This is the first in a (hopefully) six-part series highlighting 10 things you may not know about Mizzou's opponents in the NCAA Tournament. Please keep in mind that while everything below is true, it's meant in jest.
Better Know An Opponent, Vol. 1: 2009 NCAA Tournament Opponents
Part One - Cornell
Part Two - Marquette
Part Three - Memphis
Part Four - Connecticut
Better Know An Opponent, Vol. 2: 2010 NCAA Tournament Opponents
Part One - Clemson
Part Two - West Virginia
Better Know An Opponent, Vol. 3: 2011 NCAA Tournament Opponents
Part One - Cincinnati
Better Know An Opponent, Vol. 4: 2012 NCAA Tournament Opponents
Part One - Norfolk State
Today's profile: the Colorado State Rams
1) When most colleges' founding stories are told, they're usually tales of triumph, of a group's desire to better its state and its people through education. It usually does not involve a shanty.
But this is Colorado State we're talking about, so of course we're talkin' shanties.
Allow me to explain: the early years of Colorado State (then known as the Agricultural College of Colorado) were mighty lean. It was technically founded in 1870, but the folks involved kind of procrastinated actually building anything. You know when you were a kid, and you were locked in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and your mom told you to go unload the dishwasher, and you told her that you'd do it as soon as TMNT was over because you were pretty sure this was the episode when Splinter dies, but then the episode ends and Splinter doesn't die and you're kind of disappointed even though you like Splinter, he's a quality character, important to the entire structure of the show, but at that point any time there was any sort of major development in a series (like a character's death) it was a huge deal, so you were kind of looking forward to it in a bit of a backwards way, but you're pretty sure that he dies in the next episode, which is coming up next because they always play back-to-back TMNT from 3 to 4 p.m., so you start getting locked in to that, and you never actually get around to unloading the dishwasher?
In this allegory, you are the founders of Colorado State, and the dishwasher is Colorado State.
In fact, even though the act to create CSU was signed in 1870, there was no construction on the college until late in 1874, a full 87,658 episodes of TMNT later. But as a sign of good faith in 1874, the college finished a 16-by-24 foot brick building on campus called the Claim Shanty. The idea behind claim shanties are they signify that yeah, we're eventually going to get around to it, trust us on this, would we build this shanty if we weren't going to get around to it?
Put in Internet terms...
2) We're going to touch on the progressive nature of Colorado State in a moment, but you know what's funny about the olden times? When they do things in the name of "being progressive", but in hindsight, it's pretty horrifyingly offensive, almost more offensive than not doing the progressive thing.
Case in point: the Colorado State "Ladies Course."
In 1885, then-president Charles Ingersoll thought that the Colorado Agricultural College needed more stuff for the womenfolk. So, he helped to institute a "Ladies Course" for juniors and seniors.
Now, I am going to list ten subjects. Five of them were actually part of the Ladies Course. See if you can separate the fact from fiction!
-Being subordinate to your husband, who is clearly superior to you in every way, because it's 1885
-Getting back in the kitchen where you belong, because it's 1885
-Fartin' out babies
-Backbreaking labor for little or no respect from the male population
-Stenography and typewriting
How many did you get?
3) Colorado State is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is, according to the Rock M Nation Census of 2013, the whitest place on earth. Seriously: it's 89.6% white. It's whiter than Huntington, West Virginia. Whiter than Lincoln, Nebraska. Whiter than Cranston, Rhode Island, which I have never heard of but sounds like the whitest place on earth if it weren't for Fort Collins.
And it certainly doesn't help their street cred that they act like the whitest city in America. There's the Colorado Brewer's Festival, held every June. There's the Colorado Marathon, because running! There's The Center for Fine Art Photography.
It's also pretty obvious when you look at the city's website.
4) And now, a fan favorite of BKAO: ghtd36 Unfairly Captions Photos from the School's Website.
5) Hey, remember a little earlier, when I was talking about how white Fort Collins is? If there's a hallmark of us honkies (Honkys? Honki?), it's protesting. We love social justice, or what we perceive to be social justice. And boy, does Colorado State have the Fight The Man thing down pat.
Fort Collins actually held on to prohibition until pressure from student protestors forced them to end it all the way in 1969, so, really, we're talking about heroes here.
There was a big hubbub in 1964 over restrictions on women, because a 21-year-old woman moved to an off-campus apartment, which was taboo, because Fort Collins is the town from Footloose. So, obviously, there were protests.
Then, in 1969, a bunch of Mexican-American and African-American students (in Fort Collins, that means, like, eight guys) wanted more minority students and employees, so they protested.
In 1970, CSU students were all mad about playing BYU because Mormonism used to have some pretty dicey views on black folks, so there was a protest (and a riot!).
And then there's the anti-war stuff. In 1968, to protest the Vietnam War, a bunch of students and faculty marched to the War Memorial downtown and wiped blood on it, which is just a shame, because you know how hard it is to get blood out.
Then, the coup de grace, in 1970, when peace activists (reminder: peace activists) were striking in the gymnasium to protest the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State shootings (SO LINKED, YOU GUYS, OPEN YOUR MIND). So, someone torched the joint. A little extreme, if you ask me.
So, there you have it: a brief history of Colorado State yelling at the ocean. I look forward to their upcoming protest in which they express their anger about the failure of radio stations in Fort Collins to recognize and play Lou Bega's discography. Call it No Mambo, No Peace.
