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CSU’s football team is off to its first 5-1 start in 14 years and receiving votes in the both major top-25 polls for the first time since 2008.

But the only reason people around the country are paying any attention to what the Rams are doing is because they have a coach who was the offensive coordinator on two national championship teams at Alabama and a running back — Dee Hart — from that program as their leading rusher.

Jim McElwain, Colorado State University’s third-year coach, was rated No. 1 on a midseason list of coaches on the rise in a USA TODAY story earlier this week. And longtime college football writer and television analyst Tony Barnhart believes the Rams have barely scratched the surface of what he expects them to become.

It’s not exactly the kind of attention that Mississippi and Mississippi State are bringing to the Magnolia State while battling for Southeastern Conference supremacy and berths in the new College Football Playoff. But it’s a start.

“Those of us who got to know Jim McElwain during his time at Alabama knew that it would just be a matter of time before Colorado State would be competing for a Mountain West championship,” said Barnhart, now working for the SEC Network. “Jim has a very good understanding of the game and how to build a program. There are no shortcuts. Colorado State is a good team now, but the Rams are going to get a lot better.”

CSU doesn’t get the kind of exposure it did when the Rams were regulars on ESPN …read more