Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mel Tucker Working on Finalizing Staff and Re-Building Recruiting Class

It's a tough and busy time in the college football world in general, and particularly hectic for new head coaches taking over programs. Those continuing on in a position are scrambling to put and keep together their recruiting classes. Many of those are also running bowl game practices.

Those who are changing schools, like new Colorado Head Coach Mel Tucker, also have to review the existing coaches at their new schools to determine who, if any, they want to retain. At the same time, those in Tucker's position also have to be searching for coaches to fill out the rest of their coaching staffs.

Mel Tucker knew coming in that it would be a time of burning the midnight oil. Fortunately, he has the strength and will to face the task ahead. And he also knew he had to be quick about it in order to solidify the recruiting class that can start signing early Letters of Intent from December 19th to the 21st. The regular dates for Letters of Intent still runs from Feb. 6th to April 1st.

After reviewing the 2018 staff, Tucker has opted to keep four of the coaches: 
  • Darrin Chiaverini (Recruiting Coordinator and Wide Receivers)
  • Darian Hagan (Running Backs)
  • Kwahn Drake (Defensive Line)
  • Ross Els (Linebackers)
Tucker's first hire from outside Colorado is Jay Johnson, who will be offensive coordinator. Johnson worked with Tucker at Georgia.

Since Denver 7 first reported that Mike MacIntyre would be fired the week before he was finally let go on November 18, six of the his recruits have de-committed from the University of Colorado. That leaves the current class with 14 commitments.

While some are fretting about the loss of players committed to Colorado, the reality is that the new staff is strongly reviewing the players recruited under MacIntyre. It's quite possible the last two to de-commit were suggested to do so at the urging of the new staff. It's better for the player to announce he is re-opening his recruitment than to announce that the scholarship offer has been rescinded.

Tucker and Colorado are still running at only about half-staff, so the amount of time they will be on the road will be intense through both signing periods. Tucker, meanwhile, will combine his recruiting travels with filling out the rest of his staff to help out. 

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hey Colorado, It's Been 2 1/2 Weeks! Can We Get On With This Already?

On November 18th, Rick George and the University of Colorado FINALLY got around to firing Mike MacIntyre, nearly a week after it was reported by Denver7 that MacIntyre would be fired. Of course, the University denied the report, and Rick George denied the report, and then, finally, officially fired MacIntyre six days later.

One would have thought that Colorado might have been doing a little bit of the "pre-work" on this, all things considered. You know, when you consider that five times in six years MacIntyre's Buffaloes finished in last place in the Pac-12 South.

Or considering that MacIntyre became the first ever national coach of the year to follow up the award with a losing record the following year. 

Or considering that in 2017 and 2018 combined, the MacIntyre Buffs went 0-9 in games which would have made the Buffaloes bowl eligible. They made it 0-10 the week after MM was let go.

If this firing was a surprise to the folks at CU, they obviously weren't paying attention. Sort of like giving a contract extension to Mickey Mac after one good, totally anomalous, season.

Now, inching upon December 5th, minute by minute, some of us are beginning to wonder when and if the University of Colorado is going to "get around" to hiring a new coach? 

Do they not know that it's heavy duty recruiting season? The December early signing period starts in two weeks. Those kids are kind of wondering who the head coach that will be ruling their worlds for the next four or five years is going to be.

There have been rumors, of course, but the university and Rick George have denied them all. That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, time is ticking, and committed recruits are fretting over the lack of a new coach. More importantly, the available time for the new coach to bring in his own recruits is getting smaller and smaller.

More importantly, however, than the time for new head coach to recruit is the new coach does not have a coaching staff. 

There's a whole bunch of guys from the old staff who are still pulling paychecks from the University of Colorado, but they know their jobs could and probably will end the minute a new coach comes aboard. 

Power Five coaches tend to bring in their own staffs, not adopt the leftover staff from the old fired coach. It's pretty certain that their whole hearts and efforts are not into convincing high school kids to come play for someone other than themselves. Can you blame them?

And to date, four of the kids who have given commitments to the University of Colorado over the last year have pulled their commitments. They are worried. The new coach may not want them. And their scholarship offers can be rescinded at any time. Nothing is written in stone until the Letters of Intent are signed, sealed and delivered.

We know and understand that the University of Colorado and Rick George want to do this right. But so far they are doing it all wrong. Maybe that $10 Million they owe to Mike MacIntyre is messing with their heads.

Meanwhile, some of us are waiting to welcome the new head coach, whoever that might be. In 2018, big time college football is a 365 day a year, 24/7 proposition. Every day is lost time. Every week is way too much lost time.

The clock is ticking. Tick Tick Tick.





Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hey Sam Metivier: Jim Leavitt SHOULD ABSOLUTELY Be the Next Head Coach at Colorado

Jim Leavitt SHOULD ABSOLUTELY be the next head coach of the University of Colorado football team.

Why?
  • The guy loves Boulder and has coached here before. 
  • His family loves Boulder.
  • The players on the team LOVE the guy. 
  • He is one of the very best defensive minds in all of college football.
  • He's been a finalist for the Broyles Award for the top assistant in college football.
  • He's a winner and has been a head coach before. 
  • He wants to be a head coach again.
  • He was the primary reason Colorado won 10 games in 2016.
  • He would make the Buffs a winning team in year one. 
  • To piss off Boulder's Snowflakes, who care nothing about football anyway but are now determined that Leavitt not be the head coach.
  • To help Sam Metivier get over his emotional baggage that has absolutely NOTHING to do with Jim Leavitt.
Snowflakes are annoying, but not as annoying as Metivier. He writes for The Ralphie Report, so one would assume that he could write an article about Leavitt based in reality. 

In one of a series about possible coaches that Colorado might hire, Metivier starts it like this:
"We’re begrudgingly writing up Jim Leavitt because too many of you have clamored for him on Twitter and in the comments. Fine."
"Too many of you"? Really? It doesn't seem "fine" with you Sam. It seems like maybe you have some deep-seated issue that has been burning in your soul for a long time, certainly longer that you have been aware of who Jim Leavitt is.

You don't like Leavitt. We get it. But you are not being honest with yourself any more than you are being honest with your readers.

You like to tell the story, over and over, that Leavitt was fired from his last head coaching job at South Florida for "hitting a player" and then "lying about it"!

Wow. That sounds horrible! Right?

What about the rest of the story, Sam? You fail to mention that Leavitt vehemently denied the allegations and the school later had to PAY Leavitt $2.75 MILLION for wrongful termination.

Then, later in the story, you say that Leavitt "yells"! Oh my gosh, a football coach who yells! Who ever head of such a thing? Have you ever tried to talk to more than a hundred people spread around a football field without yelling?

Who yelled at you in the past that has you so angry Sam? It wasn't Jim Leavitt.

Fear not, Sam, the snowflakes in Boulder won't allow CU to hire him. They were offended by McCartney "praying" for crying out loud. How could they allow someone who has "allegations" against them to be the coach of the team they don't watch anyways?

The players love Jim Leavitt. That should tell you something. 

MacIntyre didn't like him because Leavitt was good at what he did, and that made MacIntyre look bad in his own mind. Never mind that Leavitt helped make Mac the coach of the year. Once Leavitt was gone, Mac went back to his old losing ways again.

Fortunately, Rick George knows Jim Leavitt a lot better than you do, Sam. Even so, he has to be aware of the flurry of snowflakes that reside here in Boulder.

Remember that Mike Leach was also accused of "mistreatment" by a player while he was coach at Texas Tech. Leach denied it. He got fired and spent several years doing TV work before being hired at woebegone Washington State. The WSU Cougars have won 36 games in the last four years. He's also a candidate for national coach of the year.

How great would it be if Colorado averaged nine wins a year? But only if it doesn't hurt your feelings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Colorado Buffs Lose Again (Not a Surprise)! A look at the "Offensive" Coaches

After a dismal six game losing streak led to the firing of Mike MacIntyre last Sunday, the Colorado Buffaloes had one last chance to pull it together, get a win, and go to a bowl game. Sorry Charlie, the Buffaloes imploded.

The defense played well yet again, but even their strong effort could not overcome three interceptions (including two pick-sixes in the first two minutes) and two muffed punt fumbles. The 5 turnover implosion in the first half directly led to 24 points for California.

Some fans had hoped that the incredibly predictable play calling and overly conservative tendencies on offense might be left behind once MacIntyre was let go and Chiaverini was able to call plays on his own. Alas, twas not to be.

The phrase " Nothing to Lose" apparently meant nothing to the offensive coaches. If they were trying to audition to remain with the Buffaloes for the new head coach, someone should tell them it is time to polish up their resumes for jobs at a lower level.


Kurt Roper (QB coach and interim HC):


QB coach and interim head coach Kurt Roper was hailed as a savior when the Buffs started 5-0. But as the competition got better Steven Montez became less and less effective. 

During the first six games of the losing streak, Roper could rightly say he wasn't responsible for the predictable play calling. During the last week, however, as interim head coach Roper could have had play caller Darrin Chiaverini change things up a bit and get less predictable. It didn't happen. 

Also, Montez ended the season with almost identical stats from his "up and down" sophomore year. Looking back at both seasons, what exactly did Roper provide regarding production that wasn't there the year before? Nothing.


Darrin Chiaverini (Wide Receiver and co-OC):


Darrin Chiaverini came to Colorado as a returned Buffs hero from Texas Tech three years ago as recruiting coordinator and then co-offensive coordinator. 

He wasn't ready. Any thoughts that he had carried that Texas Tech gun-slinging swagger back to Colorado, but was sublimated to MacIntyre and Brian Lindgren before this year, was put to rest during the last half of the season. And then lowered into the ground in the last game. 

He's a good recruiter of skill position guys but it's the Hogs up front that make a great team.

Klayton Adams (O-Line and Co-OC):


Klayton Adams has had four years to put together a decent (or at least cohesive) offensive line. It never materialized. 

This guy is in way over his head at the Power Five level. He fiddled and fiddled all season, and meanwhile the program burned.

Gary Bernardi (Tight Ends and H-Backs):


Gary Bernardi should have been gone years ago. But we all know MacIntyre held loyalty to his buddies above and beyond any fealty to his team or the University of Colorado.

Darian Hagan (Running Backs):



Darian Hagan is the only guy on the offensive side of the ball who seems to know what he is doing. In his second stint as Running Backs coach, Hagan continued to provide Colorado with a 1000 yard runner. His 1K charges have included Phillip Lindsay, Hugh Charles, Rodney Stewart and Travon McMillian this year.

Imagine what these guys could have done with a dominant offensive line in front of them. Add in some imaginative play calling and WOW!

Recommendations: The Buffs new head coach pretty much needs to clean house with a couple exceptions on the offensive side of the ball.


Roper, Adams, and Bernardi (the MacIntyre Posse) need to head on down the road with Mickey Mac. MacIntyre and his buddies need to head back to the Group of Five because they are WAY out of their league at the Power Five level.

Chiaverini needs to spend more time learning from a good offensive coordinator before taking on that role again. It's definitely a learning curve. Look at Eric Bieniemy. He was a mess as an OC while at Colorado, but now he is one of the hottest coordinators in the NFL after spending time learning from the great Andy Reid. 

Hagan produces good running backs year after year. He does have an annoying tendency to find little guys like himself. One of the old head coaches he worked for once said that he'd like Darian to find a running back that he has to look up to. That's good advice.

Friday, November 23, 2018

MacIntyre is Gone: Time to Go All Out Against Cal

Despite protestations to the contrary, there is still one game that separates Colorado from yet another lost season. The regular season ending game against California is that game.

After six years of preaching the acceptance of mediocrity, Mike MacIntyre is no longer the coach of the University of Colorado football team. All most of us can express is profound thanks that AD Rick George finally saw the light.

In defense of George, he did not hire Mike MacIntyre. He was inherited with the job. And, truth be told, the state of the Colorado football program was not good when MacIntyre arrived.

Over the last several weeks of his tenure in Boulder, MacIntyre told us all that over and over. Instead of focusing on the Buffs ever growing losing streak, MacIntyre told us about how great he was.

He said that he "took over San Jose State when they were the worst team in Division 1 football" and turned them around. But did he? They haven't had a winning season since MacIntyre left. If he had turned the program around they should have been moving in the right direction. Maybe MacIntyre got lucky with QB transfer David Fales, who set all sorts of records at SJS before heading off to the NFL.

He said that Colorado was the "worst Power 5 team in the country" and that he had turned them around. Five last place finishes in the Pac-12 South in six years is not turning anything around. Like he did with Fales at SJS, MacIntyre got lucky with defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt that AD Rick George foisted upon him. 

But to Mac, everything good was due to his brilliant coaching. Everything bad, and there has been a lot of it in the last six years, was somebody else's fault. Always.

  • First coach ever to win national coach of the year and then have a losing record the next year. Not his fault.
  • Never beat a higher ranked team in 20 tries. Not his fault.
  • Went 0-9 the last two years in games in which Colorado would have qualified for a bowl game. Not his fault.
Now he's gone, and it is indeed his fault. Good riddance.

Despite the horrible efforts of MacIntyre, the Buffs can still qualify for a bowl game by beating California tomorrow.

Go Buffs! Lay it all on the line and bring home that 6th win.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Portrait of a Colorado Buffaloes Fan Who Became Fed Up

 Note: This was written as a comment on fellow Buff fan site cuatthegame.com
yesterday after I could no longer fathom the thought of Mike MacIntyre continuing as coach for the University of Colorado's Golden Buffaloes football team. 

Today, AD Rick George finally fired MacIntyre. Do not think my post had anything do to with the firing other than to help represent the thoughts of many CU BUFFS fans.

I've been a fan of CU Football since the 1980s when Bill McCartney turned the fortunes of Colorado football around. It's nothing personal against MacIntyre. All I want is a clean program and a winning program. If a coach cannot do both, he needs to move on. 

The onus is on AD Rick George now to find the right person for the job. I trust that he will do so. And I can go back to being an active supporter of the University of Colorado football program.

 


"I want to send my heartfelt thanks to Les Miles for giving hope to Colorado football fans for a couple days. After another lost season, it was exciting to be excited about something having to do with football again.

Alas, twas not to be however. Instead, the best coach available is going to a basketball school. And the University of Colorado will continue to be mired in the mediocrity of being neither a football school or a basketball school.

And, as Mickey Mac has preached for six years, we should be happy, excited, and satisfied that we might win six games.

