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Ranking Colorado State's "The Grind"

Colorado State's award-winning YouTube original series "The Grind" is soon to start it's third season. Let us rank the episodes up to now.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

"The Grind" is the brainchild of Stan Gilliland. Created just before the start of the 2014 season, the YouTube series takes a somewhat bi-weekly look behind the scenes and on the practice field of Colorado State's football team. You can, and should, watch every episode here, but here are the ten best in our eyes.

Honorable Mention:

The Unknown Soldiers

This episode had to make the cut in some regard. Most episodes feature commentary from players that had an impact during the game in the episode, but this installment takes the time to highlight those whose name you may have never heard. These student-athletes go through just as much toil as those who draw the spotlight. They impact every single game without ever stepping foot on the field. Players like them are necessary to every program in the country, no matter how big or small.

#10 - "New Beginnings"

"New Beginnings" reflected both the start of a new era of Rams football, and the beginning of the series that would showcase the players and coaches that put it all on the line to represent Colorado State. The episode includes interviews with several of the players that would eventually lead the Rams to a 10-3 record and Las Vegas Bowl appearance. Former Head Coach Jim McElwain sets a tone for the season with a juxtaposition of the ascension of the Ram's program under McElwain to the Rocky Mountains just West of Colorado State's campus.

#9 - "The Dream Shall Never Die"

Fast forward to the end of the 2014 season and you have "The Dream Shall Never Die". Taking place just before the start of Spring camp, this episode has a lot to catch up on in a short amount of time. The episode begins with a poignant tribute to the graduating seniors with the words of Edward M. Kennedy played over video of their names being removed from lockers. There is reference to the end of a promising 2014 season that ended with loses to Air Force and then Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl and the departure of Jim McElwain after only three seasons.

Flash forward to Mike Bobo's arrival on campus followed by his first press conference and meeting with the team and everything starts to look up by the end of the video.

#8 - "One Team"

It is always nice to be reminded that no matter how much aggression and testosterone may be shown on the field, football is still a game and there is room for fun as well. "One Team" opens with Coach McElwain showing off his trademark dry, sarcastic humor with some of the players. The rest of the episode features snippets from training camp played next to a personal favorite, "Mind of a Beast" by The Glitch Mob.

The end wraps up with a somber George Maumau discussing another season-ending injury. It is impossible to not feel bad for George, the kind of player who puts in the work and passion day after day, but cannot seem to beat the injury bug. He is quick to remind us that there are more important things in life when he references unofficial team mascot Jack Miller. Jack has been an honorary team member the past several seasons. His lifelong fight against brain tumors has been an inspiration to the team with his infectious positive attitude and pure determination.

#7 - "War Games"

Anyone familiar with the annual Border War between Wyoming and Colorado State can tell you it is a storied rivalry with a long history of hard fought gridiron battles. What many outside the rivalry do not know is that it is the longest running football rivalry West of the Mississippi, dating back to 1899, and the history of the The Bronze Boot. Recent years have produced a slew of meaningless, contrived rivalries with even more trivial trophies, but every installment of the Border War is steeped in history. "War Games" tells the true story of The Bronze Boot's origin, dating back to a Colorado State ROTC instructor fighting in Vietnam.

Following the history of the rivalry is some emotional peeks inside the locker room followed by game footage. One sequence that requires a shout out is Hayden Hunt's booming 67 yard punt around the 4:40 mark. Hunt was a finalist for the Ray Guy award last season, and will likely be in the running again this year, so it is nice to see him receive an appearance on "The Grind".

#6 - "One Heartbeat"

The overriding theme of the 2015 season was family. Many of the seniors playing their final season in Fort Collins have been starting with each other for several years. Players like Trent Matthews, Kevin Pierre-Louis, and Deandre Elliot spent three seasons in the secondary with each other, starting many of those games. "One Heartbeat" features emotional anecdotes from Matthews and Coach Bobo on how the Ram family is key to making Colorado State a special place.

#5 - "The Hunters"

"The Hunters" recaps one of the most nail-biting games of the 2014 season. The Rams made their furthest excursion East in many years to play Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College was following an upset over then #9 ranked USC and looked like the better team to start the contest.

Producer Stan Gilliland shows off his artistic flair with creative editing of this episode. During the first half with Boston College controlling the game, the colors are muted and neutral, save for the maroon and gold of the Eagles. When the Rams start to make their comeback in the second half, the color creeps back into the picture concluding with a touchdown pass to Charles Lovett sealing the comeback win.

#4 - "Virtues"

"Virtues" is one of those episodes that really drives home the importance of remembering football is just a game. CSU Hall of Famer Mike Newell has a touching tribute to deceased teammate Anthony Cesario. There is a lot of emotion in this episode, and instead of reading my words, you should really listen to what Newell has to say.

#3 - "Order Restored"

For Colorado State fans, this is probably a hard episode not to put #1. "Order Restored" recaps the 31-17 stomping of in-state rival Colorado in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown. The scale of the Rocky Mountain Showdown being played in Mile High Stadium in addition to the orchestral score helps elevate the highlights in this episode, giving it a truly dramatic feeling.

There are some chilling excerpts of players pregame including one of my all time favorites from Ty Sambrailo. "It's a simple sport. You do your job, the man next to you do his job, y'all win the game." A simple directive from an athlete who is now playing on the same field as a pro.

The highlights include an excellent sequence of the defense's goal line stand on first down to prevent CU from going up two touchdowns. There are several clips of Treyous Jarrells juking defenders out of their cleats and Dee Hart running over Buffalo defensive backs. It all ends with the players celebrating with the students in the end zone after scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter.

#2 - "Standing Room Only"

"Standing Room Only" encapsulates one of the most exciting games in recent memory at Hughes Stadium. Homecoming weekend of the 2014 season featured a match up between the 5-1 Rams and a Utah State team they had not beaten since the Aggies joined the Mountain West. Utah State held the Kapri Bibbs show to 0 points the previous season and was coming off a win against then #18 BYU. Hughes Stadium had the first real sellout in several years and the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. Both teams scored quickly, but shut each other down until the fourth quarter when Jared Roberts hit two field goals, one with time expiring, to win the game.

There are some great side-by-side shots of the on-field play next to the crowd's reaction including a rushed field at the end. As icing on the cake, the cameras then follow the players to the locker room for some truly entertaining post-game celebrations and an appearance from Jack Miller.

#1 - "Never Satisfied"

"Never Satisfied" is a culmination of everything that makes this series great. It takes raw, authentic insights into the locker room and combines it with smooth editing, fantastic camerawork, and superb use of music. Not to mention it features an appearance by the straight fire Aggie Day orange alternates. This episode is somewhat hamstrung by a blowout victory against Savannah State, but the first half is the best segment of the entire series.

Highlights include passionate speeches from former Defensive Coordinator Tyson Summers and Mike Bobo. Bobo drops an awesome one-liner when he provides the team with their two objectives for the game. "Win. Make 'em quit." The team did just that on their way to a 65-13 victory.

This is followed up by an incredible shot from inside the team huddle prior to entering the field that you could never experience unless you were suited up with the team. All this is back-dropped by perfect music selection to elevate the drama of the moment without removing the viewer from the scene.

So there you have it. Any other episodes you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!