I have to be honest, there’s very little about football season that I don’t like. The cooler temperatures allow me to whip out the blankets and curl up with friends at games, and the atmosphere reminds me why I’m proud to be a CSU Ram.
But here’s the downside to going to all of those games: we usually lose.
No matter how hard I cheered, no matter how many times I washed my lucky underwear to be ready for game day, no matter how many different kinds of face paint I tried out in the hopes that I could change their mojo, the Rams continually got their butts handed to them last season.
Even the homecoming game against San Jose State, where family and alumni were watching with crossed fingers—the one game I was really hoping we could turn around—we ended up losing. I have to be honest, it was disheartening to continually walk out of Hughes stadium without a big W to celebrate. With a 3-9 record last season, and the season before that, and the season before that, I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for the 2012 season either.
That was, until I found out that we had a new coach coming to us all the way from the Crimson Tide. Jim McElwain had resurrected my hopes in the Rams finally, finally, winning more than three games. Maybe (dare I say it) we could have a winning season.
However, my inner skeptic had concerns. I know that the “head coach” title is coveted, but I had to question his motives in coming from Alabama, the home of football and where McElwain is a household name, to CSU, where he has his work cut out for him.
The penny pincher side of me had to question what an offer like this was costing the University as well. McElwain was offered $1.3 million per season for five years, a lucrative offer by any standard. But with CSU’s current budget as strained as it is, could that $1.3 million be used more wisely?
Do I believe that we need a new football coach? Absolutely. Steve Fairchild had a good run here at CSU, but after three consecutive 3-9 seasons, his plan wasn’t working anymore and it was time for a change. But did we need someone as desirable as McElwain, who we knew wouldn’t come cheap? My skeptic had to wonder why we were shuttling all of this money into a program we had little hope in instead of a program that we knew would succeed.
But, as universities nationwide know, athletics is where you put your money if you want revenue. With rumblings of an on-campus stadium, the athletics department had belt-tightening to do and knew that our football program had to prove itself before there would be any more talk of a brand-worthy facility. CSU wants money, as all universities do, and the easiest and possibly most lucrative way of doing that is beefing up the program that can easily generate the most revenue: football.
The “Bold New Era” for CSU football, however, hasn’t exactly reached ticket counters. Sales aren’t up nearly as much as had been anticipated, but I suppose that’s to be expected after three consecutive losing seasons. Hopefully giving the program some time to prove itself will work, and hopefully all of that money will come back tenfold. I’m doing a lot of hoping this season.
In the meantime, I encourage the rest of my CSU community to go out to Hughes and show your Ram Pride this season. Give the players something to play for. Throw on your green and gold beads and some corny T-shirt proclaiming a saying akin to “Ram it up their Buffs” (especially appropriate for the Rocky Mountain Showdown, Sept. 1) and go cheer on your team.
Brittany Jordan is a sophomore Psychology major. Her column appears every other Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.