I’ll pass, thanks. I hope for the players that they make a bowl game this year. But I won’t be spending any more of my time and money supporting the football program with MacIntyre as the head coach.

Thanks go out to Rick George for building a beautiful facility… But remember that the fans don’t get to enjoy those facilities.

We base our support on wins and losses. I don’t care at all about the fancy locker rooms and video games for the players unless it helps build a winning team.
It hasn’t. But CU doesn’t seem to care. Why then oh why should I?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Mike MacIntyre Era in Boulder is Over... Or is It? Hint: It is

Late yesterday, Denver's ABC affiliate reporter Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) reported that the University of Colorado and head football coach Mike MacIntyre had agreed to part ways following the season. Renck's article cited "multiple sources" but none were (willing to be?) named. 

In journalistic jargon, "multiple" means anything more than one. Equally troubling is that the posting does not even attribute where the sources might be from. Are they from the office of the athletic director Rick George? Are they from the office of CU president Bruce Benson? Or are they from the next two guys on the bar stools to the right? Who knows?

Rick George issued an interesting statement earlier today in response to the story from Renck:
“We do not comment on speculation or unsubstantiated rumors with anonymous sources. Let me just say I have made no decisions regarding the future of the football program. ”
Some are calling the statement a refuting of the story, but that's not really what it says. The key words in the statement are "unsubstantiated" and "anonymous" if you want to be a stickler for word usage. George did NOT say that MacIntyre shall remain the head coach of the CU football team beyond this season.

The AD also did not say that he and MacIntyre had not talked and come to a conclusion as to the end of the MacIntyre era at Colorado. It very well may be that George and MM have indeed come to an agreement about how and when to end the CU-MacIntyre relationship in the near future. In other words, George did not say the ABC report was untrue.

If the report is true, George's statement that has "made no decisions regarding the future of the football program" is merely an indication that he has not yet decided upon the next coach. It will all unfold over the next couple weeks.

The university and George right now have another problem. The leak of this makes CU look bad in the eyes of current and prospective players. It also does not make them look good in the eyes of the public. Blah, blah, blah, right?

The report, premature as it may have been, energized the Colorado football fan base a great deal. Many longtime fans and donors have not been happy with the direction of the football program under MacIntyre. 

MM has been willing to take credit for bringing the Buffs out of the deep hole they were in when he arrived, but in fact, six years in he has only one winning season under his belt. 

Two more losses this year will put Colorado at the bottom of the Pac-12 South for the 5th time in six years. It's more than time for a change. 

Rick George is responsible for the future of athletics at the University of Colorado. He knows that. He knows how important the CU football program is to the university. He was there when Bill McCartney and Bill Marolt took CU to its greatest heights on a national scale. He will not let his alma mater down.

By the same token, this will be the first major hire that George has made. He wants to make sure it is a good one. One that will cement his legacy. It's the reason that he has "made no decisons" about the future of the Colorado football program.

But that decision is indeed coming, for the better of the University of Colorado.

GO BUFFS!









Saturday, November 10, 2018

MacIntyre's Losing Streaks Continue: Colorado Falls Hard Against Washington State

Mike MacIntyre is still in possession of an incredible 0-fer since he became head coach at Colorado. For the 18th or 19th straight time (depending on your source or poll), MacInytyre's Buff squad has fallen to a higher ranked team. Today, #8 Washington State put a thumping on Colorado at Folsom Field 31-7.

In addition to never beating a higher ranked team while at Colorado, MacIntyre was also 0-1 against ranked teams while at San Jose State.

The loss to the Washington State Cougars was the fifth straight for Colorado since starting the season 5-0. In addition, going back to last season, it was the 8th straight loss for CU in games in which the Buffs could have become bowl eligible.

 On the other sideline at Folsom Field, WSU coach Mike Leach won for the very first time at Colorado, going back to his days at Texas Tech. He was 0-4 before the game, but has now broken through in Boulder.

Washington State is now 9-1 on the season and ranked #8 in the nation. Colorado has gone from 5-0 and ranked to 5-5 with a strong chance of finishing the season with a losing record for the 5th time in MacIntyre's six years.

After Colorado's collapse this season, Athletic Director Rick George faces a big decision. Firing MacIntyre could cost the program up to $10 Million

On the other hand, keeping MacIntyre could cost the school millions more. Fans have already started abandoning the program, and Folsom Field had many empty seats for the game today. The university announced a "crowd" of some 45,000 for the game, but those were clearly tickets sold. There were nowhere near that number in attendance.

Unless something is done to reinvigorate the fan base, the University of Colorado risks losing fans by the bushel. After spending upwards of $200 Million to upgrade facilities to be among the best in the nation, the program itself continues to fester in mediocrity under MacIntyre after almost six years.

The fans and supporters of the football program and the university are not happy. The investment of time and money is NOT paying any dividends.
 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Colorado vs Washington State: Which Streak Will Come to an End?

In about 18 hours, we'll know for sure which streak(s) will come to an end.

The Streaks:

  • Colorado has lost four games in row, after starting the season 5-0.
  • Colorado has lost seven straight in games that would have made them bowl eligible since last season.
  • Mike MacIntyre has lost 17 straight (0-17) to higher ranked teams since coming to Boulder in 2013.
  • Washington State has won five straight games since USC and the Pac-12 executive staff combined to deal the Cougars their only loss of the year.
  • Washington State head coach Mike Leach is 0-4 coaching at Folsom Field going back to his days at Texas Tech before Washington State.
  • Unlike MacIntyre, Leach has numerous wins over ranked teams, including five over TOP 5 teams, including #1 Texas in 2008.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mike MacIntyre's Colorado Buffaloes Edge Closer to Irrelevence... Again

Over the last two seasons, Mike MacIntyre's Colorado squad has now fallen to 0-7 in games in which they could have become bowl eligible. Add that 0-17 mark against ranked (or higher ranked) teams in the Mickey Mac era, and things do not look good going forward with Top 10 Washington State headed to town.

The last article pointed out that the Arizona game was probably the most important in MacIntyre's career. That being the case, the Buffaloes still found a way to lose to a 3-5 team.

It was not a surprise that they lost. What was very surprising was to be found around the Boulder campus, The Hill, and Downtown. For the first time on a game day all year, the number of folks in Colorado football gear were few and far between. No casual observer would ever have guessed the Buffs were playing a game that day.

It was very quick fall from what had become a very active and supportive student body. 5-0 and the students could not wear enough black and gold. Crash and burn at home after having a 28 point lead against one of the worst teams in a Power Five conference, and the students stopped caring.

It will be interesting to see how the game against Washington State turns out. The Cougars still have an outside chance to make the playoffs for the National Championship. The Buffaloes, on the other hand, are hoping and praying to end their goose egg in bowl eligibility games.

Which team will be more motivated?  The Cougars have a coach in Mike Leach with 15 winning seasons in 17 years. The Buffs have a coach with two winning seasons in eight years and is likely headed to another losing season this year.

Which team will have the loudest fans in the stadium? How many fans will bother to show up at all? How many students will go to the game? How many will even care that there is a game?

Tick. Tock. The timer is counting down on what was once a promising season. Does Colorado pull out a win and make it to the Cheez-It Bowl or do they settle for staying in last place yet again?

Does anybody care either way? 

