As a result of a 13-game schedule, the longest regular season schedule in CSU history, the Rams see their second bye date of the season this week. Following four tough games to start the season, CSU went into its first off week 3-1.
The Rams came out of that bye and won five of their next six games. The last two victories were by a combined score of 66-12, and came against two perennial Mountain West powers: BYU and Air Force. After playing just well enough to win most of the year, CSU put together back-to-back, complete, all-around games in beating the Cougars and Falcons.
The team would like to keep that roll going.
"I'd like to go out and play another game," quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt said. "But I'll take the bye week in stride. I'm gonna sit down and enjoy it."
With three games remaining after the second bye date, CSU (8-2 overall, 4-0 in MWC) is in sole possession of first place in the MWC and looking to stay undefeated in league play. And with a relatively healthy team, the Rams hope the bye week won't knock them off this nice ride they're on.
Many considered the CSU-Air Force match up to be the game that would determine the league champ. After CSU's dominating performance - in which it was the first team this season to hold the Falcons scoreless in the second half - all that is left is to beat San Diego State on the road, and then New Mexico and UNLV at home.
Looking at how the Rams played against Air Force, that shouldn't be a problem.
"It feels good to get one like that, especially to beat Air Force like that cause they're always a tough opponent and a big rival," linebacker Drew Wood said. "But we're not the best team in the Mountain West until we win it. So we still have a couple steps left to go."
The toughest part of its schedule may be behind it considering not one of CSU's remaining opponents has an overall winning record. But the Rams won't tell you that, because they know each one of these last games is important. No let down can be had now.
Not counting the last two games, CSU has had a tendency all year to let teams hang close before pulling out a last-minute win. And as a heavy favorite last year, the Rams lost to San Diego State on Homecoming. So, the team has a week to figure out what to do to keep playing the way it has been.
"We have three tough opponents left, three opponents that can show up and beat us. So we can't overlook any team right now," Van Pelt said. "We have to be fortunate that we're 8-2 right now, 4-0 in conference, and just know that, hey, we gotta show up every week. Our defense and our offense have to show up. If we do that in our last three games, no one's gonna stop us."