Monthly Archives: November 2014

Recapping Everything About The 10-1 Colorado State Rams

Welcome to the 86th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m interrupting my vacation to come through with what actually turned into a pretty good-sized post. Happy Thanksgiving week. Let’s get into it…

Dee Hart cruises over the goal line for one of his six touchdowns on Saturday. Scoring six touchdowns is probably pretty cool. Andy Cross, Denver Post

I’ll start with some quick thoughts on Colorado State football after the 58-20 route of New Mexico that improved the Rams to 10-1. The CSU Rams are 10-1. That’s amazing.

The story of this game was Nick Stevens’ fourth-quarter performance. The back-up quarterback completed three of seven passes for 17 yards in garbage time to close out the game.

Oh, and Dee Hart had a decent afternoon, too. He rushed for 230 yards and five touchdowns. He had 42 more yards and another touchdown receiving. My math tells me that’s 272 yards from scrimmage and six total touchdowns.

Yes, New Mexico’s defense sucks, but that was one of the most impressive single offensive performances I’ve ever seen.

Hollywood Higgins kept doing his thing as well, with 10 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He now leads the nation in receiving yards, receiving yards per game, and touchdowns. His incredible year continues

And Garrett Grayson, on Senior Day, in what could be his last game ever at Hughes, completed 23 of 29 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns. If it turns out to be his last home game, (hope not) it was a fitting end for the most prolific passer in the history of Colorado State football.

Here’s a pretty cool Vine from CSU of Hart’s first TD of the day. WEEEEEEE!

After the big, dramatic Boston College win, I wrote this about the Rams’ remaining schedule (a screenshot from this September 30th post):

csu 11-1

Hey look I found a typo!

Now, two months later, the Rams are 10-1. All that stands between them and that 11-1 record is a win at Air Force on Friday. Earlier in the year I was under the impression that Air Force wasn’t very good. I’ve changed my mind after watching them go 8-3, including going 5-0 in Colorado Springs. Troy Calhoun is a hell of a coach and has led a very impressive turnaround after last year’s 2-10 campaign.

This game scares me quite a bit even though the Rams are favored by seven in Vegas. Air Force didn’t look all that good on the road against a mediocre San Diego State team on Friday night in their first game without leading rusher Jacobi Owens, who is out for the season. But Air Force is still 5-0 at home. They will be jacked up for this game. The Rams have a short week with the Friday kickoff. The Falcons, who played SDSU on Friday night, do not.

So there’s some cause for concern, but there is also a big reason for Rams fans to be confident. His name is Jim McElwain. McElwain and his staff have had his players prepared for every game this year.

The Rams’ defense will be tested again against an option offense. They certainly held their own against New Mexico, limiting them to 301 yards rushing, though much of that was in garbage time. (For reference, the Lobos rushed for 505 yards against a good Boise State team.) Having the best linebacking corps in the Mountain West can sure help defend the option.

Air Force’s home field advantage could be mitigated some by playing a team that also is comfortable at altitude. A whole lot of green in the stands wouldn’t hurt either. See y’all on Friday.

In the rankings, the Rams jumped up to #21 in both the Coaches poll and the AP poll. They should be ranked by the College Football Playoff committee later this evening, but the committee has shown complete disregard for any non-Power 5 teams, so who knows. I’m not actually sure if the committee is aware that there are dozens of other teams in other conferences at this point.

Okay, time for your weekly record update thing even though by now I think we all get the point and this is getting redundant I don’t care I’m going to keep doing it anyway! Colorado State is now 10-1 in 2014. They’ve won nine in a row. They’re 14-2 in their last 16 games going back to last season. 16-3 in their last 19; 17-4 in their last 21. Those are some crazy-ass numbers, folks.

Of course the other game of almost equal importance this weekend goes down a day and a half after the Rams play Air Force when Utah State heads into Boise. By now you know that a Boise loss coupled with an CSU win would give the Rams the Mountain Division title and the opportunity to host the Mountain West Championship at Hughes on December 6th.

Utah State is pretty good. They’re the only team to come into Hughes this year and not get blown-T-F-out. But Boise is favored by nine in Vegas, largely because Boise is 90-4 at home since 2000, which is decent. Utah State has the best defense in the Mountain West and should be able to slow down the Broncos’ offense. The question will be whether or not the Aggies can muster any points on offense.

Should be a pretty good game. ESPN 2; Saturday; 8:15. Go Aggies.

It would be some unspeakably bad luck for CSU to go 11-1, enter the national rankings and gain some national notoriety after years of futility and not even play in a major bowl game, let alone win the conference, let alone participate in the conference championship game. Guess we’ll see what happens.

The Coloradoan’s Kelly Lyell did a good job laying out the Rams’ different bowl scenarios. There are plenty of moving parts, but I’m reading it with these being the three most likely possibilities.

  • Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, AZ., December 31st against a big name, top-15 school. This only happens if everything breaks in the Rams’ favor. A win over Air Force. Utah State beats Boise State. Rams win the Mountain West Championship game. Committee has the Rams ranked ahead of Marshall. This is the ideal scenario, but there’s a pretty good team up north on a stupid blue field that provides a large obstacle.
  • Las Vegas Bowl, in… uhh… Las Vegas, December 20th against a decent Pac-12 team. If Boise beats Utah State and wins the Mountain West, they’ll be picked by the committee as the highest ranked Group of Five team and would head to the Fiesta Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl, which is scheduled to host the Mountain West champion, could then pick any Mountain West team to take their spot. One would have to imagine they would choose CSU. So at this point, I think the Vegas Bowl seems like the most likely.
  • Poinsettia Bowl, San Diego, December 23 against Navy. Navy should become bowl eligible in either of the next two weeks. When they do, they’ll be playing in this game against a Mountain West team. If Las Vegas doesn’t pick the Rams, the Poinsettia Bowl will.

