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Colorado State coach Mike Bobo says team won’t be intimidated by No. 1 Alabama.
Kelly Lyell

The defensive front four reminds Mike Bobo of an NFL team, and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick “is one of the best players I’ve seen on tape,” the CSU football coach said.

The offense has three legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Jalen Hurts, running back Bo Scarbrough and receiver Calvin Ridley.

Bobo stopped short of calling Alabama a team of “glass-eaters and fire-breathers,” as former Colorado State University coach Jim McElwain did before facing the Crimson Tide in 2013.

But he used the word “scary” several times Monday while talking about the Rams’ game Saturday at top-ranked Alabama.

“The more tape you watch, the scarier it gets,” Bobo said at his weekly news conference.

As daunting as the task might be, his Rams (2-1) aren’t just trying to avoid being embarrassed. They’re going to do everything they can to win. They’re not going to be intimidated, Bobo said.

“There are no moral victories to me,” Bobo said. “You play the game, you compete, you play it to win, and that’s what we’re going to do is play the game to win.”

It’s an unusually tall order. This isn’t Oregon State, the team CSU beat 58-27 in its opener, or the University of Colorado, which beat the Rams 14-3 on Sept. 1 in Denver, or Abilene Christian, the FCS team the Rams defeated 38-10 this past Saturday.

It’s Alabama. The best college football program in the country.

The Crimson Tide has won four national championships and played for a fifth in the past 10 years and has 16 national titles overall, five more than any other school playing football at the NCAA’s highest level.

Alabama had four players selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft and nine selected in the first three rounds.

The Crimson Tide hasn’t lost a nonconference game in the regular season since 2007 against Louisiana-Monroe and is 46-6 overall and 29-1 in nonconference games at home in Nick Saban’s 11 seasons as coach.

 “It’s a great, great program,” said Bobo, a former quarterback and longtime assistant coach at Georgia, another of the Southeastern Conference’s historically strong programs. “It always has been a great program. Everybody says that they get the best players in the country, and they do get a lot of the best players in the country. But when you watch this team on tape, offensively, defensively and special teams, it’s probably the best-coached football team that I’ve seen in a long time.”

There are weaknesses, though, on every team. It’s why coaches and players spend so much time studying game film.

So as “scary” as it might be for the Rams to watch the Tide roll over their opponents last season and through two games this year, Bobo isn’t going to limit their viewing as McElwain suggested he would before that 2013 game. CSU trailed just 14-6 after three quarters in that game but wound up losing 31-6.

CSU can’t replicate the size, speed and strength of Alabama’s offense and defense during practices against scout teams this week, Bobo said. So, the Rams will focus primarily on themselves, making sure players understand their responsibilities and assignments on every play they might run Saturday.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to figure out what we do best, what gives us a chance to be successful,” Bobo said. “Our guys can play fast; we’ve got to play fast. We’ve got to come off the ball. We’ve got to know what we’re doing.

“If we try to do too much schematically where we’re trying to trick them by formation or motion and end up confusing ourselves, then that’s when they’re going to make you look worse than they make everybody else look.”

And Alabama has made a lot of good football teams look pretty bad over the years. The Tide beat then-No. 20 Southern California 52-6 in last year’s season-opener, then-No. 9 Tennessee 49-10, and then-No. 13 Auburn 30-12 in the regular season and then-No. 4 Washington 24-7 in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff last season before losing 35-31 to Clemson in the national championship game. Alabama beat then-No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in this year’s opener and downed Fresno State 41-10 last weekend.

The Tide might roll over CSU, too.

But Bobo isn’t conceding anything.

“We’re going to be competitive, and we’re going to get after it and we’re going to try to put on the field the best players and run the best concepts and schemes that we feel like have a chance to be successful,” he said.

“We’re at a good place right now as a football team. I feel like we’re where we’re supposed to be. We’re 2-1, and we’ve got a chance to go play a game and try to get to 3-1.”

Follow reporter Kelly Lyell at twitter.com/KellyLyell and facebook.com/KellyLyell.news and listen to him talk CSU sports at 11:35 a.m. Thursdays on KFKA radio (AM 1310).

RamPage Live

Join Coloradoan sports reporters Kevin Lytle and Kelly Lyell at noon Wednesday for a Facebook Live (www.facebook.com/ColoradoanSports/) look at the CSU football team heading into its game Saturday at top-ranked Alabama.