What happened to Mr. November? Up until 2002, Colorado State head coach Sonny Lubick used to own the month of November, going 21-4 in games played in November. However, in the last four seasons, Lubick’s November record is just 5-7, dropping that record to 26-11 overall.
Mountain West Conference champion TCU (10-1) jumped three spots in the BCS standings this week improving from No. 17 to No. 14. Fresno State, at No. 17, is the only other team from a non-automatic-qualifying conference to be listed in the BCS standings. The Horned Frogs are ranked 15th in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls. TCU is one of just three teams (along with USC and Texas) to have 10 wins.
Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson still believes his program has an outside chance at being invited to a BCS game. Technically, if they moved up a few more spots to No. 12 in the BCS poll, they could be a candidate for an at-large BCS bid. The problem is, the Frogs’ regular season is over and they won't have another opportunity to play on television in the next few weeks to help influence voters. Patterson lamented the lack of TV coverage down the stretch, which would have given his team more exposure. "The thing that hurts us the most is you wish you would have played the UNLV game on Friday night or the Colorado State game had been on national TV. Then you have a lot more voters with a chance to watch us. That type of timing is important to the nation when you're not on the network every week."
The talk of TCU playing in the Houston Bowl as an at-large team increased this weekend, thanks to the Southeastern Conference not being able to fill all of its bowl tie-ins. When Vanderbilt and Ole Miss lost Saturday, it ensured that the conference can only have a maximum of seven bowl-eligible teams, and thus not be able to send a team to the Houston Bowl. Representatives of the Houston Bowl were on hand for TCU's regular-season finale and have expressed interest in the Horned Frogs. The opponent would be the sixth selection from the Big 12, which would likely be a team from the North division. In order for the Frogs to be eligible to become an at-large team, however, CSU or Utah have to win this weekend to become bowl-eligible to ensure that the MWC’s existing bowl affiliations can be filled.
Should CSU and Utah lose, TCU would be forced to play in one of the three MWC-affiliated bowls—the Liberty Bowl, Emerald Bowl, or Poinsettia Bowl. In that case, look for the Poinsettia Bowl to make a play for a possible TCU vs. Fresno State matchup, which would pit two ranked, one-loss teams. It could become possible since the Vegas Bowl, which would have the first selection, is most interested in inviting BYU. Nearly 175,000 Mormons live in the two counties around Las Vegas, according to the church, which figures to ensure swift ticket sales for the game.
The Emerald Bowl, which has the second choice of MWC teams after the Las Vegas Bowl and the Pac-10 No. 6, may have to start looking elsewhere for an opponent for the MWC. The Pac-10 currently has four bowl-eligible teams and three on the bubble: Stanford must beat California or Notre Dame, Arizona State must beat Arizona, Oregon State must win at Oregon.
Want BCS mayhem? Root for the Big East’s South Florida. The Bulls are currently 5-3, but have two winnable games vs. Cincinnati this week and Connecticut the following week before a potential showdown with West Virginia December 3. If they were to win all three, USF would be the Big East champion at 8-3 and receive a BCS berth. Ironically, it would be the school’s first-ever bowl game, and would sure be strange to see the Bulls in such a game ahead of other state powerhouses Florida and Florida State. Like last year when 8-3 Pitt earned a Fiesta Bowl bid vs. undefeated Utah, such a scenario again would raise a firestorm, particularly with 10-1 teams like TCU and UTEP heading to lesser bowl games. Thankfully, in 2006, the BCS will award bids to the top-rated conferences via a rating system, so conferences like the MWC will get a chance to fight for BCS bowl inclusion.
Minnesota is on pace to set a record it currently shares with the CSU Rams. The Gophers’ offense is on pace to have two 1,000-yard rushers for the third consecutive year, which would be the first time in history that’s been done. Laurence Maroney enters Saturday’s game against Iowa with 1,345 yards rushing this season, while Gary Russell is 33 yards short of the 1,000-yard mark at 967 yards. Maroney and Marion Barber III each rushed for 1,000 yards during the 2003 and 2004 seasons to become the first pair of running backs to reach 1,000 yards in consecutive years. Colorado State posted two 1,000-yard rushers during the 1996 and 1997 seasons, but did it with a combination of three different running backs. Damon Washington ran for 1,075 yards in 1996 and 1,112 yards in 1997. Calvin Branch joined Washington in 1996 with 1,279 yards, while Kevin McDougal rushed for 1,111 yards in 1997.
Current Ram running back Kyle Bell, with his 176-yard performance vs. San Diego State Saturday, became the 12th player in MWC history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. Bell currently has 1,075 yards on the year, which ranks second behind New Mexico senior running back DonTrell Moore (1,155). Senior wide receiver David Anderson also went over the 1,000-yard mark Saturday, marking the second time in his career that he has gone over 1,000 yards (he also accomplished the feat in 2003 with 1,293 yards). Anderson is currently the only wide receiver in MWC history to reach 1,000 yards receiving twice, although Wyoming senior Jovon Bouknight could join Anderson, as he currently has 973 yards receiving this season with one game (at San Diego State) to go.
What an amazing weekend for the CSU volleyball team. Heading into the toughest road trip in MWC play--the BYU and Utah swing--the team owned a 14-7 record (7-4 in league play) and were playing .500 ball over the previous six matches. But the Rams stunned the top team in the conference, No. 16 BYU, in five games Friday night and then beat Utah in four games Saturday, giving the Utes their first loss since the Rams beat them in Fort Collins back in early October. Even with the wins, however, the Rams would be unlikely to earn an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament should they continue to play well down the stretch. They would more than likely have to with the MWC tournament and the automatic bid.
Earlier this year, University of Northern Colorado coach Craig Rasmuson expressed his appreciation for CSU head coach Dale Layer’s willingness to play a road game at UNC. Layer said he feels it is important for the growth of basketball in the state for teams like CSU to give fair shots to the likes of UNC and CSU-Pueblo. Now, though, the game is just three days away, which will be the opening game of the regular season for CSU. The game will be held at 4,500-seat Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Last year, when Air Force played there, the game drew 3,586. Officials expect a capacity crowd for the CSU-UNC game, which regardless of small as the arena is, would still be a bigger draw than most at Moby Arena last season.
The Colorado Classic basketball event is less than two weeks away—on Saturday November 26. The event will feature CSU vs. Denver University at 6 p.m. and the University of Colorado vs. St. Mary’s College in the night cap at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Call 800-491-RAMS for tickets. In addition, the CSU Alumni Association is hosting an alumni party with coach Layer after the CSU-DU game. Please call 1-800-286-ALUM by this Friday to reserve your spot. Admission is free, and there will be food and drinks provided, but officials need a head count to know how much food and drink to order. The event will be held at the Continental Divide East room inside the arena so that fans can head back down to their seats for the CU vs. St. Mary’s game without having to leave the arena.
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