The most confident college football team in the state this season? The Colorado School of Mines is your best choice.
“The national championship is our expectation,” said Michael Zeman, a fifth-year running back and Sagrada Familia graduate (’17). “Any deficiencies are a failure of the season.”
The Orediggers’ mission is to become a Tier II strong team, kicking off their season against Western Oregon in Golden on Thursday night. Mines is no stranger to high expectations-winning or sharing RMAC championships in three of the past four years. Orediggers entered the 8th national ranking this season, According to D2Football.com.
Head coach Gregg Brandon led Mines to three playoff games in five years.His 2019 team is unbeaten in the regular season and has Thrillers in the first round of the playoffs.
Last year the pandemic cancelled RMAC football. But this has not weakened Mines’ optimism this season.
“If you are in the playoffs, why don’t you want to win all this?” Brandon said. “Some people looked at me and said,’Well, you can’t do that in Mines.’ I said, “Why not? “We have been working hard and working hard. We are talking about it. I have a veteran team back.
“We want to escape.”
Orediggers returned 17 starters, including Zeman (5 feet 11 inches, 210 years old), who broke out 1,421 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 2019. The Mailing native is considered a second-level national candidate. Mines has also made significant progress on the defensive side to match its usually dominant offense. In 2019, Ore Diguez ranked 13th in total defense, 11th in scoring defense, and first in three-point defense.
The mine must contend with another traditional RMAC force in CSU-Pueblo in order to make waves across the country. The Thunder Wolves ranked 12th in the D2Football.com preseason game.
“Pueblo has always been a great team. This is the game we most look forward to,” Zeman said
But it is clear that Orediggers has a bigger goal than a conference championship or simply entering the playoffs.
“We want to be bolder from there,” Zeman said. “We want to integrate it into our culture and look forward to a national championship instead of being satisfied with anything less.”
Mine Football Schedule
|Western Oregon||9/2||18:00||Marvin Khai Stadium (Golden)|
|New Mexico Highlands||9/11||noon||Marvin Khai Stadium (Golden)|
|Lewisburg||9/18||noon||Ray Dennison Memorial (Durango)|
|West Texas A&M University||9/25||18:00||Buffalo Stadium (Texas Canyon)|
|Western colorado||10/2||noon||Marvin Khai Stadium (Golden)|
|Montenegro State||10/9||1 pm||Lyle Hare Stadium (Spierfish, SD)|
|South Dakota Mine||10/16||12 o’clock noon||Marvin Khai Stadium (Golden)|
|Colorado Mesa||10/23||1 pm||Ralph Stoker Stadium (Grand Junction)|
|Chadern||10/30||noon||Marvin Khai Stadium (Golden)|
|Colorado State University Pueblo||11/6||2 pm||Thunder Bowl (Pueblo)|
|Adams State||11/13||noon||Marvin Khai Stadium (Golden)|