Again, that’s a lot of speculation on my part, but I’d circle those three dates on your calender.

In other very, very, very important news, it sounds like the new on-campus stadium is pretty much a lock with an announcement coming soon.

I was planning on talking about the Broncos next, but I ended up writing more on CSU than I thought I would. This was supposed to be a shortened holiday post!

But I’ll just say I thought the Broncos played pretty well against a good team. They got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters. That was the #2 overall defense in the NFL and the Broncos scored 39 points, even though it felt like they struggled quite a bit.

The offensive line played really, really well a week after playing really, really poorly. So that was an important development. The Broncos were stubbornly committed to the running game and they had success with it, which greatly changes the dynamic of the offense.

The defense was excellent if you ignore two long, easy touchdowns drives from Miami. Can you do that? No? Okay, so that was a bit of a mixed bag.

Special teams pretty much sucked again. That chip-shot missed field goal immediately followed by a fumble from the no-name punt returner dude just about cost the Broncos the game.

But they overcame their mistakes and won a game against a pretty good team.

So we don’t have to push the panic button yet.

Also this gif of Ramirez and DT reacting to McManus’ chip shot field goal is awesome.

They react just like us! Cool!

Hey look, the Broncos just signed Connor Barth and waived McManus. Had to do it.

Off to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

Let’s talk about Odell Beckham Jr. Obviously, you’ve already seen this. (I could watch it like 50 times in a row.)

But let’s put some perspective on who we’re dealing with here. Because what this dude can do is absolutely amazing.

Here is Beckham warming up before Sunday night’s game. NBC showed this almost immediately before his incredible catch, which worked out pretty perfectly.

(I also encourage you to check out those catches in super slow-mo here. It’s hypnotizing.)

And here’s a different, perhaps even more amazing, warm-up routine from three weeks ago.

And here he is at LSU catching a FREAKING TOUCHBACK– without looking– with one hand like it’s a ping pong ball.

Yeah. He’s cool.

A bunch of other stuff from around the internets:

This Vine is the most Raiders Vine ever. Two dudes celebrating like 15 yards in the offensive backfield while a play is about to start. Love it.

Coaches are in good moods after they play CU.

Mississippi State weirdo gave me a good chuckle.

Jameis Winston pushing a ref is awesome because it’s Jameis Winston. And he’s pushing a referee. That’s really pretty amazing when you think about it.

Wyoming basketball might be pretty damn good this year. Here’s their best player, Larry Nance Jr., throwing down in an upset over CU.

Jimmy Fallon mentioned former CSU Ram Weston Richburg in his “Most Likely To” segment:

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, JaVale McGee would like to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. I love him.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. Have a tremendous Thanksgiving. Go Utah State. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

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What Is Wrong With The Broncos? …Is Jim McElwain On The Move?

Welcome to the 85th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the orange and blue sky might be falling. I wrote a lot of words this week. Let’s get into it…

Sunday was not a good day. (AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post)

At some point late in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ disheartening and discouraging loss to the Rams on Sunday, I provided the group of family and friends with which I was watching a distinct summary of both the day’s events and the broader implications concerning the big picture of the Broncos’ 2014 season. With the outcome having already been decided, I sullenly slumped forward, plopped my chin on my  palm and proclaimed the following:

“Well…

…(long pause)…

…(sophisticated stroking of chin hair)…

…(vacant stare)…

Shit.”

I think that pretty much sums things up, but let’s dive in to this mess.

The Broncos have just gotten their asses kicked for the second time in three weeks. And this one was pretty much a disaster. They lost 22-7 to the St. Louis Rams. They lost by 15 points. To the St. Louis Rams. They scored 7 points. Against the St. Louis Rams. THE ST. LOUIS RAMS!

Krusty The Clown watched the game. He has the same question as lots of Broncos fans.

Good question, Herschel. What DID we just watch?

We saw dropped passes and bad tackling. We saw bad throws from an MVP quarterback. We saw garbage offensive line play. We saw a kneel down. We saw injuries. We did NOT see any field goal attempts.

Now, there’s no sense in playing the blame game, unless you’re writing a blog about the Broncos after the Broncos got their asses kicked by the St. Louis Rams. Then there’s a ton of sense in playing the blame game. Let’s point some fingers!

THIS IS ALL THE OFFENSE’S FAULT!

For the first time in a few years, the offense was without a doubt the main issue in a Broncos’ loss.

Peyton Manning does not look sharp right now and is undoubtedly playing the worst football of his three seasons in Denver. He seems uncomfortable in the pocket. He seems hesitant or unwilling to throw the ball down the field. He’s hanging his receivers out to dry. He’s throwing picks. It’s all kind of odd to watch.

*Sidenote:  I do not care about Manning’s “bad” body language. He’s been doing that his whole career. His career has been pretty good. He gets pissed off when things don’t go well. So what? Peyton Manning is afforded certain luxuries such as this.

