TUSCALOOSA, Ala.— Go ahead and admit it, you thought it could happen — even if only for a split-second, the idea crossed your thoughts at one point in time.
The CSU football team was presented with an opportunity to shock the world on Saturday, and the Rams put a twinkle in our eyes bigger than anybody in the country had predicted going into their game against a No. 1 Alabama team on the road.
After all, the Rams were facing a SEC powerhouse squad who had lost only five of its previous 51 games en route to three separate National Championship titles since 2009. On the other end stood CSU, who had come up empty in 35 of 48 matchups within the same timeframe.
But ask any coach about being the underdog and they’ll give you the same answer every single time; “Any team can win any game on any given day.”
And boy, did Ram fans want Saturday to be that day more than ever. Alabama won the game solely based on the final score, but CSU was victorious with everything else considered.
This was supposed to be Alabama’s “cupcake” game. The Rams were getting paid millions of dollars to travel 1,378 miles to serve as the punching bag to please Alabama fans in the first home game of the season; little did they know the sacrificial Rams they brought in for the mass slaughter still had a fight left inside them.
The Crimson Tide are notorious for not showing any sign of mercy upon their opponents, racking up football scoreboards to higher numbers than you see in some women’s basketball games. However this one was different; to head coach Nick Saban, the 31 points he pried out of Colorado State weren’t nearly enough.
“They stayed in the game and we could never put them away,” Saban said. “Everything that we have to do to be more dominant and more consistent in a game, I don’t think we did that tonight.”
The fact that Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who typically is on the bench by the third quarter, was still taking snaps all the way until the last drive of the game says everything. With his team entering the final quarter of the game with only an 11-point lead, it was clear he, and all 101,871 in attendance at Bryant-Denny Stadium, weren’t comfortable with the star sitting on the sideline.
Especially considering the threatening way CSU was able to move the football, it allowed our minds to wonder, “What if?”
There’s no cheering in the pressbox — none. The goose bumps that shoot up and down your arms are covered up by your collared shirt, the fan inside you that wants to yell “YES” or “No…” remains within the confines of your own mind.
But when the Rams came up with McCarron’s only interception of the season and followed it up with scoring on their next two possessions, my heart developed butterflies similar to getting a text message from the cute girl, being anxious to see what will happen next.
So chalk it up however you’d like, a win’s a win just like a loss is a loss, but this one was worth tallying in the latter column.
The gamblers in Las Vegas were forced with a decision this weekend. Sure, numerous people put it out on the line for Alabama to win, but the odds also forced them to cover a 39 ½ point spread in favor of the Crimson Tide.
And guess what: Those who bet against CSU lost their money.
Sports Editor Quentin Sickafoose is a senior journalism major. His column appears every Monday in the sports section of the Collegian. Follow him on Twitter @QSickafoose.