Colorado State became a symbol for why having a decent non-conference schedule matters, as head coach Larry Eustachy’s team missed the NCAA tournament last season despite having an RPI of 29.
The Rams became the second top-30 RPI team ever to miss the field in-part because a weak non-conference schedule padded their 27-7 overall record with a 14-0 record in non-conference play. Sure, Colorado State earned wins over Colorado and UTEP, but that didn’t exactly have the committee fired up.
According to a report from Kelly Lyell of the Coloradoan, Eustachy is once again having a tough time scheduling games against elite competition. As Lyell’s story points out, the Rams are 45-9 at home in Eustachy’s three seasons at the school, so it would be tough to get power conference opponents to come through.
“Nobody wants to play us,” Eustachy said in Lyell’s story. “Our teams have always been tough to beat at home. Our fans would love to see UCLA come in here, for example, Duke come in here. If they can get them to do that, we’d sign the contract yesterday.
“… We do the best that we can under the circumstances.”
Since Colorado State can’t seem to draw big-name opponents, with the exception of Colorado coming in this season, they’ll travel to Northern Iowa to start the season and also play Kansas State in a neutral setting in Wichita. The difficulty of getting elite teams to play games at Colorado State has made Eustachy start to propose some unique ideas.
Schools in the five power conferences don’t want to come to Fort Collins, even in 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deals, Eustachy said.
“There’s not a big pool if we want home games,” Eustachy said. “If you’re out there listening and you’re a Colorado State fan, get Kansas to come in here, and we’ll throw in a bonus for you. Get those schools to come here. We’ll play Kansas 3 for 1, we’ll go there 5 for 1.”
It’s unfortunate that Colorado State can’t get good home games, but maybe scheduling a second good neutral site game against a power conference team or looking ahead and getting good mid-major programs at home would help them play better competition in the early going.
If Colorado State has another strong start in non-conference this season, it’ll be something to track in terms of their ongoing RPI and how they might make the field of 68.