1) Utah is still a very solid defensive unit and even though they sport a non-reflective record (2-4 overall, 0-2 MWC), this defense may be the one of the toughest the Ram's will face all year. They are not as big or athletic as the UCLA defense, but they work well within their scheme and when operating at maximum efficiency, they are nearly impossible to crack. Just look back at what the Utes did at "The Big House" on September 21st against Michigan. They held the Wolverines to just 10 points at home and had every chance to win that ball-game. To date, Utah is only giving up an average of 19 points per game. If this is yet again the case, how confident do you feel about the Rams holding Utah to only 18 points at Rice-Eccles Stadium? CSU will not win a defensive slugfest. No way, no how.
2) CSU is also in the unfavorable position of taking on Utah after some very disappointing losses. These include last week's 36-17 loss on the road against San Diego State and a devastating 30-26 come-from-behind loss to the Air Force Academy back on the 28th of September. The natives are now restless in Salt Lake City, with some calling for Ron McBride's head. Again another question for Ram Fans to ponder. Do you want to overlook a team, with arguably the best defensive unit in the Mountain West, playing at home, for their own honor, as well as for the job of their head coach? ..........Didn't think so.
3) Finally, with the mounting in-house issues, (i.e..Bradlee Van Pelt, Jeff Babcock, a struggling defense, a total lack of pass pressure by the front four, and an unsteady special teams unit) the Rams have plenty of business of their own to attend to before even looking at the Utes. Ironically these mounting problems are being played off by the coaching staff as non-issues. But let ol' Ram Rod ask you this; "Have any of these issues ever really been addressed during the course of the whole season?" Nothing more from the coaching staff then just blowing them off as "media-hype." We shall see on Saturday if they are just hype or if there are, in fact, some major issues festering within this program.
Finally, the good news.
Bradlee Van Pelt is mad. He is mad at being pulled in the 4th quarter, mad at CSU's lack of consistent play, and when Bradlee Van Pelt is mad he plays his very best football. Look for Bradlee to play with reckless abandon against the Utes on Saturday, but make sure to keep an eye on Justin Holland when he graces the field for 4 or 5 series in Salt Lake.
That's all for now and Go Rams!!!