Rams rebound and Moby mania

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Oct 282003
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

As the CSU football team returns from a break, I’m going to try

and figure out exactly how the team has turned around a sub-par 2-3

start to looking like a team that could go head-to-head with

anybody in the country. OK, Oklahoma may be a stretch.

My theory is a combination of adjustments to new coaches and the

underdog mentality.

The Rams lost their defensive coordinator and linebackers coach,

their defensive backs coach and their tight ends and special teams

coach. Although the system remained the same, it takes time for

coaches to think with like minds. The coaching changes on defense

certainly seemed to have an effect in the early season.

The Rams gave up an average of 35 points a game in the three

early season losses. During the last three games, CSU has given up

an average of 14.3 points.

With Bradlee Van Pelt under center, the Rams have always had

more success when they are not counted among the nation’s best

teams. Last season, the Rams were supposed to be outmatched in

early season games at Virginia and at No. 6 Colorado. But the Rams

won both games and nearly pulled off an upset at UCLA. The Rams

entered the Top 25, only to lose a close game against Fresno State

32-20. They dropped out of the Top 25 and went about their business

in the Mountain West Conference. That success led to another surge

in the polls, as the Rams reached No. 13 in the rankings. But the

Rams suffered a season-ending loss to UNLV at home and then lost

the AXA Liberty Bowl to Texas Christian.

This season, the Rams entered the season in the Top 25 and

favored against Colorado. There was talk of an undefeated season.

The Rams then went out to a 2-3 start. Then, when people questioned

whether the Rams would even become bowl eligible, they churned out

their best three games of the season.

If the Rams ever hope to make a run at a BCS bowl in the future,

they will have to learn to win with ‘national power’ in front of

their name.

Maniac schedule for men’s b-ball

One of the few pitfalls of studying in England last spring was

that I missed the amazing run of the men’s basketball team. It’s

nice to have hope and expectations for the first time since any of

us have been here (unless you’re on the 14-year plan).

Coming off last season’s MWC tournament win and their

final-minute loss to Duke in the first round of the NCAA

tournament, expectations for the basketball team are as high as

they have been since the early 90s. Attendance and enthusiasm at

Moby has been rather pathetic over the past few years, but the Moby

Maniacs should return this season.

While regular season success was not needed for the Rams (16-14)

last year, they won’t win the MWC tournament as the No. 6 seed

every year.

MWC coaches picked CSU to finish third in the conference and

center Matt Nelson was selected as the preseason player of the

year.

Whether CSU is a legitimate contender may be answered before

they even play a conference game. CSU is certainly not backing down

in their non-conference schedule.

The Rams play Oklahoma State in Tulsa, Okla., on Nov. 26, just

the second game of the season. The team also has road games at

Auburn and South Florida and play Pepperdine at the Pepsi Center.

The Rams were terrible in non-conference road games last season,

losing to Colorado, Purdue, Southern Illinois and Arkansas-Little

Rock.

This season, CSU hosts CU and Purdue, as well as a solid Texas

Southern team before entering conference play. As with the football

team, I am always excited when CSU takes on a challenging

schedule.

It could be tough going for the basketball team, but hopefully

any losses suffered will not affect their confidence in MWC

games.

The first game is Nov. 22 against BYU-Hawaii, come get on the

bandwagon early this year.

 

 

 

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