Zahlmann: The Rams’ upcoming three-game stretch is pivotal

Luke Zahlmann

Already 1-3 on the year, Colorado State football has the next three games to make their season memorable.

Starting with their Ag Day matchup against Illinois State, the Rams are set to face a pivotal stretch in their season, facing three beatable opponents. Two of the contests are coming to Canvas Stadium.


The Redbirds, members of the FCS, were thought to be a guaranteed win coming into the season for the Rams. After the way the team has started, even ESPN has the No. 15 Redbirds as slight favorites in win probability, despite CSU playing host.

A true favorite is unknown due to a unavailable gambling lines for matchups between FBS and FCS teams.

With an all-time record of 2028-423-18 in favor of FBS schools over FCS as of 2013, the Rams losing would be an anomaly.

The Redbirds will be a capable opponent for the Rams, as they have yet to allow more than 10 points in their pair of games this year.

A loss to ISU would result in a lost season for the Rams, with their lone win the rest of the year coming against San Jose State.

The aforementioned Spartans, though the laughing stock of the conference for several years, will play host to the Rams coming out of their matchup with the Redbirds.

Still winless through a trio of games, the Spartans are another easy matchup for the Rams. The team will face a must-win matchup in for the second game in as many weeks.

CSU has won their last two matchups with the Spartans.

Posing as the third team in the series for the Rams is the University of New Mexico. They will head to Fort Collins to take part in the Homecoming Game on Oct. 13. 

The Colorado State football team runs out of the tunnel at the beginning of the Rams' Homecoming win over Nevada. (Javon Harris | Collegian)
The Colorado State football team runs out of the tunnel at the beginning of the Rams’ Homecoming win over Nevada. (Javon Harris | Collegian)

The Lobos stand as the stiffest competition of the three. They will likely enter the game against the Rams sitting at no worse than 3-2, with a 4-1 record well within their means.


Each team will face with the Rams with records that do not pale in comparison. The only possible result for the Rams, if they hope to enter bowl season as participants, is to go undefeated.

Following the stretch, the Rams immediately head to Boise, Idaho to play against the best team they will face the rest of the year.

After their battle in the Spud State, the Rams return home to host the Border War.

Heading into both matchups, the Rams will be underdogs, likely by double digits. For them to pull off the upsets, CSU will have to showcase rare high-level performances. Thought to be a key win, the Rams’ victory over the University of Arkansas is looking to be less impressive given the Razorbacks’ blowout at the hands of North Texas.

Utah State also serves as an upper-tier Mountain West team the Rams will face the rest of the year.

With three loses nearly guaranteed, the Rams will be forced to win each game outside of them to be bowl eligible. Air Force will not serve as an easy matchup for the Rams either, signaling their hopes of playing postseason football already being bleak.

Without a three-game win streak going into Boise, the Rams’ season is likely lost.

Collegian Sports Director Luke Zahlmann can be reached at or on Twitter @lukezahlmann.