Coloradoan reporters Kelly Lyell and Kevin Lytle talk about CSU football’s upcoming game at Utah State as the Rams open Mountain West play.
Kevin Lytle, email@example.com
The seasons are converging at Colorado State.
Fall sports are just entering conference play with a mixture of excitement and gloom, from volleyball to football.
Basketball season is approaching, with the men’s and women’s programs holding their first practices this week.
It’s time to dive into reader questions about a wide range of CSU topics and sports.
If CSU makes a bowl, does Bobo keep his job? (@MarlonJBlake)
Yes. It would take a 5-3 Mountain West record for CSU to get bowl eligible at 6-6, and that would be more than enough for Mike Bobo to show things are moving in the right direction.
Lots of chatter on here from fans about getting rid of Bobo after this season. His buyout is $5.5M until Dec. 31. Does CSU have the kind of money needed to make that move, particularly if it needs to be paid in a lump sum? (@ByKeeganPope)
This cuts right to the heart of the matter of why talk of a coaching change is so complex. It takes a $5.5 million buyout if CSU chooses to move on. Then you have to hire a new coach, which could mean a buyout from where they currently work.
Now, a buyout of Bobo’s contract likely wouldn’t go in one lump sum. Generally, it would be done in installments. CSU men’s basketball coach Larry Eustachy was owed $750,000 when the Rams got rid of him, and they did that payment in installments.
It’s a lot of money that isn’t readily available at a school like CSU, but at some point a cost-benefit analysis needs to take place. For instance, basketball surely lost money by keeping Eustachy as long as they did, in the form of decline in boosters and season ticket holders. The program is still in the early stages of that off-the-court rebuild.
The same discussion could take place with football. If season tickets (especially in premium seating areas that bring in a lot of cash) start to drop, it creates a conundrum for the athletic department.
Bobo’s buyout drops to $3 million on Jan. 1, 2020. If CSU decides to make a change after this season, it’s hard to imagine they could wait until then to do it.
Are any of the injuries this week long-term? (@maxfinney8)
I don’t think so, at this point. Marvin Kinsey Jr. played with a separated shoulder last week against Toledo but couldn’t finish the game. Bobo called him “doubtful” for Utah State, but I still wouldn’t rule him out. He’ll be desperate to play.
We’ll see on Warren Jackson, who is also “doubtful.” The Rams will be hurting if Ellison Hubbard and Toby McBride can’t play again this week, but right now it doesn’t look like CSU has any season-ending type of injuries to those guys.
Saw some minor exchanges between former players and current players. Current players calling out the fans. We were told things changed over the summer, this was a new team. Why is the culture around football still the same? (@foreverfluffy1)
Ah, the ugly side of social media.
I’ll quickly run through my thoughts. It’s not a good look when fans attack athletes on social media, no matter how frustrated they are.
That said, social media is part of marketing the program, and players are held to a high standard as public faces of the team and school. They have social media training, but emotions take over.
I think calling out fans isn’t a good look, either, but it’s also not surprising with the amount of frustration boiling around the program right now. I do think the culture has improved in the locker room, but I also believe the players are sensitive to outside reaction. It’s a normal feeling when losses mount.
Bobo always preaches “ignore the noise,” but it’s easy to say and hard to do. I cringe when I see these exchanges; they do no one any good. The bickering between current and former players typically comes from a place of passion and care about the program, but often the message delivered is unnecessarily negative.
Like most things, wins would change the tone.
What are reasonable expectations for the men’s basketball team this year? Is a MW championship run out of the question this year? (@Arazi_92)
A Mountain West title seems a step too far this season, especially since Utah State should be a dominant, top-25 type of team.
But should the Rams finish in the top five of the conference? I don’t think that’s an unrealistic hope. Behind Utah State, the MW should be pretty wide open.
There’s talent in this group of freshmen and newcomers, and CSU will play an exciting brand of basketball. I think fans should look for a team to play above .500 ball and make a postseason tournament.
I’m not much of a soccer fan, unfortunately, but it is cool to see CSU soccer doing so well. What are some of the stories behind their success? (@Fastball_05)
CSU is in its seventh season, and its high-mark for wins is a 6-9-4 record last year.
The Rams are 5-2-1 entering Mountain West play, which begins with a 4 p.m. home match against New Mexico on Friday. It’s a great sign of things moving in the right direction, especially when you account for CSU’s announced plans for a new soccer/softball complex.
Success stories have to start with senior Caeley Lordemann. The 2016 Greeley West graduate transferred to CSU after her playing her freshman season at Creighton, and she’s going to leave with ownership of CSU’s record book.
She’s already CSU’s career leader in goals scored, and her five this season is tied for most in a single season in program history. They’ve been big goals, too. She scored the winner in double-overtime at Grand Canyon and then netted the winner in a 1-0 victory over Denver the next game.
Sophomore forward Kristen Noonan also has five goals.
CSU scored 10 goals in 19 games last season, and the Rams were shutout 11 times. The Rams already have 13 goals in seven games and haven’t been shutout.
Further, CSU is third in the Mountain West in fewest goals allowed, with seven. The stalwart in goal? None other than Rocky Mountain High School graduate Gabi McDonald, who leads the conference in saves with 46.
Vball is rolling. There have been a lot of good teams; is this the best team we’ve seen in many years? (@Matty_FoCo)
Tom Hilbert’s program sets the bar so high. Winning MW titles is the base expectation. These Rams are looking for a run in the NCAA tournament, and I do think this is the best team in years.
I would go back to the 2014 team for a squad as good as this one. Those Rams, of course, won NCAA matches at Moby Arena against Denver and Colorado to make the Sweet 16. The Rams had a 26-3 season the following year but were banged up and ran out of gas at the end of the season.
This 2019 team has a mix of everything. Setter Katie Oleksak will go down as one of the best players in CSU history. Paulina Hougaard-Jensen and Kirstie Hillyer are a formidable blocking duo, and Breana Runnels is one of the best outside hitters CSU has had.
The Rams also have depth. Olivia Nicholson can do everything. Jessica Jackson has become a reliable hitter. Freshman Brooke Hudson is an dynamic, energetic defensive player. And fellow freshman Alyssa Bert is finding her role defensively.
These Rams need to continue rolling (10-1 entering Thursday’s 7 p.m. MW opener at home against New Mexico) to earn home NCAA tournament matches. This is a team that should be aiming to advance past the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament.