Does CSU overlook Wyoming? It sure appears so, even to them
LAS VEGAS -- Colorado State players and coaches are growing very tired of the narrative that they can't beat their rivals.
Well, there's only one true way to fix that.
They know it, too.
"It gets old real quick," CSU quarterback Collin Hill said Wednesday afternoon at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas. "We haven't had a lot of success, so, yes, it definitely gets old."
Defensive end, Emmanuel Jones, has a different take on it.
"I wouldn’t say I'm tired of hearing it, it's more of a self-inflicted anger," he said. "We know we can win, but when push come to shove, we don’t execute. As whole, we have to put it all on the line."
Do these guys respect Wyoming? They both say yes.
That's not why they sometimes overlook the annual Border War battle with the Cowboys.
Most seasons, both agreed, way too much is hinging on the their opening tilt with in-state rival Colorado.
"It's unique and cool to start the season with a big game like that, but it's a double-edged sword," Hill said. "If we come out and win, it's huge to kick the season off the right way. At the same time, a loss hurts. But as coach always says, you can't let a team beat you twice. You can't let it drag on to the next week. The game is awesome and a lot of fun, but win or lose, you have to put it behind you."
This has become a disturbing trend in Fort Collins: Get blasted by CU right out of the gate -- I mean, like, outscored 106-46 blasted -- then go on to lose to the other two Front Range rivals, Wyoming and Air Force.
Are they putting way to much into that CU game? Does their entire season depend on winning that one game?
It sure appears so. It looks that way to Jones, too.
"I feel like in past we would’ve folded," he said referring to the letdown that has followed the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. "Now, we have a different mentality. If one player is down we have someone picking them up. It's more of -- on to the next one. We expect to win every game. We can't carry it on to next week. We have to put it on the back burner."
Jones can't lie, he said. Coming up short against CU is not easy to bounce back from.
"It's hard," he said, adding that in the past the team has been down for weeks after that contest. "I hate losing. It's part of the game, but we can't let it linger. We are going to remember it, but also move on from it."
Just like Wyoming's Logan Wilson, Cooper Rothe and the rest of the Cowboys senior class, they are on the brink of history. If they beat the Rams and Falcons this season, they will be lone UW class to sweep their Front Range rivals four years straight.
Hill, Jones and the CSU seniors are on the opposite side of that coin. You can also add the Buffs to their forgettable list.
Hill is from Morgan, South Carolina. He had no idea CSU's rivals were Wyoming and Air Force until he showed up on campus in 2016. He learned the hard way.
"I didn't understand how big they were until I got here," he said. "We put a big emphasis on it, for sure. The in-state kids taught me how much it means playing those guys. It's big."
Jones says this season will be different.
The defense has a lot to prove, he said. "Everyone wants a piece."
But what if the Aug. 30 showdown with CU turns out like the last three, or the way it has 66 times out of the past 90 meetings?
The old company line works for Jones.
"We are just taking things one game at a time," he said.