In just under six months, the Colorado State Rams are set to play their first game at the new on-campus stadium, and it will no longer take place on Sept. 9 versus Abilene Christian.
Colorado State Rams football announced Monday afternoon they will be hosting Oregon State in the inaugural game at Sonny Lubick Field at the On-Campus Stadium.
“We are very appreciative that Oregon State was willing to discuss the potential change and found that it also would benefit their program,” said director of athletics Joe Parker via a release. “We understand the importance to Coach Bobo and the football program to have a bye week between the four non-conference games and the eight-game conference schedule. The change moves up the opening of our new stadium by two weeks, but the project remains on-schedule and on-budget, and we expect to be fully operational in time for the first game.”
That game will take place on Aug. 26, one week before the Rams head down to Denver and play CU at Mile High Stadium. Then, Colorado State will host Abilene Christian Sept. 9, go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Sept. 16 and now have a bye week on Sept. 23, when they were originally scheduled to play Oregon State.
Opening up that bye week was extremely important for Colorado State, who were not scheduled a bye from the Mountain West until the last week of the season. Now, the Rams will take off the weekend of Sept. 23 before heading to Hawaii, 3,200 miles away, on Sept. 30 to start their Mountain West slate of games.
“Playing 12 consecutive weeks without a bye is a significant challenge, so we began to look at our non-conference schedule, and the Oregon State game was the logical date,” head coach Mike Bobo said Monday. “Fortunately, they also saw benefit with their schedule, and we were able to make the switch fairly quickly. We all are excited about the opening of the new stadium and playing football on campus, and now we get to celebrate that historic day sooner than we all expected.”
The Rams also have a bye week the weekend of Nov. 25, the last week of the regular season. So, if they’re in contention for the Mountain West Championship, they will have rest before that game.
This 2017 season has brought with it more expectations than in any year in the recent past for Colorado State football. The new stadium has everyone excited, but on the field, Mike Bobo’s Rams have finally caught their stride, at least on the offensive side. Over the last six games of the season, Bobo’s offense put up a stellar 47.8 points per game while going 4-2, and making it into the famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Now, after making two straight bowl games in his first two seasons in Fort Collins, the expectations are Bobo will not only lead his Rams back to a postseason berth, but to a victory, as well.
The Rams return many starters as well as valuable sophomores and juniors who saw playing time in Bobo’s system which truly values competition over anything else. May the best man win, whether he’s a senior or freshman.
From the first day Bobo walked onto campus in Fort Collins, he’s talked about being “never satisfied” and striving to win a Mountain West title. This season is set up well for Bobo and his boys, both in terms of talent they return, excitement surrounding the program and the relative strength of their conference foes.
Look for 2017 to be a huge season for CSU Football. One that now will start a little sooner than originally anticipated.