The two words, or should I say one word and a made up word, that every single Colorado State fan hates. Years of taunting between the two and highly emotional rivalry games in every sport has created a rift between the two that will always live as one of the best rivalries in Colorado.
But I am here to say that right now, CSU needs to dawn the black and gold and cheer for the boys of Boulder if they want to enhance their chances of making it into a power five conference and helping out their sports department in general.
The final College Football Playoff rankings were released and CU finished at number 10 and earned an invitation to play in the Alamo Bowl against the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys. This is the highest CU has been ranked in what seems like most current college students lifetimes. This season was the first time in 11 years that they had even cracked the top 25, which in 2005 they were ranked No. 22 and lost the next week and dropped from the polls.
This remarkable season for the Buffs all started with a blowout of their “little brothers,” the CSU Rams down at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Rams fans need no reminder, but the final for this one was 44-7.
However, the point here is that CSU gets to play this team every single season (for the most part). For a team and university like CSU that is looking to join a power five conference, these are the types of games they have to play. These conferences want to see a team that can come in and compete right away instead of being a doormat for the rest of the teams to wipe their feet on.
But after CU wiped the history of their well-known failure off their feet, this game can now have more importance than ever for the Rams.
If CU were to win the Alamo Bowl, they would more than likely finish in the final top-10 of every poll and since pre-season polls are pretty much just copied and pasted from the end of the last season, there is no reason to think that coming into the first game of the year against CSU that the Buffs would be in the top-15 or at least ranked. This is the chance the Rams need.
That chance took a hit this season when the Big 12 conference announced that they will not be expanding. But they did say that the matter was not closed.
After a fourth straight year of making a bowl game and a team that is on the rise, the Rams could use a game against a potential top-15 team to start their season. A win could demonstrate to every Power 5 conference that the Rams have a system to build a team year after year and that they can be competitive with some of the best.
Pair this showcase game with CU with a road trip to Alabama and CSU could have a program changing type of season if they were to do well in both games.
It is not just football either.
The Rams’ men’s basketball team went down to Boulder a couple weeks ago and stormed out of there with a 72-58 beat down of the Buffs. This CU team was coming off of a week in which they hung around against current No. 23 and undefeated Notre Dame and also took down Texas who was ranked at the time.
A road win against a team with those kinds of quality opponents and wins is huge for the Rams. CU has been on the rise in basketball over the past few years and once again it is the same argument made for football, a school has to play other great schools if they want to get up higher in national recognition.
If CU continues their early season success to Pac-12 play and compete for conference championship or an at-large bid in the tournament, this can only help CSU’s case come March. A road win against a conference champion or an at-large team is a huge resume builder and with no bad losses so far, CSU’s resume is looking better and better, but it hangs on whether or not CU continues to play well. Making March Madness before the Big 12 committee reviews expansion again can only be a positive for the Rams.
And not only are CSU’s men’s sports on the rise, the women’s sports programs have already been excelling. The volleyball team just competed in their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament and the women’s basketball team is coming off a season in which they lost one regular season game by a point and went undefeated in conference play. These girls need some tougher competition.
Finally, fans see these rivalries like Ohio State against Michigan or Texas against Oklahoma and it is because of proximity. There was a plethora of players on Ohio State from Michigan and vice versa. These players went to the enemy school because their hometown team more than likely looked past them. The Buffaloes success allows them to move on from Colorado recruits and look towards the “better” recruiting locations like Texas or Florida.
Since the Buffs will not be looking in-state as much, CSU can now gobble up all the talented players here in Colorado. These players could also play with a chip on their shoulder after being looked over by CU and want some revenge.
As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, but CSU already has the foundation and now needs to add the pillars and statement wins that can get them to the next level.
So as painful as it might sound for Rams fans, CU’s success is your success. It is more than alright to still boo and post funny memes about how much you dislike CU when the Rams play them, but after that, it is time to believe in The Rise.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajwrules44