The Rocky Mountain Showdown is finally here, and that means the Collegian sports staff will lay its reputation on the line once again with our predictions for Colorado State vs. Colorado:
Score: 27-21 Rams
Prediction: Sure, CSU might have looked offensively challenged at times against Minnesota, but that was one of the best secondaries in college football. I am going out on a limb and saying that the Rams are just a tad bit better than the Hawai’i freakin’ Rainbow Warriors, who Pac-12 punching bag Colorado fell to in week one. This should still be a close game though as the rivalry can bring out the best in both teams. And you never know what could happen with a first-year head coach and an uncertain quarterback situation. That said, it is CSU’s game to lose, no matter what the oddsmakers say.
Score: 28-17 Rams
Prediction: It doesn’t get any bigger than this for college football in Colorado. Though CSU struggled against Minnesota and CU dominated UMass, you have to look at the discrepancy in the level of competition. CU ran for 390 yards against the Minutemen’s abysmal defense, but don’t expect to see that against CSU. The Rams are big, physical and nasty on defense, and they’ll be able to limit CU’s big plays. The Buffs’ secondary is always a question mark, and either Nick Stevens or Coleman Key should be able to have a good day throwing the ball to their weapons. For the first time since 2002, CSU will win three games in four years against its “big brother.”
Score: 35-21 Rams
Prediction: After playing, and at times succeeding, against a high caliber secondary in Minnesota, Nick Stevens and Coleman Key will be able to air it out against CU, especially if Rashard Higgins if healthy enough to see some snaps this week. I think this Rams’ offense comes together this week and makes some big plays for extra touchdowns. Forcing overtime at the last second against a solid Big-10 team should assure CSU that it can play with anyone, and that Mike Bobo’s vision leads to success when properly executed.
Score: 24-16 Rams
Prediction: CU isn’t Minnesota, it’s just that simple. Colorado had a cupcake game against UMass last week and if it thinks this week is going to be the same result, you can forget it. Minnesota had massive players all over the field and CSU was able to match them blow for blow until the very end. CU doesn’t match up well with CSU. The defensive line will be all over the field to stop Colorado’s run game on Saturday, you watch. Also look for Martavius Foster and Joe Kawulok to make some big plays in pass rushing situations. It looks like Nick Stevens will get the nod to start again at quarterback, so I look for him to rebound from last week and show that he is capable of leading this team.
Score: 28-14 Rams
Prediction: Yes, CSU is coming off of a heartbreaking overtime loss to Minnesota. But, what did we learn? The Rams defense is GOOD, so good that they held one of the more overpowering offensive lines in college football to six of 19 on third-down attempts. Last week CU ran all over a UMASS team that won a whopping three games last season in the Mid-American Conference. The Buffs won’t come anywhere near 400 yards on the ground against Tyson Summers’ tenacious defense. While this is a rivalry game and anything can happen in rivalry match ups, the Rams should pick up the win and claim Colorado for the second consecutive year.
Collegian Sports Desk can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @emccarthy22.