If the Rockies have an Andrew Miller, it’s Chris Rusin. And Colorado’s bullpen ready for the “magnitude.”

Pitcher Chris Rusin #52 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field on July 6, 2017 in Denver.

The benefit of runaway late-season victories put the Rockies in a favorable position heading toward the playoffs. A bullpen that has carried them so often is rested and ready to extend its reach.

Colorado’s relief corps has been the second-best unit in the National League this season, measured by WAR (wins above replacement), according to Fangraphs. Their 6.4 mark is sixth-best in the majors and trails only the Dodgers, at 7.1, in the NL.

And if the Rockies have an Andrew Miller, lefty long man Chris Rusin is it. Miller last season set playoff records for both strikeouts and scoreless innings as a reliever. Cleveland rode him through multiple-inning outings all the way to the World Series.

Rusin is a Rockies key. His 191 ERA-plus (a park-adjusted earned-run average that sands down Coors Field‘s effects) is the best among all Rockies pitchers. He can pitch in high-leverage single-batter outings or throw over multiple innings.

“Adrenaline takes over at that point,” Rusin said Saturday. “It doesn’t matter what your body feels like because you’re numb anyway. It’s what you work all season for. Just lay it all on the line.”

And in the postseason, Colorado’s bullpen will be charged with handling smaller battles.

“You shorten the game, within the game,” Rockies lefty Jake McGee said. “That’s how bullpens are run a lot in the playoffs.”

While Colorado manager Bud Black is forced to consider his bullpen management not only during a game in, say, June, but also two or three weeks later. He can’t burn out all his arms on one win at the expense of seven other games, for example.

But in the postseason, the stakes are raised, and the best pitchers get leaned on even more. For the Rockies, that means Rusin, McGee, closer Greg Holland, Pat Neshek and matchup lefty Mike Dunn. Scott Oberg and Carlos Estevez set up as a hard-throwing strikeout specialists. Antonio Senzatela may get a long-relief role. A starter or two, also, might end up in the pen. Zac Rosscup could also be used, as a left-on-left matchup.

Pitchers will see their roles expand. High-leverage situations might occur as early as the fifth inning for a reliever, even those arms more accustomed to late innings.

How Black manages his bullpen will fall to a simple precept.

“When called upon, get outs,” he said. “The magnitude of one game changes things. It goes back to Rule No. 1: Be ready for anything.”

Dodgers dealing. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts assigned right-hander Yu Darvish a bullpen session on the mound at Coors Field. Darvish moved from the Rangers to the Dodgers as the highest-profile trade deadline acquisition in July. He was meant to be a No. 2 behind Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers’ rotation.

But Roberts has eyes on Darvish pitching at Coors Field in Game 3 of the National League division series, if it should fall that way. Darvish has never pitched a game in Denver. His bullpen session was an introduction.

Footnotes. Gerardo Parra was out of the Rockies starting lineup for a fourth consecutive game, ceding his spot to Ian Desmond in left field and Mark Reynolds at first base. Black stacked right-handers against the lefty Kershaw. But Parra is 1-for-22 over his last six games.

Dodgers TBA at Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (6-6, 4.81 ERA), Sunday 1:10 p.m. AT&T SportsNet, 630 AM

Anderson will pitch his final regular-season outing after making a late move to secure the No. 2 spot in the Rockies rotation. He has been outstanding of late, with three scoreless outings in his past four starts. Last week, Anderson gave up just four hits in seven shutdown innings against the Miami Marlins for his sixth victory. He struck out five and, more importantly, did not walk a batter. If the Rockies can get that far, Anderson would likely start Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Los Angeles on Friday. Meanwhile, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was undecided for his Sunday starter. He said Ross Stripling (3-5, 3.86) would be in play if the right-hander did not pitch in relief Saturday. Nick Groke, The Denver Post

Wednesday NL wild card: Rockies RHP Jon Gray (10-4, 3.67) at Diamondbacks Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20), 6:08 p.m., TBS

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The $7,200 that the Montezuma County Hospital District loses monthly because of a mistake by state lawmakers may not seem like a lot, but Keenen Lovett insists the rural health care provider is feeling the loss.

“It is an urgent matter for us,” said Lovett, an attorney who represents the district. “You take out that kind of money … and yeah, it’ll make a difference.”

