Usually, the Rams open against Colorado. This year, however, it's Oregon State on the docket before the Rocky Mountain Showdown, and CSU head coach Mike Bobo believes that could help his team against its in-state rival.
CSU opens its season on Aug. 26 against Oregon State in Fort Collins. Six days later, the Rams and Buffs will square off at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.
"Not every player on a Power 5 (conference team) is bigger and stronger, but they have more depth - and sometimes you're not used to the bigger guys and they might be a little faster and they're going to require you to strain a little bit more than in practice," Bobo said. "When you go through that, the shock of playing a team like that, you're used to it a little bit more.
"Going into CU, I think we'll be a little bit more comfortable."
Bobo thinks it will especially help the Rams' new players, who have yet to play in a big-time college environment.
"We're going to play newcomers and we're going to play young guys (against Oregon State)," he said. "To play in front of a crowd and feel that pressure is going to help going into the next week and playing in a big-time environment in the Rocky Mountain Showdown."
The Sept. 1 Rocky Mountain Showdown was originally slated to be the opener for both teams - as has been the case 13 times since 1999.
CSU was supposed to play Oregon State the weekend of Sept.
While the schedule change could help the Rams, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre doesn't see it as a major impact on his team. This spring, MacIntyre said it will be nice to have a game of film on the Rams, but unless there are dramatic scheme changes by CSU, it won't impact preparation too much.
The last time this game was the opener for one team but not the other was in 2002, when CSU opened at Virginia before facing the Buffs in Denver. The Rams won both games to jump start a 10-win season (CU went 9-5 that year).
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.