Thursday, November 21, 2019

2019 Ram Recap - Week 12 - Chair Farce

The weather should have been the first indicator of things to come. What was expected to be a gorgeous, cool, fall day in Fort Collins ended up being cold and blustery. The wind during our tailgate attempted to rip away our canopy and forced sweatshirts and jackets to emerge earlier than anticipated. We figured the stadium would provide a respite from the wind, as our seats force our backs to the west and the bleachers and press box provide a tall shelter. Somehow, physics declined cooperation and the wind swirled around our seats throughout the game. Moments of calmness were fleeting and welcomed, however brief they were. Our hats and gloves and jackets and hoods and blankets battled the entire game, but were overcome at the end of the third quarter and we headed home. The cold weather and bad football team gave us a great opportunity to explore the stadium - going to the top corner of our section and giving us some cool shots.

If you are a regular reader of this website, you may remember the first bullet in The Positives section of the UNLV recap was all about the success of the Rams being tied to their early offensive outbursts. This weekend followed that script exactly - finishing the first quarter up 14 - 0 over the Falcons. Great! Then the Rams decided to do nothing else offensively for the remainder of the game, let Air Force rattle off 24 unanswered points, score a late touchdown to make it interesting, then end the game dramatically by giving up a 99 yard interception return for a touchdown as the clock showed less than 2:00 remaining in the contest. Not great. Another trophy going back to a rival for anther year...

The Positives:

  • The first drive was magical and exactly what we expect from a Bobo offense. A solid mix of run and pass, aggressive fourth down play calls, and the Rams ending it in the end zone. After this drive, I was convinced that a good defensive effort combined with this offense would be enough to head home with a victory. 
  • The defense played well for most of the contest. The Air Force offense was completely stifled to start the game - starting the game with a fumble that was returned for a CSU touchdown and then two straight punts. The Rams defense added an interception in the third quarter and played far better than the final score indicated. This loss was not on the defense. 
  • This tweet came out prior to the Air Force game, but was a great indicator of the strides that have been made this year on the defensive front. There are some high quality programs on this list. And also CSU. 

  • Our tailgate game remains strong. Despite the wind, we successfully pre-gamed without incident. At one point, our tailgate television blew off the table and (no joke) landed upright on the ground next to the table. No damage from what we could tell. The TV took the rest of the night off after that miraculous save. 
  • As you can tell, I am stretching a bit to find positives. I am so damn sick of losing rivalry games. 

The Negatives: 

  • The wind. It really was not that cold in Fort Collins on Saturday evening, but the wind made watching an outdoor sporting event unbearable. 
  • During our time at the top of the section, we were vertically lined up with the northernmost suite. The kids tried their hardest to get the suite life folks to acknowledge their waving and dancing, to no avail. As I watched the kids go ham for the preoccupied audience, I was amazed by how many people in the suite were not watching the field out the window or on the television screens. Maybe I am a nut, but you came to a football game - watch the football game. 
  • While my prediction record for the season is guaranteed to be above .500, this incorrect pick hurt a lot. The loss essentially eliminates the possibility of stumbling into a bowl game. Of our last three games, this game had the best odds for a CSU victory. The start was exactly what CSU needed - a strong offensive first drive to open the scoring and a defensive score to go up by 14 in the first quarter. Then the offensive wheels just fell off. Offensive production outside of a two-play, 75 yard touchdown drive in the second half was non-existent. The offensive game plan was garbage. The offensive execution was garbage. The offensive adjustments were garbage (if they adjusted at all). 
  • I spent some time after the game texting with a buddy who was a former offensive lineman in high school and long-snapper at CSU (Hi John). Obviously, his understanding of football far exceeds any knowledge I have of the sport. His complaint was that despite the offensive line getting dominated by the smaller Air Force defensive line, CSU continued to call plays with 7 step drops. These deep drops in the pocket gave Air Force the time and space to put pressure on O'Brien before he had a chance to offload the ball. 
  • Another nugget from John: CSU is 8-31 against FBS teams with 4 or more wins. CSU is 18-1 against FCS teams and FBS teams with 3 or fewer wins. That is garbage. 
  • I can imagine being an Air Force fan is quite fun. You are the smaller team in every contest (with the service academy games as a possible exception). Yet your team plays harder than the opposition in EVERY. DAMN. GAME. There is never a question of effort or toughness or grit with that team. As one of those opposing teams, watching a smaller, less athletic team completely dominate the trenches is frustrating. The week prior to the game, CSU Creative pumped out a video where CSU talked about the tougher team winning. Well guess what, Rams. That statement remains true. 
  • The Rams rushed for 39 yards on 31 attempts. That equates to an average yards per rush of 1.3. LESS THAN A YARD AND A HALF PER RUSH. 
  • The Rams were 4-16 on 3rd down. 

Up Next - Week 13:

The good news is that the Rams still have a mathematical chance to work their way into a bowl game. The bad news is that the probability and likelihood of that happening is damn near zero. Wyoming played Boise State on the Smurf Turf earlier this month and ended up losing to the Broncos in overtime. I watched a chunk of that game and commented during the broadcast that I could not see how CSU beats either of those teams. After watching CSU against Air Force, I stand by that statement. Sorry Mikey from before the season started, your predictions are going 1-1 the remainder of the games.

First up are the Cowboys in Laramie for a Friday night tilt under the lights of War Memorial Stadium (this is assuming the state of Wyoming has discovered electricity in the last year). The Pokes are heading home after an 0-2 road trip through Boise, Idaho and Logan, Utah. Wyoming always plays hard in the Border War. The natural and longstanding rivalry between the schools is bolstered by the giant chips on the shoulders of the many Wyoming players from Colorado high schools who were overlooked by CSU during their recruiting process. Some Colorado prep star on the Cowboy roster will have a career game on Friday. It happens every year.

With a four-win season getting closer and closer, it becomes harder to envision the 2020 football season with Mike Bobo at the helm. The question has been and will continue to be the timing of the whole deal. Bobo's buyout drops precipitously after the first of the year ($5.5 million to $3 million) so it makes sense to either negotiate a reduced early buyout with Bobo or wait until January 1st to part ways. Waiting puts the Rams in a bind from a recruiting standpoint, but this program is in need of an overhaul regardless of the timing. Bobo inherited a team that in 2014 went 10-3 and was ranked in the top 25 for a short time. All the program has done since 2014 is go the wrong direction. As someone who truly respects and likes Mike Bobo the person, I have finally reached the point where I think it is time for Mike Bobo the coach to be relieved of his duties. This garbage is not acceptable.


WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1Colorado (Denver)LCU 52 - CSU 311 - 0
2Western IllinoisWCSU 38 - WIU 132 - 0
3at ArkansasLUA 55 - CSU 343 - 0
4ToledoWUT 41 - CSU 353 - 1
5at Utah StateLUSU 34 - CSU 244 - 1
6San Diego StateLSDSU 24 - CSU 105 - 1
7at New MexicoWCSU 35 - UNM 216 - 1
9at Fresno StateLCSU 41 - FSU 316 - 2
10UNLVWCSU 37 - UNLV 177 - 2

12Air ForceWAFA 38 - CSU 217 - 3
13at WyomingW
14Boise StateL

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