The 3.6-mile drive to Hughes Stadium from the Colorado State campus can be a monotonous one. If you are traveling along that route, you most likely fall under three categories: 1) you are a student looking for a cheap place to live. 2) You’re a player/fan going to a game. Or 3) you’re lost wondering how you got on South Overland Trail.
Anyone that lives in Fort Collins can attest to this and yet there are still signs popping up in yards and windows stating, “Renew Hughes Stadium”. The only way to “renew” Hughes Stadium would be to move it back that 3.6 miles west and place it on campus.
Imagine trying to recruit your next star quarterback and showing him the beautiful campus that has been meticulously manicured throughout all these years. You can start with your 32 million dollar recreation center and newly finished student center. You could then move on to the stadium and let him soak it all in and see how great of a city Fort Collins is.
Sadly we have to come back to reality of a stadium that sits in a location that would be best used by Waste Management. With dirt roads leading to a stadium that is surrounded by foothills and weeds, some would expect Chernobyl signs as they approach.
The ones that support renovating the stadium would counter my illustration and say all of that can be improved. What most of these “Renew Hughes Stadium” advocates don’t think about are the players. By no means do I know what it is like to be a college football player, but I can tell you confidently that a walk to a stadium with fans surrounding you would be a lot better than a police escort to the depressed stadium across town.
Renewal proponents will also argue that the team doesn’t deserve a new stadium. They don’t believe the team is good enough and therefore, a new stadium would be a waste of money. If the recent hires, recent play and upside this program has displayed hasn’t convinced them, then they just seem like angry elders that miss November and wanted another reason to put up a hodge-podge website.
To give you a better idea on how this team has made improvements, you can look closer at a loss to Alabama. Over the past three seasons, the BCS powerhouse has averaged 43.6 points against non-conference teams. The last non-conference team to hold the Crimson Tide under 40 points was Penn St. Many didn’t want to bet with CSU and the +39.5 spread. CSU held Alabama to 31 points and took their newly founded confidence and put up 59-points against UTEP.
If this program wants to leave the old days that most Hughes advocates still live in and get away from the low state funding, why not try to make new revenue of your own. Bring back the excitement to CSU football. Bring back the excitement you saw in the Sonny Lubick days. You won’t be able to do that when everyone has to mentally prepare just for the drive to Hughes. An on-campus stadium will light a fire under most fans and get them to the games and it wouldn’t take long for others to fall in line.
According to Forbes.com, the Mountain West makes $8 million in television revenue. Let the stadium be a stepping-stone to leave the ever-boring Mountain West. Only the MAC and WAC conferences fall behind the Mountain West, which should be disappointing considering the caliber of teams the Mountain West has to offer.
A Colorado State booster said it best in his interview with The Wall Street Journal, “Why does a car dealership build a brand-new showroom?” he said. “You bring a client in, you want to show excellence.”
So what would you do if you were a Colorado State recruiter? Drive your recruit to a sad sack stadium and let him sit there and reminisce about his Boulder visit, or let him walk and take in what Fort Collins and this excellent, centralized campus has to offer. If I was a player, this would certainly be a deciding factor.