Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Showdown

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.

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

Your Weekly Roundup From the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to the 25th Tuesdays With Mitch, where I hope you didn’t bet the mortgage like I told you to. Lots going on in the sports world. Let’s get to it.

Paul Richardson and CU were too much for the CSU defense to handle. (AP Photo, Jack Dempsey).

The Rocky Mountain Showdown was a heck of a game. Didn’t go well for CSU though. One huge turnover and two huge blown coverages made the difference. Congrats to CU, who I can no longer consider the worst team in the nation. The better team won, because the better team always wins. It will be interesting to see the effect this game has on each team moving forward. It’s hard to envision CU carrying over much momentum when conference play begins. CSU fans better hope this doesn’t prove to be a hindrance against Tulsa and Cal Poly and ummm…. Alabama.

Congrats are also in order to Todd Helton, who notched his 2,500th hit during that game on Sunday.

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Really cool moment. Cool of the fans who were on top of the situation for a couple days. They probably read my blog. As a lifelong Todd Helton fan, it’s a cool moment for him to get some league-wide recognition as he plays out his last season. It’s also very fitting that it came on a double. He’s a Hall of Famer. I’ll be screaming that from the rooftops for the next 5 years.

There’s a pretty big Broncos game in a couple days. I like the Broncos to cover the 7.5 point spread. If they can’t get jacked up for this game, they shouldn’t be in the league. Also Baltimore shouldn’t be all that good this season. I’m picking the Broncos to win the AFC West and finish at 12-4. I have no idea what happens from there.

As a fan, I’m really excited to see Peyton Manning work with Decker, Thomas and Welker. I just don’t understand how teams are going to stop that passing game. As I eluded to a while back, it should be interesting to see how well the defense plays, particularly the first six weeks without Von Miller.

Since I’m clearly really good with predictions:  Broncos 33, Ravens 24.

It wouldn’t be college football with out weirdos being weird.

via @sbnationgif

If you’re a fan of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”, you’ll be glad to know Chase Utley finally responded to Mac’s fan letter.

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This is a really interesting read about Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr and his unconventional story of dealing with a sick child.

Yeah, these guys are pretty funny.

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And finally, here’s the best person I can imagine trying to define the word twerking. Thanks America.

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Shorter post this week. Blame the holiday weekend and my three fantasy drafts. 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 @MitchDHahn.

My Favorite Rocky Mountain Showdown Memories

The view from Folsom Field

Note: (August 2013): This post was originally published Sept 16, 2011. There are numerous references to “thirties” and “bottles” which was an intentional reference to what was the name of my blog at the time. It’s also interesting to see how my writing style has subtly changed in the last two years. It’s the same post, but I am adding a very important update from the year 2011 and a few more pictures. Hope you enjoy.)

The annual outdoor kegger known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown starts bright and early again Saturday morning.  I went to my first Showdown in 2006 and I’m looking forward to attending my sixth consecutive Showdown this weekend; I’ll be providing a thirty and a bottle. I have a feeling some of the other 65,000+ attendees will bring some libations as well. I’ve been a CSU fan for as long as I can remember, so I recall the big time moments. I remember watching the Bradlee Van Pelt head spike on TV. I remember the Marcus Houston goal line stand. I remember the tear gas. I was a kid for those. The CU game took on a whole new meaning to me when I started to go in person.

I’ve had a blast at each of the last five contests between the Buffaloes and the Rams, although some years have been more fun than others.

My eyes were opened to the awesomeness of this game in 2006. My freshman year at CSU, a random mix of kids from 3NW Parmelee Hall piled in my bright red ’95 Buick Skylark (may God rest her classic soul) and headed down I-25. We didn’t know exactly what we were getting into. The traffic and parking thing was kind of a disaster but we settled into some good seats before kickoff. Surprisingly, I wasn’t much of a drinker at this time so we bypassed the tailgating experience, which seems like a heinous crime today.

Anyway, during the game I was blown away by the passion, intensity and vulgarity of the student section. The “Dir-Ty-Hipp-ies” chant never seemed to end. I remember thinking, “I can get down with this.” CSU won, 14-10 behind a 20-23 effort from Caleb Hanie and a big touchdown grab from Korey Sperry. Dan Hawkins was 0-2 as CU’s coach after losing to Montana State the previous week. Some CSU fans wore Blue and White Montana State shirts. Driving back to Fort Collins I kind of knew I wasn’t going to miss too many of these games.