"You are what your record says you are.” — Bill Parcells

Friday, November 2, 2018

Colorado's Mike MacIntyre Faces Career Defining Moment Tonight at Arizona

Mike MacIntyre, the man who was hired to revive a moribund Colorado program back in 2012, now finds himself on the precipice of having his reputation as a coach pushed over the edge of a cliff.

During his six years leading Colorado, MacIntyre has led the Buffs to four last place finishes in the Pac-12 South, and one remarkable 10 win season in 2016. That season was so unexpected that MacIntyre was awarded a number National Coach of the Year awards.

Those 10 wins out of 12 regular season games in 2016 made everyone think that MacIntyre was indeed the man with the magic touch. Unfortunately, it also appeared to many that it made MM think the same about himself, and that he alone was responsible for the remarkable turnaround.

Unfortunately for the University of Colorado and their head coach, much of the credit for that one winning season should have been given to defensive coordinator extraordinaire Jim Leavitt, who in two seasons turned around the Buffs defense from one of the worst in the country to one of the best. MacIntyre did not like that the DC he was forced to hire was being given so much credit, so he claimed all the credit for himself and Leavitt left Boulder for more money and personal appreciation in Eugene as DC for the Oregon Ducks.

After Leavitt left, Colorado lost first the Pac-12 Championship game and then their bowl game in blowouts. Then, in 2017, they lost seven more games. That made them 5-9 after the departure of Leavitt. And once again, they found themselves in the basement of the Pac-12 South.

In 2018, the stars seemed to align for Colorado when a schedule that looked difficult two years earlier all of a sudden was populated with struggling teams with three of their first five against teams with new head coaches. Unexpectedly, Colorado was 5-0 and ranked, which no one expected. Less than halfway through the season they were on the brink of bowl eligibility for only the 2nd time in 11 seasons.

Then, the Buffaloes met their personal Pac-12 nemesis USC in Los Angeles. Colorado has never beaten USC, and once again the Buffs lost to a USC team that is struggling and mediocre at best (at least by USC standards).

The next game after the Trojans, the Buffaloes hosted the Washington Huskies. UW was a favorite to win the Pac-12 and go to the College Football Playoffs, but they've had three losses already (Auburn, Oregon, and Cal) and are out of the Top 25 for the first time since the beginning of the 2016 season.

That left the Buffaloes at 5-2. It also meant that Colorado had lost their last five games when they could have qualified for a bowl game. They were certain they would finally get over that hump last weekend against Oregon State. Not only were the Buffaloes playing at home, they were playing one of the very worst teams in college football. Things could not have been set up any better for the Buffaloes to become bowl eligible and continue their quest for a Pac-12 South crown.

The Buffaloes started slowly, but by halftime had built a 24-3 lead. On their first play from scrimmage in the 2nd half, Colorado's tailback raced 75 yards untouched for a touchdown to give the Buffs a 31-3 lead. 

Everything was falling into place...

Then the "wheels fell off the bus" according to MacIntyre. The coaches and players froze up as the Buffaloes gave up 38 points in the second half and overtime to lose. It was the worst come-from-ahead loss in Colorado's long and storied history. The only other one close in stature was the 52-45 loss to Kansas in 2010. The Buffaloes also led by 28 points in that game.

After the loss to Kansas in 2010, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins was fired with a 19-39 record. In almost 6 years at Colorado, MacIntyre has a record of 30-41. Interestingly enough, if you take away 2016 (the one anomaly year for the Buffs under MM), their record under MacIntyre would 20-37, almost an exact match of that under Hawkins. That said, the two massive failures to protect 28 point leads are not the only thing the two have in common.

Tonight, the reeling Buffaloes play on the road in Tucson against the University of Arizona. The Wildcats started slowly adjusting to new head coach Kevin Sumlin's changes. And their star quarterback and Heisman hopeful Khalil Tate was injured for much of the season. But at 3-5, Tate was finally healthy and last week the Wildcats put a serious butt whipping on the Oregon Ducks by the score of 44-15. The game was in Tucson.

Sumlin finally has his Arizona team buying into what he is trying to do, while MacIntyre and his Buffaloes are trying to salvage a season that began so well for five games but now seems ready to collapse.

If the Buffaloes are trounced, chances are that MacIntyre will have lost the faith of his players and it is likely that the Buffaloes will have a new head coach by the end of the season. If Colorado can pull out a win, they will become bowl eligible and return home to face two ranked team in the upcoming weeks.

The game is likely the biggest in MacIntyre's career. Win and his career goes on. Lose and it is likely the Buffaloes will end the year with 7 straight losses. Lose and MacIntyre's time in Colorado will be coming to an end.

It's a lot of pressure. And pressure changes everything. When things are going well, MacIntyre loves to take the credit. When things go badly, he loves to blame his players. It's gotta be the kids who are full time students as well as having full time jobs playing football, right? It couldn't be the guy making almost $3 million a year, could it? 




Monday, October 29, 2018

Colorado Coaching Collapses Against Oregon State! Head Coach Blames Everyone but Himself

Colorado once promising season completely collapsed against Oregon State on Saturday. And head coach Mike MacIntyre demonstrated yet again that his clock management skills are among the worst in the country.

Earlier this season, Oregon's first year head coach Mario Cristobal let a sure victory against Stanford slip away by continuing to running the offense "up-tempo" despite having a big lead. A couple of incredible fluke mishaps (along with typically horrible Pac-12 officiating) and Stanford was able to come back to tie the game, and then win it in overtime.

Cristobal acknowledged after the game that he now understood that all the Ducks needed to win after the fluke turnovers was take the snap and take a knee to run out the clock. Instead, they risked a handoff that became a fumble. Stanford recovered the fumble and then tied the game.

Colorado's collapse made Oregon's look quaint by comparison. And sadly, MacIntyre has had almost a decade as a head coach to learn some clock management skills. Colorado led 31-3 in the second half against the one of the very worst teams in the country. They led 31-10 at the beginning of the 4th quarter.

As Oregon State mounted a spirited comeback, Colorado continued to run "up-tempo" in the 4th quarter. On one series alone, Colorado snapped the ball with more than 20 seconds on the clock each play and then punted with 38 seconds left on the 40 second play clock. The next series, the idiotic non-understanding of the play clock continued.

The whole thing looked bizarrely like something out of the Twilight Zone. MacIntyre's team, trying to protect a lead, kept snapping the ball with oodles of time on the clock and running plays out of bounds that stopped the clock over and over. Meanwhile, Oregon State was using much more clock than Colorado. 

How did it all turn out? Colorado had the worst collapse in their long and storied history. Against a team that had not won in the road since 2014, and had not beaten an FBS foe in almost two years. 

Oregon at least suffered the indignity of losing to a perennial Top 20 team when they lost to Stanford. And Oregon had two freak plays leading to their collapse. One was a touchdown on a returned fumble when the Ducks were at the Stanford goal line.

Colorado just stopped being able to make a stop on defense, and to completely forget that when the clock runs out the game is over. Keep stopping the clock and the game takes longer to end. Keep giving the ball back to the opponent without stopping them and they will keep on scoring.

