Thursday, December 10, 2020

2020 Rams Recap - Week 7 - WHAT'S THIS? WHAT'S THIS?

The One In Which I Turn On My Television and Football Appears

What's this? What's this?
There's Rammies everywhere
What's this?
There's footballs in the air
What's this?
I can't believe my eyes
I must be dreaming
Wake up, Jack, this isn't fair
What's this?
- Jack Skellington, presumably, upon turning on CBS Sports Network around 5:00 last Saturday

Real Live Football

Let me begin by stating that watching the Rams lose is still better than their games getting cancelled. It truly is. For several hours on Saturday, I was engrossed in an on-field battle, questioning decisions, cheering for McElroy touchdown runs, explaining penalties to my kids, yelling about missed holding calls, and watching an actual CSU football game. It was glorious. 
The first quarter was dominated by the defenses, with only a single SDSU touchdown on the scoreboard. The second quarter was a whirlwind of scoring, highlighted by TWO MORE special teams touchdowns for the opposition. After kicking a 43 yard field goal to make it 7-3 early in the second quarter, Jordan Byrd returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. CSU gets the ball back, goes three and out, then fails to cover BJ Busbee as he sprints 90 yards to make it 20-3 Aztecs (SDSU missed the PAT, if you are wondering how that math works). That's the story of the game. A string of five plays pushed the score from a 4 point deficit to a 17 point deficit and the Rams were in catch-up mode the rest of the game. The good news is that they responded. Two touchdowns from Marcus McElroy (including a 37 yard run where he bounced some defenders) and the Rams were within one score at halftime. 
The second half was about defensive adjustments and no team scored in the third quarter. A couple of Aztec field goals in the fourth padded their lead. 
This season was going to be a big question mark, regardless of COVID sucking the life out of it. We had a new coaching staff coming in to right the wrongs of the previous five years - this was a season of growing pains. In those seasons, the best idea is to look for indicators that improvement is happening. Saturday's game gave us several key glimpses of what to expect from the Rams moving forward: 
  • This team plays hard for Steve Addazio and his staff. Despite the special teams gaffes, this team never shows signs of letting up or resigning to defeat. They scrape and claw the entire game.
  • Chuck Heater's defense has been a bright spot this year. The defensive line and linebackers have been disciplined in their run coverage and tenacious getting to the quarterback. The Rams are generating tackles for losses at a rate we have not seen in Fort Collins since the Sonny days. The secondary remains a concern as teams tend to find open receivers for big plays, but they looked better this past weekend. Hopefully that continues to improve. 
Chuck Heater - Courtesy of

  • I was excited about the Joey Lynch hiring. His last year at Ball State produced an efficient, balanced, and exciting offense. We haven't seen that at all this year. The frequency of run-run-incomplete pass-punt sequences is too high. The run game on 2nd and long has been atrocious (which further confounds me about the play calling). Understandably, the offense succeeds when Dante Wright and Trey McBride are featured in it. However, the offense tends to focus on just those two and neglects the fully-capable Nate Craig-Myers, EJ Scott, and others. 
Joey Lynch - Courtesy of The Coloradoan

  • Building off the offensive concerns - the use of Todd Centeio has been baffling. His surprise start in the first game should have been a sign of QB woes to come. While Patrick O'Brien has not been stellar, he provides the best passing option for the team. I thought that Lynch and company had figured out how to balance the two quarterbacks until Centeio closed out the game down two scores with time ticking away. At that juncture, you need your best passer in the game and that should have been O'Brien. Centeio should be used as a change-of-pace read-option quarterback when a spark or change is needed. Not for long stretches and definitely not to close out a game when we are behind. 
  • CSU has given up five (@&@#%@#*%#$^) special teams touchdowns in the last two games. Two blocked punts and a blocked field goal against Boise. A punt return and a kickoff return against San Diego State. Would you care to guess which phase of football does not have a dedicated coordinator on the Steve Addazio staff? Yeah, Addazio needs to hire a special teams coach immediately. The two special teams TDs for SDSU was the difference in the game. 

Upcoming: Utah State - The Final Game

Utah State is horrible this year. This is a winnable game at home against the lesser Aggies. In fact, one win CSU is a DOUBLE DIGIT FAVORITE. Analyzing the common opponents, the Aggies were throttled by Boise State (as were we), throttled by SDSU (we played the Aztecs hard), and thumped by Fresno State (same here). Their only win on the year is to New Mexico - a team who only has one win of their own against Wyoming - a team we beat to regain the Bronze Boot for a year. Did I mention that we beat Wyoming and that the Bronze Boot is sitting in Fort Collins right now? 