In 2007 the TV networks rewarded our not-so nationally prominent programs with the coveted 10 a.m. kickoff slot. I wondered what the tailgating scene would be like at 7 in the morning. It was not hindered. We pulled up to see beer pong games already in hotly contested double-overtime. Thirties and bottles were being torn apart before most of the state’s alarm clocks had gone off. The game was exciting but disappointing. Down 31-28 in overtime, Hanie threw an interception in the end zone to end the last game Sonny Lubick coached against the University of Colorado.

One of my best friends got punched in the face in 2008. This might be my favorite off-field memory of these games. By this year, we were all-in, tailgating veterans. Grill. Truck. Music. Multiple thirties. Plenty of bottles. Prime Location. And the time-slot, though on a Sunday, was an ideal 5:30 p.m.

Naturally, it was our duty to accost and harass anyone who came through our parking lot in a gold shirt. After a few hours of drinking, Matt 3 (that’s just his name, don’t ask questions) decided a CU fan deserved to have some Keystone Light dumped on his head. Not like a celebratory, waving/spraying of beer, just a calm three-second pour as if the kid was balancing a cup on top of his head and Matt was just topping him off. The Boulderite shockingly did not appreciate this gesture and cold-cocked 3 (below, shirtless) right in his cheek.

Our 2008 tailgate was full of shenanigans.

Things got interesting at our 2008 tailgate for Matt 3 (shirtless) and Andrew (arms out, clearly intoxicated). I have no idea who the two females are.

Somehow a random CSU girl managed to calm Matt down– not a particularly easy task– and the situation did not escalate. It helped that she was a certified bombshell. Maybe she was an angel of peace. Anyway, the CU kid had some friends in green and gold that kept the rest of us from throwing down in fisticuffs, as Ron Burgundy would say.

That was the same year we saw people (not in our group) throwing full, unopened cans of beer at CU kids. That was the same year I had my brother Andrew’s (above, tongue out, one eye unintentionally closed) ticket. I never gave it to him and when we were going into the stadium he was nowhere to be found. He got into the game without a ducat, although he’s not sure how. I’m still waiting for him to pay me for that unused ticket. He did receive a different kind of ticket before the game, this one for public urination after relieving himself on someone’s CU flag that was laid on a grassy knoll. Looking back, that was quite the tailgate.

Inside the stadium ,things were equally chaotic for CSU in Steve Fairchild’s debut. An uninteresting 38-17 loss. There were back-to-back kickoff returns for each team, which was kind of cool I guess. Whatever. We left dejected and already hungover.

The game was in Boulder my senior year. A lot of CSU students didn’t go as some sort of stupid protest or something. It was a true road game, so there were no deals for CSU student tickets. My friends and I each dropped about $70 to get into Folsom. It was worth every penny. For the first time in the series, I admittedly drank a little bit too much, but I still remember the good parts.

As our group of about ten was walking into the stadium, we encountered a girl from CU. If I drank a little too much, she drank way too much. As her boyfriend looked on in embarrassment, she tried to fight a couple of us. She was stumbling forward attempting to land absolute haymakers on one of my friends. He calmly ducked under them as the rest of us were just cackling with laughter. She had a legitimate audience and, even though she didn’t know it, she was killing the crowd.

Andrew decided to come to the tailgating festivities this year without a ticket again. Naturally, by game time he had enough liquid courage to attempt to get into the game without one. After a few security guards had turned him away, his friend Travis, who was already inside, did something hilarious. Forgetting that he had his face painted in green and gold lettering, he found a yellow security jacket, put it on and tried to tell another security guard that Andrew had to come with him. It may have been the painted face, the plaid shorts, or the sandals, but that didn’t work. Andrew eventually found a ticket-taker who didn’t care enough to fight off a sea of drunk kids. He gave him a ticket that was already scanned and the dude let him in anyway.

CU Fans

The blurry picture I took of the CU Fans watching me dance on the midfield logo at Folsom Field.

Inside the stadium, things went pretty well. CSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead behind two John Mosure touchdowns. The Rams held on for a 23-17 win and the CSU students who are not lame left our seats and celebrated with the team on Folsom Field. We rushed the hell out of that field, and it was one hell of a party. Dancing on the midfield logo. “C-S-U!” chants. Waving to the gold-clad fans in their season-ticket seats as they angrily watched in disgust. Snow angels (minus the snow) in the endzone. That experience is probably once-in-a-lifetime and I was pretty lucky to be a part of it.

