Colorado State Ram fans will be seeing a lot of change when the season begins with a new quarterback, offensive coordinator and a completely new defensive staff. However, they don’t get a warm up game against an FCS opponent to figure things out. The regular season schedule was released for Mountain West teams last week and Colorado State will open conference play quite early against cross divisional opponent the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The contest will be during week zero on August 25th. For Ram fans it’s a good game to have because the next three contests are anything but easy. Here is a breakdown of Colorado State 2018 season.
After the Hawaii contest, the Rams will head 60 miles down to Denver to play the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown against the Colorado Buffaloes. A game that was marred by controversy last season will be a good measuring stick in what is the start to the toughest stretch of the season. This game is a rivalry in which CU has won 6 of 8 meetings since 2010. Rams will be looking to win this one to get bragging rights for 2018.
The Rams have a brutal non-conference schedule. The first three games are against Power 5 opponents that are looking to rebound from tough seasons. Colorado (in Denver) on August 31st, Arkansas on September 8th and ending September 15th at Florida in the Jim McElwain buyout game. None of these games are easy and will ultimately play a huge role in how the rest of the season goes for the Rams. Arkansas and Florida respectively will be with first year coaches in Chad Morris (Arkansas) and Dan Mullen. Having an SEC opponent on the schedule is one thing but two can be seen downright crazy. All three teams should be much improved and will pose a huge challenge for the Rams before finishing non-conference play against Illinois State.
The Rams open conference play against Hawaii on August 25th. After that game the Rams won’t play another conference game for a month. The Rams resume conference play on the road after a much-needed bye week. Heading to San Jose State on October 6th to open conference, the Rams won’t have to play consecutive road conference games all season. The home portion of conference starts a week later against the New Mexico Lobos. It’s important that the Rams don’t look ahead with Boise State looming on a short week (October 19th.) Boise State will be a revenge game after the defense surrendered a 28-3 second quarter lead last season. Boise ended up winning 59-52 in overtime.
This is the beginning of an interesting two game stretch for Colorado State. After the game in Boise, they return home for the Border War against Wyoming. The Rams finish the season with two of three on the road. Road games against Nevada and Air Force, with a home game in the middle against Utah State. Nevada should be improved this season after giving the Rams all they could handle on homecoming last season. Air Force is always a tough game due to the option offense, and the fact they dominated time of possession in last season’s upset win in Fort Collins. This is not an easy conference schedule at all. It will test the Rams from start to finish.
The Rams have a tough 2018 schedule, that will present many challenges. However, it’s a schedule that sets up nicely due to not having to travel two weeks in a row at any point this season. This allows the Rams to stay fresh and keep the fans engaged. The bye weeks also fall at perfect times. The first one September 29th after the end of non-conference play. The other one being November 3rd in the home stretch of conference play. It should be an exciting season not only for Ram fans, but also for the Mountain West. The Rams should either compete for the conference title or fall out of the race early depending on how they navigate through conference. Time will tell, until then football is only five months away