Courtesy of Patrick O'Brien on Twitter

Of course, I expect the game to be cancelled due to COVID within hours of this post hitting the interwebs. Go the Rams. 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1New MexicoWCOVID0 - 0
2at Fresno StateWCSU 17 - FSU 380 - 1
3WyomingLUW 24 - CSU 340 - 2
4at Boise StateLBSU 52 - CSU 211 - 2
6at Air ForceLCOVID1 - 2
7at San Diego StateLCSU 17 - SDSU 292 - 2
8Utah StateL

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

2020 Rams Recap - Week 6 - COVID Means Cancelled


COVID Picks Up Second Third Victory Over the Rams

Thanksgiving - a time for food, family, and football. I ate well. I talked to my extended family on Zoom. And the CSU game was cancelled yet again for COVID. This time, the CSU President and Larimer County cancelled the game due to rising COVID numbers in the area and within the football program. The team was hours away from heading to Colorado Springs on Wednesday when the news broke that the game was no longer on the table. There was no joy in Mudville, for mighty Casey had struck out. 

Upcoming: San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs had an interesting road this weekend as well, although their path resulted in a game being played three states to the east. SDSU was scheduled to host Fresno State, but Fresno was unable to travel due to their own set of COVID cases. Instead, San Diego State travelled to our home state to take on the Buffaloons from Boulder (the Pac-12 requires any make-up games to be held at Pac-12 stadiums). After going down 14 points early, the Aztecs scored 10 before halftime to make it a four point game. That was as close as it got as the Boulderites added a couple field goals to make it a double-digit victory. San Diego State returns home to finish up their unofficial state of Colorado home and home series as they host my Rammies on Saturday. Most likely, the Rams will be unable to travel due to COVID complications and another game will be off the schedule. Next highest probability is the Rams traveling to southern California only to get beat by the home squad. There is a slight chance that the Rams are able to travel and come home with a victory. We always do play SDSU better on the road in good weather. Our struggles against them seem to always come at home in the cold and snow of Colorado. Go figure. But as of now, the game is on and we hope that a CSU football game can finally grace our television screens this weekend. 

Regardless, this season is matching 2020 in every way shape and form: disappointment and cancellations. The good news is that the Bronze Boot resides in Fort Collins and NOTHING can take that away from us. Go Rams, I guess? 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1New MexicoWCOVID0 - 0
2at Fresno StateWCSU 17 - FSU 380 - 1
3WyomingLUW 24 - CSU 340 - 2
4at Boise StateLBSU 52 - CSU 211 - 2
6at Air ForceLCOVID1 - 2
7at San Diego StateL

8Utah StateL

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

2020 Ram Recap - Week 5 - The One In Which COVID Steals a Winnable Game

COVID Picks Up Second Victory Over the Rams

What do the University of New Mexico and UNLV have in common besides having terrible football teams? COVID football cancellations! Yet another winnable game struck from the schedule due to this stupid pandemic. Go State. 

The events that transpired last week were weird and 100% in line with 2020 proceedings. There was a report that the game was cancelled, followed by an Addazio press conference where he said the game was on as far as he knew, followed by conflicting reports about the game status, followed by the Mountain West Conference finally announcing that the game was cancelled. Uncertainty? Chaos? Confusion? COVID? Must be a 2020 Ram football game against a team we can actually beat. 

Upcoming: The United States (Ch)Air Force Academy

Thanksgiving may not feel the same this year as we are bunkering down and staying home, but at least we have football to look forward to! And not of the NFL variety. I'm sure I will watch that too, but the Rams play those pesky Zoomers from Colorado Springs at noon. Air Force is one of those teams that should thrive under these weird COVID restrictions - the football team is used to a regulated and regimented schedule. Air Force is also a team that tends to control games against the Rams (especially in recent history) using their annoying triple option before their quarterback goes 3-3 for 140 yards and 3 TDs. The Falcons are 2-2 on the year with massive wins against Navy (bad) and New Mexico (bad) and losses against Boise State (good) and San Jose State (good?!!). 

