After a surprising 3-2 start and a fourth place conference ranking, the CSU Rams are headed into their toughest stretch of the season.
The Rams are scheduled to face Texas Christian, Utah, San Diego State and BYU consecutively over the next four weeks. CSU has recently struggled against the fearsome foursome, displaying a record of 1-10 the past three seasons.
Offensive lineman Cole Pemberton said the Rams have enough on their plates this week to even start thinking about the future.
“We have to look at it one game at a time,” he said. “We have TCU for homecoming this week, and that’s a big enough opponent to start out with. We don’t need to worry about teams two or three weeks away. We need to worry about our next game.”
Linebacker Ricky Brewer agreed, adding that playing quality teams is a great opportunity to prove just how good the Rams can be.
“I’m just focused on this week,” the sophomore said. “If anything, playing against ranked opponents makes me more excited. It gives us a true test and a chance to prove to the nation what type of team we have. It’ll help to return us to the glory we once had.”
TCU, Utah and BYU have all spent time ranked in the top 25 nationally. The Cougars currently sit in the top ten (No. 9 AP, No. 8 USA Today), and Utah is in the top 15 (No. 14 AP, No. 13 USA Today).
Head coach Steve Fairchild is more concerned with the Rams’ long-term status, one that extends far past the next four games.
“I’m looking at this for the long term,” the former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator said. “I would certainly like to win every game, but right now I’m doing what I think I have to do to get this program back to the top. That may be whenever, but I’m going to make it happen sometime.”
Brewer said the wins the Rams have earned already this season have changed the team’s attitude and might help to propel CSU to some upset victories.
“Winning feels good,” he said. “It’s hard to win games, and I think that is something we didn’t realize as a team. Now we see how physical and tough it is to win, so we take that into practice.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.