Before the beginning of the season Larry Eustachy said before a football crowd at Hughes Stadium that the "CSU Rams were going to be playing in a tournament this year." I knew it was a lie from the beginning. Who can blame him, he's just trying to get the crowd fired up, for the upcoming season. This season is an ongoing nightmare that won't be ending any soon, here's a recap of how things got this way.
The team started out strong going 5-0 including a big season opening win at Northern Iowa, but it went rapidly downhill fast. The Rams blew a 17 point lead in the championship of the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic to UTEP losing that game in overtime. The Rams went on to lose five of their next six games including an epic home meltdown to rival Colorado. That game CSU shot lights out in the first half scoring 52 first half points. In the second half the Buffs dominated nearly doubled them in scoring scoring 49 points to the Rams 25.
In the midst of this funk they lost to UTEP, Colorado, Northern Colorado, Long Beach State and Kansas State. Their only win was to a D2 opponent Arkansas Fort Smith in which they needed to pull away in the second half. They finished conference play by beating up on a really terrible D1 team USC-Upstate and another D2 team Regis University. The Rams annual non-conference schedules have been an eyesore in which I have noted in previous articles. It did nothing to prepare them for conference play.
Conference Part 1:
The first part of conference wasn't that bad. Losing a close game on the road to a very good Boise State team, followed by winning the next two in very dramatic fashion. Beating UNLV on a late free throw after blowing a first half lead was a great way to gain momentum. Followed by a head scratching win over San Jose State in which it took them overtime to do so. Granted this isn't the human punching bag San Jose State team of the past, but they are still pretty bad. They were just too inconsistent during the first half to gain any momentum. This season soon becomes a nightmare, the type you don't know if you're going to wake up from.
The Beginning of the End:
Tragedy struck right when the Rams were beginning the second half of conference. The team rallied and strung together a couple of wins. The momentum didn't last as the inconsistencies returned. Losing the next two games on the road. Which brings us to the events that took place recently. In the record books, it's going to say that Colorado State beat Boise State. However If you are smart, and not a homer you know that Boise State is the true winner. The shot was good, and the nation got an up close look as to why Mountain West officials are a complete joke. The fact that the conference the next morning backs the officials then, a day later backtracks shows how conference executives are a joke as well. This is probably the worst win that I've experienced as a fan, knowing that your team didn't outright win. The shot being waved off killed the spirits of Boise State and any team that has experienced that has always ended up losing.
The Low Point:
The ship has reached a new low. This past week was the worst of the worst. The Rams were swept by a Utah State team that can now say almost half of their conference wins are against Colorado State. The annual orange out game was upon us, a game that the Rams have won since they've begun celebrating the original days of Colorado A&M. The Rams had a chance to seek revenge on the the rivals up north on our home court against what's usually a capacity crowd. This is the part where the nightmare has reached its peak.
The exact opposite occurred, with the Rams being ran out of Moby Arena by their Border War counterpart. The Cowboys went up 15-0 and never looked back on their way to an 84-66 beat down. A game where the Rams out rebounded them by 15, had an offensive rebound advantage of 20 to 1, but they lost by almost 20. Josh Adams torching the Rams is a massive understatement. He obliterated them and showed the coaching staff what they missed out on by not recruiting him. Wyoming hit 17 three pointers and left Ram Country completely embarrassed at what took place. The Cowboys have won five straight against the Rams, and it looks like that will continue for the foreseeable future. Hey gotta let them have something since the Rams have been destroying them in Football for the past couple years.
No Light at the End of the Tunnel:
As the header says, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The glory days of the past few years are over. The reason this program became great was because it was built from the bottom by Tim Miles. Recruiting four year players and bringing in transfers who can plug holes that may have existed. Coach Eustachy is the opposite, he recruits a lot of transfers and/or 2 year rentals along with the occasional freshmen. In a conference like the Mountain West, foundations are built over four years look at Boise State, San Diego State, and Wyoming. These are programs that have players who have been there since right out of high school. It might be some time before the Rams get back to those days especially with the seniors they have graduating this season. This season has been an unfortunate nightmare, but some times nightmares are truly a reality.