2019 dates announced by the Mountain West: Breaking down CSU's schedule

The dates for the 2019 schedule were released by the Mountain West on Monday, including Colorado State’s eight conference games.

The Rams will open the season against Colorado in Denver on Friday, Aug. 30. As it currently stands, the Rocky Mountain Showdown is CSU’s only Friday night game on the slate, but conference games are subject to me moved by the league for TV purposes.

Following the in-state matchup with CU, the Rams will face Western Illinois (Sept. 7) and Toledo (Sept. 21) at Canvas Field. CSU’s lone road game during the non-conference slate is on Sept. 14—the Rams will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the second game in a home-and-home with the University of Arkansas. CSU defeated Arkansas in Fort Collins last fall in a wild comeback victory.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, CSU will open conference play at Utah State. The Rams will then return home to face San Diego State on Oct. 5 and face New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., on Oct. 12.

Following the first bye of the season (Oct. 19), CSU will travel to Fresno State on Oct. 26, and then face UNLV at Canvas Stadium on Nov. 2. After the second bye on Nov. 9, the Rams will conclude the regular season with three-straight division opponents.

Air Force will come to town on Nov. 16 and Boise State will be CSU’s final opponent of the regular season on Nov. 30. In between the two home games, CSU and Wyoming will play in Laramie, WYO., on Nov. 23.

Here is a summary of how each of CSU’s 2019 opponent fared in 2018:

Week 1 vs. Colorado (Denver)

2018 record: 5-7

Points per game: 27.1

Points against: 27.2

It’s never easy to open the season against the Buffaloes and CU will certainly want this game bad, with it being Mel Tucker’s first game as head coach. The Buffs will also be eager to prove themselves after starting the 2018 season 5-0 and then losing seven consecutive games to miss out on bowl eligibility. That being said, the Rams should be hungry as well after an extremely disappointing 2018 season. Mike Bobo is 0-4 in his career against CU and could benefit by starting the 2019 season on a positive note.

Week 2 vs. Western Illinois

2018 record: 5-6

Points per game: 23.9

Points against: 26.0

Following the RMS, CSU has a must-win game against an FCS opponent at home. This game is not worth spending much time on, but the bottom line is CSU should beat the brakes off Western Illinois.

Week 3 at Arkansas

2018 record: 2-10

Points per game: 21.7

Points against: 34.8

Arkansas was a bad football team in 2018. The Razorbacks went 2-10 and blowing a double-digit lead to CSU just might have been the lowest moment of the year. The Hogs will undoubtedly be hungry for revenge in 2019, but the game will provide great experience for CSU. Any time you can face a big-time opponent in a hostile atmosphere, it’s a great chance to evaluate your program as a whole. By Week 3, your team should be starting to take shape, and a solid showing in Fayetteville, Ark., could do wonders for the team’s confidence as CSU approaches the MW portion of the schedule.

Week 4 vs. Toledo

2018 record: 7-6

Points per game: 40.4

Points against: 30.5

CSU should expect to beat a team like Toledo at home, but the Rockets were a top-10 scoring offense in the country last fall. If the Rams come out flat, the Rockets have proven over the years that they are good enough to hang with bigger schools. Toledo defeated a talented Nevada team by 19 last September and beat the Wolf Pack by 13 in 2017 as well. In 2016, Toledo beat Fresno State by 35 and lost to BYU, 55-53, in an offensive shootout in Provo, UT. Toledo is definitely an opponent that CSU fans should not be sleeping on.

Week 5 at Utah State

2018 record: 11-2

Points per game: 47.5

Points against: 22.2

The Aggies were one of the more dominant teams in all of college football last season. USU defeated eight opponents by 20 or more points, including an impressive 52-13 victory over North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl. 2019 is a new year though, and the Aggies will now be under the guidance of Gary Anderson, who returned to Logan, UT., with the departure of Matt Wells. Anderson has had success at Utah State in the past—it will be interesting to see if he is able to come in and build off of a fairytale 2018 season.

Week 6 vs. San Diego State

2018 record: 7-6

Points per game: 20.6

Points against: 22.2

Under Rocky Long, San Diego State has been one of the most consistent programs in the Mountain West, but SDSU is coming off of a down year for Aztecs standards. An anemic offense resulted in SDSU hovering around .500 and the Aztecs ultimately lost the final four games of the season, including a 27-0 loss to Ohio in the Miami Beach Bowl. The last time CSU faced SDSU was in 2016, when the Rams throttled the Aztecs, 63-31 on the road. A win over the Aztecs in 2019 would push CSU’s lead in the all-time series to 22-13, but SDSU has dominated of late with eight wins in the last 10 meetings.

Week 7 at New Mexico

2018 record: 3-9

Points per game: 26.6

Points against: 36.2

UNM was one of CSU’s three victories in 2018, along with Arkansas and San Jose State. The Lobos have struggled to find consistency under Bob Davie and are just 6-18 over the last two seasons. While a road game is never considered favorable, this is a matchup that CSU has dominated with nine consecutive victories and a 42-25 lead in the all-time series.

Week 8 BYE

Week 9 at Fresno State

2018 record: 12-2

Points per game: 34.6

Points against: 14.1

Coming off of the first bye of the season, the Rams should be fresh for a difficult road game against the 2018 Mountain West Champions. Led by Jeff Tedford, the Bulldogs rode one of the best defenses in the country all the way to a conference title, and Fresno State returns much of its talent this fall. This is a program that has come a long way since the Rams defeated the Bulldogs, 37-0 in 2016. A win over the Bulldogs in 2019 will likely be a tall task.

Week 10 vs. UNLV

2018 record: 4-8

Points per game: 28.8

Points against: 37.2

The Rebels have not found their footing under Tony Sanchez, who is now 16-32 in his four seasons as head coach. With this game taking place in Fort Collins, CSU will likely be favorites, and it’s definitely a matchup the Rams cannot afford to drop with three-straight division opponents coming after.

Week 11 BYE

Week 12 vs. Air Force

2018 record: 5-7

Points per game: 30.2

Points against: 25.8

The Falcons finished just shy of a postseason appearance in 2018, but Air Force always seems to compete well against CSU. The Falcons own a 35-21-1 advantage in the all-time series and have managed to best the Rams in each of the last three seasons. Depending on what CSU’s record is at this point of the season, this in-state matchup could have significant postseason implications. But, more than anything, it would be huge for Bobo to win a rivalry game.

Week 13 at Wyoming

2018 record: 6-6

Points per game: 20.7

Points against: 22.0

The Cowboys were the lone bowl eligible team in the Mountain West to be left out of the postseason in 2018, but after winning the final four games of the year, there is plenty for Wyoming to build off. After bringing a spark to the team, quarterback Sean Chambers will return for his sophomore season and he will look to become 2-0 in his career against the Rams. CSU currently leads the all-time series by a margin of 57-47-5.

Week 14 vs. Boise State

2018 record: 10-3

Points per game: 35.4

Points against: 22.1

CSU fans still cringe when they think about the 2017 collapse at home, but 2019 brings yet another opportunity for the Rams to beat the Broncos for the first time in program history. Quarterback Brett Rypien has finally completed his eligibility after what feels like a decade-long career in Boise, ID., and for the first time ever, the programs will face in the season finale.

PHOTO: Abbie Parr | Rocky Mountain Collegian