Historically, there's not a ton of success there. That is a drawback for CSU when doing an evaluation. But states grow and times change. Florida State was a women's college and Boise State was a juco many decades after CSU had been playing D1 football, for example. What I want to do is take a look at how it might fit in with a BCS conference. Enrollment: about 24k undergrad and 7k post-grad. CU is about 26k and 6k, so similar. CSU's numbers may be inflated a bit by offering online degrees, but it is still certainly of a size that makes sense for the big leagues in terms of being able to support big boy athletics. That's also bigger than Oregon State and Washington State, for example. Would be bottom half of a major conference. Academics: CSU isn't going to be the crown jewel of a conference here. Some outstanding programs such as veterinary medicine, but overall ranks would put it in the bottom half of a major conference. Endowment: Again, a measure of support. CSU is pretty healthy here, better than most non-BCS universities but also would be in the bottom half of a BCS conference. Athletics: Some Top 25 years in football during a period that the WAC contract with ESPN led the way with mid-week games and CSU was on national tv as much as anyone. But won a bowl game last year and the program has a higher upside than most non-BCS programs. They've done it before. Men's basketball has had a good deal of recent success. The volleyball program is excellent. We're not talking about a juggernaut in any sport that is going to raise the athletic prestige of a BCS conference, but there is enough there to say that if CSU was in a BCS conference that it would have the resources to compete reasonably well. Location: 2013 Census data ranks Colorado as the 22nd largest state (5.3 million people) with the 3rd highest growth rate since the 2010 Census. That's quite a bit bigger than Oregon (3.9 million), a state that supports two Pac-12 programs and then has universities like Portland State that are similar to DU or UNCO. Denver is also the 6th fastest growing city in the country and Fort Collins tends to appear on most of the "Best Cities" lists on which we see Boulder. That's just a small snap shot. If I was expanding a conference and wanted to bet on a state and a college, CSU wouldn't be a bad choice. The immediate payoff isn't there, but they do have what it takes for long-term sustainability against what would be their new peers. If we were looking at an era of paired rivals within the same state being an important factor, the Pac-12 would have an easy choice to add CSU to pair with CU. But on the other side, times have changed. Things are driven by media contracts. Does CSU currently bring additional revenue to existing conference members? Not likely. Especially for the Pac-12, expansion talks have given us information on what schools are most valuable. If we're looking at it just from among current MWC members (ignoring the opportunity to poach from the Big 12), San Diego State and Boise State are currently the most valuable. After that, it's New Mexico and UNLV. All of those expand the conference footprint while CSU does not. Even if the Pac-12 became the Pac-16 just through western schools, it appears that CSU would be left out. Maybe the Big 12 would take a look. All the talk has been that if the Big 12 goes to 12 teams that Cincinnati and BYU are its targets. Those are easily justified. BYU with its elite fan support and international following. Cincy with its elite basketball status and recent football success in one of the larger US states. But what if the Big 12 wanted to expand beyond that? The data shows that going into Louisiana or Tennessee or adding more Texas schools or beating the Pac-12 to New Mexico would be preferable to CSU. In my opinion, it simply doesn't look good for the Rams in the conference realignment sweepstakes. The best opportunity is pretty unlikely: Pac-12 expands to 16 through Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas leaving the Big 12. In the resulting shake-up, the remnants of the Big 12 (Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU - I'm not counting West Virginia) need to build a new conference. Within that footprint, the additions of LA Tech, Tulsa, New Mexico, CSU, and BYU could all make a lot of sense. So could some others, but I think CSU would have a good chance of being in that mix to get an invite. On an emotional level as a sports fan, I love local rivalries. But since I can't see a scenario where CSU ends up fighting in the same weight class as CU, I can only see the football series as something that diminishes CU while propping up CSU. I can't see that changing. Other sports are different. Football is separate. With no reasonable expectation that CSU will ever join the Pac-12 or any BCS conference, CU needs to drop the RMS series as soon as possible. CU should never play a game in Fort Collins, whether or not the new stadium gets built up there. It's time to move on and let CSU be what it's going to be and for CU to start being what it is. Without the local rivalry in football, CU needs to focus on border rivalries. These are some of the best around anyway. Ohio State/Michigan. Texas/Oklahoma. Oregon/Washington. Florida/Georgia. There's a lot to pick from here for CU. Utah is already the paired rival for Pac-12 play. We've also got things going pretty well with Arizona. We're pretty set for the future within our conference. Outside of it is another story. Wyoming gives us a long history in basketball and can be a schedule add for football every decade or so. New Mexico has a lot of potential for basketball and even has an outside chance of being a Pac-12 expansion member some day. Wouldn't hurt to add a few football games with them. Oklahoma shares a bit of a border, but even in the Big 8 it never rose to a rivalry feel. Still fun to play, though, and the hoops game with OSU was of national interest. Kansas is a good one in terms of proximity and history - with the problem being that its basketball program is beyond having a border rivalry that didn't exist when we were in the same conference and its football program doesn't measure up to what CU is. KSU doesn't have a lot in common with CU. Both are fun to play every now and then, though. Bottom line is that CU should try to schedule all of these with some regularity, but none are going to become a true border rivalry. That leaves Nebraska. They're coming back on the football schedule. That's the big one that was good for everyone. When that rivalry was at its peak, so were both or our football programs. Nebraska has also built a new basketball facility and is committing to its program. Danced this year. In WBB and Volleyball, they're great programs to play. This is the rivalry that makes sense. And it makes sense for both schools. Football should be a game in the first month of the season every year similar to how the Notre Dame-Michigan game was for all those years. Other programs (MBB, WBB, VB, Golf, T&F) should get each other on the schedule every year since it's easy travel and good competition for post-season resumes. Bring back Nebraska as the Colorado rival and expand it to all sports. Leave CSU in the past for football (except maybe a game or two a decade like a Wyoming or New Mexico), but keep playing the Rams in other sports every year. Other than that, focus on nurturing rivalries with Utah and Arizona. That is the CU rivalry footprint and our best future. This needs to happen.