Tag Archives: CSU Rams

Colorado State Was Snubbed Because It’s Not A Big Enough Brand

Welcome to the 101st edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am NOT TAKING THINGS WELL. Let’s get into it… (I suppose I should warn you about a little uncharacteristically coarse language in this one.)

The selection committee snubbed CSU out of an at-large bid, leaving fans, and Larry Eustachy, perplexed. (Rich Abrahamson, Coloradoan)

Almost exactly two years ago, I published my first edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, titled “Did Colorado State Deserve A Better Seed And A Better Matchup?”. A couple days prior to that posting, the NCAA Tournament selection committee screwed Colorado State badly with an 8-seed that forced them to play the number one overall seed in the second round in what amounted to a true road game. It was pretty clear CSU deserved much better. Two years later, the committee completely, thoroughly outdid itself.

Over the course of this college basketball season the Colorado State Rams did more than enough to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. They didn’t get one on Selection Sunday because the selection committee is able to simply alter the criteria required for an at-large bid if the outcome favors a popular brand name at the expense of a team that’s lesser known nationally.

Make no mistake, that’s all this was. It’s extremely simple, really. The committee favored brand names. Sure, it’s about the conference affiliation. Sure, it’s about how well a team’s fan base will travel. Sure, it’s about the tradition of a program. But all of that contributes to a brand name. And this year, the selection committee based their “bubble” selections entirely– ENTIRELY– on brand names.

And that is fucking bullshit.

The NCAA Tournament is the center of the sports world when it comes Cinderella stories (THE SLIPPER STILL FITS!) and David taking down Goliath. The success of schools few casual basketball fans are familiar with is what provides much of the March Madness hype every year. But those romantic themes and story lines lose a lot of luster when the “little guy” can’t even get into the damn tournament. How is the scrawny nerd supposed to hook up with hot chick if the bouncers don’t let him into the bar?

The thing is, CSU basketball isn’t really that little of a guy. The Mountain West is an upper-level mid-major. This isn’t Murray State from the Ohio Valley pleading in vain for an at-large bid. CSU was in line to earn their third at-large bid in four years. They have a well-respected head coach who has been around forever. They are firmly on the college basketball map.

But Colorado State is not a BRAND. Indiana is a brand. Ole Miss is a brand. Georgia is a brand. Texas is a brand. UCLA– ohhh fucking UCLA— is a brand.

The NCAA makes a seed list that ranks every team in the tournament from 1-68. The bottom of the at-large field looks like this:

  • 37. Indiana
  • 38. Davidson
  • 39. Ohio State
  • 40. Georgia
  • 41. Texas (!)
  • 42. UCLA (!)
  • 43. Ole Miss
  • 44. BYU
  • 45. Boise State
  • 46. Dayton
  • Dayton was the last at-large team selected. The committee has made it clear the first team out was Temple, followed, presumably, by Colorado State. So had the list been extended before adding automatic qualifiers, it would have looked like this:
  • 47. Temple
  • 48. Colorado State

This is utterly absurd on so many levels. Dayton should have been comfortably in the field and far from the last team in. How in the hell is Indiana ahead of Ohio State?! You could make the argument that Georgia, a team with ZERO top-50 wins and two sub-100 losses, should have been on the outside looking in, yet there they are with SIX teams behind them in the seed list. How does Boise State get sent to a play-in game against Dayton, IN DAYTON?! Texas doesn’t deserve a spot at all, and they have FIVE teams behind them. And then, of course, you have UCLA who wasn’t even on ANYBODY’S radar, and they’re chilling at 42 without a care in the world.

The biggest retort to all of this discussion will be Whatever, man. CSU should have played a tougher nonconference schedule. Well, let’s take a look at this argument.

CSU’s nonconference strength of schedule is ranked 83rd in the country. Texas? 85. Georgia? 92. Indiana? 109. Ole Miss? 95.

But these teams are all in good conferences, so they don’t have to load up in the nonconference schedule right? Well, kinda. All of these schools’ overall strength of schedule was launched significantly ahead of CSU once everybody played a full slate of conference games. So they all definitely deserve credit for playing in a tougher conference, especially when the Mountain West was down a little bit this year. But how much credit does each team really deserve for their conference play? Texas finished 8-10 in the Big 12. Georgia and Ole Miss both finished 11-7 in the weak-ass SEC. Indiana finished 9-9 in the Big 10.

Indeed, the argument for the tournament’s inclusion of the Texas brand is they played a very tough schedule. They played 15 games vs. top-50 opponents. FIFTEEN! That’s a lot! But Texas went just 3-12 vs. the top-50. My math tells me that’s not a very good track record against good teams. Why are we so devoted to rewarding teams for losing to superior opponents? This is such a flawed logic. Put those 12 top-50 games that Texas lost on CSU’s schedule and I guarantee you– GUARANTEE!– that CSU can go at least 0-12 like the Longhorns did.

Then there’s UCLA. Again, this team brand wasn’t on anybody’s radar as a potential tournament team brand. They weren’t even on the bubble. Then they got in, somehow.

When comparing UCLA’s body of work with CSU’s, it’s clear that the two resumes are not even close. CSU has seven more wins, CSU’s RPI is 19 spots higher, UCLA has two more sub-100 losses. And as this tweet points out, Colorado State lost to one non-tournament team all year. UCLA lost to FIVE different teams that didn’t make the field. And again, UCLA didn’t just make the field, they made the field COMFORTABLY!

Take this moronic tweet from ESPN’s Jay Williams, one of the few national voices dumb enough to support Colorado State’s snub:

Okay, Jay. But CSU also went 10-4 vs. the top-150, while UCLA went 11-13. One of those records is better than the other, you dipshit.

Oh, and CSU’s 16 wins vs. sub-150 teams is really bad, right? Well nine of UCLA’s whopping 20 wins came against sub-150 teams.

By the time the conference tournaments come and go, every team on or near the bubble has plenty of warts and misgivings attached to their resume. The traditional line of thinking says that if you don’t get in, you only have yourself to blame. You can argue about seeding, but if you don’t even make the field, that’s on you. This is especially true in the 68-team era of today. With Colorado State, bracketology-expert-guy Patrick Stevens disagrees:

So yeah, we’re talking about an all-time snub here.

Of course, the committee has to come up with something to justify keeping the CSU brand (or lack thereof) out of the tournament. It sounds like it found the one weak spot associated with this year’s CSU team and keyed in on that. The Rams’ weak spot is… the Kenpom rankings. Kenpom is an advanced ranking system using, among other things, adjusted efficiency statistics. CSU’s Kenpom ranking this year didn’t line up with the rest of their resume. They ranked 68th.

Here’s the chairman of the committee, Scott Barnes, as quoted in the Coloradoan: “When you think about Colorado State, their RPI was fairly strong but the other metrics that we use weren’t nearly as high in terms of ranking.” He’s obviously referring to Kenpom, or Sagarin (CSU ranks 57th) or BPI (also 57th).

But this leaves Colorado State fans (and coaches and players) screaming something along the lines of: SINCE WHEN HAS THAT SHIT MATTERED?!

For years, coaches at mid-major programs have been told to get their RPI up. We’ve all been told the RPI is a crucial tool for the selection committee, even if we’ve known the formula is antiquated and not a solid way of ranking the best teams in the country. So what does the committee do when a mid-major like CSU combines clever scheduling and a lot of wins to produce an excellent RPI that essentially guarantees tournament entry?

It decides that, in this case, the RPI is no longer important.

