The Colorado State Rams finished off their 2016 campaign at 7-6. It was only head coach Mike Bobo’s second season, but the Rams showed decisive improvement throughout the year. In fact, Colorado State could be poised to contend in the Mountain West Mountain Division this fall.
The Rams offensive attack brings back plenty of punch. On the other side of the ball, the defense returns eight starters and a linebacker that missed all of 2016 because of a health issue. There are some concerns in the front four and a few in the back half.
Even still, the Rams should be able to score enough points to rack-up plenty of wins in 2017. If so, they will earn a trip to a fifth straight bowl game, and quite possibly a Mountain West title.
Mike Bobo is excited about his quarterback. He has every reason to be. Once true freshman Colin Hill blew out his ACL, senior Nick Stevens took back his starting gig. The heady signal-caller took full advantage of an offensive system he knew quite well.
The familiar face under center had tossed for 2,679 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore. Nick Stevens picked right up where he left off. In his final seven contests, he completed 119 of 173 passes for over 1,850 yards and 19 scoring strikes. The most impressive stat to me is that he only served up three picks. As a result, he guided Colorado State to their fourth straight bowl game.
The Colorado State Rams are also excited about the receivers that will be providing open spaces for Nick Stevens to throw to. His top two targets, seniors Michael Gallup and Bisi Johnson are back.
That’s a huge plus for the fans in Fort Collins. Michael Gallup was easily the Rams best target and contended for the top wide out in the conference. He reeled in 76 catches for almost 1,300 yards and an impressive 14 scores. On the other side, is elusive receiver Bisi Johnson. Johnson held his own in 2016, catching 28 passes for an inflated 613 yards and four more touchdowns.
Colorado State was remarkably balanced on offense last season. The play calling kept teams guessing, while the Rams running game put up respectable numbers. For example, Colorado State ranked 31st in the nation last year averaging 217 yards per game. Plus, three running backs took turns gashing their opponents for over 2,200 yards and 24 touchdowns. They’re all back.
Senior tailback Dalyn Dawkins scampered for over 900 yards and four trips to the end zone. In the red zone, Colorado State fed junior Izzy Matthews. Mathews responded, collecting 734 yards and 13 touchdowns. Marvin Kinsey Jr. and his 546 yards is the only question mark. Kinsey could be slowed while recovering from a torn ACL that kept him out of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
A green and inexperienced squad had its share of positives and negatives in 2016.ups Colorado State’s defense did recorded the university’s first shutout in 20 years against Fresno State. Then, the young unit turned around and surrendered 31 points or more in their final four games. They still are trying to get the 61 point debacle in their bowl appearance in Idaho.
The linebacking corp should once again be strength of the Colorado State defense. Senior Deonte Clyburn is plenty capable of picking up departed Kevin Davis’ production. Davis was the Rams leading tackler the last two seasons. Never fear, Clyburn was one of the Rams’ top defenders in 2015. Unfortunately, he had to sit out last season due to blood clots.
Keeping up with the theme of this article, the Rams are deeper at the position than just Mr. Clyburn. Senior Evan Colorito (10 TFL) and Juniors Josh Watson and Tre Thomas also return. It’s fair to say the Colorado State is loaded up in their 3-4 scheme.
The back half features safety Jake Schlager and cornerback Kevin Nutt Jr. Both defenders are seniors and will anchor the Rams’ secondary in 2017. Colorado State was undersized up front last year, but 6’3″, 335-pound nose tackle Christian Colon is ready. The human house red-shirted last season.
Three of the Colorado State Rams’ biggest games of the year come within the first four weeks of the season. They christen in their new on-campus venue against the PAC-12’s Oregon State. Then they get their annual rivalry game against the Buffaloes in Denver. Finally, they get to travel down south and face somebody named Alabama. Wow. Welcome back to the SEC Mike Bobo.
If the Rams can manage to beat the two PAC-12 teams in that set, the sky is the limit. Hey, 2-1 after those three contests makes their Mountain West schedule seem easy.
Colorado State will find themselves in a fifth straight bowl. I also believe they’ll be better than Boise State and are my pick to win the Mountain West. Odds experts have the Rams at 9 to 2 (+450) to win the Mountain West. I love that bang for your buck. They also have their team total at 7.5. Unfortunately, it is chalked in at -150.
The Rams’ high scoring offense should put up plenty of points. The defense will struggle a bit because of a few holes to fill. Don’t be afraid to eyeball the Colorado State overs early on. Taking them to cover Bama’ if the line is inflated could be a smart bet.
8-26 vs. Oregon State
9-1 vs. Colorado
9-9 vs. Abilene Christian
9-16 @ Alabama
9-30 @ Hawaii
10-7 @ Utah State
10-14 vs. Nevada
10-20 @ New Mexico
10-28 vs. Air Force
11-4 @ Wyoming
11-11 vs. Boise State
11-18 vs. San Jose State
The getmoresports.com NCAA College Football Throwdown Podcast will be returning to the air on August 24th. We will be highlighting the first five games on August 26th of the 2017 NCAA College Football season. That will be the first of three installments leading into the first week of the season. We also we will be covering our expectations for the Heisman Trophy front runners as well as predictions for conference winners and team totals.
Our second NCAA College Football Throwdown is penciled in for August 29th. In that installment, we will discussing all the games that will be played on August 31st and the 1st of September.
Our third segment will officially be airing on August 31st. In this addition of the NCAA College Football Throwdown, we will be covering all the relevant games for Sept 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Keeping with tradition, EJ the Rainmaker and Erik the Hun will give their predictions for the contests. On top of that, we will be providing our dog play of the podcast as well as cash money plays for the week. Join us for all three opening episodes and improve your college football knowledge while increasing the size of your sports book betting account. Come join us and help everyone make it rain. #moneytreesgrow
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