The secret to beating Air Force this year (and every year) is disciplined play along the defensive front. Teams that stay disciplined and tackle well can beat the Falcons. Teams that get out of their lanes and charge too far upfield get shredded by this old school offensive scheme. The good news? CSU's defensive front has been the strength of this team this season. The struggle has come from the back end - the secondary. Strength versus strength bodes well for this Ram team, but I worry that Air Force has just enough of a passing attack to exploit that struggling secondary. Again - the receivers from Air Force are not the same caliber as the ones from Boise State (or Fresno State for that matter), so we should be able to defend this team assuming the quality play from the front seven remains. 

But can we score? One of the major frustrations with the Mike Bobo squads was their inability to win the line of scrimmage. Steve Addazio's teams are known for their grit and fire, especially along the offensive lines. Air Force's defensive front is always going to be smaller than CSU's o-line. The Rams win this game if Addazio's line plays the way Addazio wants them to play - aggressive, mean, and downhill. Open running lanes mean defensive players creeping toward the line, which means more room for Trey McBride, Dante Wright, EJ Scott, and Nate Craig-Myers to roam free.

Plus, do we really think anyone on Air Force can guard DanTrey? No, they cannot. 
Courtesy of

Although I predicted a Ram loss at the beginning of the season, I've talked myself into a Ram victory. Those pompous cadets need to get a beatdown at the hands of my Rams. Go Rams!! 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1New MexicoWCOVID0 - 0
2at Fresno StateWCSU 17 - FSU 380 - 1
3WyomingLUW 24 - CSU 340 - 2
4at Boise StateLBSU 52 - CSU 211 - 2
6at Air ForceL
7at San Diego StateL

8Utah StateL

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

2020 Ram Recap - Weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4 - Smorgasborg

As one would expect with a newborn arriving the first week of November, the amount of time available to digest the performance of the CSU football team has been minimal. Now that little Morgan has arrived and we are settling into our routine, I have found pockets here and there to keep my creative endeavors moving. This includes recaps of what the Rams have produced thus far this season. And wow - the results are all over the board. Seems about right for the year 2020.  

Week 1 - New Mexico

The state of New Mexico has been a hotbed of COVID activities and, despite the efforts of the universities and the Mountain West Conference, the game between the Lobos and Rams was cancelled with no plan to reschedule. This game was one that I was looking forward to - the Rams have a decade-long win streak against our southern state neighbors. The Lobos, like the Rams, are in the first year of a head coaching regime. Their program has been in shambles over the last several years. This could have been a great warmup game to get the Addazio squad game-ready and game-tested. Alas, we are CSU football fans and cannot have nice things. 

Final score:
New Mexico - 0
Colorado State - 0

Week 2 - Fresno State

As I filled in my predictions, the number of games that looked like wins was LOW. I scrambled to find a game that looked close that I could flip the Ram's way. I ended up flipping the Fresno State game in favor of my team. In hindsight, that was a poor choice. The Bulldogs had lost the previous week against Hawaii so there was some hope as kickoff neared. From the jump, the Bulldogs were the better team and this continued through the entire game. The starting of Todd Centeio at quarterback took the Ram faithful by surprise; everyone had expected Patrick O'Brien to start with Centeio as a change-of-pace option strategically used within the gameplan. Instead, we got a run-heavy option approach that was not able to keep up with the Fresno State scoring. By the time O'Brien was inserted into the game, the score was out of reach with the time remaining. The first game of the Joey Lynch offense at CSU was not the most impressive, but he was without Dante Wright (stud). 

The biggest concern from that game was the secondary. Fresno State receivers were running wide open the entire game. The weakness in the secondary showed prominently on multiple third and long plays that resulted in large gains for first downs or short 4th down situations that Fresno was able to execute. 

Final score:
Colorado State - 17
Fresno State - 38

Week 3 - W(h)yoming

The last time that we had our hands on the Bronze Boot was 2015 - Bobo's first year as head coach with a roster full of Jim McElwain recruits. Bobo could not mess that one up and his first year Boot victory gave us a false sense of excitement around this new coaching staff. This year was different - a new staff with a bunch of Bobo recruits who had a string of losing seasons behind them and not much optimism with the program. 

But man, did the Rams show up to play. The Rams received the opening kickoff and gained one first down before punting. Then the Rams set the tone - Xazavian Valladay was stuffed in the backfield on first down, bringing up second and 12. An incomplete pass put Wyoming in the exact position that had killed CSU the week before: third and long. Luckily, Levi Williams is not Jake Haener and a great break on the ball by Marshaun Cameron ended up with Cameron and the football in the end zone. 7-0 Rams. 

