Tag Archives: Colorado State Ranked

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.

Your Weekly Roundup From The Sports World And Internet

Welcome to the 83rd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where tonight might be the most unique single day on the sports calender. When the NBA tips off its regular season tonight, all four major American sports will be in full swing. That will only last until the end of the World Series tonight or tomorrow, but still, it’s a good week to be a sports fan. Let’s get into it…

Von Miller celebrates a sack by forcing out a stubborn fart. (Jack Dempsey AP Photo)

I’ll mix it up this week and start with the Broncos, who moved to 6-1 with yet another convincing victory over a good team. 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.

The Broncos have played seven games. They’ve played six teams with winning records. They’re only loss is in overtime in Seattle. Five of their six wins have come against teams that have legitimate playoff aspirations. The resume is pretty impressive.

That said, it may be wise to temper some of this enthusiasm. They’ve only played two road games, and neither has been overly impressive. (The loss in Seattle and the win over the Jets, who are not good at playing football.) The seemingly annual trip to Foxborough awaits on Sunday.

So I’m not thinking the Broncos are going to go 15-1.

But damn, they look awesome right now.

Not long ago, the Chargers were being talked about by some as the best team in the AFC. The Broncos had zero issues beating the Chargers Thursday night. Seriously, like… zero.

The emergence of Ronnie Hillman, be it from either his elevated play or a change in the game plan, makes it difficult to find any holes on the Broncos. They are a very, very complete team. Their defense has emerged as one of the best in the NFL. They shut down the run. They rush the passer. The secondary is filled with ball hawks. Chris Harris is generating some discussion as a top-five cornerback in all of football. Von Miller is one of the most impactful players in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!.

Oh, and they also have a decent offense.

So these are good times for Broncos fans.

Of course, I’m quick to remind you that looking like the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!‘s best team in October doesn’t mean a damn thing. The Broncos and their fans have nine more preseason games before we have something to get excited about.

But the ride to the playoffs sure seems like it will be pretty enjoyable.

It’s especially enjoyable when you’re watching Phillip Rivers freak the hell out like a real weirdo.

…Or watching Manning drop dimes like this. How pretty is this?

…Or watching Miller do… whatever the hell this is.

And with another big game and a whole lot of hype on the way Sunday, if you need a little help remembering why you should hate the Patriots, go ahead and read my post from January prior to the AFC Championship game.

I’m pretty over the whole Broncos/Patriots/Manning/Brady rivalry and I think it’s a little absurd that the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! schedules this game every damn year. But they do. And this year it represents an opportunity for the Broncos to effectively lock up the AFC with nine games to go. Coming out of the San Francisco/San Diego/at New England trio of games 3-0 would be one of the more impressive few weeks I can remember.

The fact that the Broncos are 3.5 point road favorites in Foxborough tells you quite a bit about where these two teams stand. I like the Broncos to win fairly comfortably.

Let’s shift gears to the other football team in Colorado that seems to have forgotten how to lose.

Hollywood with the Boot. (Via Colorado State University Facebook)

Colorado State pushed their little brothers around like a bully in the schoolyard during the Border War on Saturday night. They took Wyoming’s lunch money, stuffed them in a locker, and sent them home crying in front of their girlfriend. It was 24-3 at the half and 38-10 after three quarters. The Cowboys didn’t belong on the same field as the Rams.

The Colorado State offense is widely recognized as a potent and versatile attack. Several Rams have had breakout games that have garnered some national recognition, most notably Dee Hart and Rashard Higgins. But Saturday belonged to Garrett Grayson. He had himself a damn night.

Grayson’s performance against the Cowboys earned him the Mountain West’s offensive player of the week award. All he did was throw for 390 yards and five (!) touchdowns, completing 18 of 21 passes (!) without an interception. He started the game 13-13 with two touchdowns.  So yeah, Garrett Grayson was almost perfect on Saturday night. He has also broken several career Colorado State passing records over the past two weeks, including touchdown passes, passing yards and completions.

Two years ago, as we watched Grayson lead the Rams to a 4-8 record with decidedly average play as a sophomore, I never thought I’d write (or read) that last paragraph. His progression has been remarkable. His quarterback rating in three plus games as a true freshman was 108. His sophomore year it was 126.5. Last season it was 138.4. And this year he’s sitting at 167.8.

It’s worth mentioning that Grayson was redshirting his freshman season until Steve Fairchild pulled his redshirt and inserted him into a game when Pete Thomas hurt his knee. At the time some thought it looked like Fairchild was trying to showcase one of his recruits as a desperate attempt to save his job. That experience as a true freshman certainly helped Grayson develop into the quarterback he is today, but I can’t help but wonder what this team would look like in 2015 if Grayson was returning for another year. Burning a year of his eligibility for 3 starts as a freshman sure seems like a waste. Nothing we can do about now, I guess.

