It would have been difficult to watch the Colorado State football team on Saturday and not be impressed.
Even the Colorado Buffaloes were impressed with CSU's 58-27 victory against Oregon State.
"I thought they played well," CU junior cornerback Isaiah Oliver said. "I feel like they've gotten a lot better since last year. That's something we already knew going into the game. It was nothing really surprising to us. We're still preparing the same way we were going to prepare regardless."
CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said the performance against Oregon State was really just an extension of what CSU did a year ago. The Rams were just 7-6, but won four of their last five in the regular season before a 61-50 loss to Idaho in the Idaho Potato Bowl.
The temperature for the bowl game was just 22 degrees at kickoff and players were slipping and sliding all night, so MacIntyre said, "I'd take the Idaho game out of the picture."
Even counting the bowl game, CSU has scored 37-plus points in seven straight games, averaging 49.3 points per game in those games.
"The last four or five games last year, watching them on film, it seemed like they went to a different level, overall, the whole team," MacIntyre said. "That's exactly what I saw on film (against Oregon State). They were hitting on all cylinders, making plays on both sides of the ball. And, their kicking game, I was really impressed with the way they played.
"They have a good football team and we knew they had a good football team."
Watching the Rams certainly got the attention of the Buffs, although finally being in game week after four weeks of camp has ramped up the energy.
"When you get near game week, it's kind of like getting near Christmas," MacIntyre said. "I thought they were really focused (on Monday) and excited about getting ready to play a game."
CU has sold more than 32,000 tickets for Friday's game against the Rams, with single-game ticket sales tracking about 37 percent ahead of last year.
Included in that is the 8,735 student ticket passes CU has sold, as of the end of the business day Monday. From about lunch time to the end of the day, CU sold more than 250 student passes. With this being the first week of school, it's typically a big week for student ticket sales.
As of Monday, CU has sold 20,405 season tickets, nearly 2,400 more than last year.
CU does give season ticket holders the ability to opt out of the CSU game, and 26 percent have opted out of this year's game.
CSU, meanwhile, has sold 29,039 tickets for the Showdown, as of Monday night. Of those, 7,600 are student tickets.
MacIntyre said Monday that he has not made a decision about who will handle kicking duties. James Stefanou, a 30-year-old true freshman from Australia, is the favorite to win the job for kicking field goals and extra points, but senior Chris Graham and sophomore Davis Price are competing, as well. Graham and Price shared the job last year.