The sense of urgency in certain parts of the state is what prompted Gov. John Hickenlooper to call state lawmakers back into a special session to fix legislation that mistakenly exempted retail marijuana from sales taxes in nine special districts around the state.

But not all share the same outlook. The leaders of the Republican-controlled state Senate made clear they plan to adjourn the special session without passing legislation to fix the glitch.

This week, Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, once again called on the Democratic governor to rescind the executive order and complained that he did not adequately consult Republican lawmakers about the special session.

Instead, Grantham said the Senate would wait until the legislature reconvenes in January to act. By that point, the total revenue loss is projected to top $4.5 million, but most districts are expected to avert significant impacts to public services.

“There should have been a little more talking on the front end instead of the last-second, eleventh-hour crisis being thrown at us in the legislature,” Grantham said in an interview. “This will end up being taken care of in January.”

Grantham’s political action committee later sent a fundraising solicitation blasting the governor for wasting money with a special session, saying Hickenlooper was “toying with taxpayer dollars to advance his political agenda.”

If lawmakers are concerned about the cost, they can decline their per-diem payment — which accounts for the bulk of the $25,400 cost for each day of the special session. To pass the bill, it would take a minimum three days.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, called critics of the special session “obstructionists.”

“I think there’s a simple fix,” she said in an interview. “We can come back for three days, get it done and be done with it. We can’t forget that, by not taking action, this is having a negative impact on Coloradans.”

The apparent impasse and political gamesmanship threaten to tarnish the bipartisanship that defined 2017 session when it adjourned in May and touted the legislation in question — Senate Bill 267 — as the term’s crowning achievement.

The new law exempted recreational marijuana sales from the state sales tax and instead boosted the special sales tax on pot to 15 percent. The move prevented special districts from imposing a sales tax on recreational pot that they previously collected.

Republican lawmakers — many of whom opposed the original legislation — are raising questions about whether the bill to fix the issue would violate the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

House GOP leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock said TABOR requires any new tax to go to the voters for consent, and reinstating a special district tax on marijuana qualifies, even if voters previously approved it.

“The fact is 267 is law so … no matter what happened, if we are going to enact some change that will result in net revenue increase for any district, we have to go to the voters,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers and the governor’s office point to court decisions that give the General Assembly the ability to modify tax policy in certain cases without seeking voter approval again. But Democratic leaders declined to release a legal analysis from nonpartisan legislative staff that they say supports their approach.

“We are only doing what voters have already asked,” said House Democratic leader KC Becker, one of the sponsors of the new law.

The issue came to the forefront soon after the session ended, just days before it took effect. Hickenlooper’s administration worked behind the scenes for months to reverse it through an administrative rule only to be told it must to go the legislature for approval.

“Where I grew up, when you made a mistake like that, you fixed it,” Hickenlooper told reporters this week. “I was taught you acknowledge the mistake, you apologize and then you fix it as quickly as you can.”

Colorado’s top Republican lawmaker @SenatorGrantham is fundraising off #COGov‘s decision to call special session #copolitics #coleg pic.twitter.com/4HHJQyeByE

— John Frank (@ByJohnFrank) September 28, 2017

Colorado is home to dozens of voter-approved special districts that impose their own taxes to pay for certain services, such as ambulance, fire, water and sanitation, but only a handful that levy sales taxes are affected.

Two Denver-based districts are losing the most. The Regional Transportation District is receiving about $560,000 less a month. The Denver metro area’s Scientific & Cultural Facilities District — which includes the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and more than 275 other arts and culture organizations — is short roughly $56,000 a month.

The special districts contacted by The Denver Post supported the special session and emphasized the need for a fix. But the majority of the districts affected could not point to immediate impacts if the new law is not immediately amended.

RTD, for instance, has lost more than $1.6 million to date and could lose as much as $4 million if the legislature doesn’t fix the problem until January. But it’s still only a fraction of a percent of the eight-county transit district’s $1.2 billion budget. That’s such a small difference that RTD officials said they won’t even need to go back to their board for budget adjustments this year.

Similarly, officials with the Pikes Peak and Roaring Fork transportation districts said they don’t expect the shortfall to cause any cuts to service this year. Deborah Jordy, executive director of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, said she couldn’t pinpoint any direct impacts from the funding loss at this point.