Yeah, now– NOW– it’s time to move on from the RPI and use more complex ranking systems. That pretty fucking coincidental timing, if  you ask me.

Colorado State was projected by every single bracket-projector-person to be in the field for a reason. Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi and Patrick Stevens aren’t picking their favorite teams or the teams they think are deserving. They are projecting what the committee will do. The committee has a set of guidelines to use. They have historical tendencies from previous tournaments. And every single person that studies and projects brackets for a living deduced that said tendencies and guidelines meant CSU was in. What all the bracket experts and analysts failed to consider was that the committee can ignore their guidelines and tendencies whenever they want if it serves a bigger and better brand name.

And for the love of all that is holy, WOULD YOU ASSCLOWNS JUST ADMIT THAT CONFERENCE AFFILIATION DOES MATTER?  You were never going to take four teams from the Mountain West; it would be great if you could just acknowledge that.

I’m also tired of hearing people play the “what-if” game. CSU let one slip at Boise in January. CSU shouldn’t have lost at home to Wyoming. CSU should have played JJ Avila against San Diego State. If a school like CSU wants in, they need to win their conference tournament.

This is all bullshit. CSU didn’t need to do any of those things. They did enough. They were in.

That’s the bottom line for me:   CSU did enough to get into the tournament. They did more than enough. And the committee found a way to keep them out. Whether that was a sudden, newfound emphasis with very peculiar timing on advanced metrics like Kenpom or a focus on conference RPI and keeping the number of Mountian West teams to a minimum, they simply found a way to keep them out. And they did it because they wanted bigger, better brand names in the tournament.

If you believe for one damn second that if the roles were reversed and UCLA or Texas was considered by all the bracketology experts and analysts to be comfortably in the field the way CSU was, and if CSU was considered a longshot bubble team like UCLA or Texas were… If you believe for one damn second that the committee would have balls to shock everyone and put CSU ahead of those brands, you are absolutely insane.

And it’s pretty depressing to think about those details. When you consider that CSU isn’t in a fair fight and there is nothing that they or their fans can do about it except start cussing in blogs, it makes you question the the whole operation.

What’s the point? Why should I invest so much into such a rigged system?

The NCAA Tournament, The Big Dance, and March Madness are my three favorite sporting events of the year, every year. The only thing that comes close, for me, is the MLB Postseason. But even the best Octobers can’t hold a candle to the ceaseless fun, intensity, and overall craziness the first four days of March Madness brings.

But on Sunday we learned, in no uncertain terms, that March Madness is more fun, intense, and crazy if you have a brand name attached to that resume. Then you might actually get to participate.

Off to the weekly departments (which are admittedly a little rushed this week)…

NBA Tank Watch 2015!

The Nuggets continue to absolutely screw everything up in the worst way by winning games. They’ve fallen to the 8th spot in the Tankandings.

  1. New York, .197
  2. Minnesota, .212
  3. Philadelphia, ..224
  4. L.A. Lakers, .262
  5. Orlando, ..309
  6. Sacramento, ..338
  7. Detroit, .348
  8. Denver, .382

Idiots.

Douche(s) of the week:

Umm… See above.

Studs of the week:

Nice moment at a Nuggets game here. These do not get old.

Vine(s) of the week:

My favorite of the year! Glorious.

The only thing better is the super slow motion version here.

This one is also pretty glorius. Just a bit short, my man.

Photo of the week:

This isn’t exactly an amazing piece of sports photography, but it’s still my favorite photo of the week. The perils of having a live mascot.

A couple other things worth sharing:

The best game of the weekend might have been Albany’s win over Stony Brook. Here’s the game-winner and ensuing court storm.

More conference tournament fun! Oregon’s game-winner over Utah.

And this play here took some ONIONS!

(Hey look! Texas lost to a good team!)

And here’s something to distract the CSU basketball fans. Another episode of “The Grind.” Still really well done.

And finally, Deadspin brought this video to my attention. After the way my week went, it’s very necessary viewing.

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.

March Is Coming; What You Need To Know About Colorado State Basketball

Welcome to the 98th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the dog days of winter are slowly dragging on. Does winter have dog days? Is that a thing? Whatever. Let’s get into it…

J.J. Avila has been Colorado State’s most consistent player all year long. (Erin Hull, Coloradoan)

It’s late February, which means not much is going on in the sports world. And while we may be stuck in one of the slower times on the sports calendar, it’s also the best time to jump in on the national college basketball scene. While there is nothing better than March Madness, college basketball at the end of February is pretty damn good too. We are in the middle of crunch time. The nation’s top teams are fighting for NCAA Tournament seeding and conference championships. Bubble teams are fighting just to be included in the Big Dance.

In Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, only one team has a shot to receive an at-large bid to the tourney. And that team is the Colorado State Rams, who should be going dancing for the third time in four years. So let’s break down what you need to know about CSU with Selection Sunday just 19 days away.

The Rams began their season with the best start in program history. After finishing their non conference slate undefeated, they won their first Mountain West game to make them 14-0. They’re currently 23-5 (10-5 in the Mountain West) with three games remaining on the regular season schedule. The last few games are all winnable. After hosting San Jose State (terrible) tomorrow night, the Rams travel to Nevada (bad) and Utah State (decent). The Utah State game will be tough (it’s Stew Morrill’s last game before retirement), but a 26-5 record is within reach. That would be the most wins in program history and make CSU all but a lock for the tournament. Indeed, Larry Eustachy is getting the most out of his talent… again.

Colorado State’s roster is full of transfers, led by two seniors in Daniel Bejerano and J.J. Avila. Bejerano is a 6’5″ guard who transferred from Arizona after his freshman year four years ago, making him the last connection the Rams have to the Tim Miles era. He’s about as athletic a shooting guard as you’ll see in the Mountain West and one of the better rebounding guards in recent memory. Bejerano is probably the most talented player on the Rams, but is too often an inconsistent shooter. Eustachy is cool with that and gives Bejerano an eternal green light from behind the arc. (Bejerano has the most three point attempts on the team and is shooting a decent 37.6 percent from deep.)

Daniel Bejerano’s sometimes streaky play is key as the Rams head to the postseason. Erin Hull, Coloradoan

The way I see it, Bejerano will be the key to success for the Rams in the Mountain West tournament and the Big Dance. When he is making his threes and controlling the offense, CSU becomes very difficult to beat and can look dominant. When he’s not– as has often been the case in conference road games– the Rams’ offense can completely stall and be painful to watch.

Avila is a burly 6’8″ 250 pound forward who looks a little bit like Mr. Incredible. Avila transferred from the Naval Academy after his sophomore year. Though Bejerano is more athletically gifted, Avila has been the Rams’ best player this year. When Avila gets the ball in the low block, it’s fun as hell to watch him go to work. He utilizes crafty footwork, angles, pump fakes, spins and a three-inch vertical leap to make weird-ass shots on a regular basis. Avila does it all. His averages on the year (rounded): 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, while shooting 55 percent from the floor. His consistent play all season is the biggest reason the Rams are 23-5.

The Rams lead the Mountain West in scoring at  73 points per game, which is a bunch in the current college basketball environment. Looking at KenPom’s* advanced statistics, the Rams have one of the nation’s better offenses (46th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency) paired with a below average defense (147th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency). They play at an above average pace (51st in Adjusted Tempo), which makes for more pleasant viewing than a lot of good team’s in today’s college basketball world.

*I think the top-heavy Mountain West and general awfulness of the lower-tier teams has jerked with kenpom’s numbers a bit this season. His formula has the Rams ranked 68th overall, quite a bit lower than several other metrics.

