Forget everything you know about the 2010 Colorado State football team.
Throw out the 3-8 record, the Ramsâ€™ inability to win on the road, the woeful defensive performances, a running game that occasionally goes missing in action; the Border War always means something more.
On Saturday, the Rams will travel to Laramie, Wyo. for the 102nd installment of the rivalry to decide where the Bronze Boot resides for the next year.
CSU and Wyoming have been playing one another since 1899, missing only a handful of seasons because of the two World Wars. The 100 previous meetings makes it the countryâ€™s longest standing interstate rivalry west of the Mississippi River. In 1968, the Bronze Boot became the official trophy of the rivalry, and since then the Rams and Cowboys have split the series 21-21.
Senior linebacker Ricky Brewer wouldnâ€™t want to end his CSU career against anybody else.
â€œI know all the history of this game, couldnâ€™t be better than to have my last game against Wyoming,â€ said Brewer, who leads the team with 101 tackles this season. â€œTheyâ€™re going to bring it. They always do. They attack this game like itâ€™s the Super Bowl, and so do we.â€
The Cowboys (2-9, 0-7 MWC) are eerily similar to the 2009 CSU team that went winless in conference play. Cowboysâ€™ coach Dave Christiansen is in his second year at the helm of the program after sending the Cowboys to a New Mexico Bowl victory over Fresno State in his first season.
Last season, the Rams hosted the Cowboys at Hughes Stadium hoping to avoid an 0-8 record in conference. But the game was ultimately won by the Cowboys, 17-16, after several unfortunate fourth quarter plays cost the Rams.
At the end of the game, Wyoming quarterback Austin Carta-Samuels pushed his way through the CSU sideline to grab the Boot away from the Rams.
Brewer wasnâ€™t at last yearâ€™s game due to his season-long suspension in 2009 but says he hasnâ€™t forgotten what took place at Hughes Stadium a year ago.
â€œLetâ€™s just say itâ€™s extra motivation,â€ Brewer said. â€œIâ€™ll make sure these guys know and understand the essence of this rivalry.â€
CSU coach Steve Fairchild has spent time this week preaching the importance of the Border War to some of his younger players.
â€œThat boot means a lot. It stands for much more than just a win of a football game,â€ Fairchild said. â€œThis is a rivalry that goes just beyond athletic departments. Entire universities care about this game and entire communities.â€
Despite having never taken part in a Border War, freshman quarterback Pete Thomas already seems to have a grasp on what the rivalry means.
â€œWe need to get some momentum heading into the offseason,â€ Thomas said. â€œThis rivalry means a lot, itâ€™s real important for not only the rivalry but to get a win for these seniors.â€
The Cowboys enter Saturdayâ€™s game on the heels of a six-game losing streak, in large part because of their dormant offense, which ranks 119th out of 120 FBS schools. If the Rams want to bring the Bronze Boot back to Fort Collins, theyâ€™ll have to find a way to win on the road for the first time all season.
Brewer, who has been a prominent figure on the CSU defense during his three-year playing career, had some bulletin board material for the Cowboys in what will be his last game wearing green and gold.
â€œAny guy that doesnâ€™t bring their emotion to this game, Iâ€™m sorry for them. They need to find a different sport,â€ Brewer said. â€œI will be the first person to grab that boot after we win this game.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.