Last year was my first game as a graduate, but I went disguised as a 5th-year senior. This one was pretty uneventful. We got to the parking lot early and grilled and drank. I remember pouring 16 ounces of Vodka (Burnette’s of course) into a cup because I didn’t want to walk around with an open container. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I shared it with strangers who seemed to appreciate my kindness. The game was a blowout. Pete Thomas threw three pics; Tyler Hansen accounted for three touchdowns. We left pissed off sometime in the third quarter as CU handed us a 24-3 ass kicking.

I’m planning on taking a more grown-up approach to this game (I even bought my first non-student-section ticket!), but that might fly out the window after slamming a couple beer bongs and imbibing some Jim Beam. Just like that first game in 2006, I never know exactly what I’m getting myself into at the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

Very important update (8/31/13): 

“I’m planning on taking a more grown-up approach to this game.” Ummm… yeah. In 2011, we partied pretty hard and the tailgating was a blast. A couple specific moments stick out enough for me to share them with you.

Our group was posted up with a few cars on the edge of one of the CSU parking lots. Beyond the lot there is a curb, and a grassy hill that leads to a sidewalk. The hill is probably about 15 feet high and the sidewalk is probably about 25 yards from where my group was primarily positioned. Naturally, over the course of the tailgate, this sidewalk is a major thoroughfare with heavy pedestrian traffic from fans of both teams.

Eventually, we decided it was time to harass some folks in yellow shirts. Not sure why; I guess we were just sick of looking at that horrible color. At some point, somebody suggested to my friend Todd, that he take a hot dog off the grill and try to hit a CU fan with it. This quickly became the moment when Todd stole the show. We’ve known Todd for years and he’s a good dude, but there is no doubt at all that this sequence of events is truly his one shining moment.

There’s always a handful of unused burgers and dogs that go uneaten, and Todd grabbed one. With a smirk and an uncontrollable boyish giggle, Todd actually throws the damn thing. I think this was unexpected by most of us. Whoever suggested this brilliant idea probably didn’t think he would actually do it. But he did. He grabbed the dog with his thumb and forefinger and flung this wiener end-over-end on a high, looping arc, similar to that of the opening kickoff a couple hours later. The throw turned out to be an unbridled success as Todd hit the pretend bullseye on this grown man’s chest. He was clearly surprised that a cooked Oscar Meyer had come out of nowhere to bounce of his chest, but he kept his cool and didn’t really look over.

We had a subdued reaction. Mostly it was turning our backs and stifling our uncontrollable laughter. That was pretty awesome, but that was just the build up.

A little while later, someone suggested to Todd that he try the same feat, only with a burger instead of a dog. At this point it should be no surprise that Todd accepted this challenge. He grabbed a cooked patty that wasn’t going to be eaten and picked his yellow-clad target. Again most of us were surprised that he was actually doing this.

So as our large group looked on in excited anticipation with a sense of wonder, Todd flings this thing like a frisbee. Not an across-the-body, backhand frisbee throw, but an off-to-the-side, submarine style frisbee throw with a dip of the shoulder.

The flight of this hamburger is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, and I say that without hyperbole.

Keep in mind Todd’s intended target was about 25 yards away and up a 15-foot hill. Initially the burger is tailing to the right and it looks like this will be a letdown following the tremendous hot dog incident. But then… the burger starts to curve… like an intended hook on a golf ball or a frisbee floating on a gentle breeze….

HolyShitThatMightHitThatGuy…

NoWay…

LookAtThis…

Ohhhhhhhhhh….

And then…

BOOM!

The hamburger catches this dude precisely on the temple and absolutely explodes upon impact. Our tailgating group also exploded upon impact. Ohhhhhhh! There was about 12 of us jumping around like we were all on Maury and learned we arrrrrrrre NOT the father. Todd immediately rolled right into the “Cat Daddy” dance (fellas, you’ll want to click that link). Seriously though, the reaction was the best part of the entire day and it was eerily similar to this:

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I mean, it was EERILY similar to that.

CSU lost that year, by the way.

Since I’m on the topic, here are some pics of my favorite tradition, The Group Shotgun. Pictures tell me it began in 2010. It will never die.

2010b copy 2011a copy2012a

Top 2010, Middle 2011, Bottom 2012.

Thanks for reading. Go Rams. Hope to see you all tomorrow.