The running game has, for the most part, not been much of a factor throughout the year. On Sunday that nonfactor-ness went to a whole ‘nother level.  The Broncos ran the ball ten times. Manning threw 54 passes. TEN! FIFTY-FOUR! That’s amazing. To an extent, I am of the belief that a team with Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders does not need to lean too heavily on the run. That’s not necessarily a point of emphasis based on the personnel that has been assembled here.

But regardless of your offensive makeup, you can’t throw the ball FORTY-FOUR more times than you run it. That is absurd.

Yes, the offense took a hit when two of the passing game’s most important and prominent weapons left with injuries in the first half, but shouldn’t that mean you run the ball– or try to run the ball– MORE?

We can talk about the lack of a running game. We can talk about the two big injuries. We can talk about the struggles of Manning. (Struggles is a very, very relative term here.) But there’s another problem that outweighs all of those.

This offensive line is crap right now. The Broncos have a guard playing tackle, a center playing guard, a new guy playing center, and an all-pro playing like crap. That’s not exactly a recipe for success. Right now the lack of a running game comes back to the offensive line play. The (relative) struggles of Manning comes back to the offensive line play. St. Louis has an above average defense, particularly in the front seven. And they just owned the Broncos up front.

It was ugly.

The Denver Broncos and their immensely talented, record-setting, intimidating offense scored seven points on Sunday. That’s a problem.

THIS IS ALL THE DEFENSE’S FAULT!

Don’t get me wrong, I am identifying the Broncos’ offense as Reason Number One they were dominated on Sunday, but we can throw plenty more blame around.

The defense gets some credit for holding St. Louis to just one touchdown and forcing five field goals. I guess. They only gave up 22 points. The way this team is constructed that’s supposed to be good enough, right? I guess.

But they really weren’t all that impressive when you consider the opponent. Shaun Hill was making his first start in over two months. He’s a backup’s backup. Tre Mason is a fine young rookie running back, but he’s been up and down since taking over as a starter. Kenny Britt is Kenny Britt. He’s not exactly curling the toes of wide receiver coaches across the league. What I’m trying to say is THE RAMS’ OFFENSE SUCKS.

Yet the Broncos defense again had trouble getting stops on 3rd-and-longs. They forced zero turnovers. They sacked Hill just three times.

It would have been nice for this new, revamped defense to step up and shut the Rams’ crappy offense down on a day when Manning and Co. were not at their finest. We’ve heard plenty of talk about the Broncos needing to learn to win a low scoring game. A game that sees both teams score in the teens or low-20s. Evidently this defense isn’t ready for that.

Yes, some of this comes back to the offense. The two interceptions, the bad field position after failed fourth-down attempts, and the lack of a running game didn’t do the D* any favors, but I’m not exactly giving the defense a thumbs up.

*How many times did CBS show that middle-aged dork with the cutout of the D and the fence during the broadcast? Like, ten? It amazes me that someone would bring that to a game in 2014.

THIS IS ALL THE SPECIAL TEAMS’S’S’S’ FAULT!

Tuesdays With Mitch is here with some breaking news. Good teams in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! have kickers. All of them. Right now, the Broncos do not appear to have a kicker after they thrice turned down long field goal attempts and instead elected to go for it on fourth down or punt. Those game situations are as follows, and keep in mind THEY’RE PLAYING IN A FREAKING DOME!

  • 3-0 Rams. 1:22 left in the first quarter. 4th-and-5 from the 37. The Broncos decline a would-be 54-yarder and fail to convert. …A made field goal would have simply tied the game in the first quarter. That’s obviously not important at all.
  • 13-7 Rams. Opening drive of the third quarter. 4th-and-10 from the 38. The Broncos decline a would-be 55-yarder and punt. …Leaving three more (potential) points on the board in a close game.
  • 19-7 Rams. 9:37 left in the fourth quarter. 4th-and-4 from the 28. The Broncos decline a would be 45-yarder and Manning is sacked for a loss of 12. …At this point it’s a two possession game with under ten minutes remaining. The game would have stayed two possessions with a made field goal, so many would argue that going for it is the right call here regardless of whether or not a kicker wearing a Broncos jersey exists somewhere in the world. HOWEVAH, if the Broncos had kicked a couple of those long field goals earlier, another field goal here might have made sense.

This is not college football, where #collegekickers are notoriously shaky and erratic. This is THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! Kickers in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! need to be able to make, or at least attempt, 50-plus yard field goals. In fact, I’m fairly certain they’re paid a handsome salary to do just that. So I’m not putting these decisions on the coaching staff. If they don’t trust Brandon McManus, so be it. But something needs to be done about this. You can not have a guy on your roster that you don’t trust attempting field goals when a very, very large portion of his job description involves attempting field goals.

Aside from having a kicker who is not allowed to kick field goals, the Broncos special teams units have been awfully pedestrian all year. They have zero kickoff return threats. They have zero punt return threats.

The more you think about it, the Broncos do not appear to be a complete football team.

…I also have McManus in both of my fantasy leagues, you jerks.

So looking ahead…

The Broncos come back home for their first game at Mile High in exactly a month on Sunday. Things don’t appear to be getting easier. The 6-4 Dolphins come to town with the 2nd highest rated total defense and 2nd highest rated passing defense in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!. Miami played on Thursday night last week, so they will have a few extra days rest.