Of course, MacIntyre blamed the players for not making enough plays. Nothing was said about clock management or play calling on offense or defense. It was all on the players. The record setting national coach of the year in 2016 doesn't believe in taking responsibility. The buck stops somewhere else, always. And, by the way, that "record setting" is not a good record to have. MacIntyre is the first COY to have a losing record the next year.

On top of that, Mac's teams are 0-6 the last two years in games where they could earn bowl eligibility.  Mickey Mac is also 0-17 at Colorado against teams that are ranked (or higher ranked). Two of the next four are against ranked teams. The other two are on the road. Arizona just knocked the snot out of Oregon in Tucson, and Cal just beat Washington in Berkeley. It's pretty certain after Colorado's collapse against Bottom Ten Oregon State that none of the teams remaining on the schedule are trembling in their shoes at the prospect of facing MacIntyre's team. They know that if given the opportunity, MacIntyre will find yet another way to mess it up.

When will Rick George finally realize that 6 years is more than enough time for MacIntyre to prove himself? 

He's had one anomaly year where the Buffs won 10 games. Every other season  before has been last place. We'll find out in the next four games if it's another trip to the basement this year.

MacIntyre has tried incredibly hard his entire tenure in Boulder to lower expectations for the program and himself. We as fans are supposed to aspire to six win seasons and bottom tier bowls as the best we can hope for.

If that's what the University of Colorado Regents and Athletic Director believe is acceptable, then they have succeeded in making one long time fan become microscopically close to no longer caring. And it's pretty certain the casual fans have already crossed into that realm.

If the Buffs don't make a remarkable turnaround the next four games, the program may never recover if nothing is done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Is it Time to Cut Darrin Chiaverini Some Slack?

Is is time to cut Darrin Chiaverini some slack?

For most of the time that Mike MacIntyre has been coaching at Colorado, longtime Buff fans were incredibly frustrated by the play calling of former offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren (now the offensive coordinator of this week's foe, Oregon State). Most of the complaints were that Lindgren's play calling was utterly predictable. It was indeed predictable, but many folks were also put off by Lindgren's quiet demeanor.

Some of the critics likened that quiet demeanor to a "deer in the headlights" look while his supporters (mostly rumored to be friends or relatives) chose to call his demeanor "cerebral" instead of quiet. Going back and reading some of the 39 articles written by myself on Colorado Buff Watch where Lindgren is tagged lead me to believe that Lindgren is certainly not cerebral unless the word is included in the phrase "cerebral hemorrhage" or something similar.

Last year, Lindgren suffered the indignity of having to share offensive coordinator duties with Darrin Chiaverini. The whole thing was kind of a farce, however. Lindgren still called the plays during the games. He still insisted on throwing long out passes into stiff winds to no avail. He still insisted on throwing over and over again against the worst rushing defenses in the Pac-12, and running straight up the middle over and over again against the best rushing defenses.

Lindgren was one of the main reasons that Colorado fell from 10 wins in 2016 to only 5 in 2017. All this despite the claims of head coach MacIntyre that Colorado would have one of the best offenses in the entire country. Mac was wrong and Lindgren was encouraged to seek other employment after the season. Thankfully he found it at Oregon State.

This season, Darrin Chiaverini stayed as offensive coordinator (along with recruiting coordinator) but he has shared the job with offensive line coach Klayton Adams. This year, however, Chev gets to call the plays. After Colorado started 5-0 behind Chiaverini's play calling and the emergence of WR Laviska Shenault as a bonafide superstar, delusions of grandeur started taking over.

Many folks forgot that one of the main reasons behind Colorado's record was a stalwart defense that was one of the best in the country in the 2nd halves of games. Instead, Chev and QB Steven Montez shared the spotlight with Shenault, with national media even mentioning Viska as a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate.

After starting the season 5-0, with all the glory and rankings that came with it, Colorado ran into two very talented and strong defenses from USC and Washington. And all of a sudden, the offensive exploits came to a stop.

Did Chiaverini all of a sudden forget how to call plays? Or did he just run into two really good defenses? Or, more likely, did he find out the hard way that sometimes you have to adjust your play calling based on what the defense is giving you?

We all need to remember that calling plays at the Power 5 level is certainly a learning process. No one starts out at the top. Chev started strong in his first year, but he was exposed as a novice by the outstanding defensive coordinators at USC and Washinton (Clancy Pendergrast and Pete Kriatkowski).

Does that mean that Chiaverini cannot continue to improve as he gets more experience? Of course not.

One of the worst years ever in Colorado football was 2012. The offensive coordinator that year was Buff legend Eric Bieniemy under the guidance of head coach Jon Embree. One of the many lowlights from that season was Colorado calling a quarterback sneak on first down because the coaches had not realized that the Buffs had gotten a first down the prior play.

That same sort of snafu happened earlier this season when Colorado attempted a two-point conversion because the coaches had not realized the Buffs had scored a touchdown the prior play. Some call this kind of mistake inexcusable. Some notice that it is an acceptable mistake from a young coach.

For those who only pay attention to college football, you should know that the hottest offensive coordinator in the NFL this year, in his first year as coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs is none other than Eric Bieniemy. It shows you can go from a rough beginning in the college ranks to the very highest levels of coordinator in the NFL.

Chiaverini is just beginning as a coordinator. He is bound to make some mistakes in his play calling. The most important thing he can do is to learn as he goes along. He's already done something that Lindgren never did when he took the blame for his play selection and vowed to get better.

Those of us who are Buff fans hope he gets better sooner rather than later.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

What the Hell is Wrong with Mike MacIntyre and Darrin Chiaverini?

What the hell is wrong with head coach Mike MacIntyre and offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini? Maybe the defensive coordinator should smack them each upside the head! Another good defensive effort was wasted by Colorado's bizarrely conservative play-calling.

Without Laviska Shenault, Colorado was forced to spread the ball around with forward passes. It worked until Colorado got a lead and then went into total conservative shutdown mode. They stayed in that mode even AFTER Washington got the lead. 

How many times can the Buffs run up the middle for no gain or a loss before they change what they are doing? 

They even went as far as letting the running back run from the wildcat for no gain not once but twice, including on fourth down. What happened you may ask?

They gave the ball to Washington at midfield and let them march down the field to extend their lead. It could have been worse if not for an offensive pass interference penalty on Washington at the 2 yard line.


The defense has to be getting pissed off at the offensive coaches by now. Can the offense at least act like they are interested in scoring. Or will Mac II and Chiv see if they can run out the clock even though Colorado is behind. We'll see.

17-13 Washington, with 3 minutes left in Third Quarter.

Alright, down by 11 with less than four minutes to go. Will the Buffs try going down the field? Or will they be happy with their moral victory of losing again but being closer than everyone thought they'd be?

Will it even matter? By now, it's way too little and way too late. 

Interception by Washington. If they score again it will be the 18 point loss that everyone predicted. 

Buffs get lucky and Washington settles for a field goal. Washington 27-13. Two minutes left.

 Offense line now shows they don't care. This game is over for real, even though it was effectively over when the offensive coaches stopped trying to score. 

What a pathetic game from the offensive coaches. The players deserve better.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Can the Colorado Buffaloes Learn From Their Bad Week?

The Colorado Buffaloes had a bad week last week. 

Not only did they lose to USC to drop their first game of the season, they were also unceremoniously dropped from the AP Top 25. They woke up Saturday morning as one of only 11 unbeaten teams in the country, and the only one west of the Mississippi. The ended the day with all the pundits who said that Colorado would be horrible this year to finally have the chance to say, "AH HA! We knew it!"

