Welcome to The Preview of Hate, a weekly Colorado State preview column that will preview the week’s games and inform everyone what they need to hate! Each section will be placed into the Tiers of Hate (One through Four), the higher the tier the higher the hate. Normally, I’d be previewing what I hate most about the team the Rams are playing, the city that school resides in, the matchups I’m worried about, etc. But, since there is no game this week, I’ll be previewing the 2016 football season with four things I’m worried about and hate about the upcoming season.
Colorado State football is in a bit of a Tweener Year as the on-campus stadium is being built and the Bobo recruiting pipelines open up, but there is still a foundation to build. The 2016 Rams won’t be the most frustrating Rams of the last decade but they will likely cause you to put your head in your hands in disbelief no less than eight (8) times over the course of the season, so I would maybe watch games with a sadness pillow on hand.
Let’s hop into the Tiers this week, with Tier One, the Least Hate.
Tier One of Hate this week is the schedule. Let’s peep this thing.
Ok, first let’s get the congratulations out of the way right now for a nice 4-1 start and a 30+ point victory over Wyoming on October 1. I’m not saying Wyoming doesn’t stand a chance but I’m going to say right now that Yellowstone better blow up if CSU loses that game because I won’t want to live on the planet anymore.
This schedule looks like a roller coaster. Like I said, you can see a 4-1 start there if they pull off a Rocky Mountain Showdown upset but then, you have Utah, Boise, and UNLV in a row and all of the sudden you have a young team with up to nine new starters on defense potentially hitting a three game skid. So we’ll be there celebrating the highest of highs, a 4-1 start, and then the schedule will remind us that sports are death and sadness is real. This is where the pillow I mentioned above will come into play.
Even if the team loses at UNLV, falls to 4-4, and makes us find new meaning in Sam Smith’s lyrics, they’re probably still going to be able to snag a bowl game. Fresno State at home, New Mexico at home, a rivalry game with Air Force that could bounce either way. The team has stacked six wins on the schedule so long as they don’t have several starters get lost in the wilderness or suddenly everyone forgets how to play football in some kind of unexplained mass amnesia epidemic.
But that schedule still shows a few lopsided losses. Away to Boise, away to SDSU, early season vs. Utah State.
I’m not going to guarantee a bowl because that would be silly arrogance which would surely come back to haunt me and I am an unbiased blogger with ethics an- AHAHAHA JUST KIDDING BOOK YOUR NEW MEXICO BOWL TICKETS SUCKA WE GOIN BACK!!
Let’s move on to Tier Two.
The freaking quarterbacks.
As of now, Mike Bobo hasn’t named a starter and the three horse race known as QUARTERBACK CHAOS 2016 is still 100% going. Even if he’s saying he’s named the starter and is just playing mind games with Colorado, this competition feels far from settled. Every day this competition continues weakens the Pro-Nick Stevens argument in my eyes. If the guy who started the entire season last year and won a competition already isn’t separating himself from the challengers, the signs are probably pointing towards him not winning that job.
Early money was on transfer Faton Bauta, a former Georgia QB that Bobo already knew, but despite Bauta’s obvious advantage in “having the coolest name” category, he hasn’t distanced himself as the starter. Behind him is freshman Collin Hill, who I don’t know much about but spells Collin with two L’s which is unique and fun!
Bobo has demanded a lot from his team this fall and he’s especially demanding a lot from his quarterbacks, but at this point no matter who he names could lead to some controversy. Whoever is named starter, the minute they start struggling people will call for the backup. It happened countless times with Stevens last year. Bobo showed patience with Nick and he likely won’t jump around QB to QB this year either, but any time you have controversy at the quarterback position, you seem to never get stable as a team.
Think of the CSU season as a delicious and beautiful wedding cake. If you don’t use the right ingredients, the whole cake is gross and people spit it out. Beyond that, the minute people bite into the cake, they start questioning your baking skills. They start saying things like “why didn’t you use the backup ingredients?” and “this baking soda is inconsistent when rushed in the pocket, why would you use it with a young offensive line?”
Basically, I’m saying the QB’s are a major problem. I’m worried about them.
Time for Tier Three baby.
The wide receivers.
I just spent a little bit discussing a worrying quarterback controversy. But not helping whichever quarterback wins the competition is the brand new WR core. Gone is Rashard Higgins, he’s impressing in Browns camp and slowly turning us all into secret Browns fans. Gone is Joe Hansley, who full disclosure, I thought was a senior every single year for the last four years. I was honestly surprised when I heard his name called for the first time every year thinking he had snuck onto the field with no one noticing and they were just going to let him play. If you told me with a straight face that Joe Hansley was 48 years old and was paying off the NCAA for his 23rd year of eligibility, I would probably have believed you. But not anymore, that joke won’t work this year.
Essentially, the Rams have to replace 136 catches from last season. They have to replace 65% of their offensive production and the majority of that comes from Higgins and Hansley being gone.
Now, there is talent at the position. It’s not like Higgins went to the draft and Bobo had to go fashion a wide out in his woodshed made from cottonwood branches and thirty-year-old chewed bubblegum. But it doesn’t help that the majority of skill position players have to be broken in, it’s another worrying position that goes to show this may be the Tweener Year of Tweener Years for the program.
Time for the TIER OF MOST HATE, Tier Four.
Sorry that Cam is so small, I didn’t plan out this picture very well.
The thing I’m ready to MOST HATE this season is the defense. Tyson Summers gone, the four best tacklers on the defensive line gone, as many as NINE new starters, this thing is a work in progress and I’m not always going to be here for it.
There are going to be times where I load my laptop into one of those Anti-Aircraft guns from World War 2 and fire it 30,000 feet into the air because of a blown coverage or a missed tackle in the backfield. There are going to be times where a running back, most likely a Boise State running back, is tackled in the backfield only for him to spring free for 75 yards. Everyone will stand around confused for a few minutes while I stare at the screen of my computer, mouth agape, wondering how I could be so foolish to care what happens to this football team.
The defense may be the biggest surprise, who knows, I’m not claiming to be some kind of expert I just read articles and write jokes online. But, don’t say I didn’t warn you if the Rams lose 42-38 to Air Force and we all have to clutch our sadness pillows all night.
★ ★ ★
Finally, it’s Hughes’ last year.
I’m not saying I have changed my tune on this new stadium, it looks amazing and I can’t wait to see the impact it has on Colorado State athletics. But, I’m not going to lie about this, I’m going to miss Hughes.
How could you not miss what Hughes is, was, and always will be? I’ll miss the parking lot’s exceptional ability to become a muddy wasteland when there was any weather of any kind. I’ll miss the way everyone left at halftime because they were hungover from tailgating since 8 AM. I’ll miss how easy (allegedly) it was to sneak in alcohol (not that I would know). I’ll miss that one time the Rams got within two touchdowns of Boise. These were the good times, folks.
In all seriousness, I spent some great Saturdays at Hughes and I’ll miss it dearly, I hope you will too. I hate that it has to go for us to move into the future, but I understand.
That’s it for the Hate, tune in next week when I go in on Colorado University.