6) Just northwest of Fort Collins is CSU's satellite campus, called the Foothills Campus. That's where most of the research happens, including hubs for the CDC, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, and the Animal Reproduction Biotechnology Lab. It's science stuff.
It's also home to a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, which features three high-security "containment pods." It's one of the few in the US that have level-three biocontainment security, whatever that means.
What it probably means is this:
"Why," you may be asking, "would Colorado State clone Marshall Henderson, Bob Stoops and Doug Gottlieb?"
Because Colorado State researchers are godless monsters. Now you know.
7) Get out the bourbon, baby, because it's Embarrassing Alumni Time!
[A quick reminder: I can't post photos of the people anymore, so I have to link to them, because SB Nation and lawyers and stuff. It's complicated. Just shut your yap and click.]
Becky Hammon, easily the hottest WNBA player ever.
Noted philanderer and public disgrace John Ensign. Oh, he was a Senator, too.
The lead singer of The Fray, whose music makes an excellent soundtrack for when you want to drink bleach.
Van Wolverton, who wrote Running MS-DOS and many other technical books, and has lived with a permanent wedgie.
Hey, the oldest daughter in Poltergeist! Oh wow, she was strangled to death by her boyfriend at the age of 22. Disregard this entry on account of being a bummer.
Anwar al-Aulaqi, a terrorist. No, I'm not kidding: he was actually a member of al-Qaeda who had ties to 9/11, the Fort Hood shooter, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber and many other things. I can't stress enough how much I'm not kidding about this. He went to Colorado State. Graduated, too. So, if you're asking about the admissions standards at Colorado State, let's call them "lax."
8) We've got to tackle the elephant in the room. It's what we're all expecting to hear, and whether we want to or not, we need to address it. I'm talking, of course, about Larry Eustachy, the Colorado State head coach. The former Iowa State head man has wrestled with demons and been publicly ridiculed over and over again, and considering this is a post where we point out those flaws and laugh at them together, we need to do it again.
So here goes:
Larry Eustachy is a horrifying dancer.
I mean, look at that. That's him supposedly "taunting" the Air Force fans in the waning seconds of a win. And how does he do it? By dancing. Miserably.
Let's break this down, frame by frame.
0:01: The Arsenio Hall "whoop" fist in the air. Hey, Larry: 1990 called, and it wants everything back.
0:02: He turns and gives us a little Vince McMahon power walk. I can't get mad at that. It's pretty great.
0:09: Awkward low-five for an assistant. It's like watching old footage of baseball, before the high-five became a ubiquitous thing. Look how unsure the assistant is. "On one hand, he's my boss. On the other hand, there's my dignity."
0:11: Oh merciful God I don't know what that is but someone call an ambulance, please
0:23: A series of high-fives for players, if you want to call it that. I've broken this down like my own personal Zapruder film (I'm from Dallas; this stuff is in my wheelhouse), and after careful examination, it looks like Eustachy goes 1-for-4 in connecting on high-fives. A 25% completion percentage. He's the Mark Sanchez of high-fives.
0:26: Larry Eustachy is the original rumpshaker.
Larry: everyone here cares about you so much, but your dancing is hurting us. Please stop.
9) So, Colorado State has a song, named after perhaps its best athlete ever - Thurman "Fum" McGraw. It's called "Fum's Song," and it basically throws shade at everyone.
"I'll sing you a song of college days, and tell you where to go.
Aggies, where your knowledge is, and Boulder to spend your dough.
C.C. for your sissy boys, and Utah for your times, D.U. for your ministers, and drunkards School of Mines.
Don't send my boy to Wyoming U. a dying mother said. Don't send him to old Brigham Young, I'd rather see him dead.
But send him to our Aggies, it's better than Cornell.
Before I'd see him in Boulder, I'd see my son in hell!"
So, in the span of six lines, they managed to disrespect (DISRESPECT!!!) Colorado, Colorado College, Utah, Denver, Colorado School of Mines, Wyoming, BYU and Cornell (and then Colorado again).
I reached out for comment to each of the schools, offering them equal time:
Colorado: "Ooh, is that song by Phish? I love Phish."
Colorado College: "We're a thing!"
Utah: "We find the song to be disrespectful, but boy, do we love all of the things that Fort Collins has to offer, so we'll call it even."
Denver: *gasping for air* *because of the altitude* *it's a joke*
Colorado School of Mines: "We're aware." [continues sharpening pick-ax]
Wyoming: "Hey, you guys, someone called us! On the telephone! They actually know we're here! I'm sorry, what was your question?"
BYU: "Have you heard of Joseph Smi-" (and then I hung up)
Cornell: "We're in the Ivy League. This concludes our statement."
Colorado: "Seriously, brah, I love Phish."
10) The mascot for Colorado State is the Ram, which I actually think is pretty cool. It's one of those mascot's that's not totally unique, but is unique enough that you give them some credit for effort.
The Ram mascot is embodied in two different forms, both named Cam the Ram. The first is your run-of-the-mill guy in a suit, and he looks like an enemy from Doom.
The other is an actual ram, named Cam. Pretty cute.
Wait...what's that? Let's zoom in a little bit.
Oh. Well then. Enjoy the game tomorrow, everybody!
Tune in (hopefully) Saturday morning for another edition of Better Know An Opponent!