It's funny how things change.

If you looked at the first seven games of Colorado's 2018 schedule two years ago, most people then would have spoken about how tough it projected to be. Nebraska in Lincoln, USC in Los Angeles, Washington in Seattle, the always tough games against Arizona State and UCLA, and the in-state rivalry game with Colorado State. That gauntlet of a schedule was one of the reasons that Colorado was predicted to win only four to five games this year.

Of course, after starting the season 5-0, the angry pundits thumbed their noses at Colorado's record and claimed they hadn't played anybody. Never mind that USC won the Pac-12 last season and was favored to win the South again. Never mind that, historically, beating Nebraska in Lincoln is one of the toughest tasks in college football. Forget that Colorado had only beaten UCLA and Arizona State once apiece since joining the Pac-12.

Now, the game against Washington awaits. The Huskies were favored by the football writers to make it to the national championship playoffs again. But sometimes things don't work out the way the pundits planned. First they lost to Auburn, had some close games with Arizona State and UCLA, and then lost at Oregon. 

Despite their two losses, Washington is still ranked in the Top 15. And yes, they are the highest rated team in the country with two losses.

Colorado has never beaten Washington since joining the Pac-12. In their six games this decade, Washington has averaged more than 44 points per game to Colorado's less than 13. It's one of the reasons that the Buffaloes are expected to lose by 16.5 points. For those who think the Buffs are being "disrespected" -- remember that Washington has traditionally beaten them by closer to 31.

Last week, the Buffaloes seemed tight against USC on offense. They could not get anything going, including the coaches. Maybe the pressure of finally (possibly) being able to beat the Trojans was too much to bear. Although USC was favored, it was close enough to make the game a toss up. 

No such closeness in the point spread this week. Washington is expected to roll over Colorado. There are no expectations from fans or pundits that Colorado can win this game. Does that mean the pressure is off? Of course not. Football is, after all, a sport that is dependent upon wins and losses.

But a loss by a touchdown or two would be seen by many as a moral victory by fans. The players are not buying into that for a moment. They want to leave Washington with a victory. 

Having no expectations from the media or fans may allow them to focus and play smarter than they did against USC. That means the coaches too.

If the defense can play like they did for 50 of 60 minutes against USC, Colorado can be a very tough team. If the offense can play like they did for every game other than USC, the Buffs can put up points on Washington.

Strangely enough, if Heisman candidate Laviska Shenault cannot play, it might be better for the team's chance to win. Offensive coordinator (and play caller) Darrin Chiaverini last week could not find a way to NOT call play after play for Shenault, even though USC stacked their defense to stop Shenault. He faced double and triple team coverage on every play. Despite that, Colorado continued to go to that well so often that Laviska ended up injured.

Colorado has a lot of offensive weapons, but they are of no use unless their numbers are called. 

If Shenault is on the sideline, maybe Chiaverini and MacIntyre can get away from their tunnel vision. And maybe they've learned the lesson that you do not try to run away from a speed team. You run right at them. Washington has lots of speed. 

Colorado needs to adjust. If not, the Buffs will come back home with another loss. Even if they adjust correctly and still lose, at least they will know going forward that they have the ability to adjust on offense. All they need to do is look at their own defense and see how well they have adjusted over and over again this season.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Ghost of Brian Lindgren Returns to Call Plays for Colorado; USC Rolls for 13th Straight Over Colorado

Please note that this was written at halftime. It reflects how certain the end would be.
--------

Much has been made this year about the amazingly efficient passing of Steven Montez and the great play calling of Offensive Coordinator Darrin Chiaverini. All that acclaim must now be taken with a grain of salt, because a mediocre (for them, anyway) USC team exposed Colorado as not really being worthy of being in the Top 25. 

The Trojans themselves are not worthy of being in the Top 25, but Colorado is a lot farther away than USC. The Buffaloes came in undefeated, but the Trojans came in with an eye toward winning the game. The coaches at Colorado never gave their players a chance.

The DEFENSE started strong by intercepting two passes, but the Colorado offense did nothing with the opportunities. Chiaverini seemed to be channeling his old co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren. He called plays over and over that seemed completely telegraphed and seemed to think that the only receiver that should be thrown to was Laviska Shenault. It strongly reminded everyone why Colorado has had only one winning season since Mike MacIntyre came to town.

How frustrating to fans and players alike it was to watch Shenault triple teamed (or more) and still have Montez and Chiaverini insist on throwing to him over and over and over. Come on guys, if four DB's are on one guy then SOMEONE else must be wide open. They also relegated their star receiver to having the snot knocked out of him.

Now, remember than Shenault is an amazing talent. We understand that. His 51 yard run for a TD from the Wildcat was a thing of beauty. We know how good he is. But he cannot beat USC by himself. The offense needs to use more people. 

Most importantly, the coaches need to try to SCORE. After USC took a 14-7 lead, Colorado called plays that looked like they were trying to run out the clock before halftime even though there were timeouts available and plenty of time. How much time? Enough for Colorado to go three and out, punt, give up yet another touchdown and then seemingly try to run out the clock again. Although they were moving down the field in the last minute, Colorado seemed uninterested in using their timeouts.

In the second half, the defense seemed to stop caring. What good was it to play the Trojans tough defensively (95% of the time) if the offense continue to do absolutely nothing. At one point, Montez had completed 8 of 10 passes for a grand total of 18 yards. It must be pretty easy to complete 80% of passes if they only average 2 yards a pop.

It was easy to feel sorry for the players, because the coaches looked completely intimidated by playing USC in Los Angeles. The Buffs had no chance in this game from the get go. After the first turnover, the Colorado coaches seemed totally unprepared to call plays.

The coaches gave up on this game before it started.

It was a sad effort from the guys making so much money. The players deserve better from the coaches.


Nebraska Falls to 0-6; Frost and NU Need to Examine Their Values

Scott Frost has a long road ahead. Not only does he have a new system to teach to his team, but he also needs to get them to stay focused for 60 minutes.

During parts of the game against Northwestern, Nebraska looked like the dominant Huskers of years past. During other parts of the game, the Huskers looked every bit the part of a team that is 0-6.

Unfortunately for the Nebraska faithful, the game ended a few minutes too late for them to hold onto a 10 point lead with three minutes left on the clock.  

By the time overtime got going, the offense was sputtering, and Nebraska lost after a Northwestern field goal.

A little advice for Frost: Start focusing on YOUR team and quit complaining about others. If you are 6-0 and saying those things, it sounds like you are protecting your program. When you have yet to win a game, however, it sounds like whining and excuse making.

 Your teams needs all the help it can get in taking responsibility for their play. If you keep giving them opportunities to blame others, it's a much easier path to follow and will not help them become a winning team.

By now, Frost must know that this will not be a winning team. At this point, the Huskers may not win more than one game. Frost needs to use the latter half of this season to teach the Huskers the value of hard work, focus, and personal responsibility.

If they continue to accuse others and try to blame everyone but themselves, the difficulties of this season might very well spread into 2019.

