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2013 Colorado State
Schedule and Odds
Slowly, but surely, Colorado State is returning to relevance. Last year's four wins was the most they've had since the 2008 season when they finished with seven. While it's not a lot, it's still a stepping point for Jim McElwain who came in last year as head coach. With a good amount of starters returning in 2013 and 13 regular season games, reaching a bowl game is on their radar.
The offense scored just 21.2 points per game last year and has some improving to do. Their strength is on the line where all five starters return along with two solid blocking tight ends. This should hopefully lead to an improved running game led by two returnees in Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke who almost had an exact split in carries last season. They only scored six TDs combined, but that should change this year. At quarterback, Garrett Grayson will likely be named starter before the season begins, but McElwain doesn't want to jump the gun. Grayson only played in four full games last year before breaking his collarbone. Even though he took the lead in spring practices, Connor Smith actually completed seven percent more of his passes than Grayson last season.
On the defensive side, the Rams run a 3-4 scheme and won't be returning anyone from their line. The good news is that they have some playmakers at other positions which will hopefully help more than last year when they allowed 30-plus points per game. Shaquil Barrett and Cory James wreak havoc as outside LBs with a secondary led by senior Shaq Bell. This unit needs to learn how to play on the road as they gave up more than 40 points per game away from home in 2012 where they didn't win all season.
2013 Colorado State
Sept. 1 vs. Colorado (Denver)
Sept. 7 at Tulsa
Sept. 14 vs. Cal Poly
Sept. 21 at Alabama
Sept. 28 vs. UTEP
Oct. 12 vs. San Jose State
Oct. 19 at Wyoming
Oct. 26 at Hawaii
Nov. 2 vs. Boise State
Nov. 9 vs. Nevada
Nov. 16 at New Mexico
Nov. 23 at Utah State
Nov. 30 vs. Air Force
It seems that having 13 games in their schedule will help CSU'S chances in reaching a bowl game, but one of those games is at Alabama so that won't help much. Their other four non-conference games are all winnable. Another win over in-state rivals Colorado would be nice, but if they can't win that, a 0-2 start might be in the books as they travel to Tulsa in their second game.
Colorado State won't be playing for a Mountain West title this year, but they can still reach a bowl game. If they get three non-conference wins, they have the ability to get three more in conference. Unfortunately, the most favorable of their opponents all come on the road at Wyoming, Hawaii and New Mexico. Getting the likes of San Jose State and Boise State might be too much for them even at home.
If the Rams can build a solid rushing attack and stay consistent on the defensive end, they should be right on the cusp of getting six wins. First, they'll have to prove themselves on the road.
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