Still, over the long term, the consequences are significant. Next fiscal year, RTD’s losses are projected to climb to $8 million as pot sales are expected to grow.

“The longer that the error remains in place, the more that residents who receive the voter-approved services will be impacted,” said Scott Reed, a RTD spokesman. “Six million dollars (a year) funds a substantial amount of bus or train service — and that will need to be taken into consideration with our upcoming budgets.”

“The issue is it’s cumulative,” said Jordy, whose organization stands to lose about $750,000 annually. “The sooner we get it fixed, the better.”

What it means for hospital

The new law is a wide-ranging spending measure that pumped money into hospitals, roads and schools. The main thrust exempted the hospital provider fee from counting toward the state’s spending cap, a move needed to funnel money to rural health care facilities.

Ironically, it ended up cutting funding to just the sort of hospital it was supposed to help.

Montezuma County voters in 2015 approved a 1-cent sales tax to help fund a $30 million expansion of Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, a town of about 9,000 whose hospital serves a much larger region.

In July, the revenues generated by the tax dropped by about 6 percent. And now, the nonprofit rural hospital has to make up the money out of its operating budget.

“Us losing money now does hurt us,” Lovett said. “It hurts us down the road. We’re going to be paying (interest) on those amounts for however much longer they don’t fix this.”

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Surgeons remove 28 magnets from 2-year-old’s bowel

A Colorado family is warning other parents about the dangers of Buckyballs after a 2-year-old girl swallowed 28 of the small magnets that sent her to the hospital.

Ella McBrien swallowed the small high-powered magnets when her father, Kyle McBrien, stepped away to use the bathroom. Her parents told FOX31 Denver on Sunday the girl likes to put things in her mouth.

"It was terrifying," girl’s mother, Elizabeth McBrien, said. "I was losing it, he luckily kept it together."

The X-rays showed the magnets linked together to form a circle in the girl’s bowel. The magnets pinched a piece of the organ, forming a whole. The inital procedure to remove the BB-sized spheres failed, leading doctors to use a specialized endoscopy to remove them.

"They were pinching the bowel and causing the early formation of a hole within the bowel by the time we got in there," Dr. Robert Kramer, who was working on the 2-year-old’s case, told the news station. "That can have very significant implications. In the worst cases there has been deaths associated with these."

They successfully removed the magnetic balls and the toddler was moving around normally within a few hours after the procedure, according to FOX31.

A Colorado toddler was hospitalized after she swallowed 28 of the magnetic balls, her parents said on Sunday.

(AP Photo/CPSC )

Buckyballs have previously injured and sickened children. The items were initially recalled in 2013 after several cases of children swallowing them were reported. Courts reversed the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commision’s order in 2016.

"We are starting to see more of these high power magnet ingestions now that they are back on the market," Kramer said.

Kyle McBrien said he’s telling his daughter’s health scare to warn other parents about the dangerous items.

"It sounds as benign as humanly possible — magnets, you don’t think anything of it. I think just to understand exactly what the true risk is," McBrien said.

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It’s no secret that each location is highly unique. That means that each unique location has its own set of fun facts! In this article, we will share with you some facts about the state of Colorado, a beautiful part of the United States of America.

1. The cheeseburger was invented in the Colorado city of Denver by one Louis Ballast.

2. “Colorado” means “colored red.” The name is Spanish.

3. The longest continuous street located within the United States, Colfax Avenue, is in Denver, Colorado.

4. Colorado is the only state to have ever had three governors serve in one day.

5. Each year Colorado is host to the largest rodeo in the entire world, the Western Stock Show.

6. Colorado’s capital state building’s thirteenth step is exactly one mile above sea level. It is located in the city of Denver.

7. Colorado’s city of Pueblo is the only location within the United States where there are four recipients of the Medal of Honor who are still living.

8. The state of Colorado has almost as many dead towns as there are live ones. In fact, there are roughly 500 ghost towns spread out throughout the state. These towns are highly fascinating to not only the locals but the tourists who regularly travel to Colorado.

9. Underneath the Rocky Mountains roughly 1000 feet, which cover a portion of Colorado, lies the largest oil reserve in the world that remains untapped.

