Mike Bobo’s legacy as CSU football’s head coach to be tested

Sergio Santistevan

Dating back to last season, many Colorado State football fans have been calling for Head Coach Mike Bobo’s job. Coming into the season, it was clear from Athletic Director Joe Parker that the football team needed to show improvement. Even though Parker didn’t directly say it, Bobo’s seat was heating up.

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To start the season, the Rams looked like a team that loved beating themselves, as they let games against the University of Colorado, the University of Arkansas and Utah State all slip away because of self-inflicted mistakes. At the same time, the Rams lost their star quarterback Collin Hill to a season-ending ACL injury: his third ACL injury during college.

When things looked like they couldn’t get worse for the Rams during their four-game losing skid, they did. Leading rusher Marvin Kinsey Jr. was suspended indefinitely from the program and was eventually cut from the team.

With the loss of two of their best players, Bobo’s squad looked destined to crumble and lose a good majority of their final games. However, that’s the opposite of what Bobo’s squad did. The Rams are in the middle of a three-game winning streak and currently hold a 4-5 record.

If the Rams win two of their final three games, they will be bowl eligible. What seemed unlikely at the beginning of the season is now possible. The final three games of the season will not only determine CSU’s record, but Bobo’s coaching legacy at CSU as well.

Colorado State Head Coach Mike Bobo encourages the team during a break in the action during their Thanksgiving Day game against Air Force Nov. 22, 2018. (Collegian File Photo)

Anybody who has watched the Rams during their three-game winning streak can notice a different team on the field — a motivated team.

Unfortunately for Bobo, the big test will come with these next few weeks, as the Rams aren’t going to be playing underperforming teams. Air Force Academy, the University of Wyoming and Boise State University have a combined 21-6 overall record.

Throughout his tenure, Bobo has struggled to win rival games.

The Rams have a 1-3 record against both Air Force Academy and the University of Wyoming during Bobo’s five years. In 2017, CSU blew an 18-point halftime lead over Boise State University, a team they will get to face at home in their season finale on Nov. 29.

Air Force has been tremendous this season with their run-heavy offense. A win against the Falcons will prove Bobo has breathed new life into the season and into the Rams’ rivalry games. The same can be said against the Cowboys. If Bobo loses to Air Force and wins in Laramie, then he still deserves a lot of credit for a big road win against a talented Wyoming team.

The biggest test for the Rams will be against the Mountain West’s gold standard. The No. 19 ranked Broncos currently sit on top of the Mountain West Division at 8-1 overall, and they still own a perfect record in the conference following a nail-biting 20-17 win over the Cowboys at home this past weekend. 

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This is the best team CSU will face all season: a team the Rams have never beat. A win against Boise will certainly save Bobo’s job.

Now, what does Bobo have to accomplish to seal another year as the leader of the green and gold? I think any win in these final three games will solidify Bobo’s job, as all three teams are better than the Rams. Bobo must out-prepare the opposing coaches with a better game plan. Additionally, it will show a lot of improvement in last season’s 3-9 debacle.

If the Rams lose all three games, then I think Bobo’s coaching legacy ends as an under-performing coach who couldn’t win the big games. Soon, the Ram faithful will find out if Bobo has turned the tide this season.

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