“Just the Facts, Ma’am”

If you are old enough, you will remember the familiar phrase, “Just the facts, ma’am”, attributed to Sgt. Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb in the radio and television series of the 1950’s and 60’s. If you are a bit younger, you might associate the phrase with Dan Aykroyd, who reprised the role of Sgt. Friday in a 1987 movie.

If you are even younger, you might not remember either the original Dragnet or the remake, but you are probably familiar with the phrase.

“Just the facts, ma’am” is a “let’s cut the crap, and tell me what is really going on here” retort, brought about when the speaker is tired of all of the extraneous talk, and just wants to know what is real.

As it relates to the Colorado/Colorado State series, I’ve had heard/read enough of the crap about equality between the two programs.

It’s time to bring out the facts.

Colorado State is a fine school, and has an excellent veterinary program. Ft. Collins is a great college town, and is often hailed as one of the best cities in America in which to live.

Sorry, Ram fans, but that’s all you get.

Colorado fans, beaten down by a school-record string of losing seasons, have been cowered of late, shrinking from confrontation. The Buffs entry into the Pac-12 conference came at the absolute worst time, and the CU program had to bottom out before it could start to turn things around. As difficult as the past few years have been, the future looks bright. Colorado has put into place an athletic director and football coach who “get it”, individuals who understand what it takes to be a competitive Power-Five conference team. The football program, like the indoor facilities, cannot be resurrected overnight, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and there are good reasons to be excited about the future.

Colorado State, not so much.

Sure, the Rams can be a competitive team in the Mountain West Conference. If that is all Colorado State is after, more power to them. Enjoy your home crowds of 18,000 per game, and your rousing victories over New Mexico, Cal Poly and UC-Davis. Grab those minor bowl opportunities, and then sit back and envy the big boys sitting at the major bowl table.

Comparing Colorado to Colorado State is comparing apples to oranges. Always has been; always will be.

Here’s what I’m talking about …

— In the CSU “Game Notes” for the Rocky Mountain Showdown, there is a “Need 2 Know” section, spouting interesting numbers for CSU fans to brag about. The very first number (high on the list of numbers for Ram fans to brag about) is:

“22: Number of wins the Rams would own all-time in the series vs. Colorado with a win Friday, the 8th-most by CSU against all opponents”.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Just the facts, ma’am … Colorado has played more games against Colorado State – by a good margin – than any other team. The fact that the Rams are only 8th on the list of wins against the Buffs is telling. The reality is that Colorado State has lost to Colorado far more times than any other school (62), ranking an insurmountable first in that dubious category (Iowa State is a distant second, with 49).

All just historic, leather helmet victories?

Not so much.

Just the facts, ma’am … Colorado owns a pretty consistent winning percentage over Colorado State, regardless of the time frame reviewed:

– All-time: 62-21-2 (74.1 %)

– Since the series was renewed in 1983: 19-7 (73.1%)

– The last ten years – without question the worst ten years in the 125-year history of Colorado football – 7-3 (.700).

No matter how you slice it, on the football field CSU is not the equal partner they would love to be.

Coloradoan headline, August 27, 2014: “CSU closes in on CU in Rocky Mountain Showdown ticket sales“.

Um. No.

Skewed facts are always helpful. The reality of the article was that the headline was based upon the myopic, cut-to-fit sentence that Colorado State had sold more tickets the previous week leading up to the article.

One week does not a reality make.

Just the facts ma’am … Colorado was on pace to sell 34,000 seats to the game; Colorado State again under 24,000. This reality, even though CU fans were paying $55 per ticket as part of their season ticket package, while Ram fans only had to shell out $25 per ticket as part of their season ticket package.

The article also demonstrated a few other less than glamorous realities of the differences between the two programs.

Just the facts, ma’am … Colorado has 22,500 season ticket holders (not counting the 8,500 season tickets sold to students); Colorado State has 5,500 season ticket holders (good gawd – Montana State has 10,000 season ticket holders!).

The article boasts that CSU – once again – has more single ticket sales than does Colorado.

Just the facts, ma’am … Translation: CSU has a supply of fans only interested in one game – and unwilling to buy season tickets.

