The start of the college football season always brings forth hope.
For Colorado State University, since 2018 that’s usually dashed after the first few weeks of the season. For the Rams to buck that recent trend, they need to open with a win at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
The first four weeks of the schedule are brutal for CSU, so starting the season with a win over South Dakota State is huge.
As the college football season kicks off, PlayColorado will do a “College Football Game of the Week” story, with the University of Wyoming included in that. Yes, Wyoming isn’t in Colorado, but there is a lot of betting interest around the Cowboys in the Centennial State. It’ll help switch up the coverage and give play to all the “local” teams.
Since Colorado State is the underdog, this serves as the first game.
South Dakota State vs Colorado State odds
The college football betting odds don’t see a Rams win happening. Colorado State is currently a favorite to the Jackrabbits at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins. Some of the sportsbooks have the spread line as a pickem. The Rams opened as a +2.5 underdog. For Colorado State to hit the over/under 4.5 wins most of the sportsbooks have them slated for, a victory on Friday is even more paramount.
For some, the fact that number is close is a bit surprising. But when you consider the fact SDSU was a puncher’s chance away from winning the FCS spring season national title, the line makes sense. Plus, the Jackrabbits return every starter but one from the spring season.
From a betting perspective, this could be the best line of the local games; especially if you think Colorado State can and will win.
As for the line, it also doesn’t help that the Rams quarterback room took a hit with a season-ending injury to Boston College transfer Matt Valecce. As the Fort Collins Coloradoan points out, Valecce was brought in to push Todd Centeio for the starting job and provide some experience in a backup role.
Centeio played in three of the Rams’ four games in 2020 and was 14-for-36 passing for 207 yards. Needless to say, he’ll need to play better if CSU wants to pull the minor upset on Friday.
How the Rams get the win
Defense will lead the way for CSU on Friday night and this season. The Rams should be able to create enough pressure in the backfield to disrupt the very good running game and newly named South Dakota State starting quarterback Chris Oladokun.
The key to this game is going to be protection from the CSU veteran offensive line. As others have noted, that could turn into a tall ask since the line was far from good in 2020 keeping opposing defenses out of the backfield.
If the Rams can limit the SDSU rushing attack and perhaps create a few turnovers on defense, they have a great chance. The offense then needs to play the long game and limit mistakes/turnovers of its own and score points.
Colorado State is in for a close game, but playing at home could help put it over the top.
If the pieces fall into place, the Rams could finally keep the hope alive after the first week of the season.