Most bracket predictions have CSU somewhere around a 10-seed right now. But of course, those predictions are fluent and change on a regular basis. So how will the rest of this season play out for Colorado State? Probably better than this worst case scenario, and worse than this best case scenario.

Worst Case (Realistic) Scenario: The Rams beat San Jose State comfortably tomorrow night because San Jose State is one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen, but stumble and lose in Reno to a bad Nevada team. They follow that up with a loss at Utah State and finish the year 24-7 and in fifth place in the Mountain West. They win one game in the Mountain West tournament but lose in the second round. Selection Sunday comes and goes without the Rams’ name being called. The excitement and promise from earlier in the year turns out to be completely for naught. The Rams are a fairly high seed in the N.I.T., but nobody cares.

Best Case (Realistic) Scenario:  The Rams win their final three regular season games to finish 26-5. With some help from Boise State and Wyoming they finish second in the Mountain West standings. Behind another impressive three-point shooting performance, they beat San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament championship, moving them to 29-5. On Selection Sunday they learn the committee has rewarded them with a 6-seed. In the Big Dance they beat an 11-seed (think Purdue or UCLA) and then upset a 3-seed (think North Carolina or Utah in Las Vegas Bowl revenge) to reach the Sweet 16 and move them to 31-5. The magic comes to an end during the tournament’s second weekend when the Rams finally go down to a more athletic and more talented 2-seed.

I don’t know what the future holds for the Rams, but I do know the college basketball bandwagon has plenty of room and it’s officially time for you to jump on. Around these parts, the team in Fort Collins is reason enough to hop on board.

Off to the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

NBC

“Parks and Recreation”, one of the great comedies of all time, comes to an end tonight after seven seasons. “Parks and Rec” never really caught on for mainstream audiences like “The Office” did, but is probably a better show in its totality. Some people think the reason “Parks and Rec” never blew up is the first season wasn’t as good as the next six. I think the show was simply too different (smart) to appeal to broad (dumb) audiences like “Two and Half Men” or “The Big Bang Theory”, but not raunchy or obscure enough to find a niche like “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”

I’ve never seen another show that could be so sweet, genuine, warm, fuzzy, cute, and sincere at the same time as being uproariously funny, bizarre, quick, smart, absurd, and hilarious. Here’s my guy Alan Sepinwall:

In the end, it is one of the best comedies TV has ever seen, and one that stands out from so much of the great shows of this new Golden Age of Television because its default emotion was joy when so many of this era’s great shows are defined by darkness, and its default philosophy was one of optimism at a time when even the best comedies today tend towards ironic detachment.

He goes on…

So let me put it this way: there is a stretch of 42 episodes spanning seasons 2, 3 and 4 without a bad one among them. Every sitcom, even the best, churns out a misfire now and then; for two-odd years, every “Parks” episode was at a minimum very good, and at a maximum a classic of the form, mixing slapstick, social satire and simple character-based comedy.

The show’s cast was unbelievably deep for a broadcast network comedy. Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, and Aubrey Plaza are all much bigger stars than they were six years ago (with the exception of Lowe, probably). And all Offerman did was create one of the greatest TV characters of all-time in Ron Swanson:

Anyway I’ll stop talking about TV now, but I look forward to the finale tonight. I’ve never been so confident in a show to stick the landing.

(If you haven’t watched, the first six seasons are on Netflix.)

Douche(s) of the week:

Boyhood didn’t win Best Picture. What the hell, people? Smdh.

Vine(s) of the week:

There were some crazy dunks in the basketball world this week. We’ll start this section by continuing the CSU basketball theme. Here is former Ram Jon Octeus, who was with CSU for the last couple years before trying to transfer to UCLA, not getting in, and landing at Purdue.

I never saw that from J.O. in a Rams’ uniform. On a side note, CSU is without a reliable true point guard. They could have really used Octeus’ long, active defense this year.

The other college dunk of the week came from Jarell Martin of LSU, who went between the legs IN A GAME! IN COLLEGE!

I’ve seen some crazy-ass dunks from JR Smith from his time in Denver, but this one might have dropped my jaw more than any other.

This doesn’t have its own section, but here’s a video of a 92-year-old man driving around a Piggly Wiggly parking lot in Wisconsin. It’s pretty funny if you know that no one was hurt and you can avoid getting into a debate about the elderly’s right to drive and society’s role in accommodating the elderly and confronting your own fear of one day growing old.

The driver was not cited.

Here’s a disgustingly terrifying video of a land octopus, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t a real thing until a few days ago.

And finally, check out this ending to a middle school basketball game. (White team is up by one.)

A jump ball as time expires results in the end of the game. Just when you thought you’ve seen it  all…

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week (for the 99th Tuesday in a row).

***

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.

Colorado State Should Quit Playing Colorado Anyway

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…

The Rocky Mountain Showdown might only have a few games left in its storied history. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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.

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.

Currently, ESPN has them as an 10-seed. CBS has them as a 9.

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.

His reporting on accounts during Hurricane Katrina have also been called into question. What a douche. At least it provided some fun for the internet masses with stuff like this:

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.

Gawker

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.

Reaction to Colorado State’s Hiring of Mike Bobo (And the Las Vegas Bowl)

Welcome to– and a very merry Christmas from– the 90th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the Christmas spirit flows as freely as the adult beverages. Let’s get into it… .

Mike Bobo is the new head coach of the Colorado State Rams. (Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports)

Colorado State on Monday night announced the hiring of a new head football coach to replace Jim McElwain. Mike Bobo is the new man leading the Rams in Fort Collins.

Two weeks ago, I made my case for Dave Baldwin to be promoted as the Rams’ head coach. In that post, I also mentioned that if the hiring committee can recruit an up-and-coming coordinator like Scott Frost that would certainly be looking into. I didn’t mention Mike Bobo, but he fits that mold.

This appears to be a very solid hire from Tony Frank and his search firm. Bobo’s biography on the UGA athletics website can be found here, but here are a couple highlights:

“He’s directed an offense that has led Georgia to two consecutive record-setting seasons on offense: Total Yards in a Season (6,547 in 2012 and 6,294 in 2013); Average Yards Per Game (484.2 in `13 and 467.64 in `12); and Most TD’s in a Season (72 in 2012 and 58 in `13).”

“Bobo has coached several star QB’s at UGA including Aaron Murray (2010-13) who set 27 Georgia records, four SEC marks and finished with 13,562 yards of total offense, 13,166 yards passing, 121 touchdown passes and 921 completions. He became the first player in SEC history to have at least 3,000 yards passing in four consecutive seasons. Bobo has also coached Matthew Stafford, the first pick of the 2009 NFL draft (Lions), and the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division 1-A history at the time–David Greene–who won 42 games as a starter and set the Bulldog and SEC records for Career Passing Yards (11,528).”

You get the idea. Essentially, he played quarterback at Georgia and has been there (almost) his entire coaching career. He started as the quarterbacks coach in 2001 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007. In that position he’s coached prolific, record-breaking, offenses and NFL superstars.

Naturally, this hire is very, very reminiscent to the Rams’ previous move. Three years ago they hired an SEC offensive coordinator to his first head coaching job. That move worked out pretty well so, yeah, it makes sense to go the same route.