After that, the Broncos take their annual trip to Arrowhead to play the 7-3 Chiefs, who will also be coming off a Thursday game with a few extra days to rest and prepare. So yeah, the Broncos and Chiefs will be playing in Arrowhead in week 13 with first place on the line. I didn’t see that coming.

Oh, and the Patriots look like a damn powerhouse after beating the Colts handily in Indianapolis. For Denver to catch New England, the Broncos need to win out and the Patriots need to lose twice in their final six games.

Much of my focus in this space throughout the season has been on securing the top seed in the AFC. This is all one long preseason, I said. Enjoy the ride until the real games start in January, I said. That’s no longer the outlook. Right now the focus needs to be trying to win the division by trying to win some football games by trying to not suck on offense, defense, and special teams.

Because excluding a two-quarter stretch (roughly) against a team that hasn’t won a game in a calendar year, the Broncos have looked pretty crappy three weeks in a row.

You know me, I’m much more levelheaded than most sports blowhards you’ll hear or read. I actually misplaced my Broncos Panic Button a couple years ago and have never bothered to look for it. But after watching the Broncos on Sunday afternoon I think I’m going to need to locate that thing. Because if the Broncos have a similar performance in this week’s game against the Dolphins, I’ll be mashing down the Broncos Panic Button and heading for the hills until… Rockies season? Oh Dear Lord.

Description of . Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos sits in disbelief after he can't hold on to the ball on a 4th down pass as the broncos turn the ball over on downs  vs the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome November 16, 2014 St. Louis, MO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Before Emmanuel Sanders got hurt, Emmanual Sanders got sad. 😦 is right, Emmanuel. (Joe Amon, Denver Post)

One quick thought on the Broncos potentially signing Hall of Fame MeatHead/DoucheBag/ScumBag/Racist/Sexist/Homophobe Richie Incognito:

This is something I find myself torn on. Not because I wonder whether Incognito would be able to play well after his time away from the game. I think he would help this team’s patchwork offensive line immediately. Not because I’m concerned with the chemistry in the locker room. I think the Broncos have a veteran locker room that wouldn’t put up with his nonsense and I think even Incognito would be able to stay in his lane for the season’s final couple months. And no, I don’t really care about the media distraction it would bring (though that would be the biggest annoyance).

I’m struggling with this thought because as a fan, Incognito is one of the last people on this planet I would ever want to root for. He is a terrible dude. I’m not naive enough to think all Broncos players are saints. Assuredly, they are not. But I do have a hard time believing that anyone in the Broncos’ locker room, the entire NFL, the entire world is as big of a douche as Incognito.

So this is the question I find myself asking:  Would it be worth it to root for someone I find to be hilariously stupid and mind-numbingly repulsive if it substantially increases the Broncos’ chances of winning the Super Bowl?

I’m not entirely sure how to answer that.

Off to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

Let’s talk about Jim McElwain. He’s pretty awesome. First though, let’s recap the CSU Rams’ eventful bye week.

First, Boise State took on San Diego State in a game that could have had huge (HUGE!)implications for CSU. Things got off to a pretty great start, with the Aztecs jumping out to a 20-0 lead in Boise. I was feeling prett-ay darn good about things. But San Diego State isn’t all that good this year and Boise State is. So the Broncos came roaring back and won 39-28, delaying the Rams’ Mountain West championship hopes at least one more week.

Boise State plays in Laramie this week at 8:15. The Broncos are 14-point favorites. CSU fans are all die-hard Wyoming fans until further notice.

On Sunday some good news was released in the form of the national polls. CSU was bumped up two spots to #23 in the coaches poll. They moved up one spot to #22 in the AP poll. The committee’s rankings will be released in a couple hours and I think CSU has a somewhat reasonable chance to sneak in there after multiple teams ahead of them lost on Saturday.

Jim McElwain’s name has been linked to the open head coaching position at Florida. (Lance Iversen/USA TODAY Sports )

Okay back to Jim McElwain… Other college football news surfaced on Sunday, when Florida announced the firing (or resignation, whatever) of Will Muschamp. Of course, this immediately sparked speculation as to who will replace Muschamp as head coach in Gainesville. Jim McElwain is on just about every list of potential candidates.

Bovada even has odds on who the next coach will be. McElwain opened as the second most likely “candidate”, but has moved to third as I write this. This is obviously kind of silly, but it’s also a bit concerning, as oddsmakers are generally extremely well-informed.

I would be very surprised if McElwain took the Florida job. It’s a possibility, but I would be very surprised.

The first thing we need to consider is the buyout in McElwain’s current contract, which is an unheard of $7.5 million. Yes, Florida is a big time school with a big time budget and big time donors, but SEVEN AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS, in a lump sum, one-time payment, is a lot of money, even for them.

I think people’s’ eyes can glaze over when we start discussing millions of dollars in big time athletics. For reference, Will Muschamp’s 2013 salary is about $2.7 million. So McElwain’s buyout alone is almost THREE TIMES what Florida is paying Muschamp each year. That’s not chump change.

Also, it sounds like Florida is going to aim higher than a head coach at a Mountain West school. Florida is considered a top-five or so job in the country and they will probably have their initial sights set on a head coach from a Power 5 school like Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) or Dan Mullen (Mississippi State).

So my guess is Florida would have to swing and miss on a couple of their first choices, then they would have to REAALLLY, REAAALLLYYY want Jim McElwain to the point where coming up with multiple briefcases filled with cash isn’t an issue.

