Sep 112003
Authors: Jon Ackerman

This is insane. Who was huffing paint when they came up with this schedule?

With this slate, it looks like CSU’s making a serious case for a BCS bid.

Four top 25 teams before conference play? One each weekend for four straight weeks the first four weeks of the year? That’s what we like to call strength-of-schedule.

Only this isn’t about our football team. Not that Weber State isn’t a good team, but… you’re right, it isn’t a good team.

This is about our Sisters in Spandex.

Already the CSU volleyball team has faced No. 4 Stanford and No. 22 Cal (rankings are current, not of when they played CSU). Saturday night the Rams are at No. 14 Kansas State and six days later they’re at No. 13 Minnesota.

Unfortunately, CSU dropped its matches with Stanford and Cal (the only setbacks in seven matches), both of which were at home. And they’ll be on the road to face K-State and Minnesota.

These women must be hating life right now.

“We love it,” junior Melissa Courtney said. “Although it’s tough and sometimes a little discouraging when you lose. But every time we go out there we know playing those teams is going to make us better.”

Well isn’t that something? You talk to a football player after a loss to a top-25 “power conference” team with another ranked team ahead the following weekend, and you’ll hear crazy talk of a disappointing season. (Granted, one game plays more of a role in a football season, but still.)

Tuesday night the spikers did what their shoulder-padded cohorts couldn’t: beat CU. They gave the Buffs the first set, then took three straight for the win. CU isn’t ranked, but it should find itself in the NCAA tournament once again this year.

So the Rams have experienced about half of this non-conference brutality.

Once we hit conference play, annual powers BYU and Utah await. CSU will play each of these teams once at Moby, once on the road, and possibly once more in the MWC tournament.

Overall, that could be nine matches against top 25 teams. And oh yeah, as if they’re out to set some sort of record, there’s No. 15 Long Beach State on the road three days after the conference tourney.

The chances of CSU playing the eventual national champion appear as good as Kobe Bryant’s chances of a shattered reputation.

“It’s so fun, especially when they come to Moby. That’s even more fun. When we get them in here, we get excited and we get pumped up. We just want to see where we compare,” Courtney said.

If coach Tom Hilbert’s feelings are any indication, his Rams compare just fine with these top teams. He thinks Stanford and Cal are the two toughest teams he’ll face all year and he sees his team with a serious chance to knock off either or both K-State and Minnesota in their own gyms.

“It doesn’t scare me to play good people,” Hilbert said. “It makes our team better, and it gives them a fun experience.”

Good thing the CSU women are good. Damn good, in fact. You ask me and playing four of the best teams in the nation the first four weeks of the season sounds about as fun as cancer.

But like the team said, that’s how you get better.

Now let’s just tell that to the football team.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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