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…
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):
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:
- “The Amazing True Story Of My Exploding Balls” Drew Magary’s humorous account of his vasectomy and the gross complications thereafter is pretty great.
- One of my hundreds of thousands of loyal readers sent me this ESPN The Magazine story on Carson Palmer’s knee surgery. Pretty compelling read.
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.
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