Of course, we all saw the drawback to hiring an up-and-comer to his first job just a few weeks ago, when McElwain moved on to a larger, more prolific program after a few successful years. I’m sure in the coming months and years Bobo will have plenty to say about feeling at home and wanting to build CSU for many years to come, but trust me– TRUST ME– he is looking at this job as a stepping-stone. Just like McElwain did. This is, perhaps, a little cynical, but it’s also realistic. These days, coaches either fail and are fired, or they are successful and move on. There is very little middle ground, especially at a place like CSU.

If Bobo is coaching CSU in five years, I’ll be pretty surprised. Unless Bobo really, really continues to elevate the program into the national championship discussion or the the shifting nature of college athletics results in Colorado State somehow entering a Power 5 conference, Bobo will be drawn to more prestige and more money. That’s just the nature of college athletics.

And that’s okay.

Right now, all CSU needs to do is keep winning games, scheduling aggressively, and elevating the program. The rest will take care of itself.

I’m glad CSU stayed away from the NFL. I’m glad they weren’t drawn to candidates simply because of CSU ties. It’s clear they were looking for the best possible candidate for the position, regardless of their background and without long term concerns about staying with the program for many years to come. That’s the best approach.

We’re on Day One of the Mike Bobo era, but I think the Rams have a head coach that can keep things pointed in the right direction and win a lot more games than he loses.

And that’s really all there is to it.

The announcement and subsequent press conference signaled the end of a very tumultuous few weeks in the Colorado State football world. Check out this crazy timeline:

  • November 28th: The Rams still have hopes of going to the Fiesta Bowl heading into their last regular season game against Air Force in Colorado Springs. They lose a heart-breaker on a last-second field goal.
  • November 29th: Boise State blows out Utah State and wins the Mountain Division, meaning the Rams’ loss to Air Force actually didn’t mean much.
  • December 2nd: Quarterback Garett Grayson is named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. Coach Jim McElwain is named Mountain West Coach of the Year.
  • (Later on) December 2nd: News breaks that Florida is flying to Fort Collins to (very publicly) recruit Jim McElwain as their new head coach. There are media tracking private planes and waiting at airports and staking out McElwain’s house. It is weird. No actual news is ever released.
  • December 4th: Two days of public speculations and various media reports and private negotiations about buyouts and contracts come to an end when Florida introduces McElwain as their new head coach, leaving the CSU football community pretty damn crushed.
  • December 5th: One day after the huge news regarding McElwain becomes official, the CSU Board of Governors makes much bigger news when it officially approves an on-campus stadium. Again, this news is bigger than any coaching decision.
  • December 7th: The Rams learn their bowl game fate:  A December 20th matchup vs. Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl.
  • December 20th: After a couple of quiet weeks, the Rams finally play in the Las Vegas Bowl vs. Utah with interim head coach Dave Baldwin at the helm. It does not go well. At all. The Rams are blown out 45-10. (More on that later.)
  • December 22nd: News breaks that Colorado State will hire Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo as their new head coach.
  • December 23rd: (that’s today!): Mike Bobo is officially introduced as CSU’s new head coach and speaks extensively during a 45-minute press conference.

Pass the Pepto Bismal, that’s a lot to digest in a short amount of time.

So about that Las Vegas Bowl…

Garrett Grayson’s days as a CSU quarterback are done after a disappointing finish in the Las Vegas Bowl. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

I don’t really know where to start on this one. The Rams were out-talented, out-coached, out-efforted, out-focused. Out-everythinged. 45-10. Season over.

Last week, I said it would be interesting to see how focused and cohesive CSU would be in this game after the difficult few weeks that led up to it. As the second half of the season’s last game slowly dragged on, it became clear that the Rams’ coach bailing on them definitely made an impact.

Jim McElwain’s departure may sound like a built-in excuse to throw out there after getting your ass kicked, but is there any doubt in your mind the Rams would have had a better showing if none of the McElwain stuff ever happens? There’s not in mine.

It was a very disappointing end for an important class of seniors who deserved a better send-off. But it’s important to remember that this was still a special year. And on the whole, the season accomplished what it needed to.

The program moved forward, and along the way gained national rankings and notoriety and prestige that hasn’t been associated with the Colorado State Rams in a long time.

The Las Vegas Bowl was pretty much a disaster, but the 2014 season was a huge success.

And a few short words about Jim McElwain being interviewed by Musberger and Palmer during the game…

Initially, I was pretty jolted by how odd the concept of that is. Like, Wait, did they just say they’re going to speak with Jim McElwain after the break? That can’t be right.

And yes, it is a pretty damn strange concept, but overall the interview didn’t harbor any ill-will from my point of view. He’s talking in coach-speak… You can tell he cares about his former players…

But then Musburger asked him about Florida. That’s when it got disappointing and… gross. Here’s a coach in full PR-mode, on national television selling the Florida program while the players and assistants he just ditched are playing (and losing) in the most important game for the program in many years.

It kind of reminded me of the Rockies vs. Red Sox World Series in 2007 when Alex Rodriguez announced his new contract in the middle of Game Four as a blatant attempt to draw attention to himself and take away from, you know, THE FREAKING WORLD SERIES.

If McElwain really wanted to be interviewed as some sort of tribute to his former players, it probably wouldn’t have been difficult to make NO FLORIDA QUESTIONS a condition of the interview. Or when asked about Florida, he could have said something along the lines of I’m excited about my new opportunity but right now let’s keep the focus on these guys at CSU. I’m just so proud of all we’ve accomplished.

Instead, McElwain got one last little boost out of the CSU program for his personal career while taking away from his players.

So, I don’t know… it’s not like I HATE JIM MCELWAIN now. But, bro, that wasn’t very cool.

And with that, it’s time to turn the page…

And talk about this CSU men’s basketball team. They finally entered the national rankings this week and have a chance to make it through their noncoference schedule undefeated with a win at New Mexico State on Saturday. (That game is far from a gimmie.)

They moved to 12-0 on Monday night with a win over Charleston Southern, which included this sweet little dish from Bejerano to Kidd…

Okay, I definitely wanted to talk more about CSU basketball, but for about the third week in a row, don’t have the time. (Please reference the above timeline for reasoning.)

Hey let’s hit the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

Last year around this time, I said, “There are no douches on Christmas.” But…

I’m wondering if disgusting sucker punches are a violation of the infamous BYU Honor Code. Full video of the amazing brawl is here.

In Number 12’s defense, he did take a nasty helmet-to-eye-socket headbutt prior to his sucker punch, which explains the ping pong ball you can see wedged below his left eye and the bloody face. That was delivered by 36 on Memphis, though. And he tried to lay out  #40. I guess you’re not overly concerned with identifying the correct party after catching the crown of a helmet with your cheek.

The biggest bummer about this brawl is it’s all anyone will remember about what will probably be the best game of the bowl season. A 55-48 double overtime Memphis win. Absolute thriller.

Tweet(s) of the week:

My favorite part of Sunday’s NFL action was Kenny Albert’s sweater. Look closely. At the carrots. And the frown.

A broadcaster wore that thing on national television!

Apparently, the Kansas City police department had something called a KC Tweetalong (or #kctweetalong) where they just told the world what was going on over the course of their day. This little compilation of tweets (start at the bottom) is pretty amazing.

When I read “him/her” I just about died. What a strange world we live in.

And this letter to the editor is an all-timer.

Vine of the week:

Rocky v. Howard:

Pretty corny, but kinda funny. Rocky’s flopping is already on the NBA level. Mascots are not my deal, but Rocky has always been better than most. (Except for that one time when he passed out and it looked like he was being hanged.)

