Why the Bowl Loss May Have Been a Good Thing for Colorado State


Dec 20, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Colorado State Rams head coachDave Balswin during the second half of the Las Vegas Bowl against the Utah Utes at Sam Boyd Stadium. Utah won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It was a terrible end to a great season for the Colorado State Rams but in the long run, there might be a silver lining to the 45-10 debacle on Saturday versus Utah. Before I get to my point today, please understand that I feel for the players especially the seniors. They deserved to go out better than they did but for the long-term health of the program, the loss on Saturday may have been a blessing.

Had the Rams won there would have been a huge push from the players, some of the media and the fans to keep Dave Baldwin as the permanent head coach and that would be a mistake. Baldwin is a nice guy and a solid assistant coach, but he’s not the guy to lead the Rams during this key period in the programs history.

It may not be fair but Baldwin lacks the cache that the program needs right now. The Rams are coming off their best season in over a decade and the school recently approved a measure to build an on campus stadium. The Rams need a head coach who can, not only coach, but can also recruit, promote the program and rally community support.

Let’s start with recruiting, the lifeblood of any program. Baldwin is 59 and lacks that flare that is going to get an 18 year old to say, “I want to go play for that guy.”

Jim McElwain was a great coach for the Rams but his most important contributions took place off the field. He recruited a ton of talent and promoted the program better than anyone since the days of Sonny Lubick. In truth, McElwain did that part of the job even better than Lubick.

McElwain went on every radio show, did every interview and made sure that his program got as much publicity as humanly possible. Winning games is obviously the best way to get noticed and McElwain did that, but he understood better than anyone that winning was only half of the job.

I have no doubt that Baldwin is a good football coach and if the only goal for the Rams is to be a nice little team from a small conference, then he will do just fine. If, however, the Rams are thinking big and looking to build on the momentum that McElwain started, then Baldwin is not the right guy.

So who is the right guy? The Rams should be looking for three things in their next head coach; a good on the field coach, a great recruiter and a guy who cares deeply about the program. I give you Tony Alford.

Alford was a great running back for the Rams in the 1990’s and is currently the running backs/recruiting coordinator for Notre Dame. You don’t get to be the recruiting coordinator at the most storied program in college football history by accident. Alford can obviously recruit and Notre Dame does not keep people around if they can’t coach.

Alford’s biggest asset, though, would be his connection to the school. His hire would generate excitement among the fans and the alumni. Alford is also dynamic and would have no issues selling the school and the program.

The Rams are at a key moment in their history and the momentum is going in the right direction. They are coming off of 10 win season, they are building a new stadium and if they hire the right coach, a move to a power five conference is not out of the question.

They will do their due diligence but there’s only one guy who fits everything that the Colorado State Football Program needs, and his name is Tony Alford.