Mike Bobo is a good man, but he’s not the right man for CSU.
That’s basically the consensus around town, be it from Colorado State die-hard Rams fans or most of the guys and gals I’ve worked alongside in the media; Bobo’s a nice, family-oriented, football-loving man. However, he just couldn’t find his footing as a head coach.
I covered Colorado State from 2011 — Steve Fairchild’s last year — until 2018, taking off my first year in nearly a decade this season to focus on other endeavors. I witnessed first-hand the changes, from the stiff upper lip and football speak of Fairchild to the free-wheeling winner Jim McElwain and then the transition from Mac to Bobo; all three had their own style of doing things.
The next man up undoubtedly will bring his own spirit, his own way, his own philosophies to Fort Collins.
Why not Urban Meyer?
OK, realistically, there are probably more reasons why he won’t be CSU’s next head coach — he’s retired, and probably too expensive — but hear me out.
Meyer has roots in Fort Collins, as the wide receivers’ coach under Earle Bruce and Sonny Lubick from 1990-1995. That was a major opportunity for him before the bigger, higher-paying schools like Utah, Florida and Ohio State came calling.
And maybe the most important reason why he should be CSU’s next head coach: Meyer is currently in “Fort Fun” as he was seen walking outside Moby Arena this week and has been on campus since Monday.
Moby houses the McGraw Center, the hub for everything CSU athletics before the new Canvas Stadium was erected and completed in 2017. These days, Meyer’s office would be smack dab in the middle of that gorgeous, state-of-the-art stadium a few blocks to the south.
After working with the Rams during arguably their best-ever season (1994), Meyer went on to work at Notre Dame for five years in the same role, then became a head coach at Bowling Green before heading to Utah (2003-04), Florida (2005-10) and then Ohio State (2012-18). He retired after last season.
At Utah, he led the Utes to back-to-back Mountain West Championships; think he can’t do the same at Colorado State? Then, he led the Gators of Florida to two National Championships, was named the Coach of the Decade by two organizations before winning another National Championship at Ohio State in 2014. In his first-ever head coaching role, he helped engineer one of the greatest turnarounds in NCAA football history; Bowling Green went 2-9 in 2000 but finished 8-3 under Meyer in his first year.
The Rams haven’t won a Mountain West Championship since 2002 and after two straight losing seasons of late, they need a quick turnaround badly.
Currently, Meyer is on Colorado State’s campus to consult with Athletics Director Joe Parker on making the next hire. Parker did a great job by letting Bobo go while recouping a great deal of the $5.5 million buyout Bobo was owed (the Rams will pay Mike $1.82M), but if Parker isn’t trying to sell Meyer on the job at CSU, he’s simply not doing it right.
Without a doubt, Meyer would immediately be the best head coach in CSU history, and that’s no slight to Sonny or even the great Harry Hughes. Meyer has a 182-37 lifetime record and has gone 12-3 in bowl games.
But, remember, he’s retired. In 2018, he dealt with that “scandal” of an assistant coach physically abusing his wife, something which Meyer should have reported earlier but didn’t. And he had a cyst in his brain which forced him to call it quits.
So, if it’s not Meyer, who should be the next head coach at CSU?
Parker said he wants someone with head coaching experience, not just another coordinator as Bobo was when he was hired by Tony Frank in 2015.
Colorado State fans are clamoring for Tony Alford, the former running back great for the Rams and current assistant head coach of the offense at Ohio State. Would Joe consider him without that head coaching experience?
Billy Napier, the head coach of Louisiana, is another possibility. But, rumor has it that Ole Miss has their eyes on the 35-year old, up-and-coming star.
Former CU defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is another hot name, as is Beau Baldwin. They seem more likely than maybe anyone else listed here.
Back to Bobo for a minute; I’d be remiss to fail to mention the many things he did well.
Bobo brought solid talent to Colorado State, names like Preston Williams and Michael Gallup, who are currently lighting up the NFL. He also surrounded himself with special, even spectacular, coaches. Alvis Whitted helped make CSU “Wide Receiver U.” And Joe Cox, who was in charge of the tight ends but moved up to the wideouts’ coach when Whitted was hired by the Green Bay Packers, is a superb recruiter. Finally, Bobo did a good job connecting with the Fort Collins community, with the college — grilling burgers for students — and by wearing his heart on his sleeve when talking to the media.
After three straight bowl appearances, Bobo’s Rams slipped last season which got off on the wrong foot, literally. Bobo had numbness in his feet, tried to fight through it all, but CSU finished 3-9. After another losing season, an awful 2-13 composite record against rivals and the Rams failing to meet their potential with the new facilities, he was rightfully let go.
Something tells me he’ll land on his feet, and rumor has it he may already have a new job as an OC in the SEC once again.
Now, as for that next Rams head coach.