Some other stuff from around the internets:

I guess I don’t have much time to discuss the Broncos’ loss on Monday. But here is the coolest and most amazing moment:

Katie Nolan, one of my favorite sports internet people, had me cracking up with this one:

Hey you people like dogs and stuff! Look at this weirdo:

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, if you haven’t seen this Apple commercial yet, watch it now. Pretty moving stuff.

Happy holidays, indeed.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I really appreciate those of you who check in on these posts each week. I hope they entertain you on Tuesday nights or kill some time at work on Wednesdays. Hopefully you have some time off from work this holiday season and can spend it enjoying the presence of your families and close friends. Take in the food, the drink, the music, the lights, and the magic of the Christmas season with people who are important to you.

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.

Colorado State Goes Down, Finishes Regular Season 10-2

Welcome to the 87th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the holiday weekend is responsible for a shortened post. I consumed irresponsibly high levels of food and drink over the course of the last week, which among other things, has led to a very long Monday. (I generally put these things together on Monday nights.) Let’s get into it…

(Andy Cross, Denver Post)

The Colorado State Rams were upset by the Air Force Falcons on Friday afternoon. Last second field goal. 27-24. 10-2. No Mountain West Championship for what might be the best CSU team in 20 years.

The following night Boise State trounced Utah State, which meant the Rams’ loss didn’t actually mean much. Even if CSU had won, they would have remained unable to play for the Mountain West Championship or an “Access Bowl”. A the time, though… At the time, this one was devastating.

The most dedicated of sports fans can be a peculiar group. Oftentimes we devote time, money, energy and passion to a cause that regularly leaves us disappointed, angry, or hurt. Why? Why do we put ourselves through all of that?

We do all that stuff with the hope that sometime, one unexpected season somewhere in the future, it will all be worth it. It just takes one. One year when some strange combination of talent, good fortune, and magic all comes together. For three months in 2014, CSU fans thought this year was that year.

A conference championship? The FREAKING FIESTA BOWL? For CSU? In 2014?

Nope. Nope. Nope. And, nope.

It is, however, important to remember that a loss in the regular season finale does not diminish what Colorado State accomplished this season. It’s natural to find disappointment when lamenting what could have been, but don’t let that get twisted with what already was.

To an extent, this was that special season Rams fans have been waiting for.

Colorado State just finished the regular season 10-2. Think about that. Seriously, stop, reread that sentence, and think about that. In 2011 CSU went 3-9. In 2010 CSU went 3-9. In 2009 CSU went 3-9. They finished a 9-27 stretch just three years ago.

They just went 10-2 with the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and the Mountain West Coach of the Year.

This was a special, special year for the Colorado State Rams and their most loyal fans who have endured too many long seasons.

And we still have one more game to enjoy. Probably December 20th in Las Vegas. Possibly against Stanford.

Slight subject change… I wrote a little bit about the chances of Jim McElwain accepting the head coaching job at Florida two weeks ago. Sunday night, Pat Forde and Yahoo! Sports reported McElwain as “A leading candidate”, which generated a lot of buzz.

There wasn’t a whole lot of meat in the report. We all had a pretty strong hunch that they would be interested in McElwain. Now according to Yahoo’s sources, we know they are. That doesn’t necessarily address his $7.5 million buyout or the fact that McElwain may simply not want that job (I mentioned why in that post from two weeks back).

Terry Frei at the Post has been on top of all this talk and he’s been railing pretty hard on the media reports that don’t seem to care about such a huge buyout.

Bottom line for me: (I wrote something in this space last night, changed it this morning, and deleted it just now. Things are hitting the fan at a rapid rate today. Moving too fast for me… But it’s starting to look like the Rams might need a new head coach soon.)

If you’re still upset about the way the weekend (and now early week) turned out, this Fox Sports Live piece on CSU Ram Zack Golditch’s amazing story of survival will quickly put things in perspective:

Amazing, indeed.

In regards to the Broncos

I’ve been saying all along* that Virgil Green and Paul Cornick are the keys to this whole season. Been screaming it from the rooftops! WHY DID YOU ALL IGNORE ME?!

*No I haven’t.

Just a couple weeks ago the Broncos looked like a team that might not even make the playoffs. Now they look like they have a chance to beat New England in Foxburough. It’s a good thing nobody ever overreacts when talking about the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!.

But that really was an impressive win on Sunday night. If the Broncos could have had much success in the red zone (Julius Thomas, anyone?) that would have been an absolute blowout.

They even ran a fake punt! That is not a common occurrence!

The game’s most interesting moment had to be Travis Kelce throwing out the ol’ I-disagree-with-you-wanking-motion on national television:

A bunch of other stuff from around the internets:

The best thing from Sunday was undoubtedly Tom Brady being taken for a walk by his handler. This way, Tommy! Come on, boy! Gooooood boooyyyy!

The Cauldron / CJ Zero

This series of blocks from Mike Evans is pretty amazing:

Quick breakdown: Evans pushes Newman off balance. Newman responds with an ill-advised angry little jump like he was trying to get up in Evans’ face. That made the “body slam” part pretty easy. Great Vine.

Remember Kyle Orton? Here he is just casually throwing in a mid-game dip on the sidelines.

Not surprising, still creepy. Alabama people are weird.

I’ve watched this Vine more than I’d like to admit.

HAHAHA That ball hits that guy in the head HAHAHA!

And finally,

I’m going to bed.

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.

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.

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 Football Weekend Roundup

Welcome to the 76th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where FOOTBALL. Let’s get into it…

Description of . Julius Thomas (80) of the Denver Broncos runs in the second touchdown of the game during the second quarter.  The Denver Broncos played the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo. on September 7, 2014. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

It’s hard to envision a game in which Julius Thomas doesn’t dominate. (Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

The first weekend of the year to offer a full slate of both college football and the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! did not disappoint. Let’s start with some fairly quick thoughts on the local squads:

The Denver Broncos are 1-0, which is the best record they can have at this point in the season, so that’s good. Naturally, many Broncos fans and media-types are concerned because the Broncos were not dominant enough in the second half of their opener vs. the Colts on Sunday night. Complaining after beating good teams will always seem strange to me.

Is the second-half near comeback by the Colts reason for concern? Yeah, probably a little. Obviously we all would have liked to see both the offense and defense play a more complete game. Last year throughout the season I was Mr. Everything-Is-Fine when discussing the Broncos. Then they played in the Super Bowl. So yes, this year we would all like to see a little (or a lot) more “nasty” from this team.

And there sure wasn’t much of that in the second half on Sunday night.

But at this point, I’m still not one to worry. Just like last year, the Broncos are playing a 16 week preseason. On Sunday night they probably didn’t play well enough to win in January or February, but those important games are a very long way away. Lots of things can change over the course of the next four months. Right now, piling up the ‘dubyas is all that matters.

So I’m not going to fret this one. Even with that lackluster finish, it’s clear who the best team in the AFC is.

Description of . Boise State running back Jay Ajayi (27) tumbles into the end zone over Colorado State linebacker Max Morgan during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

Jay Ajayi had no problem against the CSU defense. Weeeeeee! (Otto Kitsinger, AP)

Coming in to this game, I said we didn’t really know how good CSU was, because we have no idea whether or not CU is terrible (more on that later). Now we know with certainty that the Rams are not on the level of the elite team in the Mountain West. At least not yet. Overall, though, I’m still not sure what we have with this team.

The killer running game from week one was completely nonexistent (28 yards on 23 attempts) and the defense could not do anything to stop Jay Ajayi and Grant Hendrick. Boise racked up 675 yards of total offense, which is an absolutely absurd number.