And that’s only half of the equation.

McElwain has to want Florida, too. McElwain is comfortable in Fort Collins. He is the highest paid coach in the Mountain West (although obviously a job like Florida would provide a big raise). Maybe McElwain will pull a Sonny and be cool staying in Fort Collins for a long time (fingers crossed). But assuming that’s not the case, McElwain doesn’t have to jump at the first job opening that comes his way. He has the luxury to sit back and wait for what he considers the perfect situation.

If McElwain doesn’t want the task of completely rebuilding a powerhouse, he can simply wait for a good situation at a school he considers an upgrade. Chris Petersen did this when he stayed at Boise State for eight years before finally leaving for Washington after last season. Petersen’s name was mentioned in every big school’s coaching vacancy for years. He waited until he saw a school that fit his profile and was left in good shape by the previous coach.

Florida needs a new coach. Michigan will soon be needing a new coach. Nebraska may (maybe not) soon be needing a new coach. McElwain’s name will be associated with every job opening in the country.

There are always a lot of moving parts in these situations and much of my outlook is based on speculation, but as of right now, there are plenty of reasons to be confident McElwain will be back with Colorado State next year.

Douche of the week:

This guy needs to reevaluate everything in his life and I mean that sincerely.

Douche is even a douche when he’s interviewed after the whole thing went down.

A few other things:

The Nuggets beat the Cavs last night in a game that will surely represent the moment that their entire season turned around. Until all that actually happens, this free throw sums up their season.

Never change, JaVale. That’s from Sunday’s loss to New York. The Nuggets scored eight points on 1-16 shooting in the second quarter.

This dude did not like Mr. Referee touching his bottom.

Mr. Referee looks kind of terrified.

This is the greatest punt ever. Right back in his own grill.

I stumbled across this GIF from a recent boxing match this week. It is the coolest thing I saw all week. Incredible.

Deadspin / @bubbaprog

And,


A
couple links worth sharing:

And finally, here’s Daniel Tosh tearing up ESPN. Really good stuff:

Pretty solid from Tosh, but he loses some credibility when he includes Mike and Mike in his “you guys are cool” disclaimer at the end.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Weekly Roundup; Rams Ranked

Welcome to the 84th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where OH HEY DID YOU KNOW IT GOT COLD OUTSIDE?! Lots to get to this week. Let’s get into it…

Cam and his Rams are getting some recognition as one of the best teams in the country.. (Erin Hooley, Coloradoan)

Let’s start with the Colorado State Rams, who continued their winning ways Saturday night against Hawaii. Nothing surprising about this one because Hawaii is not good at playing football, but it was nice to see the Rams take care of business at home against a lesser opponent.

Garrett Grayson threw four touchdowns to four different receivers, even though his favorite target, Rashard Higgins, watched the game from the sideline. (Higgins should be back in two weeks vs. New Mexico.) CSU averaged 6.8 yards per carry on their way to 293 rushing yards. The Rams’ defense pulled down a couple of interceptions. 49-22 final. Saturday night went about like most people expected.

The game went well, but the two most interesting questions of the weekend for CSU football came after the Rams had finished playing. On Saturday night:  Would Boise State actually lose? And, on Sunday morning:  Would the Rams finally enter the national rankings?

Playing against a bad New Mexico team, Boise State was down by 11 points with under three minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Broncos then scored 22 straight points and won by 11, putting a bit of a damper on my Saturday night after getting my hopes up for a while.

So for the Rams to win the Mountain Division and host a Mountain West championship game (and remain eligible for a New Year’s Eve/Day bowl), they still need to see the Broncos lose one of their three remaining games. Boise is a 19-point favorite over San Diego State at home this weekend. That’s followed by a trip to Laramie for an 8:15 kickoff on November 22nd. Laramie. Late night. Late November. Wyoming isn’t any good, but nobody wants to play under those circumstances. I’m hoping for about a ten degree night with 40 mph winds and chaos.

The final piece of news that came out of Ram Country this weekend was good news. First, the USA Today coaches poll was released. Shortly thereafter, the Associated Press Top 25 was released. For the first time all season, Rams fans didn’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the rankings and scan the “others receiving votes” category.

Because, for the first time in over 11 years, the Colorado State Rams are nationally ranked.

The coaches have the Rams 25th, the AP has them 23rd.

The other rankings come from the College Football Playoff selection committee, which releases its rankings each Tuesday evening. It will be interesting to see if they also give the Rams some love and sneak them in their rankings. Frankly, that would be a bit of a surprise, as the committee hasn’t ranked any “Group of Five” teams in either of their first two rankings.

And of course, it would be wise to bear in mind that the only rankings that matter are the committee’s final rankings after the regular season ends. And even those don’t matter if the Rams don’t find a way to win the Mountain West.

All of that said, I was pretty pumped to see Colorado State in the national rankings. I’ve seen enough 3-9 seasons and stood through enough beatdowns in the cold to appreciate how awesome it is for the Rams to have a number next to their name. That means when you’re watching some dumb ESPN debate show, the CSU logo will just be scrolling across the bottom of the screen telling you who their next opponent is! Or when you click on “college football scoreboard” their game will be right there on the front page! Woooo! What else is there in life, right?

