As we sit here, contemplating a 1-1 record for our highly touted Rams, it seems ridiculous to be disappointed. Yet we are. We fully expected to be 2-0, with a pair of wins over the CU Buffs from the Big Bad 12 and the Cal Bears from the prestigious Pac 10.
The fact that only the latter happened, and that we are disappointed about it, tells us just how far Sonny Lubick has brought this program. It's been nine years since the Rams beat a team from the Pac 10 (that memorable upset of powerful Arizona in Tucson in 1994), yet most of us seemed to take for granted that the Rams would win, but that they were supposed to. My how things have changed.
Lubick warned everyone about expectations before the season started. He warned his players, the media, anyone who would listen, that calling this the best Rams team ever - before the first kick-off - was a big mistake. Lubick knew his team, while very good and worthy of a pre-season ranking, still had some holes. CU found them.
The Rams played well on offense against CU, falling woefuly short in the defense and special teams areas. True to Lubick-form, both improved greatly against Cal, and the result was an important win, a win that should springboard the Rams to a 3-1 start (after home wins over two cupcakes, Weber State and Miami of Ohio) before they crank it up against MWC foe Utah and non-conference nemesis Fresno State.
Remember, the goal here is to win the Mountain West Conference - again - and maybe improve on last year sparkling record. The loss to Colorado - while very hard to swallow, is hardly a season breaker for CSU. It should be seen as a learning experience, and nothing more.
Based on their play against Cal, the did learn some lessons. Missing two starters for most of the game from the beleaguered secondary, they still came up big - including a game clinching interception by Ben Stratton late in the contest.
So here we are, the Rams are 1-1, having beaten a decent Pac 10 team and played the defending Big 12 North Champions to a virtual deadlock before falling late. CSU is in a good place. It could be better, but it could be worse. Long-time Ram fans should remember that part. There will be plenty more cheering.