So yeah, this one didn’t go particularly well. The Rams did get their crap together eventually and made it an interesting game in the fourth quarter, but the outcome was never really in doubt.

I’m going to go ahead and make some excuses now. This was ridiculously difficult scheduling. Traveling to Boise immediately following an emotional win over your rival is just a tough draw. Hell, starting conference play on the road against the best team in the conference in the season’s second week is a tough draw in itself. Also, two of the Rams best offensive players and preseason all-conference selections didn’t suit up in Ty Sambrailo and Kivon Cartwright.

So I do think that this game would have been more competitive if it was played in the heart of the conference schedule. All that said, there’s no doubt that Boise is the better team. And that shouldn’t be all that shocking when you think about it.

So moving forward, CSU has a cupcake, an off week and then an interesting game on the road at Boston College, who was just beaten by Pittsburgh at home.

A couple weeks ago I spoke of that elusive “Next Step” for the CSU program. While winning the Mountain Division of the MWC just took a serious hit, that “Next Step” is still within reach if they can avoid bad losses and win at Boston College and/or beat Utah State at home.

And after the first two weeks I have no idea whether or not that’s realistic.

While we’re on the topic, here’s the third installment of CSU football’s YouTube series, “The Grind.” There’s some really cool Rocky Mountain Showdown footage in here. Of course, this was more exciting before that game on Saturday night. Still a great production though.

The Colorado Buffaloes were thiiiiiiisss close to losing to Massachusetts. UMass is in the MAC and has won one game each of the past two years, their only two seasons as an FBS program. Holy crap, guys! CU might be really, really bad. Like, 2012-CU-Buffs-bad. That’s hilarious, but as previously mentioned, might not bode well for your Colorado State Rams.

And I was going to say a few words about Ray Rice but screw it. Too much to the story and it’s evolving too fast for any of my scorching hot takes. I will say; however, that I do find it incredibly odd that the new video changed everything so quickly when everyone had already seen a video of him dragging around an unconscious body. We all needed the new video to piece this all together? Really? What am I missing? Weird.

Anyway, Goddell might be screwed. This ends today’s analysis on the situation.

Moving on…

There was so much happening on the internet the past week, that I’m not going to break all of these into the weekly departments, but here are a bunch of pictures, videos, tweets, GIFs, and Vines that I enjoyed:

We obviously have to start with the greatest play in the history of football.

That’s Antonio Brown just jump-kicking some poor, pathetic punter right in the face. It’s incredible.

Look at this shot!

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Greatest play in the history of football.

I don’t know why, but eating out of a full-sized box of Frosted Flakes inside the stadium at a NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! game had me laughing harder than anything else this weekend.

Nevada beat Washington State on Friday night. The Wolfpack has a guy who looks like this, so that’s pretty neat.

I’d like to think that if I were a Division One football player I would do everything I can to look ridiculous on a daily basis like Mr. Hekking. Maybe dye my hair black and my beard blonde or something, I don’t know, that mullet is pretty hard to top.

A whole bunch of people in my Twitter feed really hate Chris Collinsworth. This slip-up was his finest gem from Thursday.

You see, he said “the ’85 Bears in ’86”. It’s funny because it’s impossible.

Tony Dungy deleted this tweet for some reason. But an astute observer grabbed a screenshot:

I wonder what it would be like to poop out a bird. Probably not that awesome, huh?

Nebraska was almost on the wrong side of an all-time upset at home to some team named McNese State. But then Amir Abdulla, who is awesome, did this.

I was unable to find the original picture or posting anywhere, but here’s a tweet/screenshot/thing of a really great photo from the Virginia Tech – Ohio State game (which Virginia Tech, who wears orange, won).

The Patriots lost and Tom Brady was sad.

This isn’t from a football game but it’s great. Whatever’s comfortable, bro.

Please note the multiple Dos XX cans on the bleachers and the half-eaten hot dog in the right hand. What an awesome human being.

This is not a from a football game either, but I found it interesting and I really enjoyed the video below. Tony Reali is leaving Pardon The Interruption after 13 years. He’ll still host Around The Horn and is going to do something for Good Morning America, which is apparently still a thing that some people watch. I don’t watch PTI or Around the Horn anymore, but I used to. And I know a large group of people around my age who are reading this watched those two shows, back to back, just about every day in high school and college. I’ve always thought Reali is pretty awesome.

A couple links worth sharing and other items of note (lots this week!):

  • USA Today caught up with Jim McElwain for a fairly lengthy interview.
  • Terry Frei did some great work at the Denver Post in providing some insight into Dee Hart’s background.
  • Kenneth Faried has been killing it for team USA in the FIBA World Cup. What does that mean for the Nuggets?
  • Northern Colorado almost beat an FCS team on the road. They lost to UNLV by one point after a missed chip-shot field goal with under six minutes to go. This never would have happened if that Bigelow kid was still there. Also, this means UNLV is really, really crappy.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals signed a player to their practice squad solely because his daughter has cancer and he needs the health benefits and salary. This is an awesome story amid so much NFL awfulness.
  • The New York Times obituary of Joan Rivers is interesting as hell.
  • The horribleness of Derek Jeter’s farewell tour continues. The Yankees will be wearing Jeter patches on their sleeves and hats for the remainder of the season. That’s like a whole month of wearing a patch for a guy who is not dead or retired, but still on the team. I get how much everybody likes Jeter, but come on. It’s getting embarrassing.

And finally, this video is not suitable for your workplace due to a good amount of what I think is profane screaming, but I found it too funny and strange not to share. (Hat tip to E.V. for sending this one over.)

When she hip-checks him and he flails on his back like an overturned turtle for a few seconds… That’s just gold. 2 millon view is one day! I used to put random, non-sports videos like this in almost every post. Whatever happened to that?

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See y’all 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.

Colorado State (Eventually) Dominates Colorado

Welcome to the 75th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I have a fairly short post about five hours later than usual. Apparently watching Colorado State beat the hell out of Colorado, then having three more days to party can really take a lot of a guy. (And I didn’t want to wait til Wednesday to “publish”.) Let’s get into it…

Dee Hart ran all over the Colorado Buffaloes. Might he be a top-level talent after all? (Doug Pensinger, Getty Images)

That was a fun one.

Hey, I tried to tell you about Dee Hart. Okay, in fairness I said I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Alabama transfer. But I also said he could be a season-changer. And after one game, that seems to be the case. I did not; however, tell you about JuCo transfer Trey Jarrells. That dude pretty much came out of nowhere. The two combined for 260 yards and three touchdowns against CU.

By now, we all know what happened. CU jumps out to 10-0 and 17-7 leads and things aren’t looking particularly awesome for the Rams. Then the CSU running game just takes over and Colorado State dominates for 24 unanswered points.

I incorrectly predicted that quarterback play would make the difference. Turns out it was the line play. CSU’s offensive line won them this game. A new unit that was assumed to be a weakness dominated a Pac-12 (haha) defense. And– AAAAND!– that all happened after losing Ty Sambrailo in the first quarter. He’s only a possible first-round NFL draft pick and maybe the most important player on the team. And as we all assumed, the Buffs couldn’t run the ball all that well either.

So the offensive and defensive lines of Colorado State decided this year’s showdown. Big ups to them.

Of course, it would behoove all Rams fans to keep this game in perspective. Don’t get me wrong, live it up. Party your ass off. Troll the hell out of CU. But remember, it’s impossible to gauge what a win like this means for the team over the course of the regular season. It’s always wise not to invest too much into a single game, but that is especially true after beating Colorado.

