Zahlmann: Football is going to see its fandom go elsewhere

Luke Zahlmann

Football is seeing its reign at Colorado State come to an end.

Thurman McGraw, Jack Christiansen and Sonny Lubick built a legacy at CSU, putting football at the forefront. Niko Medved, Ryun Williams and their players alike are set to change the school’s legacy.

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24-27. No, it’s not a score of the latest football game, nor is it the halftime score of a poor shooting night for the Rams on the court. It’s the record for the football program under the direction of Mike Bobo.

After three consecutive years at 7-6, with a bowl loss for each, the team took a leap backward this season. Among poor coaching, mediocre quarterback play and a defense that was constantly attempting to adjust to a new system, the Rams were dreadful.

Things aren’t likely to change anytime soon. 

Head Coach Mike Bobo uses a megaphone to talk with his team during practice on November 6, 2018. The Rams are preparing for their game against Nevada on Nov. 10. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Without a star recruit on the way, nor a coaching change on the horizon given Bobo’s $8 million buyout courtesy of a contract extension after those seasons, the team will likely get worse. From a roster standpoint, the Rams stand to lose 18 seniors including program stalwarts Olabisi Johnson, Tre Thomas and Josh Watson among several impactful others.

Enter the hard hitters of the hardwood.

First and foremost, Williams and his success for the women’s basketball program has gone widely unnoticed.

As the winningest coach in school history for women’s hoops, Williams led his sixth respective team prior to this season to a 135-58, with an 81-25 mark in conference.

The overall record comes with postseason appearances as well, with five of the six teams making their way into the NIT or NCAA tournaments.

In their current season, the Rams are rebuilding. Following the loss of three of their best players in school history (Elin Gustavsson, Ellen Nystrom and Hannah Tvrdy), Williams is putting the pieces back together.

Despite the losses, the Rams are 2-2 thus far under Williams’ watch, likely to get better as the year goes on behind the tough-nosed defensive scheme he preaches.

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Then there’s Medved. 

Formerly of Drake and Furman University, Medved has shown the prowess of a rebuilding force. Whether it was bringing Drake from 7-24 to 17-17 in his lone season or Furman from 9-21 to 23-12 in four seasons, Medved has led drastic improvement. 

Players cheer
CSU basketball members cheer a stop by the defense, during a close game at home vs MSU. CSU wins 81-77 (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Now, taking over for Larry Eustachy’s 11-21 team, Medved has jumped out to a 4-3 record including a blowout exhibition win over Colorado State University-Pueblo.

With redshirt juniors Nico Carvacho and Anthony Masinton-Bonner leading the way, the Rams have scored 82.2 points per game. The pace is increasing, so, too are the results for Medved. With the wins come the fans, with attendance set to be a direct reversal of last years.

Both programs are set up for resounding success in the present and future seasons. This is something that football, though the most popular, can no longer envision.

It appears that Director of Athletics Joe Parker can see some of the benefits of the programs at Moby Arena. Underway is the construction of a porch in the arena, similar to the one present in Canvas Stadium, in which fans can purchase alcohol and enjoy a bar-type atmosphere while the game is ongoing below.

The addition to the arena should aid the crowds further, allowing fans a new experience to partake in. Given the porch’s success at Canvas, the results should be glowing.

Basketball is set to overtake the football program. No, they won’t draw the same crowds given the different capacities in respective venues, but the excitement will change. No longer will fans count down to football season, rather they will envy the wintery conditions that come along with basketball.

The team will never enjoy the lopsided success of a Power-Five program like Kansas, but they will soon have similar differences in elation for basketball season when compared to football.

Enjoy the ride from the green seats of the arena off College Ave.

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