Welcome to the 96th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am unable to think of a clever or creative opening line. Let’s get into it…
I’ll start with Wednesday’s news out of Boulder that Colorado athletic director Rick George is not interested in continuing the Buffs’ yearly rivalry game with Colorado State once the current contract expires in 2020. George doesn’t like that the game is played in Denver. He would prefer a true home game in Boulder each year, which would bring in more revenue and better chance at a rare CU victory.
As far as the remaining games on the contract, George would like to bring those back to campuses, but indicated that CSU isn’t cooperating. (It’s clear that the CSU folks like the game played in Denver.)
Regarding the location of the game, I would be fine with it returning to the schools’ campuses. I’ve been to each of the last nine Rocky Mountain Showdowns– eight in Denver, one in Boulder– and it’s probably my favorite party of the year. I live in the greater Denver area, so having the game nearby is always nice. But the attendance and electricity just isn’t there anymore. The atmosphere on either campus would be much more charming and captivating. It would just feel right. (Imagine the Rams opening up their new stadium in two years by blowing out the Buffs in Fort Collins.) Of course, bringing the game back to campus provides lots of logistical complications. It sounds like George would want two games in Boulder for each game in FoCo; CSU would be nuts to agree to that.
Most folks on the Colorado State side of things reacted to all of this news by calling out CU as quitters who were tired of getting beat by their supposed little brother or saying the talk is a “cry for attention.” I think there are some hints of truth to this mindset, but CU is definitely looking at things mostly from a financial perspective. George wants a home game because home games mean more money.
The CU folks also note that Colorado doesn’t have a lot to gain from playing the Rams, saying when CU wins they don’t get much credit because that is the expectation. (Never mind that CSU was the best nonconference team on CU’s schedule last year by a mile.)
But for Rams fans, all of these conversations leave out what I think is the most important question: What is Colorado State getting out of scheduling a game with CU each year? They get a fun rivalry game. They get a chance to rally their fan base. And they get an awful team on their schedule and a waste of a precious nonconference game.
I should preface this by saying it is tremendously unclear what either program will look like in 2021. Beyond that, it’s unclear what the college football landscape as a whole will look like in 2021. And I wouldn’t be surprised if both parties come to some sort of resolution within the next five years and keep the rivalry intact.
But as it stands now, removing the albatross that is the Colorado game from CSU’s schedule would benefit the Rams. If Mike Bobo can build on Jim McElwain’s momentum and keep elevating the CSU program the way lots of Rams fans are envisioning, it would be wise to simply leave CU behind.
Colorado State has its eyes on Mountain West championships and New Year’s Day bowl games. (Not to mention more-than-occasional glances on the potential move to a larger conference like the Big 12.) Playing one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country each season isn’t moving things in that direction. Last year, when CSU was in contention for a Fiesta Bowl berth before losing to Air Force, it was clear the CFP committee was completely unimpressed with the Rams’ win over the Buffs. That makes sense, because CU was terrible.
Colorado State needs to think bigger. If they “schedule up” and play a good team each year instead of CU, it would benefit the program, win or lose. Boise State, the program CSU is trying to track down, lost to Ole Miss and beat Connecticut last year. Ole Miss turned out to be a really good team; UConn turned out to be pretty bad. Nonconference scheduling is tricky, because you never know how good your opponents will be. But for the last decade, CSU has known what it’s getting when it schedules CU, and that’s a bad team from a major conference. This was fine for a lot of years when the Rams were an equally bad team from a smaller conference. But times have changed in Fort Collins, while the futility in Boulder has no end in sight.
I’ve grown up watching this rivalry, so not having it around would feel odd and wrong to me and my generation of Colorado sports fans. And again, enough could change in the next few years to make this whole conversation moot. But as of right now, it makes sense for CSU to happily let CU walk away.
I also wanted to write about how awful the Nuggets are, but instead I’ll just direct you to these four links.
- Paul Klee of the Colorado Springs Gazette on why Josh Kroenke is to blame
- Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post on why “I’m sick of these guys”
- Matt Moore of CBS Sports on why “The Denver Nuggets are a Train Wreck.”
- Albert Burneko of Deadspin on why “The Denver Nuggets Are A Clown Car Plunging Into A Gorge“
Things are bad in Nuggetland.
And a quick update on CSU basketball, which is the only team on the Front Range with a chance to earn an at-large bid to the Big Dance.
Basically, what all this means is that if CSU closes strong for the final seven games of their schedule (starting tonight at home to New Mexico, 9 pm, ESPNU) they should make their third NCAA tournament in four years. If they win the games I think they should win, they’ll finish the year either 26-5 or 25-6 and go either 13-5 or 12-6 in the Mountain West. Follow that up with a decent showing in the Mountain West tourney, and they would be pretty comfortable on Selection Sunday. One bad loss, though, and that changes in a hurry.
Off to the weekly departments…
Douche(s) of the week:
I’ve always respected Brian Williams’ career as a Journalist/TV-News-Reader-Guy. Then this week we learned that sometimes he just makes stuff up. Like this story, in particular:
Williams is truthful for zero of those thirty seconds. That’s appalling. Not only is he lying on the news, he’s diminishing the things our members of the military go through to try to make himself sound like some kind of badass. Here’s part of his explanation for the dispute from the New York Times.
“You are absolutely right and I was wrong,” he wrote, adding that he had in fact been on the helicopter behind the one that had been hit. Constant viewing of the video showing him inspecting the impact area, he said, “and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.”
Right. Conflated the two …Or you were just making crap up, bro.
Then there’s this big dumb idiot who goes around poking his opponents in their eyes. All three of these sure look intentional to me. This is not okay.
Stud of the week:
Some dude in Alaska took a 46-mile, 15-hour walk while it was 35 degrees below zero because… he just kinda felt like it.
He’s a hero in my book.
Vine of the week:
Check out this interaction between Chris Paul and Kevin Durant. Paul’s Clippers are getting blown out, but he stares at the Thunder bench after hitting a jumper anyway. Durant retorts with, “You’re down twenty now, homie. You’re down twenty now, homie.” Pretty awesome.
Tweet of the week:
Dickie V has just never quite got a complete grasp of Twitter, which makes him one of my favorite follows.
And finally, the latest SportsCenter commercial just came out a few hours ago. If you read my blog last week, you know I think it’s awesome.
Lots of people think the Halftime Sharks have jumped the… never mind. I’m here to tell you they’re still funny. THHHISS!!! is always funny.
Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.
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