The progress this program has made in three short years under Jim McElwain is simply astounding. The CSU Rams are ranked! In 2014! Exclamation points! Who woulda thunk it? I’m sometimes accused of being too optimistic when it comes to CSU athletics, but even I didn’t see this coming. At least not so quickly.

Time for your weekly record update thing even though by now I think we all get the point and this is getting redundant I don’t care I’m going to keep doing it anyway! Colorado State is now 9-1 in 2014. They’ve won eight in a row. They’re 13-2 in their last 15 games going back to last season. 15-3 in their last 18; 16-4 in their last 20.

The Rams are off this weekend, followed by New Mexico at home in what should be a win. Then they travel to Air Force the day after Thanksgiving in a game that scares the hell out of me and has a chance to ruin everything.

But right now, we’re into mid-November and #23 Colorado State (always wanted to type their name like that) is still staring an 11-1 regular season right in the face.

Hey while we’re on the topic of important necessary changes at Colorado State, here’s a link I’ve been meaning to share for a while. First, check out “A Summary of the Four Options Under Consideration for Colorado State University’s Football Stadium.” Then provide your feedback here, but only if you agree with me. This stuff is important. (Option Four is the way to go). I should probably devote an entire post to the stadium discussion at some point. Kind of surprised I haven’t done that yet.

And one more link while I’m at it. Here’s the latest episode of “The Grind”. (Not as cool as some of the previous episodes, but still worth watching.)

Some other quick thoughts on the local squads…

The Broncos blew out the Raiders. Nothing to see here. You should know by now that I’m far too levelheaded to get concerned with just about anything in a 41-17 win, especially on the road. Nitpicking is stupid. First place in the AFC is still very realistic. This concludes my commentary on the Broncos’ victory over the Raiders.

The Nuggets might be really, really bad. I’m not one to overreact too often, but after watching them lose five in a row after winning on opening night, I think I’m going to go ahead and overreact. This team looks terrible. They’ve been blown out by the Sacramento Kings. Twice. That usually tells you all just about all you need to know about an NBA team.

I’m still convinced the roster has quite a bit of talent, but not much is going right in the season’s first couple of weeks. Bryan Shaw needs to figure this team out quickly or his tenure as a head coach will be a short one.

I also wanted to talk about the Avalanche’s slow start, but I don’t have time. Hey they look bad too! How’s that for #analysis?

Yesterday, Michael Cuddyer turned down the Rockies’ $15.3 million qualifying offer and signed a two-year $21 million deal with the Mets. I loved Cuddyer’s attitude and watching him play while he was in Colorado, but it made no sense for the Rockies to re-sign him. Simply put, he no longer fit the roster or the payroll. The Rockies’ payroll has been too top-heavy for years. Had Cuddyer accepted the Rockies’ offer, they would be even more top-heavy. That’s not a recipe for rebuilding. There’s also the matter of having Carlos Gonzales in right field, Corey Dickerson in left and Justin Morneau at first base. Oh, and Cuddyer hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Oh, and he’ll be 36 next season.

So new general manager Jeff Bridich passed his first major test. He played the Cuddyer situation perfectly. The QO was a bit of a gamble, but it worked out and now the Rockies receive a compensatory draft pick from the Mets in return. I’m told that is better than nothing.

Now, I just want Bridich to go sign Russell Martin. That should be priority Number One. (Even if it is a long shot.)

Off to the weekly departments…

Vine of the week:

We have a no-brainer this week, as the local football squad produced one of the great Vines of all time. Seriously, everything about this is absolutely incredible.

The score on the screen. Brock’s eager little jog. The fact that Peyton starts his trot right when Brock turns his back. Peyton’s sluggish, workmanlike, head-down jog. And of course the look on Brock’s face when he realizes he doesn’t get to play. It’s like a teenager inviting his little brother to the movies with the older kids and then leaving without him. The camera is positioned absolutely perfectly.

It’s just amazing. Possibly a top-5 sports Vine of all time.

Stud of the week:

I could pick a legitimate selection here, but let’s think about how awesome Carson Palmer’s agent is. The Cardinals’ quarterback has bounced around the league for years without much success. He had a mostly mediocre season in 2013 with Arizona. Now, he’s been pretty good in leading the Cardinals to the NFL’s best record halfway through 2014, though he only had five starts entering the weekend. So on Friday the Cardinals rewarded him with a three-year $50 million contract extension. $20.5 million is guaranteed. MORE THAN TWENTY MILLION BUCKS! IN THE BANK! FOR FIVE DECENT STARTS!

But odd contracts for large sums of money are fairly commonplace in sports. This is all worth mentioning because of what happened on Sunday. Two days after signing that extension… Palmer tore his ACL and is out for the year.

How amazing is that?

I mean, it reeaaalllllly sucks for all parties involved, but that is some incredibly bad timing. And– AAAAAAND!– in 2005 Palmer signed a $119 million contract with the Bengals and promptly tore his ACL 10 days later!

So props to Palmer’s agent or whoever was working to get this most recent extension in place. I want that dude picking my lotto numbers.

Douche of the week:

Before the Broncos played the Seahawks in week three, I gave Seahawks fans “Douche of the week” honors because they’re all horrible. Well they’re in the news again (kind of) with the strangest thing I’ve seen at a football game all year.

What’s amazing to me is the reaction of all the people who are not being attacked by that thing. They think watching an old dude get eaten alive by an evil, giant bird is just hilarious and all in good fun. Hahaha that guy is going to get his eyeballs ripped out of his head! Go Seahawks!

