Welcome to the Preview of Hate, a wildly popular preview column that captures unseen elements of the upcoming Colorado State athletic contests. This week, we’re previewing Colorado State football’s game against the most powerful house of the Northern territories, House Gopher of Minnesota. In a unique twist, each week will be broken down into four parts, or Tiers, of things I hate about the upcoming matchup, city, or school CSU is playing. The more I hate the thing, the higher the tier.
Before we start climbing the Tiers, let’s go over CSU’s last game, specifically let’s talk about our new savior Collin Hill.
Collin Hill is a true freshman QB recruited and signed by Mike Bobo. He’s the style of QB Bobo likes, he’s young and promising, and now he’s started his career. Oh, what a start it was.
Hill finished 21-of-27 with 315 yards and four touchdowns. He was electric, confident, and seemed to command the offense with ease. He added a 51 yard TD run to his name for five total touchdowns. That’s not all, reports after the game say his post game smile cured diabetes and that he assured everyone in the crowd that their dad loved them and was proud of them, even if he didn’t show it all the time.
Hill’s sterling debut may have come against an FCS team, but an 18 year old taking the field as a starter for the first time and commanding a dominant showing like that is not something to just irrationally dismiss. The quarterback position was in shambles and Hill glued it all together with a dexterity that Humpty Dumpty would be jealous of. If there’s a Collin Hill hype train at the station, you can bet your ass I’m driving that thing, even though I’m severely unqualified to drive a train.
For more evidence here is a picture of Collin Hill’s stat line from Saturday:
Oh, woops! Sorry that’s a pic of Gabrielle Union, one of the most beautiful people on Earth. But, you get the idea. Same thing.
A lot of the worries were pushed aside on Saturday and the bowl dream is still very much alive. If Hill continues to improve and continues to show the confidence and control he showed on Saturday, the sky is the limit for the program.
Let’s hop on some Tiers.
The Minnesota offense.
The Rams haven’t faced a good FBS offense in two weeks and the last one they did face ripped them to shreds. UTSA’s was filled with interesting play calls, odd QB switches, and inconsistency. UNC’s, though good, is still a mid level FCS caliber offense.
Minnesota, though, is led by a senior QB and a very strong rushing attack. That sounds familiar, where have I heard that before?
The Gophers offense is set up for a successful season and the first true road game for the Rams this season will likely be one of their most difficult. The defense has looked better and more aggressive the last two weeks, but it is still full of youth and inexperience. The Rams have relied heavily on their experienced linebackers in Kevin Davis and Evan Colorito and they’ll need playmakers like Davis to step up and be aggressive against Minnesota. More so than Davis’ play, the defense may need his composure. Intangibles are often a cliche used by people who can’t think of a better reason to like a player, but they are real. If this defense gets rattled early, they could be in for a long afternoon in Minneapolis.
The Gophers defense is athletic, fast, and spooky!
Reports have come out this week that the Rams are using their most athletic and quick players on scout team defense to help better prepare the offense for how fast the Minnesota D is. An athletic defense, you might recall, is something CU boasted a few weeks ago, the Rams offense didn’t look so good that night.
I might be harping too much on the last time the Rams played a P5 opponent. Minnesota isn’t CU, they’re not an electric Pac-12 team with corner speed and elite scoring ability. But, the similarities are there. Maybe the Rams will be better prepared for their athletic defense with a better approach and preparation, maybe they’ll lose by 37 again and we’ll cry into our sadness pillows. That’s the fun of college football, baby!
If Hill continues to show the confidence he showed last week, I’m less worried about a blow out. Part of Stevens’s problem on opening night was that he completely lost himself to the pressure and the athleticism of the Buffs. He looked like an eighth grader who was told there wouldn’t be girls at this party but found out when he arrived in the lamest outfit ever that there were, in fact, girls at this party (Not that I know how that feels).
Hill’s confidence and candor can go a long way in this game going from a close game to a blowout loss. It’s asking a lot of an 18-year-old in his second start, but I think Bobo trusts him to do it.
My family is “from” Minnesota. In the sense that both of my grandparents were raised and met in St. Paul. I have several members of my family still in Minnesota, so we have a few Minnesota delicacies coming down from the northern folk.
One of these delicacies is salmon pie. A casserole type dish that combines salmon with pie crust and other ingredients. I have no doubt that there are areas of the world where this is good and made with great seasonings and ingredients. Minnesota is not one of those places.
Minnesota is a very nice place, don’t get this misconstrued. But being founded and inhabited by cold weather nordic folk doesn’t lead to many great dishes or propensity to seasoning/spices. I’ve had salmon pie three (3) times in my life and each time I asked myself why such a dish would be placed on this Earth. Why, when there are so many good regional foods, is this the one my Minnesotan family craves so much?
Nordic people are weird, they have bad food. This is why I stick to southern delicacies.
This was a difficult preview of hate. Mostly because I don’t hate anything about Minnesota. It seems nice, albeit cold and unable to cook normal food, but I think Minneapolis is a nice town and I think the people are inherently good.
Tier Four is just Minnesota sports in general. Riding this distinct line between “so inept it’s impossible to hate them” to “if they ever get good I will despise them with the fury of a thousand suns.” The Twins, the Vikings, the Wild, they’ve all floated around “good” a few times in our lives but never really put any effort beyond that. It’s like watching that mid-level manager at the retail store everyone’s worked at in their lives. They’re pretty good, you don’t hate working for them, but you know when higher ups come through they don’t exactly look for him to be the next promotion in line.
That’s Minnesota sports. Yeah, they’re alright and more often than not they’re not horrible, but is anyone really looking up north and thinking “man, I can’t wait until they have a talented team in Minneapolis.”
No, they’re honestly not.
The Gophers might have a pretty good team this year, but I don’t think anyone’s really pumped to see them contend for a Quick Lane Bowl berth.
Anyway, that’s the Tiers.
★ ★ ★
I’m worried about this game, but somehow less worried than I was about CU. Maybe it’s because I think CU is better than Minnesota, maybe it’s because I think the extra two weeks to get some chemistry in the units has helped. For whatever reason, I’m thinking upset is a lot more likely here than in the RMS.
Either way, I’m just hoping we get our third straight Saturday where the sadness pillows stay locked in the closet.
Tune in next week, we start conference play.