Herz: Arkansas victory needs to be a stepping stone for Bobo’s legacy

Eddie Herz

Team morale, fan interest, and having a realistic chance to make a bowl game this season were all on the line.

There is no question that Colorado State football’s most recent victory over Arkansas was a win the Rams needed for a magnitude of reasons. 

Ad

However, it may be overlooked that Coach Mike Bobo desperately needed to defeat the Razorbacks for the sake of his job.

That is not to say that Bobo would have been fired had CSU lost. But, after beginning the 2018 season 0-2, the questioning of Bobo increased. A loss to Arkansas would have given doubters more reason to dislike Bobo.

In turn, a loss would have been yet another black mark on Bobo’s work with the Rams since 2015.

The Razorbacks may not be the most formidable Power-Five opponent. In fact, they are probably one of the weakest. Despite that, CSU’s fans stormed the field after the comeback victory. The reaction reflects how little success the Rams have had in major games under the spotlight since Bobo took over.

In fact, CSU had lost seven of eight games against Power-Five opponents under Bobo before defeating the Razorbacks. The other win came against Oregon State to begin the 2017 season.

Considering the Mountain West has regressed since 2015 and the Rams do not stack their non-conference schedule, they have little opportunity to gain national respect. That’s what made the Arkansas game so significant to Bobo’s resume.

Even beating Boise State would be something to admire. But, that is something Bobo hasn’t done. The Rams have gone 0-3 against the Broncos since 2015 and will be major underdogs in Boise this season.

Though beating rivals such as Colorado, Wyoming and Air Force does not really do anything for CSU’s image in the eyes of the Associated Press, it will at least win the fans over. The Rams won two of three rivalry games in Bobo’s first season with the Rams. They began by losing to the Buffaloes and then bounced back to defeat the Cowboys and Falcons.

But, that is the last time Bobo had success in large conference matchups. Bobo and CSU are currently in the midst of a seven-game losing streak in rivalries. This gives Bobo an unideal 2-8 rivalry record.

Most of the games haven’t been close either. Within the seven-game skid, the Rams have lost by an average of 18.1 points per game.

Ad

Bobo should be praised for his efforts and dedication to his team while enduring lingering medical issues. But, the sympathy will only last so long. CSU has also fallen below expectations in each of Bobo’s previous three seasons. Each year Bobo has been at the helm, the Rams have come out and lost a bowl game that they simply did not look like they wanted to win.

The ice under Bobo was getting thinner and thinner before beating Arkansas. Now, he has a bit of solid ground. But, there still should not be much room for error from Athletic Director Joe Parker.

Even if Bobo was truly a good coach, it wouldn’t mean anything if he didn’t generate positive results. Beating major opponents, winning rivalry games and winning bowl games are necessary for Bobo’s job security.

The Arkansas victory was a good start, but Bobo needs to build off of it. If he fails to do so, he will still lack the desired amount of respect from the country, and more importantly, CSU fans.

CSU heads to Gainesville to play the Florida Gators this weekend. A win would be immensely more significant than beating Arkansas. In addition, the Rams still have two rivalry games left this season.

The opportunities are on the table. Only the final results will show if Bobo can finally produce positive results when it matters most.

Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.