The Buffs could be decent this year. Or they could really, really suck. I’m not going to have fun berating everything about CU again this week, but would anyone in the world be shocked if they went 1-8 in the Pac-12 again?

There is a distinct possibility that CSU just beat one of the worst teams in the country.

We’ll find out a lot more about where CSU stands when they travel to Boise on Saturday Night. The Broncos got their asses kicked by Ole Miss on Thursday, but Ole Miss is hoping to contend for the SEC title and could be a top-10 caliber team.

For all serious Rams fans, a win over Boise State would be much bigger than one over CU. BSU opened as about 10-point favorites, by the way.

Stud(s) of the week:

The Colorado State student section. Holy crap, guys. This was my ninth consecutive showdown. I spent five or six (actually maybe seven now that I think about it) of them sitting in the student section. albeit, sometimes as a graduate disguised as a student. Anyway, I watched the CSU student section from a distance this year and that was, without a doubt, the most packed and loud and active student section I’ve ever seen for the Rams. They definitely made a serious impact on the outcome. Ram Ruckus, the “Official Student Spirit Group of Colorado State”, announced that the student tickets sold out and it sure looked like it:

It was that packed on all three levels. They were awesome. Let’s hope they stick around for the rest of the year.

Douche of the week: Michael Hancock

I don’t know if he’s really a douche (probably not), but I want to use this space to talk about the interaction between Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Jim McElwain, which was pretty hilarious.

That’s coach McElwain grabbing the microphone from Hancock as the mayor is addressing the crowd. McElwain is somewhat forcibly saying, “My name’s coach McElwain.” Hancock called him coach “MacIntyre” (that’s the name of the CU coach, of course) and then stuttered the sound “Mac” a few times before McElwain took over (video here). Later, in a press conference, McElwain made it clear he was still pretty pissed.

“I will say one thing,” he said. “I do understand where we are on the food chain from a relevance standpoint because the mayor doesn’t even know my name.

“The guy needed help, man. Somebody pointed that out, that nobody thinks much of us, even though how many alums do we have in the Denver area? Like the most of any university there is? And yet the mayor doesn’t even know the head ball coach’s name.

“I guess that really shows where we are and where I am as a program. . . Boy, that makes a guy feel good. Guy giving you the trophy and can’t spit your name out. Shows you how much they care about Colorado State, right?”

I think it’s awesome that McElwain is standing up for himself and his program. Not backing down… leaning on the “scrappy underdog” angle… Calling out local politicians who don’t know what they’re talking about… It’s all good with me. I like this guy more and more each week, man.

Of course, both men made nice via Twitter.

Hey also one more thing how cool is this little image from the CSU marketing folks?

Props to the people behind that one.

Subject change…

Of course, the Broncos season kicks off on Sunday night. There’s no need to add me to the list of people you don’t care about breaking down every game on the schedule. (If they lose in two months does anyone say Oh yeah that one talk show host/blogger/columnist predicted this two months ago!) But overall, you can put me down for 12 or 13 wins.

My gut reaction when looking at the Broncos’ big picture is that they probably won’t go to the Super Bowl again, because going to the Super Bowl is a hard thing to do. But when I look at the AFC, not much scares me. Unless the Broncos seriously regress– and there’s not much reason to think they will– they should be the heavy favorites to win the AFC, and according to Vegas, they are. The Patriots weren’t that close last year. The Colts don’t scare me much outside of Andrew Luck. (I bet Sunday is another Opening Night blowout.) Who else? The Chiefs? Chargers? Mnneehhh.

If the Broncos stay relatively healthy, they should be playing in February. Of course, crazy things happen in the NFL all the time, so this outlook may change.

Off to the (other) weekly departments…

Tweet(s) of the week:

So… that’s some big news. No time to break it down, but damn!

Vine(s) of the week:

Check out the wheels on the Auburn ball boy.

And here’s a very happy young man screwing with a news anchor by waving a… Well you can probably figure that out. People messing with news anchors by making idiots out of themselves like this will never get old.

He’s just so happy.

The picture of the week this week is actually just a screen grab of my favorite sign at a sporting event in a long, long time.

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, uhhh…. I don’t have anything for this space this week so here’s a music video. I’m going to see these gentlemen in a couple days so it seems fitting. I guess. Whatever. (Actually a really awesome performance though.)

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the first great football weekend of the year. See y’all 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.

Colorado State Football and Rocky Mountain Showdown Preview

Welcome to the 74th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I’m gearing up for one of the biggest days of the year to kick off a four-day weekend. You best be calling in sick on Friday because we have much more important things to take care of. Get out your grill and cornhole boards and coolers and the pigskin. I’ll bring the beer and whiskey. Football is back. And it brings my absolute favorite party of the year. Let’s get into it…

Garrett Grayson Quarterback Garrett Grayson #18 of the Colorado State Rams scrambles with the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

Garrett Grayson hopes to improve to 2-1 vs. Colorado on Friday.  (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Is this the year the Rams take the next step?

Most would agree that Colorado State is a program headed in the right direction as we enter Jim McElwain’s third season as head coach. In both football and basketball, CSU has removed itself from the lower tiers of the Mountain West Conference, but hasn’t been able to make the jump to the top-level. This year just may be the one that sees the Rams start beating the big boys and solidify themselves as a Mountain West contender. That said, a lot of last year’s talent is gone, so is a step back inevitable?

Any way you slice it, this is an important year for Colorado State football to determine just what they are as a program.

Before allowing me to discuss the Colorado Buffaloes and the Rocky Mountain Showdown, let’s (quickly) break down the Rams on the whole. Here’s how their 2013 went, with some very professional comments added by yours truly.

csu 13 sched with my thoughts

So in the first two weeks CSU had WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot losses to bad teams that they should have beaten. Then everything pretty much played out as you would expect, except for another bad loss to San Jose State on Homecoming weekend. That was followed by a blowout win as heavy underdogs in Laramie that completely changed the feel of the season. (Even if Wyo turned out to be pretty bad, most of us didn’t realize it at that point.)

But again, CSU couldn’t beat the top two teams in their division, not really coming close to taking down Boise State or Utah State.

Those two teams represent the two biggest (non-rivalry) games on the Rams’ schedule again this year.

screenshot via espn.com

screenshot via espn.com

So quickly looking at the 2014 slate I see a pretty damn easy schedule. I have one “maybe” (Colorado, because that game is always flukey), three “probably nots” (at Boise State, at Boston College, home to Utah State), and eight wins.

The “Next Step” I mentioned earlier would look like this for CSU:

  • Beat Colorado. More on that in a bit.
  • Beat the eight other bad teams on the schedule. The bottom of the Mountain West is crap. Wyoming is down (for now; I wouldn’t be surprised if Craig Bohl rights that ship quickly). San Jose State isn’t the formidable program it was under Mike MacIntyre. Chris Ault is gone at Nevada. And Hawaii, New Mexico and Air Force all figure to be absolutely terrible again. CSU should not lose to any of those teams. Good teams that contend for conference championships don’t have bad losses on their resume. Last year CSU was pretty good and they had three.
  • Find a way to take down Boise State or Utah State. These two teams are the heavy favorites to win the Mountain Division of the MWC. Beating a good Boise team on the road seems unlikely. Utah State, though, comes to Hughes on Homecoming Weekend. I think this is the biggest game on CSU’s schedule. This is exactly the kind of game the Rams have to start winning to change the way we all think about Colorado State football.