10. In the state of Colorado, it is considered illegal to ride a horse while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

In conclusion, Colorado is a highly unique and beautiful state within the United States. We recommend using this list of fun facts about the state to wow your friends and family about what you know.

Photo provided by Pawnee Waste LLC Construction crews are building the landfill near Grover to handle oil and gas industry waste, including low-level radioactive waste. They will use clay and plastic liners to protect land and groundwater.

Colorado landfills have been illegally burying low-level radioactive waste from the oil and gas industry that they are not approved to handle, state health officials revealed this week.

State health regulators, confirming at a meeting with local governments the disposal of unknown amounts at ordinary landfills, are trying to prohibit the practice and buttress their oversight. Colorado’s booming oil and gas industry produces millions of tons of waste, some of it radioactive, and both waste producers and landfill operators are obligated to handle it properly.

“There is some of it that is just going to solid waste landfills. … It is probably, mostly, staying in state,” Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment hazardous materials and waste management director Gary Baughman said at the meeting Wednesday.

CDPHE regulators said they don’t know of any “imminent” threat to public health, noting that landfill operators must monitor water that leaches through waste.

But state officials asked cities and counties to help stop improper disposal of the industry’s so-called technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM) — sludge from filter bags, pipelines and storage tanks, and possibly drill cuttings. Radioactive materials can cause cancer.

Landfills authorized to accept radioactive materials must use liners and other protective barriers to protect land and water. All landfill operators must ask waste haulers to characterize their loads, especially if they could hurt public health and the environment.

CDPHE environment programs director Martha Rudolph said lawmakers must help by fixing a glitch in state laws. A solid waste statute requires CDPHE to prohibit disposal of radioactive waste at landfills not designed and designated to handle it safely. CDPHE also is charged with regulating radioactive materials. But a provision in the radioactive materials statute says CDPHE cannot regulate disposal of those materials.

Lawmakers should give clarity by removing that last provision, Rudolph said, and CDPHE then would create a new rule for putting low-level radioactive waste in landfills after hearing from companies and Colorado residents.

Today, only two landfills are approved to accept low-level radioactive waste routinely. And a new, specialized Pawnee Waste facility east of Fort Collins is being built, with 350,000 cubic yards of dirt excavated so far, to dispose of up to 15 million tons of the oil and gas industry’s radioactive waste. Pawnee officials said they’ll open it in November and that plastic liners, clay barriers and electronic leak-detection sensors will protect land and groundwater.

Oil and gas companies in Colorado, extracting fossil fuels from more than 55,000 wells, generate roughly 500,000 tons of solid waste per year, including low-level radioactive waste.

“It is in the industry’s best interest to mitigate long-term risks. And it is in the public’s best interest. This radiation lasts for a long time,” Pawnee project manager Jane Witheridge said. “If we don’t treat it differently from municipal solid waste, we would not be serving either the industry or the environment as it should be in Colorado. This is being done in North Dakota. It is being done in Texas.”

The Pawnee landfill “will be a great place to send” radioactive waste “but it is probably not enough” to handle all the waste the industry is likely to produce in the future, said Joe Schieffelin, CDPHE’s solid waste program manager. “That’s one of the pieces of information we are trying to get from the oil and gas industry.”

CDPHE regulators don’t know how much low-level radioactive waste has been disposed of improperly at landfills, Schieffelin said. “We don’t have information on the concentrations, either,” he said.

Operators of existing landfills have raised questions about CDPHE’s push for “a rule-making” to govern disposal of low-level radioactive waste in landfills. State officials told Front Range local officials from Weld County and as far south as Trinidad that they view them as partners in making sure landfills are safe. Once CDPHE approves landfills, local governments issue permits that let the landfills receive waste.

Waste Management Inc. officials, who run seven landfills in Colorado, said Thursday that they are collaborating with CDPHE and others to clarify procedures related to disposal of naturally occurring radioactive material, which is present everywhere.

“Waste Management of Colorado does not accept low-level radioactive waste,” company spokeswoman Isha Cogborn said.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, a fossil fuels industry trade group, did not respond to questions, but it issued a statement indicating COGA doesn’t see disposal of low-level radioactive waste in landfills as a problem.

“While circumstances may be different in other states, there have been no indications this is an issue for oil and gas waste in Colorado,” reads the statement attributed to COGA president Dan Haley. “We have spoken with the state, with members of the waste industry, and others to begin exploring the realities of this matter.”

