Nov 282010
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

After watching Colorado State get blasted for nth time of the 2010 college football season at Wyoming on Nov. 20, I flew out to my parent’s house in Oklahoma, ready to relax for a week and completely forget nine of the previous 12 Saturdays.

Though I wasn’t sure what I’d write this column about, everything was going smoothly until Thanksgiving when my dad and I took part in our favorite Turkey Day tradition –– watching the Texas vs. Texas A&M game.

After the Aggies sailed to the tune of 24-17, keeping the Longhorns out of a bowl game for the first time since 1997, I read on ESPN’s BottomLine that Texas head coach Mack Brown says he plans to completely reevaluate all players and coaches on his staff for the 2011 season.

Interesting, I thought.

Then on Friday, I ran into a friend of mine from high school who plays safety for the Air Force Academy and flashbacks of the Rams playing the Falcons came “flying” at me (pun intended).

Finally on Saturday I went to Bedlam in Stillwater, Okla. and watched an arguably more talented Oklahoma State team get simply out-coached by Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Then it hit me.

No matter how much talent you might have on the field, more times than not, the better coached team will prevail.

In Bedlam, it was obvious in the play calling; for Air Force, it’s why the Falcons have won at least eight games in all four seasons under Troy Calhoun; and with Texas, well this year it looks like that long-time staff is getting outdone by some young guns –– very similar to what is happening at CSU.

The only difference is, Brown admits there may be a problem.

When I once again asked CSU’s Steve Fairchild about any anticipated staff changes after Wyoming shoved its bronze boot up the Rams’ rear end, he once again told me “no.”

So let me get this straight. Texas –– which was in the BCS National Championship Game a year ago and has eight coaches who have been with the Longhorns for nine seasons or longer –– goes 5-7 and its head honcho says there may be a problem, but Fairchild is set on his current make up.

Need I remind anyone of the past two seasons filled with nothing but regression?

Something isn’t right there.

Look, I’m all for loyalty and sticking with the friends you’ve had for 15 years –– heck, it’s arguably why former offensive coordinator Greg Peterson was axed last season –– but ultimately college football is a business.

Despite its ugliness, I can let the offensive struggles slide because of pure youth, CSU will be more than OK on that side of the ball –– though why the Rams don’t hire an actual offensive coordinator is beyond me –– but defense is another story.

Returning nine starters, this defense was supposed to be one of the best in the Mountain West Conference in 2010, but the Rams ranked 96th in total defense, down from 78th in 2009.

CSU still looked lost against the option and really struggled against the spread –– both of which are death sentences as long as you play in the MWC. From what I’ve seen the past three years, that doesn’t look to change anytime soon and every fan and former player I’ve spoken to about it agrees.

The message boards are rocking from boosters saying they won’t show up to anymore games until some staff changes are made. Though I don’t think fans should run a program by any means, it’s hard for me to fault them.

I honestly feel as if I am one of the few remaining pro-Fairchild folks out there.

Recruiting has been great and he’s made a big effort trying to get the Rams more national attention, but the judgment year of the Fairchild era is quickly approaching and adding an upstart Leonardo DiCaprio to this cast, so to speak, could really help ease the ratings of these growing pains.

Because in the end, if a lead singer has a backup band that half the time doesn’t show up, then he just looks like a lunatic on stage singing a cappella.

Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at

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