Kragthorpe: Ties to Colorado State football coach make coverage tricky

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So, Steve's bringing his football team into Utah this week and, here at Objectivity Headquarters, this matchup is creating a very awkward situation.

I mean, it is difficult to avoid becoming emotionally involved in the game and manage to write an unbiased account when the visiting coach is Ross Siler's uncle.

Yet that's what we're facing every time Colorado State's Steve Fairchild coaches against BYU or Utah. About eight months after Ross joined The Tribune 's sports staff as our Jazz beat writer and action sports expert in April 2007, his mother's brother-in-law became the Rams' head coach and the rest of us naturally evolved into CSU followers.

Now that CSU is 3-0 and looking like a potential Mountain West Conference contender in Fairchild's second season, it will get interesting around here. The Rams play Saturday at BYU and will host Utah on Oct. 10, so that means intense coverage of CSU for me and some of Ross' other co-workers in a stretch of the schedule that will have a lot to say about where all these teams and their seasons are headed.

Knowing Ross as we do, it will awfully tough not to cheer for CSU. Besides, I have my own history with his uncle. Fairchild was the opposing quarterback for the first Utah State game I ever covered for a newspaper, almost exactly 30 years ago -- Rulon Jones and the Aggies blanked CSU, 20-0 -- and I've followed his career ever since, particularly when he worked in Buffalo and my brother, Steve Kragthorpe, joined him on the Bills' offensive coaching staff for two seasons.

Fairchild was the offensive coordinator when CSU was a flagship program in this region during the transition from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West in the late 1990s, and it is fun to see what he's doing to restore the Rams to the successful level of that Sonny Lubick era.

As much as an upset would have meant to Ron McBride's Weber State team, we were all relieved when the Wildcats fumbled while in field-goal range in the final seconds of a 24-23 loss to CSU a couple of weeks ago. And now come the Rams' annual meetings with BYU and Utah, which produced mixed results last season: a blowout defeat at Rice-Eccles Stadium and a heartbreaking loss to BYU in Fort Collins, Colo.

An upset of either team this year would serve as a major breakthrough for Fairchild's program. So it will not be easy to watch the Rams with any kind of detached perspective. But I believe that by Saturday, I'll have prepared myself to fulfill the assignment professionally, evaluating the BYU-CSU game and judging Fairchild's coaching performance fairly, disregarding personal allegiances.

If not, I suppose I could switch to Utah vs. Louisville.

Editor's note: Steve Kragthorpe is now the head coach at Louisville.