Frost needs to look at the values he is trying to promote. And most importantly, remember that the test of those values is NOT when things are good, but when things are bad. If Nebraska abandons their values during tough times, it only shows they were never values to begin with and merely public relations advertising.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Colorado Buffaloes Keep Annoying the Pundits, Move to 5-0 after 28-21 Win Over Arizona State

To the surprise and annoyance of pundits all across the country, Mike MacIntyre's Colorado Golden Buffaloes won AGAIN and moved to 5-0 on the season with a 28-21 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Of course, the pundits hate being proven wrong. You'd think they'd be more accustomed to it since they are wrong so often. You know how they are, the predicted with all certainty that Colorado would win 4 games this season. Five games in, Colorado is 5-0 and is one of only 11 FBS teams in the country who are still undefeated. 

Although most of the pundits have either never played the game (or taken a few too many hits to the head if they did), their certainty in their predictions and their amazement when they are wrong always brings a chuckle. These guys are NOT Nate Silver.

One of these chuckleheads (Tom Fornelli at CBS) not only picked Arizona State in an upset (which was reasonable), but went on to call it his "Lock" of the week (which was idiotic). Makes you wonder if this guy bets on his picks?

Colorado was picked to be on national television earlier this season as the presumed roasted buffalo for the debut of Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Scott Frost. Didn't work out for the Huskers or the pundits. Colorado wins 33-28.

When Colorado played the UCLA Bruins, it was supposed to be the first win in the return of Chip Kelly to college football. It didn't work out that way as Colorado rolled 38-16.

Surely Arizona State, recently ranked and defeater of Michigan State, would bring the college football world back into focus and send Colorado a message that they are not considered a "have" in college football anymore. Didn't work again, as Colorado held ASU scoreless for the last 29 minutes of the game.

Now, the pundits are breathing hard with excitement. Surely the Colorado Buffaloes will get their comeuppance, right? 

They play USC, and the Trojans are 12-0 against Colorado. USC must surely win, right? It's what the pundits are hoping and praying for. Why? Because the pundits live in the past.

USC won the Pac-12 last year and Colorado had a bad year. Therefore, USC must win this matchup, right? Let's see.

Colorado this year is 5-0. USC is 3-2. USC has lost soundly to both Stanford and Texas. They scraped out wins against Washington State and Arizona. They won big against UNLV. Apparently the Runnin' Rebels play football in addition to basketball.

The problem for the pundits with this Colorado team is that they play the games one week at a time. The biggest game of the year is the one they are playing this week. It's the same every week. It's one of the reasons the Buffs are 5-0. 

History will have no bearing on this game. This isn't a computer matchup of teams from years gone by. This game is this year, with these teams. It will be decided on the field.

Can USC beat Colorado? Sure they can. Nobody outside Alabama has more 4 and 5 star talent than the Trojans. But that doesn't mean the Trojans WILL win. It means they CAN win.

UCLA has roughly five times the 4 and 5 star talent that Colorado does. How did that work out? Oh, yeah, CU rolled 38-16. For those who want to say that the Bruins are horrible, how is it they only lost to #7 Washington by seven points?

There is a reason they play the games. It's because pundits don't know the future and sometimes they barely know the past. It's what they THINK they know that messes them up.

Bring on the Trojans. No matter how the game ends up, we can all be sure that this is the game that Colorado is focused upon.

GO BUFFS!






Friday, September 28, 2018

Hot or Cold, the Buffs Roll Again -- UCLA Falls at Folsom 38-16

Two weeks ago, the temperature was 92 degrees at Folsom Field for the game against New Hampshire. Tonight, the game against the UCLA Bruins started with the temperature a less than balmy 46 degrees. Welcome to Autumn in the Rockies.

UCLA came to Boulder sporting a record of 0-3. It hasn't been the auspicious start that Chip Kelly and the Bruin faithful had been hoping for. Meanwhile, the Buffs entered the game 3-0 and alone in first place as the only unbeaten team in the Pac-12 South.

For the first half, most watching the game had to be wondering if  Colorado really was the undefeated team. After last year, many of the Colorado fans have been wary of getting too confident. In 2017, Colorado started 3-0 and then stumbled to a 5-7 record.

When the first half ended with a 14-13 Colorado lead, no one in the crowd was thinking that the Buffs had the Bruins right where they wanted them. Turns out, though, that the 2nd half would belong to Colorado. The Golden Buffs outscored the Bruins 24-3 to cruise to a decisive victory.

Colorado is 4-0 for the first time since 1998. Yes, it's been that long. That means that about half the student section at Folsom Field had not even been born yet the last time it happened.
  
The win means that Colorado has now beaten UCLA two out of the last three years. If they keep that up, they will finally start to create some real rivalries in the Pac-12. Finishing last in the Pac-12 South on a nearly annual basis since joining the league has done little to throw a scare into the other teams. 

Even this win, against a reeling UCLA squad, has to be taken with a grain of salt. The Buffs need to keep pushing to get better. It doesn't get anything but harder from here.

The next three weeks present the gauntlet of Colorado's schedule. Arizona State - USC - Washington.

The Buffaloes can't afford to lose the next three games if they want to have a chance to win the Pac-12 South. Arizona State already has a win against a Top 15 team. Washington is on the cusp of the Top 10. And USC is USC, meaning they have as much talent on the field as any team in the nation. It's going to be a tough stretch that will test the mettle of the Buffaloes.

For tonight, Mike MacIntyre and his Golden Buffaloes have earned the right to celebrate. The turned it on in the 2nd half and turned a close game into a decisive victory.

GO BUFFS!

***
Look later this weekend for looks at the the players who have been instrumental in making the Buffs 4-0.




Thursday, September 27, 2018

Early Midterm for the Colorado Buffaloes

Who would have thunk it? Four weeks into the 2018 season and Colorado is undefeated while UCLA is still searching for their first win of the season.

Remember, this is the UCLA team that lured Chip Kelly back to college football. The same Chip Kelly who built the Oregon juggernaut that won 46 times and lost only seven times in his four years as head coach. 

There is not a question of whether Kelly will be successful at UCLA, he will be. The question is: How soon?

Remember, he is taking over a Bruin squad with lots of talent but who never learned to play together and reach their potential under ex-coach Jim Mora. However, one thing that Mora excelled at was recruiting the very best in the country to come to Westwood and play for the Bruins.

The last four recruiting classes at UCLA boast a total of 40 four star players and one five star player. Kelly has a LOT of talent to work with. The key is getting them to develop into top notch college players who play as a team. Kelly will do that. And when the Bruins do turn the corner, they will get much better very quickly.

The Colorado Buffaloes are fortunate to be playing a struggling UCLA squad so early in the season. The latter half of the Pac-12 season might look a whole lot different to UCLA opponents.

In the meantime, the Buffaloes welcome UCLA to Boulder on a cool autumn evening. How cool? Possibly forty degrees less than the last game they played two weeks ago. With the high in the mid-50's tomorrow, the Buffs cannot count on the Bruins being overwhelmed by the conditions. They will still be at a mile above sea level, but they won't be cramping from the heat.

What the UCLA game will show is whether Mike MacIntyre truly has his Buffs playing as a team, or whether they have looked good beating inferior competition.

Will UCLA expose the Buffaloes? Or will Colorado put a hurting on a Bruin squad already reeling from unmet expectations? In less than 24 hours, we'll know the answers to those questions.