Some companies have approached Pawnee about using the new landfill.

It is unclear whether CDPHE is taking enforcement action in cases where radioactive waste was buried illegally in unapproved landfills.

A May 12 letter from Schieffelin to landfill operators alerted them that CDPHE “has become aware of a potential issue” of landfills accepting waste containing radioactive material. Landfills cannot accept such waste “unless a landfill is specifically designated for that purpose,” the letter said.

“By accepting TENORM in general and (industry) exploration and production TENORM waste in particular, your landfill could be in violation of the law. Many sites are not characterizing potential TENORM materials and, therefore, the department is concerned that many sites may be unknowingly in violation.”

Legal responsibility shifts from waste generators to landfill operators once waste is accepted. If improper waste hasn’t been characterized accurately, the landfill operator can seek remedies from waste generators.

Only Clean Harbors landfill in Adams County and the Southside Landfill in Pueblo County are approved to routinely handle low-level radioactive waste, CDPHE records show.

In 2016, Pawnee got approval from CDPHE and Weld County for its landfill designed to handle radioactive waste. Pawnee officials say it will protect groundwater against radioactive contamination with a high-density polyethylene synthetic liner and clay barriers. The waste would be buried in containers, with electronic sensors to detect leaks, all kept at least 20 feet away from groundwater.

Some landfills recently received case-by-case approvals from state or local authorities to dispose of oil and gas industry low-level radioactive waste, Baughman said.

“It has become clear that what we have out there is an un-level playing field at solid waste landfills,” he told local government officials.

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Comcast customers in Denver on Monday experienced phone, internet and cable outages.

A construction-related problem led to the outage, Comcast said.

“This afternoon there was a fiber cut in Denver area as a result of construction excavation work. As a result, some Comcast customers in Denver are experiencing phone, internet and cable outage,” Leslie Oliver, a company spokeswoman. “We are sorry for the inconvenience, and we have crews currently working to repair the fiber cut and restore service as quickly as we can.”

There was a fiber cut in Denver. Crews are working to repair and restore service. We apologize for any inconvenience. @comcastcares

Outages were reported late in the afternoon Monday and ran into the evening.

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NFL Game Preview: Patriots at Saints

NFL Game Preview: Patriots at Saints

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Here’s the schedule for Sunday and Monday in Week 2, along with 10 things that intrigue me:

Sunday
Patriots at Saints, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Titans at Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Browns at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Bills at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Vikings at Steelers, 1 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
Eagles at Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
Bears at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
Cardinals at Colts, 1 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
Dolphins at Chargers, 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Jets at Raiders, 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS (GameTracker)
Cowboys at Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
Redskins at Rams, 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
49ers at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox (GameTracker)
Packers at Falcons, 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (GameTracker)

1. Brady vs. Brees

These two have faced each other four times in their careers, once when Drew Brees was with San Diego, and Brees has a 3-1 record against Tom Brady. They’ve played just once in the Superdome, that coming in 2009, and the Saints won 38-17 as Brees threw five touchdown passes. The Patriots won the last meeting in 2013, 30-27 in Foxboro. In their four meetings, Brees has 10 touchdown passes and one interception, while Brady has six touchdown passes and five picks.

2. Can Belichick fix his defense?

The Patriots were uncharacteristically bad on defense in the opening loss to the Chiefs and now must face Brees, who is much better than Alex Smith. The Chiefs had over 500 yards of offense and they scored 42 points. Bill Belichick has had extra time to get his defense ready, but does he have the talent up front to change it? He better hope some young players emerge quickly.

3. Reid facing former team, pupil

Eagles coach Doug Pederson played and coached under Chiefs coach Andy Reid, which means there’s a real familiarity between the two men. Reid will have had extra time to get ready for the Eagles, which will help. Reid is a historically underrated coach, and it will be interesting to see how he does against one of his former coaches and players.

4. Can breakout rookie RBs keep it up?

For the first time since 1979, we had three rookie runners go over 100 yards in Week 1: the Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette, the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook and the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt. Now comes the tough part: doing it again.

