines.

CSU athletic director Mark Driscoll will be watching the game with great interest.

"I'm a Bronco fan," he said. "I have been since I was a kid."

Driscoll's ties with the Broncos go further than being a fan. He actually coached current Bronco offensive line coach Rick Denison while he was a tight end at CSU.

But Driscoll also knows that the Steelers are a good team and are well coached.

"I really like the Steelers," he said. "Coach Cowher is great and I really respect him and how he coaches."

The Steelers have two starters that once starred at CSU. Linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans started their domination on defense at CSU in 1997. Behind a powerful defense the team went on to an 11-2 record. This season they helped anchor a defense that ranked No. 4 in the NFL during the regular season.

Porter is a three-time All-Pro selection and will be on his way to another Pro Bowl this year. He is a well-respected linebacker in the league and has become a vocal leader for the defense. His recent remarks to the media after a victory against the Colts on Jan. 15 were controversial around the league. He was quoted as saying the referees "were cheating us."

But the focus in Fort Collins remains on the Broncos. The home team looks to make their first Super Bowl appearance since the Elway days. The big question as to whether Jake Plummer can prove himself as a big-time winner will be answered soon enough.

Lacee Phelps, a junior biology major at CSU, predicts a Bronco win behind Plummer's guidance.

"They're at home and they're the Broncos," she said. "Plus we have 'Jake the Snake.'"

Driscoll, without hesitation predicted a Bronco victory but when asked to call the score, he couldn't.

"It's definitely going to be a low scoring game with both of these defenses," Driscoll said.

The line shows that the Broncos are currently a three-point favorite. So if you're a betting person the hometown team is said to have the upper hand.

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