The Rocky Mountain Showdown is no stranger to close games.
Neither is Jim McElwain.
Last year, Colorado State won the game 22-17, as they were led by a dominant defense that stifled the Colorado Buffaloes. In 2009, the Rams defeated the Buffs 23-17 – in Boulder, nonetheless – while CU won an overtime nail-biter 31-28 in 2007. In fact, since the game moved to Denver in 1999, eight of the 12 games have been decided by six or fewer points.
One touchdown either way – one play either way – could decide the outcome of this year's version of the Showdown and Rams head coach Jim McElwain thinks it should be another close contest Sunday.
“I hope it goes down to the last snap, I'm good with that,” McElwain said following Wednesday's practice. “I just enjoy the competition, No. 1. I think it's something where, to be able to play, the two state schools and right off the bat, I think it's great. For me, it's a competition within it, because there's some motivation for both sides. So, it ought to be fun.”
This time last year, CSU's Coach Mac was ecstatic to win his first game as the Rams head man, taking home the Centennial Cup.
Now, CU's Coach Mac – Mike MacIntyre – will try to do the same, win his first game as Buffs head coach. The Buffaloes are in a sad state following their pitiful 1-11 2012 season, but history may be on their side. The last two head coaches to make their debut in the Showdown – McElwain and Jon Embree – each won the contest. Buffs fans are hoping that trend continues.
This game is always pivotal for each team when it kicks off the season, as it does this year, as neither one wants to start off with a loss.
The Rams – full of important senior starters – are hopeful to make it back to a bowl game for the first time since 2008.
The first step on that journey is to win Sunday.
This year's Rocky Mountain Showdown kicks off at 4 p.m. Sunday from Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. It will be televised on CBS Sports Network for those unable to make the game.
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