5. McVay vs. his old team

Rams coach Sean McVay is in his first year as head coach of the Rams after coming over from the Redskins, where he was the offensive coordinator. He was given a lot of credit for developing Kirk Cousins. Now he faces his mentor on the other side and has to match wits with coach Jay Gruden, who is now the play-caller in Washington. Jared Goff had a big first game last week under McVay, and now he will try and carry that over.

6. Jaguars vs. Titans in the trenches

The Jaguars shocked the NFL with 10 sacks in their opening-week domination of the Houston Texans. Now they face a much better offensive line, with two really good tackles, which should make for a bigger challenge. Not only that, but Marcus Mariota can move. The Jaguars won’t get 10 sacks again, but they need to get 4-5 to win this game.

7. Dak contends with the No-Fly Zone in Denver

We keep hearing how every week is a proving ground for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, but the reality is the second-year player has passed every test. This one won’t be easy. The Broncos have the best corner trio in the league and they have Von Miller to attack off the edge. Prescott needs to be able to drive the ball down the field against that secondary to loosen it up or he could be in for a long day.

8. How will Bucs welcome back Glennon?

The Buccaneers didn’t play in Week 1 after Hurricane Irma forced their game at Miami to be postponed. That makes this their opener, and it’s against Bears quarterback Mike Glennon, their former backup quarterback who spent his first four seasons in Tampa. He was solid last week against Atlanta, but now he’s on the road as a starter — which is a lot tougher.

9. How do the Cardinals compensate without Johnson?

It sure won’t be easy. David Johnson might be the best running-receiving back in the league, which means replacing him is almost impossible. His ability to create mismatches in the passing game was a big part of the Arizona offense. His broken wrist will force Kerwynn Williams in as the starter with Andre Ellington as the backup. That’s a big drop down in talent. It will be interesting to see what coach Bruce Arians does to compensate for the loss of Johnson.

10. Can Beckham bring life to the Giants offense?

Without Odell Beckham Jr. last Sunday against the Cowboys, the Giants looked horrible on offense. They couldn’t move the ball. The line had major issues. If Beckham is back against the Lions on Monday night, and it looks like he will be, he will help jump-start the offense with his ability to turn short passes into big plays. The line has to play better as well, or it might not matter.

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Nick Saban and the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide face the Colorado State Rams on Saturday. Photo by Mark Wallheiser/UPI

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Many of Alabama’s nonconference games have a similar theme: The Crimson Tide try to compliment a lesser opponent while not coming off overly confident, while the lesser opponent gushes over Alabama but tries to show it isn’t afraid of the task at hand.

No. 1 Alabama vs. Colorado State is no different.

The Crimson Tide hosts the Rams on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 7 p.m. ET.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama coach Nick Saban’s goal is to make sure his players respect every opponent.

"I think Mike Bobo has done a really good job there. These guys play hard, they’re physical, they’re very aggressive in their style. They can run the ball; they can throw the ball. They’ve got a good quarterback. They’ve got a lot of balance in what they do."

Meanwhile in Colorado, Rams coach Mike Bobo assessed the Crimson Tide’s defensive front by saying it looks like "an NFL front four."

"The more tape you watch, the scarier it gets," Bobo said in his Monday press conference.

Bobo made sure to stress that his team wouldn’t back down from the challenge of facing the No. 1 team in the country. Bobo, a former assistant coach at Georgia — including as offensive coordinator — has seen Alabama up close during the Saban era.

"It’s a great, great program," Bobo said.

"It always has been a great program. Everybody says that they get the best players in the country, and they do get a lot of the best players in the country. But when you watch this team on tape, offensively, defensively and special teams, it’s probably the best-coached football team that I’ve seen in a long time."

Colorado State (2-1) provides Alabama (2-0) with its final tune-up before SEC play. Alabama downed Florida State in a physical opener before pounding Fresno State in its home opener last Saturday. Due to injuries, Alabama is piecing together parts of its defense — especially at linebacker — on the fly.

Young players and freshmen who likely would have redshirted have been thrust into key roles. Linebacker Keith Holcombe got his first career start Saturday with Rashaan Evans out. Holcombe, who has eight tackles and two pass break-ups, could get his second start this Saturday as Evans was considered questionable early in the week due to a groin injury.

Alabama has lost two outside linebackers to season-ending injuries, and another, Anfernee Jennings, is questionable because of an ankle problem. Jamey Mosley, a former walk-on and the brother of former Tide standout linebacker C.J. Mosley, earned his first start against Fresno State.

