That may seem a little silly, what on the heels of Coach Sonny Lubick's Phoenix-like touch in raising the Rams from the college football dung heap to a perennial bowl invitee. Well, believe me, I'm not a heretic...I've been there, bleeding green and gold since 1974 and the infamous Sark Arslanian sessions.
I was there (in a pitiful stupor) when junior quarterback (and current Athletic Director) Mark Driscoll came into a hopeless 33-6 game against nationally ranked BYU and rallied the team back in the second half to a 33-33 tie, scoring the final touchdown with no time left on the clock. All that was needed for a stunning win was a simple extra point — until what was to be the beginning of Cubs-style luck struck, and the Rams were penalized 15 yards for ‘excessive celebration' on the touchdown. Forced to kick a 35 year extra point, Clark Kemble missed wide left.
That's what I mean — the Rams are the Cubs in green and gold. Every year blooms full of fresh promise and we return to love them unconditionally - and of course, every year, at some point, they break our hearts. Sure, there have been singular, special moments, like the 1997 Holiday Bowl win against Missouri, the 2001 Liberty Bowl win against Louisville, the 48-14 thumping of CU, payback for a humiliating loss the year before. But those moments have been few and far between.
More times than not, the Rams have seemed ready to push over the mountaintop, only - like the mythical Sisyphus - to see their stone roll back downhill. Devastating bowl losses to TCU and Boston College dot numerous regular season games when a breakout was imminent, but stopped by teams like Air Force, Wyoming or Utah. And a season of promise last year, became one of frustration, a 7-6 test of mediocrity topped by a humiliating bowl loss to BC in the less than awe-inspiring San Francisco Bowl. Cub fans know the feeling — and Cub fans know, all too well, the pain of last Saturday's humiliation in Boulder.
It was all there for the taking. A huge emotional win in the last seconds of the game would not only have sent arch rival CU back to the dorms smarting, it would have been an exceptional kick off point for next Saturday's affair in Southern Califonia. But instead, the Rams not only failed to score the go-ahead touchdown from the one foot line, they failed to spike the ball so they could kick a tying field goal. Instead, they pathetically allowed time to expire while looking like Moe, Larry and Curly in an updated version of "The Three Stooges Play College Football".
One could ALMOST excuse the Keystone Cops approach to the final few seconds if it were mistakes made by a rank, raw rookie coach. But Sonny Lubick is a 35 year coaching veteran, with 10 plus years as head man in Fort Collins and 6 at perennial powerhouse Miami. But no — just as the Cubs were denied by an overzealous fan reaching out and snatching victory from them last year, so too are the Rams being constantly denied by powers greater than their own. It's beyond bad luck — it's Cubs-like providence.
And to a certain extent, that's OK, I've said before, I do NOT want to see CSU rise to a level of a Miami or Ohio State where thugs and gangsters dot the rosters. I love how Coach Lubick produces exceptional results using local recruits — and not even the glamour "A" listers their rivals in Boulder love to brag about. But, at some point, Sisyphus needs to fight the good fight — and WIN IT. I'd like to see CSU go into this week's game with USC and NOT be a 24-point underdog. I'd like to go into the game with CU FAVORED every single year. I'd like to hear talk about CSU for upper mid-level bowl games, games like the Cotton Bowl, or the Gator Bowl, not just the Liberty Bowl.
Of course, I'd also love to see the Cubs win the World Series. But first things first - Sisyphus has to get that rock over the hill.