The more I watch this, the more I start to wonder if that bird thought that dude’s hair was some kind of rodent

Here’s another angle.

SB Nation

Tweets of the week:

The official Nuggets’ Twitter account had some fun hyping the Cleveland Cavs and all of their star players coming to town.

Pretty good stuff from the Nuggs. Yes, they got blown out by LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and company, but that was going to happen anyway. Might as well get some trolling in ahead of time. I say it all the time, but I love when official Twitter accounts show some personality like this. We’re making progress in that regard.

If only the actual team– you know, like the players and coaching staff– could make some progress now.

And a bunch of other stuff:

The craziest play of the football weekend came from the Utah vs. Oregon game. Two touchdowns on the same play! (Almost.)

I saw this live and was awfully confused, so I’m glad I could track it down on the internets. The Joker really likes Jimmy Graham’s butt.

At some point, dudes just gotta quit jumping in the stands.

Pretty decent interception that I could totally do if I wanted to:

It’s rare for the best touchdown catch of the week and the best touchdown dance of the week all happen on the same play. Thanks John Brown!

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, we’ll end on a positive note, because fist bump kid is pretty awesome.

Yay sports!

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Thoughts On The Broncos and Patriots (And CSU)

Welcome to the 83rd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am completely indifferent to Daylight Savings Time and don’t care about how you feel about the time change. Let’s get into it…

quarter. (Steven Senne/AP)

This is a pretty accurate representation of Sunday afternoon. (Steven Senne/AP)

I think it’s time we all acknowledge that the Broncos are the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!. And right now, it doesn’t seem like anyone else is particularly close.

-Mitch Hahn, Tuesdays With Mitch, October 28th 2014

So… about that. Did you guys know that certain portions of my post last week were written as satire? Totally joking! Got y’all good.

Sunday’s beatdown in New England made it pretty clear that the Broncos are not standing alone as the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!. The best team in the league might be the Patriots. Or someone else. I guess it could still be the Broncos. But the Patriots were definitely the best team on the field on Sunday.

And because of that, the Broncos’ regular season just became much more interesting. I’m always using this space to stress that the Broncos are in the middle of a 17 week preseason and none of these games really matter until the playoffs begin. I still feel that way to an extent, but right now it sure looks like getting the one-seed in the AFC is crucial.

Because the Broncos do not look like a team that can beat the Patriots in Foxborough.

So after nine weeks of the NFL season, the Broncos are 6-2. The Patriots are 7-2.

Here is the Broncos’ remaining schedule:

screenshot via ESPN.com

screenshot via ESPN.com

And here is the Patriots’ remaining schedule:

screenshot via ESPN.com

screenshot via ESPN.com

The Broncos have five road games and three home games. The Patriots have four road games and three home games (and a bye). Both teams go to San Diego. Both teams host Buffalo. Both teams have what appear to be tough road games.

So you can examine each game on each team’s schedule and try to predict each outcome, but that’s pretty pointless. The bottom line with all of this is that both teams have a whole lot of football to play and a lot of different scenarios can play out. It’s reasonable to foresee either team having home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Naturally after Sunday’s debacle, the thought process around town is that THE SKY IS FALLING and THE BRONCOS SUCK AGAIN. But as disheartening as Sunday afternoon was, I’m always careful not to invest too much into one game. Especially when that game takes place in early November in week nine.

I wrote last week that the Broncos were probably not going to go 15-1. I was right about that. And while playing in New England gave the Broncos an opportunity to make a statement and gain a solid grip on the AFC, it is just one loss. Really! It is! I checked the standings and everything.

The Broncos are still the Super Bowl favorites in Vegas. That kind of surprised me, but Vegas knows more than everyone and they’re not overreacting.

After watching the second quarter on Sunday it’s safe to say the Broncos had no shot beating New England. But– and stick with me here– if the Broncos don’t give up a fairly flukey punt return for a touchdown, and if their kicker kicks the ball six inches to the left and if Wes Welker catches this pass instead of gifting it to the other team, we’re watching a very different football game.

@cjzero

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons for Broncos fans to be concerned. The pass rush wasn’t there. The defense couldn’t get off the field on third and long. The running game couldn’t establish itself. Julius Thomas is essentially a non-factor these days (two targets, two catches, one TD). Wes Welker is essentially a non-factor these days (94 total yards receiving the last four weeks). They don’t seem to have a right tackle. They don’t seem to have a kicker.

And I have no idea how to stop Rob Gronkowski. Look at this freak! He changes everything about the Patriots’ offense dramatically.

@cjzero

So I’m not Mr. Everything-Is-Fine again this week. Especially when I watch those two GIFs. But I’m not ready to crown the Patriots either. And I still think the Broncos have a pretty good shot at hosting each round of the playoffs.

And if they do that, their chances of returning to the Super Bowl are pretty darn good.

Subject change…

Garett Grayson (AP photo)

Garrett Grayson played through a groin injury to lead the Rams to another road win. (AP photo)

Colorado State won again. They won on the road. They won despite battling some injuries. They won despite giving up some big plays. The Rams just know how to win.

We have apparently reached the point in the rise of Colorado State football when fans can say, “Yeah they won the game BUUUUTTT it was closer than it should have been. They actually kind of struggled.”

