The goal for Colorado State football this season was simple: win the Mountain West Conference for the first time since 2002.
After starting 4-0 in conference play and winning three of those contests on the road, the Rams found themselves in the driver’s seat for the first time in well over a decade. But back-to-back losses to Air Force and Wyoming have CSU on the outside looking in.
Although not statistically impossible, with a chance at the title likely no longer in the mix, many Ram fans are questioning whether head coach Mike Bobo is still the right man for the job. To this, my only response is relax and take a realistic look in the mirror.
Does Bobo deserve criticism? Absolutely. This is a team that had a very realistic chance at playing in and even potentially hosting the conference championship on Dec. 2. No matter what bowl the Rams ultimately end up in, there definitely will be lingering questions of what if.
Factoring in that he also currently owns a record of 2-12 against Air Force, Boise State, Colorado, Wyoming and bowl opponents, there are legitimate reasons for why the CSU faithful are feeling uneasy in Bobo’s third year as head coach.
That being said, the notion that Bobo is somehow a failure as the leader of this program and should be replaced is absolutely insane for multiple reasons.
Stating the obvious, losing a second coach in five years would be devastating for a program trying to establish itself with the elite schools in college football. It also completely overlooks the positive impact that Bobo has had on CSU football as a whole.
Sure, Bobo is one of the best recruiters to ever step foot on campus. More importantly though, Bobo has completely changed the culture of the program. Through the highs and lows of this season, the one thing that has stayed consistent is the maturity level of the players.
When things were good and the team was on a roll, the players were excited but consistently acknowledged that they were far from accomplishing the ultimate goal. In the moments after losing tough games to Colorado or Wyoming, the players did not make excuses and owned up to missed opportunities in the contest.
What’s more, they handled the situations with poise and showed respect to the media members that were prodding them for information on their recent setbacks. It may seem simple, but these are the small signs of a well-coached program and proves the type of impact Bobo’s staff is having on the team, both on and off the field.
Obviously winning ballgames has been and will always be the ultimate goal, so if CSU does not start to perform better in primetime moments, there may come a time down the line where Bobo’s fit with the program would need to be evaluated.
But when so much weight is put on individual games, it is often easy to overlook the good.
The truth is that life is much different as a G5 program and the Rams are not that far removed from the days of 3-9 and zero bowl appearances. So before CSU fans run a great coach out of town, consider the Rams’ bleak history as a football program and think about what kind of man you want representing this university.
I wrote earlier this season that CSU should lock down Bobo with a contract extension. Roughly two months later, I am saying the same thing. The grass is not always greener, Ram fans.
Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.