Santistevan: The CSU football program is Boise State’s little brother

Sergio Santistevan

The Colorado State football team is set to play on the iconic blue turf as 23-point underdogs in a nationally televised game Oct. 19. The team that will line up on the opposite side of the Rams, Boise State University, is a nationally-recognized program that has been a perennial Associated Press Top 25 team throughout the last decade in mediocre conferences.

Players celebrating
Boise State players celebrate after a 59-52 win over CSU in overtime. The Rams fumbled the ball on the goal line during overtime. (Javon Harris | Collegian)

Boise State is the gold standard for not only the Mountain West but also for all Group-of-Five schools. The Boise State Broncos have finished in the Top 25 11 times and won 10 bowl games since 2002. They have competed against and defeated Power-5 teams such as Texas Christian University, the University of Georgia and the University of Oregon.


Their most notable win came in the 2006 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against the University of Oklahoma in an all-time classic.

The success that the Rams’ Mountain West Conference rivals from Idaho have experienced is something that Rams have dreamed of for ages. The worst part is that the team should be a better football program than BSU but has failed in every way to take that next step.

Boise, Idaho, has grown tremendously in the last 30 years with a bigger population than Fort Collins. Colorado should still be an easier sell to recruits than Idaho, yet BSU has continuously beat the Rams in recruiting. BSU boasts the most recognizable field in all of college football, which definitely gives them an advantage towards garnering recruiter attention.

But with Canvas Stadium approved since 2014, the overall stadium quality should side with the Rams. Instead, the Rams are still losing the recruiting battle to Boise.

Maybe it sides with the fact that the town of Boise loves their team. Boise-owned companies such as Norco and Micron have their names on campus buildings and a Boise-owned grocery store, Albertsons, has their name plastered on top of that blue field, otherwise known as “Smurf Turf.”

CSU football should invest more into their Fort Collins roots to gather more support from the community. As a result, they could create more sponsorship support and revenue, leading to more high-caliber recruits. No football team is great until their town truly loves them.

Additionally, BSU has outcoached the team from northern Colorado drastically.

BSU has had all their success without a professional-caliber quarterback, as no quarterback has ever been drafted by the National Football League from the school.

Former Rams’ signal callers, Bradlee Van Pelt (2004) and Garrett Grayson (2015) were both fortunate enough to have their names called during the draft. CSU has produced more NFL talent at the most important position on the field than BSU but has still failed to replicate their success due to inferior coaching.

Former Boise State Head Coach Chris Petersen led his team to two undefeated seasons during his tenure, and he now holds the same position at the University of Washington. Conversely, former Rams Head Coach Jim McElwain failed in his big gig at the University of Florida, showing the contrast in both coaches.


Head coach Mike Bobo stands with the Rams as they sing the Alma Mater after falling to Boise State 59-52 in overtime Saturday night. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)
Head coach Mike Bobo stands with the Rams as they sing the Alma Mater after falling to Boise State 59-52 in overtime last season. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

BSU has developed more talent from inside their program than the Rams have by taking average talent entering college and turning them pro after four years. Granted, the Rams have had several draftees over the years, but many of them are transfer students.

It has been rare for a player to play all four years at CSU and eventually hear their name called. The player development just is not there.

For years, CSU has been the little brother to BSU when it should be the other way around. If the Rams ever want to be considered a consistent Top 25 program, they should look directly at their opponent on Friday night and take some notes.

Sergio Santistevan can be reached at or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.