I suppose this mindset is a good thing because it indicates how much expectations have risen, but you won’t find me complaining about anything after this one. Like I said a couple weeks ago, a road win in conference that comes without any major injuries is never, ever, ever a bad thing.

Speaking of injuries, for a while it looked like the Rams might have suffered two substantial ones. Garrett Grayson was hobbling around with a hurt groin seemingly all game. Rashard Higgins left the game with a shoulder injury. Neither injury is believed to be too serious, though Higgins may sit out Saturday vs. Hawaii.

But I have to give more props to Grayson for coming through with another ballsy performance. He could hardly move out there and had to ride the stationary bike to stay loose when he wasn’t on the field. And the stationary bike sucks. Screw that. But even with all the visible pain and unnecessary cardio, you could tell he wasn’t about to come out of that game. He seems to be a pretty tough dude. Keep in mind he’s also been battling a hurt throwing shoulder for much of the year.

Grayson finished with 290 yards passing and touchdown to Higgins, who still leads the nation in receiving yards and touchdowns after his 8 catch, 143 yard, 1 TD performance. Dee Hart had the best night of the bunch with 104 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

The Spartans were able to make things interesting. They even pulled within one score in the final minutes and were driving with a chance to tie before the Rams came up with a fourth down stop to seal the game. But I think that’s a little deceiving. The Rams had a 14-point lead and came up with an interception that looked like it was going to put them up by 21 with five minutes left untill Trent Matthews fumbled on his 25-yard return. San Jose State would later score on that drive. Then there’s the onside kick San Jose State recovered with just over two minutes left. Onside kicks are always complete flukes and I will never be convinced otherwise. And it helps when the refs don’t let players catch balls while they’re clearly running out of bounds.

The Rams took care of business against a mediocre team on the road in a game that I was actually pretty concerned about. And that’s really all that matters.

Time for your weekly record update! Colorado State is now 8-1 in 2014. They’ve won seven in a row. They’re 12-2 in their last 14 games going back to last season. 14-3 in their last 17; 15-4 in their last 19.

Looking ahead on the schedule, for the Rams to finish 11-1 they just need to beat two awful teams at home– they’re favored by 18.5 against Hawaii on Saturday and I expect a similar line vs. New Mexico in a couple weeks– before heading down the road to Air Force. Air Force has improved quite a bit over last year’s 2-10 team so I’m not taking that one for granted.

Last week I laid out some different bowl scenarios for the Rams. A quick update on those: East Carolina lost on Saturday, which dropped them from the national rankings. So the only things keeping CSU from a New Year’s Bowl are three regular season wins of their own, a Boise State loss, and a Rams’ win at home in the Mountain West Championship game. (If this scenario plays out, I can’t see Marshall being ranked higher than CSU, even if they’re undefeated.)

That Boise State loss though… still doesn’t seem overly likely. Their remaining schedule:

screenshot via ESPN.com

screenshot via ESPN.com

Maybe the ‘Pokes will do CSU a favor in Laramie. Maybe Utah State can go into Boise and get the job done. All the Rams can do is keep winning and see what happens.

Off to the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

One last thing on the Coloroado State Rams: Being 8-1 in the Mountain West with your only loss coming in Boise in week 2 and not cracking the national rankings is a complete load of shit. That is all.

Stud of the week:

The story of Lauren Hill is one of the most moving stories of the year. She played in her first college basketball game on Sunday. If you’re unfamiliar with her story, start with these few paragraphs I pulled from this Yahoo! Sports article, describing Hill scoring the first basket of the college basketball season.

It was the simplest of plays, yet so much had to go right for it go off without a hitch.

Hill, the Mount St. Joseph College forward with an inoperable brain tumor, first had to live long enough to play in Sunday’s game against Hiram College, no small feat since doctors have told her they expect her not to make it through December. The 19-year-old freshman also had to summon the strength to make it up and down the floor despite the constant headaches and bouts of dizziness and nausea that have plagued her more frequently in recent weeks.

And as if that weren’t enough, there was the little matter of Hill having to attempt the layup with her off hand because the right side of her body is too weak for her hoist it to the rim with her dominant arm. Hill has practiced shooting with her left hand for weeks, but she still missed just as many layups as she made in practice the past two weeks — and that was without a sellout crowd of 10,000 fans standing in her honor and tens of thousands more watching at home from their sofas on national TV.

And this SportsCenter Featured from Tom Rinaldi and ESPN might make things a little dusty.

(If YouTube takes that video down, head here to watch.)

Hill was named the conference player of the week on Monday.

Good, sad, happy, touching, powerful, moving stuff.

And a bunch of other stuff:

I actually really like this play. If you can nail the timing things could go well. If not, this happens:

And here’s a GIF with a different angle.

I never want to meet this creepy guy. Or his eyebrows.

I’m not sure why the Dolphins are giving their coach an ice water bath in week nine and neither is this ref.

The Army band had some fun with Halloween:

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, this completely incompetent Chevrolet employee absolutely stole the show on Wednesday night after game seven of the World Series. Yes, I’m late to the party on this again this week. (The MLB Postseason schedule did not align favorably with weekly posts on Tuesday.) But this is too good to leave out. An all-time cringe-inducer here.

Chevy Guy’s most famous line, of course, was “Technology and Stuff”:

And props to Chevy, who ran with it and turned it into a legit marketing campaign.

Happy Tuesday and stuff everybody. Thanks for reading and stuff.  See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.