Words From the Pope: Mike Bobo and Mountain West hoops

Keegan Pope

 Keegan Pope
Keegan Pope

In my transition to from sports editor back to reporter, I have stayed away from throwing my two cents in as much as possible, though sometimes Twitter brings out my opinionated side. 

I’ve decided to go back to writing a weekly, or bi-weekly, column of sorts, that will address a number of topics. This week’s “Words From the Pope” will focus on CSU head coach Mike Bobo’s name “surfacing” around the recently-vacated Georgia coaching job and Mountain West hoops through the first couple weeks of the season.

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Let’s start with the rumors about Mike Bobo, which are right now nothing more than a bunch of media conjecture. It makes a great talking point, and with the departure of Jim McElwain last season, CSU fans are on high alert in regard to another coach ditching them for the SEC. 

But I would be shocked — absolutely dumbfounded — if Mike Bobo takes any coaching job after this season. A bunch of media members looking for page hits by listing possible candidates is the current depth of the Mike Bobo to Georgia conversation. It creates discussion, and lots of Twitter responses and comments, but in the end, it doesn’t mean anything. 

The head coaching job at Georgia is the premier job in the country outside of Alabama, Ohio State, Southern Cal and possibly Texas. Georgia’s history, facilities, recruiting base and the school’s commitment to football are relatively unmatched outside of those schools. 

This isn’t to say that Mike Bobo couldn’t coach there. But I’d bet my bottom dollar Georgia goes elsewhere. It is a destination job, one you don’t leave to take another college coaching position. So you can bet that the list of possible candidates at UGA runs much deeper than Dan Mullen, Kirby Smart, Tom Herman and Mike Bobo. 

Anyone and everyone is a possibility. But I’d be willing to bet that the Bulldogs aren’t jumping at the chance to pay a $5 million buyout for a coach who went 7-5 in his first year in a season which CSU should realistically be 10-2. Mike Bobo is a very good coach, don’t get me wrong, but like any first-time head coach, he’s still learning as he goes, and he has admitted that. 

That’s no fault of his own, it’s just something that comes with the job. 

I’m not going to outright say that Mike Bobo won’t be hired as the head coach at Georgia, because ruling out anything is silly. But it’s not the time to panic Ram fans. 

Now it’s time for hoops…

It’s the non-conference season, folks. Let’s not get too worked up about where everyone stands in the Mountain West. Sure, it’s another fun thing to talk about, but comparing teams right now is like comparing apples and … potato chips. (I’m partial to apples in case you were wondering.)

But seriously, comparing a CSU team that has faced Northern Iowa and Oakland University to a Boise State team that has faced Michigan State and Arizona (twice) will only lead you to pull out your hair, no matter who you root for. UNLV is 6-1, and has a win over a less-than-impressive 13th-ranked Indiana team. But the Rebels also didn’t look good against Prairie View A&M and Cal Poly. UNLV is really, really good at playing up to good competition and playing down to poor competition. 

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So what about San Diego State? The Aztecs beat a talented, but young California team, then got handled by West Virginia. The Mountaineers are no slouches though, returning the majority of a Sweet Sixteen team from a year ago. 

Fresno State is undefeated, but has had one of the weakest schedules in the country by far. CSU looked very impressive, until the Rams shot 32 percent and blew a 17-point lead in a double overtime loss against UTEP. 

Utah State looked good too, until it got crushed by No. 6 Duke at home, like so many teams have before. 

Where does this leave us then?

In about the same place as when the season started two-plus weeks ago. San Diego State and Boise State are still the two favorites in Mountain West play, despite their early-season losses. UNLV is a team that could win the league title, but could also finish in sixth or seventh place. CSU will shoot itself into game, and it will also shoot itself out of games. 

That’s how the Mountain West breaks down. Plain and simple.

The Pope has spoken. 

Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at kpope@collegian.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.