Anyway, right now Garrett Grayson is completely in control of a complex offense. He’s locked the hell in and it’s fun to watch.

Of course, part of the reason for Grayson’s development has been an increase in the talent at skill positions around him, most obviously seen in receiver Rashard Higgins, who if he stays healthy, will almost certainly hold every CSU receiving record by the time he’s done in FoCo.

Every week, I’m expecting Hollywood to come back to earth a little bit, and every week he puts up crazy numbers. On Saturday he had five catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He now leads the nation in both touchdowns and receiving yards. He is just on a different level than anyone that is trying to cover him. Against Wyoming, both of his touchdowns came when he broke open simple bubble screens, which can be seen in this highlight video. It just doesn’t look fair right now.

Time for your weekly record update! Colorado State is now 7-1 in 2014. They’ve won six in a row. They’re 11-2 in their last 13 games going back to last season. 13-3 in their last 16; 14-4 in their last 18.

Things are good for Rams fans right now.

After the Rams beat Boston College, I mentioned the possibility of Colorado State finishing the regular season 11-1. It seemed a little crazy at the time. At this point it’s starting to seem a whole lot less crazy. Four games remain. Two on the road (San Jose State on Saturday, Air Force to close the regular season on November 28th) and two at home (Hawaii and New Mexico). None of those teams are any good. The Rams will be favored in each game. That said, conference road wins do not come easy so I’m not counting any chickens that are still in the egg (or however that phase goes).

But as the season rolls on, it’s time for fans to start shifting one eye towards where the Rams will end up in the postseason. Some attention has been given to CSU perhaps playing in a New Year’s Bowl against a traditional power. This remains a possibility, but I have to play Captain Bringdown for moment.

The highest ranked team from a non-power conference receives an automatic bid to either the Fiesta Bowl or the Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl. This would be huge for the Rams. However, the way I look at it, for CSU to receive this spot: 1) The Rams would have to finish the regular season 11-1. 2) Marshall would have to lose. 3) East Carolina would have to lose. (Those are the two non-power conference teams currently ranked). 4) The Rams would have to win the Mountain West championship game, which means 5) Boise State, who has the tiebreaker over the Rams in the Mountain Division, would have to lose a regular season game. So a whole bunch of moving parts would have to shift in the Rams’ favor. Got all that?

Honestly because Boise State has the edge on CSU in conference, and because of the Mountain West’s bowl affiliations, the Rams could finish 11-1 and head back to Albuquerque to play in the New Mexico Bowl (again) vs. some middle-of-the-road C-USA team. That, my friends, would be a bit of a letdown.

But I’m getting ahead of myself I suppose. Let’s just hope the wins keep coming and worry about the rest later.

Off to the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

I generally do not root for CU football. But as I watched the Buffs mount a comeback vs. #25 UCLA on Saturday afternoon, I came to an interesting realization.

Now, for the record, I won’t admit to rooting for the Colorado Buffaloes to win a football game. But perhaps I had a thought or two that a victory in Boulder wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Being ranked is a big deal to me for some reason. It carries prestige. It’s gets people talking about a program. It puts the score of your team’s game on the default scoreboard page on ESPN.com. I mean, come on! What more does a guy want in life?!

Sure enough, on Sunday the national rankings were released and the Rams were the first team on the outside of the rankings. If you extend the rankings based on votes received, CSU is #26. The last team in the rankings? UCLA, who remained at #25. All CU had to do was upset UCLA in overtime and Colorado State would be ranked for the first time in more than a decade. Jerks.

In the big picture, this isn’t a huge deal. If CSU beats a pretty bad San Jose State team this weekend, they should sneak into both national polls.

Stud of the week/Tweets of the week:

What Madison Bumgarner has done this postseason has been incredible.

You get the idea.

I don’t really care about Bumgarner one way or the other and I definitely dislike the Giants and their fans, but glimpses of true greatness are rare. I hope y’all recognize what we’ve been watching from Bumgarner.

Vines of the week:

Football players are stubborn.

This dude lowers his shoulder and everything.

This PR guy from last night is a little too hard core:

Honestly, this looks like a lot of fun.

That last one also produced our…

Photo of the Week:

Photo courtesy, Matt Eisenberg

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, the Nuggets begin their 2014 season tomorrow night. Your favorite blog is here with some hard-hitting analysis.

I’m with Wilson Chandler on this one.

But I do think the Nuggets have the chance to be a decent team. They have to stay healthy. They couldn’t do that last year and their season fell apart. Brian Shaw seems to be a good fit and I’m interested to see what he’ll be able to do with a year in Denver under his belt.

But they have to stay healthy. That’s really all the analysis you need.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. Enjoy game six tonight and hopefully game seven tomorrow. 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.