So I’m looking for this team to finish the regular season 9-3. I’m tempted to say 10-2 because I think they are capable of beating Colorado and winning just one of the “probably nots” I mentioned above.

Nine wins would be an improvement over last year, but that 10th win would assuredly take the program to that elusive next level, especially if that leads to an 11th win after a bowl game. That would put Colorado State at 11-2. Did I just type that? I should probably stop now, because I’m starting to sound crazy as hell.

Until they prove they can avoid bad losses or beat good teams on the road, my official prediction is a 9-3 regular season, which would still be a hell of a good year.

On the field the Rams have some pieces they should feel very good about, but a few question marks too.

Quarterback Garrett Grayson is entering his senior year after a record-breaking junior year. He’s good. If he stays healthy, the CSU offense should run efficiently all year. I have a lot of faith in this kid. Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton should be the best in the conference. Grayson is right behind him.

Grayson will have plenty of weapons to choose from, as his whole receiving corps is returning. Rashard Higgins was the Rams’ leading receiver last year as a true freshman. I think he’s poised for an enormous season. Remember his name.

Crockett Gillmore is gone to the NFL, but Kivon Cartwright should step in at tight end and replace him on the All-Conference team.

So about those question marks… Obviously the Rams lose just about all of their production at running back with the departure of Kapri Bibbs, Donnell Alexander, and Chris Nwoke. Yesterday McElwain said he expects the Rams to go four or even five deep at running back. For me, Alabama transfer Dee Hart is the biggest wild card on the roster. I wrote about that a couple weeks ago. He could be a season-changer.

The offensive line lost four of five starters, including one of the best Rams ever in Weston Richburg. Ty Sambrailo is the only returning starter, and he should be an all-conference selection and appears to be another future-NFLer. That said, I’m not sure what to expect from this unit. It’s hard to imagine they’ll be as good as last year’s.

Defensively, the Rams struggled quite a bit in 2013. They were actually really good against the run but had a nasty little habit of giving up huge touchdown passes. Like… All the time. They lose the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year in Shaq Barrett, but I still think they should be improved overall defensively.

The linebacking corps will be a major strength for the Rams. The trio of Aaron Davis, Max Morgan and Cory James could be the best in the Mountain West and one of the better units in the nation. The secondary brings just about everybody back and should be better at not giving up 60-yard touchdowns seemingly every half. I don’t think the defensive line will be a strength.

So I think we’ll see more balance than last year’s team that scored a ton of points and gave up a lot of points. The offense will be high-powered again, but won’t be on the record-breaking level of last year. The defense should be improved.

Okay that’s enough of that. Let’s make fun of CU! (You should know I’m usually pretty objective on here, but with the Showdown three days away… screw it.)

Jon Embree

I don’t really have a good reason to post this, except that Jon Embree crying at his I-got-fired press conference was an absolutely hilarious moment for all involved that we should never forget. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

CU football sucks. Boulder sucks. CU students and fans suck.

People think Colorado football was much improved last year. That’s because they were! Way to go, guys! They went 4-8. Two of those wins came against Charleston Southern and Central Arkansas. That means they only beat two FBS teams. They went 1-8 in the Pac-12.

Seriously. All of that represented a dramatic improvement over their 2012 season when they went 1-11. Going 2-8 against actual, real-life Division One teams means that you probably can’t rank them 128th out of 128 teams like many did after their 2012 campaign. I miss you, Jon Embree.

Obviously, part of the reason for Colorado’s awful records and innumerable blowout losses is because they usually play a really tough schedule. This is all funny to me because one of the bragging points among Colorado fans is their conference. They’re in the Pac-12! That’s one of the best conferences in the nation! It’s prestigious! They play really good teams like Stanford and USC and Oregon! Good for them!

One interesting sidenote many CU fans seem to forget: Colorado is 4-23 against the Pac-12 in their three years in the conference. Wait guys, 4-23? That’s really bad. That’s a .148 winning percentage. But hey it’s a really prestigious conference! Who cares if they get blown out and embarrassed by all the good teams every week?

I know, I know… CSU was one of the 2 FBS wins CU had last year. Colorado was the better team that day, no doubt. But as I mentioned earlier, the flukey nature of Rocky Mountain Showdown can be the most frustrating thing about the game. By every advanced metric and the good, ol’ fashioned eyeball test, Colorado State had a much better team than Colorado when the 2014 season was all said and done.

So yes, Colorado State dropped a game to a bad team, but let’s not get that confused with CU having a better overall program.

They don’t.

And can CU fans quit pretending you don’t care about this game? This is the biggest game on Colorado’s schedule. That’s what happens when you have zero chance of going .500 in your conference every year. The move to the Pac-12 means you don’t have the opportunity to get blown out by Nebraska in that “rivalry” every year unless each team makes the Rose Bowl. (No, I couldn’t type that with a straight face.) Don’t act like you’re circling that Utah game on your calendar every year either. Nobody cares about that game.

Yes, a lot of great programs come to Boulder every year, but… Haven’t we already covered this? The CSU game is really the only one for the CU fan base to get excited about.

So let’s discuss this year’s Rocky Mountain Showdown…

In a shocking development, I think Colorado State will win. Making predictions for this game is kind of pointless because so much random, flukey crap seems to happen, but what the hell. I think CU will have trouble running the ball. Paul Richardson is in the NFL now so I don’t think he will twice be standing all alone casually strolling into the end zone like last year. Even with CSU’s question-mark of an offensive line I think Grayson will have enough time to throw to open receivers for two or three touchdowns. And I don’t know what to expect from Dee Hart.

But quarterback play decides this one and Grayson outplays Liufau.

My official pointless prediction that we will only revisit if it is correct: Rams 33, Buffs 27.

Off to a couple of the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

You’d think anything and everything associated with CU would get the honors this week, but I need to scream at shake my fist at whoever made the decision to put this game on a Friday night. Who plays college football on a Friday night? Playing on a Friday night is not a good look for college football programs that want to be taken seriously. This Friday night is the opening weekend for high school football in the state, meaning thousands of football fans will be preoccupied and can’t even consider attending the game. So the attendance, which has already been struggling greatly, will be hindered further. Also, more people have to work on Fridays than on Saturdays or Sundays. That creates an obvious inconvenience for everybody.

The reason for this game being on a Friday was finding a desirable slot for national TV. But then, even after the move to Friday, the game still didn’t land on ESPN. I like Fox Sports One a lot (usually check in at least once a day), but I understand it’s watched by an audience like one-tenth the size of ESPN’s. So we move the game to a time slot that nobody associates with college football nationally and is a pain in the ass for everyone locally, because of a better TV deal even though nobody will be watching on TV because it’s not on ESPN? Got it.

(In addition, all Dish customers might have the RMS and other games blacked out due to a dispute between Dish and FS1.)

Also, the parking lots don’t even open until 3 p.m. THREE IN THE AFTERNOON! What the hell is that? I was planning on setting up our tailgate at 10 a.m.

Stud(s) of the week:

Jim McElwain and whoever is producing these online “episodes.” They’re surprisingly well done and serve as some pump-up fuel for Friday.

Hey here’s another very important video:

And finally, let’s all sing along with Fum:

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See y’all in the parking lots on Friday. And then in this space next week.

PLEASE NOTE: With the holiday weekend, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to churn one of these out by next Tuesday. I may take the route of my neighborhood trash guys and push it out a day. If you don’t see a post on Tuesday, there will be one Wednesday.

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