Next possession, Cameron sacked Williams and forced a fumble which was recovered by Dequan Jackson. One play later, Trey McBride was waltzing into the end zone with the football and the Rams had what I have been told is a "two touchdown lead". It has been so long, I had forgotten what that was. 

The Cowboys are a resilient team and naturally fought their way back into the contest. With a little over eight minutes remaining in the game, CSU received a kickoff following a Wyoming touchdown to bring the score within seven. Patrick O'Brien, A'Jon Vivens, Dante Wright, Marcus McElroy, and Trey McBride took nearly six minutes off the clock and moved the ball to the Wyoming 29 yard line. Freshman kicker Robert Liss, who had missed a 45 yard field goal earlier in the game, walked out and stuck the dagger in the Pokes with a 48 yard beauty through the uprights. The ten point lead would hold and the Rams would finally get to rush across the field to grab that beloved "trophy" (again, this is a word that I have not used in five years so I am a bit rusty). I do not care what happens the rest of the year - we won the Boot. Life is good. 

Final score:
W(h)yoming - 24
Colorado State - 34

Week 4 - Boise State

Did we pick a bad week to play Boise State. The previous week, Boise was ranked in the top 25 and hosted a top 10 team in BYU. BYU ran roughshod over the Broncos, embarrassing them at every turn. The CSU game was a bit of a revenge/recovery game for Boise State and they flat steamrolled the Rams. 

The game started off poorly and the Rams could never recover. Let us take a look at the possessions to start the game... 
  • CSU: 3 plays, -3 yards, Stonehouse punt blocked and returned for a Boise touchdown (0-7)
  • CSU: 3 plays, 4 yards, punt - fumbled by Boise and recovered by CSU only to produce...
  • CSU: 3 plays, 4 yards, punt 
  • BSU: 10 plays, 48 yards, TD (0-14)
  • CSU: 4 plays, 13 yards, punt
  • BSU: 3 plays, -9 yards, punt
  • CSU: 6 plays, 44 yards, blocked field goal returned for a Boise touchdown (0-21)
Just like that, the Rams were down by three touchdowns. Game over. For anyone keeping track at home, the Rams currently are the proud owners of [calculator noises][super complicated math going on in the background][Dustin Hoffman Rain Man brain] zero victories against Boise State. We have never won a football game against them. Fortunately, they are a junior college and we crush them in academics, which is totally what all the cool kids use as their metric.

Final score:
Colorado State - 21
Boise State - 52

Looking Ahead

The University of Nevada Southern Showgirl Edition is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday. There were some reports of the game being cancelled due to COVID, but those reports were unsubstantiated as of this post being posted. Naturally, the games that CSU have a great chance of winning are the ones that are impacted by COVID. The joys of being a CSU fan. If the game does happen, I like CSU at home against the Rebels. Even up the record and get closer to bowl eligibility (I snorted). 

Flick's Picks

Enough about the football team - how did YOU do Mike? Well, not great, Bob. 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1New MexicoWCOVID0 - 0
2at Fresno StateWCSU 17 - FSU 380 - 1
3WyomingLUW 24 - CSU 340 - 2
4at Boise StateLBSU 52 - CSU 211 - 2
6at Air ForceL
7at San Diego StateL

8Utah StateL

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Inktober 2020

Another October in the rear view, another Inktober completed. I still get excited about this challenge every year and it was great to see more people join in on the fun (The usual crew of Jason, Clayton, Keaton, and Robert participated. Mackenzie did the whole month and Carson made it way longer than last year. Even Nat and Matt did it this year and they don't consider themselves to be artists!!). While all of my creations have been posted to social media already, I like to capture all of the drawings from the year into a single location. Mostly because it allows my parents (anti-social media folks) to see this year's doodles.

Going back through my drawings, there seem to be a high number of silhouetted people. Don't have to draw their faces if they are a shadow! 

I would highly recommend participating next year. Inktober is a great way to force yourself to make time for things that are creative and outside of our normal 9-to-5. If you absolutely cannot wait until October 2021, you can join me in a new promotion that debuted this year - Inktober52. One prompt for each week of the year. More info for that is here: Inktober52. I have been slowing cranking out these guys, but I'm still 20 weeks behind. FINISH THE CRAPPY YEAR STRONG!!

As always, happy drawing!! 

October 1st - Fish

I started the month with something I've loved since my days at Big Tool Box/Highlands Garden Center as a high schooler - koi fish and water lilies. 

October 2nd - Wisp

What started as an idea around a wisp of wind blowing a wisp of hair turned into wisps of wind blowing wisps of hair on the head of Mrs. Hamburgler as she rakes leaves. 

October 3rd - Bulky

This was supposed to be Dwayne Johnson. The only thing I got right was the bald head and The Rock bull logo. Otherwise - too small. Can you smelllllllllllll what The Rock is cooking?!

October 4th - Radio

A boombox or standard radio seemed too standard. I went another direction.

October 5th - Blade

"I move for no man."

October 6th - Rodent

I shared some thoughts on Speedy on the social media accounts the day I drew him: "Fun fact about Mikey that is probably only fun for one person (me) but is nevertheless a fact: for my entire childhood, I had a blanket that had Sylvester and Tweety on it (said blanket is still at my parents’ house). I loved cartoons and animation and I loved Looney Tunes. One year, I got a Looney Tunes calendar for Christmas or my birthday and those 16 months of Looney Tunes drawings were the inspirations for many of my sketches and doodles. Today, drawing Speedy took me back to those early days where I worked feverishly to mimic the lines and textures of some of my favorite characters drawn by people who had the job I wanted."

October 7th - Fancy

Here's your one chance Fancy, don't let me down.

October 8th - Teeth

This could be considered a self portrait.

October 9th - Throw

My thoughts on 2020, in three frames.

October 10th - Hope

Yes, she may be embroiled in all sorts of weird domestic abuse claims and she might be a bit on the crazy side, but Hope Solo is a freaking amazing goaltender. 

October 11th - Disgusting

Couldn't think of anything more disgusting than this.

October 12th - Slippery

Bon Jovi on the turntable. Bon Jovi on the wall. Metallica on the shelf.

October 13th - Dune

One of the greatest pilot episodes all time resulted in an underwear clad Walter White standing in the middle of the desert with a gun in hand accepting his fate as a criminal on his first venture into the underworld. It was fun to use the Breaking Bad chemistry logo concept on that day's prompt.

October 14th - Armor

An exercise in textures.

October 15th - Outpost

Few people probably got the reference - in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an early episode has a young crew of clones defending a remote outpost on the Rishi moon. There is a scene where the blaster doors open and the rookie clones open fire on the attacking droids. 

October 16th - Rocket

I am Groot.

October 17th - Storm

A barn. A silo. A corn field. A tornado.

October 18th - Trap

One of my favorite trap artists with their most recognizable album cover - Outkast's Stankonia. 

October 19th - Dizzy

The concept was inspired by the stairwell scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The other details were freestyle additions to heighten the dizziness as the drawing developed.

October 20th - Coral

I have made it a point to improve my ability to draw faces - the smooth and blended edges of facial features are hard to capture with the abrupt lines of ink. When a prompt immediately made me think of the famous Walking Dead memes, I jumped at the chance to draw one of the most annoying characters on the series. I still cannot figure out how to ink a human mouth...

October 21st - Sleep

Count backwards from 10...

October 22nd - Chef

This commercial is still funny after all of these years. Great googly moogly. 

October 23rd - Rip

I was supposed to go golfing with Matt, Robert, and Blaine on the 16th. Due to a potential COVID exposure, we pushed it to the 23rd. The high temperature on the 23rd was 34 degrees. This was the only golfing I did that day... :-(

October 24th - Dig

I love construction equipment. Have since day one.

October 25th - Buddy

The iconic glasses, but with a different spin.

October 26th - Hide

Problems go away when you hide from them, right?

October 27th - Music

My love of Page, Jones, Bonham, and Plant started back in grade school at All Souls. To this day, Zeppelin is still one of my favorite bands of all time. 

October 28th - Float

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is always on the Flick television on Thanksgiving morning. Tom Turkey has been a part of that parade for longer than any other recurring float. 

October 29th - Shoes

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Or in this case, both. 

October 30th - Ominous

We had a few kids (and some adults) in our neighborhood dress up as the grim reaper for Halloween. Nothing more ominous than impending death... 

October 31st - Crawl

After a long hiatus due to COVID, CSU football made its flat-faced return to our televisions on October 29th by getting thumped by Fresno State. My thoughts on "crawl" were on the scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen. Adam assumed it meant "crawl under a bridge and die" and Robert assumed it was "time seemed to crawl by watching that game". Being a Ram fan is fun, y'all!!