Steve Addazio talked a good game, but only really backed it up once.
Hey, we’ll always have CSU 34, Wyoming 24, on Nov. 5, 2020, under the lights, played in front of nobody. A scrappy tilt that ended with the Bronze Boot raised by a joyous Toby McBride to the stars and ghosts above.
The rest of the last two years in FoCo will be remembered as a fever dream of disaster. The off-field accusations in the summer of 2020. The investigations. The news conferences that sometimes doubled as scream therapy. The ejection that ended his reign. A stubborn refusal — look up “stubborn” and “refusal” in the dictionary and you’ll probably find Daz’s mug shot next to both entries — to hire a full-time special teams coordinator.
Followed, of course, by a special-teams calamity at Boise State in 2020. And an even worse one, a national embarrassment, at Utah State in 2021.
So, yes, Jay Norvell is a fine addition, one helped by an even better, and necessary, subtraction that preceded him. There’s a lot to like about Monday’s hire, and there’ll be more to like, no doubt, after the new Rams coach’s introductory news conference Tuesday at Canvas Stadium.
And there’s a small nugget that’ll probably get buried once the back-slapping starts: Norvell’s record in Mountain West tilts while at Nevada. The new CSU boss is 12-8 (.600) since 2018 against West division foes. He’s 8-4 (.666) against the Mountain division, where his new annual dance partners reside.
If that last number doesn’t blow you away, consider this: CSU is a hair-pulling 4-13 (.235) in Mountain division games since 2018.
And it gets worse: Take out a 3-0 mark against New Mexico, and the Rams are 1-13 (.071) against Wyoming (1-3), Air Force (0-3), Boise State (0-4) and Utah State (0-3) over the last four autumns.
If CSU had posted a Norvell-esque .600 winning percentage in those 17 division games since 2018, they’d be 10-7, with six more victories. That’s roughly two more per season.
Which would’ve been enough of a swing to notch the Rams at least a .500 record, and likely a bowl, in both 2019 (4-8) and (pandemic permitting) 2020 (1-3).
Small victories, yes. But when you’re only getting three or four of those a year, the ones in your division get bigger all the time.
There’s nowhere to go but up for Norvell’s Rams, who dropped to No. 23 in the last regular season Denver Post Best of the West College Football poll that posted Monday at DenverPost.com.
The Post’s Best of the West College Football poll each Monday ranks the top 25 FBS programs from the Front Range to the Pacific Ocean, as culled from the Pac-12, Mountain West and BYU.
Post columnist Sean Keeler (@SeanKeeler), Post deputy sports editor Matt Schubert (@MattDSchubert) and Post reporter Kyle Fredrickson (@KyleFredrickson) vote on the top 25.
The rest of the latest rankings follow, with in-state teams listed in bold:
THE DENVER POST BEST OF THE WEST TOP 25 POLL — DEC. 6
|1. Utah (10-3) *(2)||2||Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State|
|2. BYU (10-2) *(1)||1||Independence Bowl vs. UAB|
|3. Oregon (10-3)||3||Alamo Bowl vs. Oklahoma State|
|▲4. Utah State (10-3||8||L.A. Bowl vs. Oregon State|
|5. Fresno State (9-3)||5||New Mexico Bowl vs. UTEP|
|6. UCLA (8-4) ||6||Holiday Bowl vs. North Carolina State|
|▼7. San Diego State (11-2)||4||Frisco Bowl vs. UTSA|
|8. Air Force (9-3)||7||First Responder Bowl vs. Louisville|
|9. Arizona State (8-4)||9||Las Vegas Bowl vs. Wisconsin|
|10. Nevada (8-4)||11||Quick Lane Bowl vs. Western Michigan|
|11. Washington State (7-5)||10||Tony the Tiger Bowl vs. Miami (Fla.)|
|12. Boise State (7-5)||12||Arizona Bowl vs. Cent. Michigan|
|13. Oregon State (7-5)||13||L.A. Bowl vs. Utah State|
|14. California (5-7)||15||—|
|15. Wyoming (6-6)||16||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Kent State|
|16. USC (4-8)||14||—|
|17. Colorado (4-8)||17||—|
|18. Hawaii (6-7)||19||Hawaii Bowl vs. Memphis|
|19. San Jose State (5-7)||21||—|
|20. Washington (4-8)||18||—|
|21. Stanford (3-9)||20||—|
|22. Arizona (1-11)||24||—|
|23. Colorado State (3-9)||22||—|
|24. UNLV (2-10)||23||—|
|25. New Mexico (3-9)||25||—|
*First-place votes in parenthesis
▲= Biggest climb of the week
▼= Biggest drop of the week
The next Best of the West poll will post in January 2022.
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