In order to mix things up during an otherwise dreary fall, I decided to take a page from the playbook from our Colorado State writer, Connor, whose wildly popular Previews of Hate get many more page views per week than my own painstakingly researched and crafted articles. Gotta get with what works, even if it’s a shameless rip-off, right?
With that in mind, I present to you THE OTHER PREVIEW OF HATE.
Who decided that Colorado State was an ag school? Fresno County is, quite literally, pulling in over a billion dollars on almonds alone, so everything else pales in comparison. More critically, who decided that THESE abominations...
...Was the appropriate expression of said legacy? Let’s be real, y’all, and yes, this includes all you CSU fans: These are the worst uniforms in the Mountain West and it’s not particularly close. I have to close my eyes just to write this sentence because they’re an assault on good taste and visual cortexes everywhere. You’re not repaving Interstate 25 out there, y’all, and you’re not directing traffic in a school zone. You’re playing football.
The appropriate thing to do would be to fire them into the sun since, you know, astronauts had this look on lockdown already, anyway.
Also, Colorado State’s College of Agricultural Sciences doesn’t even have a dedicated major for viticulture and enology like Fresno State does. People tell me the wine from campus is very tasty. I bet the wine from CSU isn’t as tasty.
Also also, rams are kinda dumb:
Also also also, Fort Collins hates people having actual jobs. And they let a topless donut shop fail back in the day. And it took South Park twenty seasons to get around to making fun of the city. And they’re just barely getting a Dutch Bros. Coffee in town! We’ve had that in Fresno forever! Where have people been getting their coffee from, Starbucks? So basic.
And please, if you refer to the city as FoCo, stop. That degree of pretension is fit for West Hollywood and the Museum of Modern Art, but not the fourth-largest city in Colorado. It’s the same reason no one should refer to Fresno as “the ‘No”.
Ugh, let’s move on.
Let’s talk about Nick Stevens for a moment.
Yes, the Rocky Mountain Showdown was a disaster of epic proportions for the Rams, but was the quarterback shuffle that followed really the right move in retrospect?
I never understood the excitement around Faton Bauta, as it reflected my lack of understanding about the excitement around Zach Kline. I mean, there’s a reason these
guys backups transfer from Power 5 schools, right? Why do we continually assume that the new quarterback will be better than the ones already there? When was the last time that actually happened in the Mountain West? Cameron Coffman was fine, but Wyoming won two games in 2015, so whatever. Brandon Connette was bad.
Hell, Maxwell Smith damn near won a conference title last year, and we still make jokes from time to time about how little he actually did.
Collin Hill did provide a look at a potentially bright future with some toughness and general improvement before his ACL injury, but Stevens shook off some early rust and looked exactly like what many (myself included) expected he’d look like all along against UNLV, before the bye.
Mostly, though, I just hate that Colorado State has two competent QBs and an offensive line that can keep them upright — they’ve only allowed 12 sacks in 8 games despite the turmoil — and Fresno State has a line that blocks like George-Michael Bluth and a fanbase that points all its fingers at Chason Virgil (wrongfully, by the way), anyway.
Life isn’t fair.
Colorado State has an okay running attack that has been somewhat disappointing but, nonetheless, is miles better than what Fresno State has to offer. CSU’s quartet of starters at linebacker — Kevin Davis, Tre Thomas, Evan Colorito and Josh Watson — have been legitimately (and quietly) great and must already have stars in their eyes thinking about this matchup.
The splits offer something to watch, though. Consider, for instance, that the Rams’ effectiveness running the ball mostly decreases as the game progresses: They average 5.3 yards per carry in the first quarter, then 4.7 and 3.8 and 4.0. They are one of the worst teams in the country running the ball on third down, averaging just 1.7 YPC. And though they’ve improved on their rate of unsuccessful plays in conference play — the Rams lead the MW having allowed just 19 tackles for loss in four games — the production has largely stayed the same.
Dalyn Dawkins has gotten a little bit better in the last month, Izzy Matthews has gotten a little worse. Marvin Kinsey’s stepped up his game in limited action, as well, but it’s added up to... fine.
However, Fresno State’s inability to stop the run is compounded in a similar fashion: They allowed 4.1 YPC in first quarters, then 5.4, 5.9 and 5.1. The Bulldogs have faced 38 more rushing attempts in fourth quarters than the next most-challenged team (Buffalo) and have allowed 170 more total yards than the next-worst team (San Jose State).
Generally speaking, teams get a lead on Fresno State and then run the ball right at the defense because they’ve shown zero ability to stop it. The particulars may look different from week to week — Donnel Pumphrey does his usual thing, Air Force’s backup QB comes off the bench to run for 100 yards in less than a half, and so on — but the trend hasn’t changed.
Let’s talk about the Big 12 for a moment.
No, I’m not here to rain on the parade because, all things considered, I think that Colorado State is on the upswing, and it’s only a matter of time before they move up in
the new world order the next round of conference realignment. The basketball programs are good to very good, the football team is on the upswing and, relative to other Mountain West institutions, the new stadium is going to be a boon.
If, that is, they can fill it. Why wait until next year, though?
If moving up in the college football world is the name of the game, then CSU fans are going to have to do better than the 25,000 or so fans they averaged in 2014 and 2015. I think they can do better than the 28,320 fans — fourth in the conference, for context — that have come out per game this year. For a team with great ambition, people showing up is the strongest symbolic support a community can manage.
I’m going to go see for myself what that ambition is all about this weekend. Hopefully, y’all will be out there with me.