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Why Not Playing the Rocky Mountain Showdown is Good (For CSU)
2021 will be the first year since 1995 that the Colorado State Rams will not have their annual battle with their entitled in state sisters Colorado University. The first game between the two cross state schools was played in 1893, which was the start of a beautiful and entertaining rivalry. Overall, the Colorado Buffaloes hold a 62-22-2 record over the Colorado State Rams. So why would the University of Colorado refuse to play a team that they have handled so well in the past. Money.
The University of Colorado complains that they don't receive enough money or coverage to play a non conference game somewhere other than their home field (as most games are played in Denver rather than CU's hometown of Boulder). Which is somewhat of a valid excuse. A college, like a major sports team, is a business before anything else. But to say that they're losing that much money on one game every year is preposterous. This is a sports organization that is kicking themselves for joining one of the toughest conferences outside of the SEC.
Oregon, Arizona, ASU, USC, Stanford, UCLA, Utah. Those are the giants the University of Colorado have willingly put themselves up against year round. Now they want to try to compete in a conference that's already bloated with egos, except all the other teams have the talent and management to merit that ego. Colorado University is that one kid in the neighborhood that talks themselves up tremendously, but when it comes down to it, they couldn't even dunk on the Playschool hoop we all had right after we learned how to walk. They would then storm off while cursing and fire their mom as Athletic Director.
Just because you're in the Pac-12 does not mean you're an elite team by any means. In the past two years, Colorado State has played two different Pac-12 teams in two different bowl games, beating Washington State in 2014 but losing to Utah in 2015. In the same amount of time, Colorado University has only won six games. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the lowly Buffaloes have only won 10 games, as opposed to the Rams' 25 wins. So could the lapse in funds stem from a lack of interest in a dying sports organization rather than because they're playing one game a year outside of Folsom Field?
Logic may point that way to everyone outside of sports management offices located in Boulder, Colorado, but to the University of Colorado that one game played outside of their home stadium is the parasite that's sucking the financial marrow from their very bones.
So how is this good for Colorado State University you may ask? Like any person exiting a long term relationship, they'll finally be able to focus on themselves. Instead of being recognized in Colorado as the second best NCAA division 1 college football team, they can prove to everyone that they are in fact the better gridiron organization. Keep up their winning ways, and they'll do that in no time.
Another reason this is good for Colorado State is that they'll be able to challenge better teams, which will make them better as well. Let's face it, the University of Colorado is in a perpetual state of rebuilding. With the conference they're in, growth is going to be extremely challenging at best. This means many more years of painful and agonizing defeats in store for them. Colorado State has proven to be contenders for bowl games, conference championships and playoff berths in every division 1 sport they take part in. This will draw in better recruits and ultimately make them stronger year in and year out.
Colorado State's potential for growth right now is tremendous, and a lot of people are starting to recognize that. Garrett Grayson, the Rams' recent quarterback graduate, is being praised by John Gruden, an ex NFL player, super bowl winning coach and current NFL analyst, as possibly being the third best quarterback prospect in the 2015 NFL Entry Draft. That's pretty big. Especially for a school, and a conference, that is constantly being overlooked.
Though losing the Rocky Mountain Showdown will be heartbreaking for fans of both Colorado State and the University of Colorado, it will ultimately be better for the better Colorado college team to break off from a one sided relationship.