Colorado State went 3-9 last year, and the Rams weren’t that competitive in many of their games early on.
But as they got into Mountain West play, they gave many teams issues, even if it didn’t ultimately lead to victories for CSU.
Will the Rams endure another losing season in 2023? Or could they prove the end of last year was a sign of things to come?
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Colorado State Football’s Mountain West Title Odds
CSU’s odds to win the Mountain West are +2500, via BetMGM.
Colorado State Football’s Over/Under Win Total
CSU’s win total Over/Under is 4.5, with Under 4.5 at +135 and Over 4.5 at -160.
Colorado State Football’s Schedule
9/2 vs Washington State
9/16 at Colorado
9/23 at Middle Tennessee
9/30 vs Utah Tech
10/7 at Utah State
10/14 vs Boise State
10/21 at UNLV
10/28 vs Air Force
11/4 at Wyoming
11/11 vs San Diego State
11/18 vs Nevada
11/25 at Hawaii
Bold indicates Mountain West contests.
Key Colorado State Football Returners
2022 All-Mountain West 1st Team
WR Tory Horton
DB Jack Howell
DL Mohamed Kamara
Tory Horton Is A Dynamic Playmaker For Colorado State’s Offense
Colorado State’s offense features one of the best G5 wide receivers.
Tory Horton averaged 94.2 receiving yards per game last year, which was 10th in the FBS in 2022. He ended the season with 1,131 yards and eight touchdowns on 71 receptions, helping him earn all-conference first-team accolades.
Justus Ross-Simmons, who accounted for 424 yards and three touchdowns on 26 catches, is also back. CSU added former SMU wide receiver Dylan Goffney and former BYU tight end Dallin Holker to give the Rams some more pass catchers as well.
Clay Millen appears to be in line to start at quarterback again for the Rams in 2023. He threw for 1,910 yards, 10 touchdowns, and six interceptions on a 72% completion rate last year.
Avery Morrow returns at running back for CSU. He led the team with 834 yards and four touchdowns on 173 carries.
Colorado State was last in the Mountain West in rushing yards per game (89) and allowed the most sacks in the league (59). The Rams lost several O-linemen who started games last year, but left tackle Jacob Gardner and center Keegan Hamilton both return after starting multiple games. CSU also picked up transfer O-linemen Drew Moss (Lamar) and Oliver Jervis (Monmouth) this offseason.
Jack Howell And Mohamed Kamara Aiming To Help Colorado State’s Defense Take Next Step
Colorado State, which was sixth in the Mountain West in total defense (355 yards per game allowed) and eighth in scoring defense (26.9 points per game allowed), has the potential to be much better in 2023.
The Rams return six of their top 11 tacklers from last season. Two of them were all-conference performers in 2022 and are 2023 HERO Sports G5 Preseason All-Americans.
Jack Howell, a first-team All-Mountain West defensive back, was third in the league with 108 tackles a year ago. He also intercepted three passes while tallying three tackles for loss.
Mohamed Kamara, an all-conference second-team defensive lineman, is also returning. He tied for second in the Mountain West with 16 tackles for loss and tied for fourth with 8.5 sacks. He added 44 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles.
Ayden Hector and Henry Blackburn are two defensive backs who stood out last year. Blackburn broke up a team-high eight passes while intercepting a throw and adding 53 tackles, two for loss, and one sack. Hector tied for a team lead with three interceptions while recording seven pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, three sacks, and 41 tackles.
Colorado State also added Ron Hardge III (Oregon State), Tyrell Grayson Jr. (Utah Tech), and Dominic Morris (Furman) to its secondary as well as Matt Thomas (Rhode Island) to its defensive line.
Colorado State Football Season Prediction
Colorado State won’t win the Mountain West title and will struggle to win five games or more.
The Mountain West will be highly competitive. So even if the Rams do pull off a few upsets, getting to .500 is going to be tough.
CSU starts the year with two Power Five matchups against Washington State at home and at Colorado. Then the Rams have to travel to Middle Tennessee and host Utah Tech to conclude their non-conference schedule. I only see the Rams winning the last of those contests.
I don’t believe Colorado State is better than Boise State, Air Force, or San Diego State. CSU could end the year with wins over Nevada and Hawaii, however.
Games at Utah State, UNLV, and Wyoming will be crucial. Winning any of those matchups isn’t impossible, but I give those three teams the advantage since they’re playing at home.
The Rams will need to exceed expectations quite a few times to end the year at .500 or better.