Aug 242008
Authors: Sean Star

The bank account is healthy. The syllabi are hot off the copy machine. Drunken freshmen roam the streets like homeless people at night. And most importantly, football season is so close you can taste it.

Ah yes, the start of another fall semester is here. Aside from the overpriced textbooks and increased student fees, there’s a refreshing sense of optimism that only comes at this time of year.

This will be the semester you keep up on the assigned reading. This will be the semester you drink less and work out more. This will be the semester the football team turns things around and actually makes you proud to be a CSU Ram. Not sure how those first two will turn out. As for that third one, it depends on what makes you proud to be a Ram. How does .500 sound?

With that promising prediction, I welcome you, Ram fans, to the first installment of The Star Report.

Aside from Ram Talk and one-star Sudoku, it’s your best bet in making Mondays suck a little less.

The Star Report is your guide to what is really going on in the CSU sports scene, beyond the mundane coaches’ quotes and public relations spin. Move over McCain, there’s a new conductor aboard the straight talk express.

But for real, besides a cool last name, what makes my opinion worth anything?

Well, for the past three years, I’ve covered it all when it comes to the green and gold-from women’s water polo to football, from fired coaches to arrested athletes.

But please, if you ever feel the need to respond to anything in my column, feel free to write me an e-mail. Who knows, I might just respond to it the next week. This is America, after all, where everyone’s voice should be heard. But enough about me – we’re here for the Rams.

Since countdowns are fun and easy, here’s a list of the top five questions concerning CSU fall sports this season.

5. Can the women’s cross-country team defend its conference and regional titles? Reigning Mountain West female athlete of the year April Thomas has graduated, and with her, the hopes of a repeat might’ve left, too.

4. Will the volleyball team make it past the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in order to enjoy a possible home-court advantagein the regional?

For this one, let’s ask coach Tom Hilbert, who earlier this month said: “We have the potential to go as far or further than any team we’ve ever had.”

That about answers that one. But why is there so much potential? The 17th-ranked Rams are led by a trio of super seniors, Ashley Fornstrom, Jaime Strauss and most notably third-team All-American Mekana Barnes.

3. Will all the extra money spent on marketing the athletic department (see: big billboard outside of Moby Arena) translate to success in the ticket office?

Third-year athletic director Paul Kowalczyk sure hopes so. As Pauly K says, you have to spend money to make money.

2. Who will emerge as the Rams’ top running back, Kyle Bell or Gartrell Johnson? Bell had an amazing sophomore season in 2005 while Johnson’s breakout year came last fall at the expense of Bell, who was returning from a torn ACL.

If this were a fantasy football draft, I’d go with Johnson, a.k.a. the Predator.

1. Can first-year football coach Steve Fairchild turn around the football program? As stated before, a 6-6 year would be considered a success for a team that lacks serious talent at the quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback positions.

Sports columnist Sean Star can be reached at or The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Collegian editorial board or staff.

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