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The Colorado State Rams football program, established in 1893, represents Colorado State University and is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and Mountain West Conference (MWC) under head coach Jim McElwain, previously Alabama's Offensive Coordinator. Rams football teams have met with relative success over the years, including winning or sharing the Mountain West title in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Overall, the Rams are 473–521–33 (.477) (473 wins, 521 losses, and 33 ties), and are 7–7 in bowl games.
Home games have been played at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, located four miles west of the school's campus in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, since 1968. The Rams have long-standing rivalries with Colorado, Wyoming, and Air Force.
Since Sonny Lubick took control over the Rams as head coach in 1993, the Rams have made nine bowl appearances. CSU had only two previous bowl appearances. Lubick won nearly 75% of home games in the stadium that would later bear his name, leading the team to six conference titles and a 108–74 record. CSU was consistently a top 25 contender from 1994–2002, with a 79–32 record during that period and 3 top 25 finishes. Lubick, conference coach of the year four times, coached former Denver Broncos Cecil Sapp and current Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Erik Pears, and all-pro NFL linebacker Joey Porter.
On November 27, 2007, following significant drops in attendance and a 17–30 record over the past 4 seasons, including 3–9 in 2007, CSU made the difficult and controversial decision to relieve Lubick of his head coaching duties. The school hired Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild to take the helm. Fairchild was a Rams quarterback from 1978–80, and served under Lubick as quarterback's coach and later as offensive coordinator from 1993–2000. The Rams finished the regular season in fourth place in the Mountain West Conference and accepted a bid to the 2008 New Mexico Bowl on December 20, where they defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs. After the early success, the Rams had three 3-9 seasons under Fairchild. At the end of his fourth season with Colorado State, Fairchild was fired by Athletic Director Jack Graham.
On December 12, 2011, Graham hired Alabama's offensive coordinator Jim McElwain to replace Fairchild. McElwain's tenure started on a high note due to CSU's 22–17 comeback win over in-state rival Colorado on September 1, 2012. McElwain became the first CSU coach since Jerry Wampfler in 1970 to win his first game and the first in school history to win his debut against CU. The Rams finished 4–8 in McElwain's first year. In 2013, the Rams went 8-6 and defeated the Washington State Cougars in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.