Brag all you want to about that one, Ram Nation.

Just the facts, ma’am … Regardless of how much CSU is “closing in” on RMS ticket sales, at the end of the day, it’s about the money. Receiving $55 per ticket for its sales, Colorado will generate over $1.5 million in ticket sales. Colorado State, at $25 per ticket, will finish will just over $500,000.

Money talks.

Coloradoan headline, August 13, 2014: “McElwain optimistic CSU will be part of a power conference“.

No. No. And No.

Where do you want to start?

Just the facts, ma’am … Colorado State has an athletic budget of $33 million. BYU has an athletic budget of close to $50 million, a television deal with ESPN, a world-wide following … and no offers from the Power-Five conferences.

If there were to be expansion, there are a multitude of better suited teams – Boise State, San Diego State (both of whom, for an off-season, joined the Big East), BYU – even New Mexico and UNLV bring more to the table than does Colorado State.

And all that’s assuming a Power-Five conference chooses to expand (and share revenues), a scenario not likely in the foreseeable future.

Just the facts, ma’am … Colorado State averaged 18,600 per home game last season. In the season finale, the Rams had everything going for them in terms of bringing in fans – a warm (for November) sunny afternoon, a home game against a rival (Air Force), a likely win (the Falcon were 2-9 coming into the game), and a bowl bid on the line for the 6-6 home team.

Attendance for the CSU blowout victory?


Former athletic director Jack Graham had a vision. He wanted a new on-campus stadium, hoping if he built it, the Ram fans would actually come to games. The money didn’t materialize, and the project, while still technically on the books, is looking less and less like a possibility.

Just like the chances of CSU joining a Power-Five conference.

— Coloradoan headline, August 28, 2014: “CSU, CU playing on even field in terms of talent

Sigh. Do we even have to go there?

CSU coach Jim McElwain is playing the “woe is me” card this week. “They’ve got better resources, they’ve got more money, they recruit top players,” McElwain said. “… Our little guys will show up, and we’ll go play the game, and you know I’m excited about the opportunity.”

The article touts that while Colorado had one player taken in last year’s NFL draft, CSU had two!

Practically even, right?

Just the facts, ma’am … Where to start? (national rankings)

– Colorado has had 266 NFL draft picks (21st); Colorado State, 98 (77th);

– Colorado has had 24 first round NFL draft picks (22nd); Colorado State, 5 (67th);

– Colorado has had 31 consensus All-Americans (18th); Colorado State 2 (79th);

And then, just for fun:

– Colorado all time wins, 679 (23rd); Colorado State 489 (92nd);

– Colorado all-time winning percentage, .588 (679-471-36) (31st); Colorado State .472 (489-550-33) (102nd);

– Colorado weeks spent in the AP poll, 293 (26th); Colorado State 40 (76th); and

– Colorado weeks spent in the AP poll as the No. 1 team in the nation, 7 (24th); Colorado State, 0.

We won’t even get into national titles and Heisman trophy winners, because that would just be piling on.

…. Those are just the facts, ma’am …


P.S. I wanted to post a YouTube video of Jack Webb saying, “Just the facts, ma’am”, but, as it turns out, Jack Webb never actually said it. The closest Jack Webb came was, “All we want are the facts, ma’am”. Still, Dan Aykroyd did say, “Just the facts, ma’am” in the 1987 Dragnet movie … so there!

7 Replies to ““Just the Facts, Ma’am””

    1. Stuart, thanks. It will only be brilliant if the Buffs are victorious tonight. As Al Davis once said, “Just win, baby”.

  1. Love the analysis. No need to be nervous, this will be the first of six, as we discussed last night. We will get ASU, and then catch Utah and perhaps Washington for a breakout season.

      1. 6-0 means that CU beats OSU. Washington is a flyer, as they have a new head coach and we play them at home. Arizona works too.

  2. Brilliant! Just brilliant! I’m printing this and putting it on my cubicle wall tomorrow. Did I mention that this was brilliant?!?! Thanks Stuart! CSwho? GO BUFFS!

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