While it may almost always be sunny in Fort Collins, Colorado, grey skies have hung over the Colorado State football program in recent years.
At 3-7 currently, Steve Fairchild’s team has already been assured of its third straight losing season, its third straight without a bowl appearance.
Fan resentment twowards coaching has grown in recent months–after senior leader Mychal Sisson was lost for most of the season to a broken ankle on a punt return, after losses to San Jose State, UTEP and UNLV–and Fairchild’s seat has grown hot.
Still, it seems Colorado State will not make a coaching change at the end of the year and here are five ways Fairchild can ensure he at least finishes out his contract next season.
Just win baby
The Rams are in a massive rut as the losers of six straight and winning one of these last two games, against Air Force (kickoff today at 4:06 p.m. MT at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium) and/or Wyoming in the Border War next Saturday.
Winning one and finishing with four victories would show an improvement over the last two 3-9 seasons, even if it is only minimal.
Of course, for Fairchild to earn his first win over Air Force today (the Falcons have beaten the Rams in five straight meetings) it will be a tall task.
Air Force’s triple option attack is difficult to defend and the Rams’ run defense has been full of holes all season.
Beating Wyoming (7-3) will be tough as well, and the Cowboys have become a talented team this year.
Give Garrett Grayson a chance
After Fairchild pulled the redshirt off of freshman Garrett Grayson two weeks ago vs. San Diego State, fans questioned the decision.
Why burn a redshirt this late in a lost year?
The smartest thing Fairchild did was say the team must commit to Grayson now, and the youngster played very well in his first start last week.
If Grayson plays as well or better in these last two games, Fairchild must open up a true QB competition between Grayson and sophomore Pete Thomas. Then, if Grayson out performs Thomas in spring and fall practice, Fairchild’s best decision would be starting Grayson to give his team the best chance at winning.
Saved by sophomore studs?
Fairchild has recruited well in some areas, and it’s showing in the development of some sophomore studs.
Key sophomore starters at important positions; including Mike Orakpo, Nordly Capi, Chris Nwoke, Pete Thomas (or Garrett Grayson), Weston Richburg and finding Shaquil Barrett have all shown strides this season and it seems safe to say they will be even better next year.
Supporters don’t want the program to hit “reset” button
Things may not be great in Fort Collins now, but some don’t want the program to start over and be set back 2-3 more years.
The more favorable option is allowing Fairchild to finish his five-year obligation and re-evaluate where the program sits at that point.
Can the program afford two coaches?
At $700,000 per year, Fairchild might be the eighth highest paid coach in the MWC, but that’s still a huge chunk of change out of the school’s pocket.
If they were to fire Fairchild this offseason, CSU would still have to play for his last year while paying their new head coach as well.
This may simply not be feasible for one of the smaller programs in the MWC, meaning Fairchild may be able to finish his contract due to a lack of funds.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Mile High Hoops.
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