For the second time this season, Colorado State football is set to be broadcast on an ESPN network. Saturday’s game against Nevada will air on ESPN2, allowing a broad national audience to experience homecoming in Fort Collins.
The Rams kicked off the 2017 football season on national T.V. as well. However, the accessibility of CBS Sports Network compared to that of ESPN is far inferior. Because of this, many football fans across the nation will get their first look Sonny Lubick Field and the new on-campus stadium Saturday night.
Head coach Mike Bobo recognizes the opportunity that national exposure brings to the university, and his football team’s role in taking advantage of that opportunity.
“Any time you’re on T.V., they usually do a good job of not just talking about the football program, but talking about the university, the community, they’ll talk about the stadium,” Bobo said. “Our job as a football team is to go out there and make sure we’re ready to represent the right way by being prepared.”
With that opportunity to represent the university in such a positive light also comes tremendous responsibility. If the team performs well while the nation is watching, that benefits the school, both in and outside of athletics.
Recruits are drawn to a winning football program, and prospective students realize everything that Fort Collins has to offer. Senior offensive lineman Zack Golditch understands what is at stake when the Rams are broadcast in front of a national audience.
“Any time you can get exposure like that is great,” Golditch said. “Showcase all of our preparation, all of our hard work. If things go well, it’ll be pretty cool.”
To add to the matter, Saturday represents the first homecoming game on campus in nearly 50 years. Similar to the stadium opener against Oregon State, there will naturally be a heightened level of excitement from fans. Rather than travel to Hughes Stadium, fans and players have the luxury of coming to campus for a true homecoming.
“There’s a lot more pride, just because it is on campus, it’s sold out, it’s a special day for everyone,” senior cornerback Kevin Nutt said. “You have to take a lot of pride in it.”
“It’s the first homecoming in the new stadium, so obviously it’s important,” senior linebacker Evan Colorito added. “It’s similar to the home opener, it’s kind of that landmark in the season where you want to win.”
The distractions from homecoming festivities throughout the weekend are more prominent than a normal home game. That said, Bobo trusts that his players are mature enough to treat this like any other game. For Golditch, sticking to the season-long routine allows him to focus on the task at hand.
“We’re separated from the campus activities,” Golditch said. “We’re in the meetings, we’re at practice, we go home, do homework, sleep. But we know the meaning of it, we know it’s a sellout crowd, we know the expectations of Saturday.”
As for Bobo, he expects the national exposure to do exactly what the university hopes for: showcase CSU in its entirety.
“When announcers come in here and we have meetings with them on Fridays, they’re always blown away by Fort Collins – the community, the beauty, and now you’ve got this stadium on campus, this setting,” he said. “I think it will take care of itself and it will naturally happen that they talk glowingly about what’s going on here at Colorado State. It’s a pretty special place.”
Collegian sports editor Colin Barnard can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.