Can you feel it in the air? That’s right, college football is back, baby! And what better way to kick off the season that with that titanic match-up/bitter rivalry between Colorado State and Oregon State? Hey, you have to start somewhere, and what better place to start than Colorado State’s beautiful new $230 million on-campus stadium?
The stadium is in line with the Rams’ unending quest to make itself presentable to the Big 12 for a hopeful eventual invitation to join the conference. The new stadium upgraded the number of seats from 32,500 to 41,200. It also includes a craft beer porch, more suites and loge boxes, a video board triple the size of the old stadium’s, and flying cars (the last one may or may not have made the final architectural cut).
The Rams moved up their supposed first home game that was slated for September 9th against Abilene Christian (an almost a certain W) to August 26th against Oregon State, in what will be the first game of the college football season. The move puts CSU in a strange position, as they’ll play their second game on September 1st, just five days later, meaning they will have played 2 games before most of the country has even played one. After going a surprising 7-6 last year, including a bowl appearance, the Rams return their dual-threat QB in Nick Stevens. He completed 75+% in four straight games after coming in for injured Collin Hill. They’ll need him to continue to hook up with top WR Mike Gallup (Nice!) to keep the offense that averaged more than 44 pts/game after he took over the starting role rolling. Purdue transfer RB Dalyn Dawkins leads a rushing attack that had over 2,000 yards last year.
The Rams will have to score a lot of points to win, as they seem to think defense is optional sometimes, including giving up 61(!) points to Idaho in the Potato Bowl (lolwut?) last season. They will return 2015 star LB Deonte Clyburn, who sat out last year with blood clots. That will help. However, they are young on defense and may make a lot of mistakes early on.
Let’s take a journey, shall we? Think way back to 2014. You were wearing your new Pharrell Arby’s hat, retweeting Ellen’s Oscar tweet, all while playing Flappy Bird on your phone. Ah, simpler times. That also happens to be the last time that Oregon State won a road game. And the last time we checked, Colorado State’s new stadium is not Oregon State’s stadium. Thus, the tidbit about the lack of road game victories.
As detailed in our award-winning* coverage, the Beavers QB Marcus McMaryion transferred earlier this offseason. Thus, the offense is solely QB Jake Luton’s. They will lean heavily on rising star RB Ryan Nall’s ability, as he almost rushed for 1,000 yards last year. WR Jordan Villamin is coming off a disappointing season. TE Noah Togiai is coming off a major knee injury. Both have the potential to be NFL prospects. However, they have to prove it on the field. WR Isaiah Hodgins is an intriguing freshman, as his 6’4″ 210-lb frame could make him a dynamic playmaker.
The defense will have its work cut out for it, as the Beavers lost a trio of playmakers in the form of S Devin Chappell, DB Treston Decoud, and LB Caleb Saulo. They’ll lean on their core LBs in Manase Hungalu, Bright Ugwoegbu, and Andrzej Hughes-Murray (say those names three times fast). The secondary will have their work cut out for them, trying to keep Gallup and company from breaking the big plays.
The line is CSU -3.5, o/u 59. It would be daunting to back a team that hasn’t won a road game in years against a team opening a brand new stadium, but our guess (and it definitely is a guess this early on in the season) is that Oregon State covers with a shade to the over. Either way, if you’re a Ram, a Beaver, or any animal in between, we can all agree that the world is a better place when football is back.
* – full disclosure: the awards that we’ve won have been in house awards that we’ve just given to ourselves. They usually consist of various items that we find laying around the office, often just being re-gifted over and over. Although, once we did find some Burger King coupons to give away, which was nice. REALLY jealous of Aidan from accounting that day. Screw you, Aidan!