In 2001 and 2002, the CSU football team won consecutive Mountain
West Conference titles.
Their reward: Spending most of the holiday break practicing in
cold temperatures and then traveling to Memphis, Tenn., where
temperatures were usually even colder, for the AXA Liberty Bowl to
play against the Conference USA champion.
This season the Rams struggled in close games and just managed
to finish above .500 at 7-5.
Their reward: Practicing in 55-degree weather on a brand new
synthetic field that feels like summer grass and traveling to San
Francisco for a New Year’s Eve match against a prominent Big East
While the Rams are disappointed in the outcome of the 2003
season, they certainly look forward to playing in the Diamond
Walnut San Francisco Bowl against Boston College(7-5).
“It’s my last game, I’m going to enjoy it,” said senior
Drew Wood. “I wanted to win conference, but I’d much rather go
to San Francisco than Memphis. I’ve been to Memphis plenty and I
don’t really like it there, so I’m going to have fun in San
CSU’s fifth-year seniors have been to a bowl game every year
since becoming a Ram, including three Liberty Bowls.
The Rams lost the 1999 Liberty Bowl to C-USA champ Southern Miss
23-17, beat Louisville 22-17 in the 2000 Liberty and lost to Texas
Christian 17-3 in Memphis last year.
In 2001, the Rams struggled to a 6-5 mark, but landed a birth in
the New Orleans Bowl and crushed North Texas 45-20.
Five straight bowl games were unthinkable before the arrival of
head coach Sonny Lubick in 1993. Before Lubick, the Rams had only
gone to two bowl games in 100 years of competition.
In 1948, CSU, then called Colorado A&M, lost the Raisin Bowl
to Occidental College, now a Division III school, 21-20. They
didn’t appear in another bowl game until 1990 when they upset
Oregon in the Freedom Bowl 32-31.
However, since Lubick’s arrival, the Rams are in their eighth
bowl game in 11 years.
Before the eight teams of the Mountain West Conference broke off
from the ever-expanding 16-team Western Athletic Conference in
1999, the WAC champ played the second or third place team from the
Big 12 or Big Ten conferences in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. CSU
lost its first Holiday Bowl 24-14 to Michigan in 1994, was blown
out by Kansas State 54-21 in the 1995 Holiday Bowl and finally
triumphed in San Diego with a 35-24 win over Missouri in the 1997
Lubick has said many times that he really enjoyed the Holiday
Bowl and thought it was a great place for the Rams to play as
He said the Rams’ return to California should be a good reward
for the players. “Going out to San Francisco should be a great city
to be in,” Lubick said. “It’s as good of a venue as we’ve been
Playing at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco is also an
advantage for the 37 players on CSU’s roster that are from
California. Senior wide receiver Chris Pittman, from suburban San
Diego, said that dozens of people have been asking him for tickets
to the game.
“Man, I only get six tickets, I don’t know what I can do,”
Pittman said. “It’s going to be like a home game, pretty much.”
Notes: The Rams wrapped up their workouts in Fort Collins with
practices on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. They will take a
break for the holidays before arriving in San Francisco on Dec. 26.
They are scheduled to practice three times in San Francisco before
Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt continued to throw without full
padding Sunday, but Lubick said he is improving every day and
should be ready to play on Dec. 31.
Lubick said that other than senior linebacker Eric Pauly, the
Rams could have their entire roster ready to play against BC.
Linebacker Courtney Jones has tendonitis in a knee, linebacker
Jahmal Hall is recovering from a knee injury and tight end Joel
Dreessen has not been practicing because of lingering problems with
an abdominal injury. But Lubick said all three could play.