There isn’t much time left before the competition ramps up, so Saban has stressed the importance of individual improvement.

"The one thing if you’re any player and you ask yourself, ‘If I was a stock, has my stock gone up based on the way I’ve played in the first two games or are there things I need to work on to get better?’" Saban said.

"I think that hopefully most of the players would say at this point we need to be working to get better. And that’s certainly how I feel as a coach and what I would like our players to try to do."

On offense, the big numbers haven’t been there for quarterback Jalen Hurts, but the sophomore has shown improvement as a passer this season. Hurts has thrown for two touchdowns, completing 24 of 36 passes for 224 yards. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley has, not surprisingly, been Hurts favorite target with 12 catches.

Alabama’s running game features a four-head monster with running backs Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and freshman Najee Harris, plus Hurts, who has a team-high 209 yards on the ground. Scarbrough was thought to be a preseason Heisman candidate, but he has just 21 carries for 76 yards in the crowded backfield.

Colorado State comes in on the heels of a 38-10 win over Abilene Christian. The Rams opened with a 58-27 victory over Oregon State but fell to Colorado, 17-3, in their other game against a Pac-12 foe.

Rams quarterback Nick Stevens is 14th nationally with 328.3 passing yards per game. Wide receiver Michael Gallup is a real threat, rated fifth among senior wideouts by NFLDraftScout.com. Gallup has 26 catches for 309 yards in three games.

"We’re at a good place right now as a football team," Bobo said. "I feel like we’re where we’re supposed to be."

Alabama is 29-1 in nonconference home games under Saban, who is in his 11th season with the Tide. The only loss came back in 2007 against Louisiana-Monroe.

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Dancers perform in 2011 during the annual Fiestas Patrias celebration at Civic Center to commemorate Mexico’s independencefrom Spain. The one-day festival featured food and performances.

On Sunday — as they do every year in the second weekend of September — thousands of Coloradans will flock to Civic Center park to celebrate Mexican Independence Day with food, music and celebratory rituals. This truly is the year’s last big shindig of at the park.

In its 18th year the festival, Fiestas Patrias, hosted by Univision Colorado, La Tricolor 96.5 FM and nonprofit Mi Casa will present 14 live bands including international headliners from Mexico such as Pancho Barraza, Banda Carnaval and Huracanes Del Norte.

Event Coordinator Luis Lerma said no Mexican celebration is complete without good food. The park will be packed full of vendors selling traditional Mexican eats alongside wares from local businesses.

Mi Casa will also be administering free flu shots to anyone interested.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. At 4 p.m., the Consul General of Mexico in Denver, Berenice Rendón Talavera, will be officiating the El Grito Ceremony which marks the 207th anniversary of Mexican Independence.

In the U.S., Cinco De Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexican Independence Day. However, while the fifth of May is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, that is not the day that Mexicans celebrate their independence from Spain.

The independence movement began to take shape when Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara went to the small town of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato. He asked the local Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo to help initiate an effort to free Mexicans from Spanish control. On Sept. 16, 1810, the priest rang his church bell as a call to arms, which triggered the Mexican War of Independence. This call is known as El Grito de Dolores, The Cry of Dolores.

Every year on the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico re-enacts the Grito from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell that Hidalgo rang in 1810.

Earlier Sunday morning, the Colorado Running Club hosts the El Grito 5K, which starts with the ringing of the bell to represent freedom and liberty. The race, founded in 1994 by a group of local runners, is a community focused family event celebrating culture and fun through running. The race will go from 7 a.m. to noon.

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Pamela Fine reportedly filed a lawsuit in United States District Court on Wednesday against former Colorado Buffaloes assistant football coach Joe Tumpkin and several other high-ranking school officials after she said that Tumpkin abused her physically and mentally during their relationship.

According to ESPN.com’s Kyle Bonagura, Fine sued Colorado president Bruce Benson, head football coach Mike MacIntyre, athletic director Rick George and chancellor Phil DiStefano, in addition to her ex-boyfriend.

Benson, MacIntyre and George all reportedly "face claims of negligence and civil conspiracy, while Tumpkin is being sued for claims of assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress," per Bonagura.

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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