 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Colorado Rolls - And Becomes Only Undefeated Team in Left in Pac-12 South

After big wins over long time rivals Colorado State and Nebraska to start the season, Colorado's Golden Buffaloes finally played their first home game of the season and thumped New Hampshire 45-14.

The win was not unexpected. How the rest of the Pac-12 South played out was indeed a big surprise, however. USC lost for the second time in three games, and were manhandled by Texas 37-14. UCLA lost once again (38-14 to Fresno State) and now stand 0-3 on the year. Ranked Arizona State lost on the road to a tough San Diego State squad 28-21. Arizona finally won a game but still stand at 1-2. Utah lost at home to Pac-12 standard bearer Washington 21-7.

Strange as it might sound, three weeks into the 2018 season, Colorado is the only team in the Pac-12 South that has yet to taste defeat. If you claim to have predicted this before the season started, please stand up and receive your prize: You are either an idiot savant or a world class liar.

Colorado gets to hold on to this amazing distinction at least until UCLA comes to town on September 28, since they have a bye week next week before their Pac-12 opener against the Bruins.

Not only did Colorado roll in their game against New Hampshire, they did so while emptying their bench, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Twenty six different Buffaloes were credited with a tackle.

That may seem like an anomaly due to a game against a FCS school, but the Buffaloes first three games all have the high number of players making tackles. The Colorado State and Nebraska games also saw at least 25 Buffs making tackles. Compare that with last year, where the Buffs usually only had about 17 players making tackles.

More guys on the field means the Buffs can stay fresher and more guys are getting real game experience. That can only help moving forward into Pac-12 play.  

But, for now, the Buffaloes have earned a day or two off to heal and rest. Then it's back to the practice field and the film room. The real games are next on the agenda.

Go Golden Buffs!
 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Colorado's Golden Buffaloes Face the New Hampshire Wildcats in Home Opener

Two games into the 2018 season, the Colorado Buffaloes have already defeated their two oldest and most bitter rivals. 

Colorado manhandled Colorado State 45-13 in the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver to open the season and then went to Lincoln, Nebraska to spoil the Huskers first game playing for new coach and savior Scott Frost. The left Nebraska 2-0 after a 33-28 win over the hated Huskers.

The Buffaloes finally get to host their first home game tomorrow, against FCS powerhouse New Hampshire. Although New Hampshire comes to Boulder with an 0-2 record, they have made the postseason 14 straight years. By the same token, the Buffs have only been to a bowl game four times in the same time span. Indeed, the Buffs have only been to a bowl once in the last 10 years.

Does that mean that the Buffs are in danger of losing to New Hampshire? Probably not... but it would not be unheard of. Colorado has lost to TWO FCS teams since 2006. They lost to Montana State in 2006 and to Sacramento State in 2012.

New Hampshire's head coach Sean McDonnell has won more national coach of the year awards than Colorado's Mike MacIntyre.

Head coach Mike MacIntyre won National Coach of the Year Awards in 2016 after leading Colorado to a 10-2 regular season record.  He brought the Buffaloes from worst (2015) to first (2016) in the Pac-12. Unfortunately, Colorado fell all the way down to 5-7 last year.

In the FCS, the National Coach of the Year awards are named for Grambling's legendary coach Eddie Robinson. New Hampshire's head coach Sean McDonnell as won the Eddie Robinson COY award twice in the last 13 seasons.

Should all these tidbits of information make a difference to the outcome of the game? No, they won't.

New Hampshire may be a traditional FCS powerhouse, but Colorado is a program at the highest level of college football, FBS. Not only that, they are a member of the Pac-12, a Power Five conference.

Colorado should roll handily in this one. They should win by 40, even with 2nd and 3rd stringers playing half the game.



 


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Open Letter to Nebraska Fans: Fear Not Husker Faithful, Better Days are Coming

From 1969-2001, Nebraska won nine or more games per season every single year. In 20 of those years, the Huskers won 10 or more games.

And it's not just those years that Nebraska football has stood out. They are #6 all time in victories for Division 1 schools. The only teams with a higher winning percentage all time join the Huskers in being college football royalty.

You all know these teams in the highest division of college football. Decade after decade they represent best that NCAA football has to offer. Not counting this season, those teams are:
  1. Michigan  - .729  winning percentage, 943 wins
  2. Notre Dame - .729 wp, 907 wins
  3. Ohio State - .725 wp, 898 wins
  4. Texas - .705 wp, 897 wins
  5. Nebraska - .695 wp, 893 wins
The next five teams on the list are also golden examples of the best in college football history: Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State, USC and Tennessee. 

Some folks seem to think that Nebraska has been down for a long time. For sure, they had a horrendous year last year with a 4-7 record. But in the ten years prior to that the Huskers won 10 games three times and won nine games in four of those seasons.

It's a measure of the success and standards that Nebraska has long held that winning at least nine games seven times out of 10 years qualifies as a bad stretch.

There's a new sheriff in Lincoln, and his name is Scott Frost. He is absolutely the right man for the job.

He's not new to Nebraska, of course. He's a local QB hero who came back home after playing at Stanford for two years. He had the brains to get into Stanford and the skills to lead Nebraska to the national championship in 1997.

After five years in the NFL, Frost got into coaching. It quickly became evident that he learned a lot from his coaches. And what a list of coaches he had to learn from: Bill Walsh (3 Super Bowl wins), Tom Osborne (3 National Championships), Bill Parcells (2 Super Bowl wins), Bill Belichick (5 Super Bowl wins). 

He also learned a lot from offensive guru Chip Kelly, who led Oregon to a 46-7 record in four years as head coach. In fact, Frost's offensive philosophy and style probably most resembles that of Kelly from his coaching tree.

Here in 2018, Scott Frost has returned to Lincoln, and Chip Kelly has returned to college football at UCLA. Their combined records this year so far is 0-3. That won't last for long. Kelly has to change the culture at UCLA and Frost has to introduce a new style of playing to Nebraska. The change is coming.

After the Nebraska players learn what their new coach has to teach, the next national championship that Nebraska wins will be with Scott Frost at the helm (that is, if the "fans" are patient enough). 

It won't be this year, and it might be several years. The Big 10 is the toughest conference gauntlet to get through for any team in the country. Last year, the top five teams in the conference had a combined record of  56-11. Getting through the Big 10 unscathed is incredibly difficult, and doing so pretty much guarantees a spot in the four team playoffs and a real shot at the National Championship.

One of the keys for Nebraska will be get more and more wins over the top teams in the Big 10. Changing conferences is tough. There's no more Oklahoma and Colorado on the schedule. It's going to take time and wins to build those new rivalries. But as college football royalty, history says Nebraska football will get over their bad year and get back to doing what they do best -- winning.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Colorado's Rivalry Games are Over - Now What?

Nothing creates a rivalry quite like time and repetition. Colorado opened the season with big wins over the two rival teams their fans care about most.

The first time Colorado played Nebraska was in 1898. Since then they have played 70 times. From 1948 - 2010, the Buffs and Huskers played every single year as members of the same conference (Big 8 and Big 12). Even though Nebraska leads the series 49-19-2, the rivalry had many years where both teams were upper echelon schools and the game had national or conference title implications.

The rivalry against Colorado State goes back even farther. The Buffs first played the Rams in 1893. Since then, they have played a total of 90 times. The Buffaloes own a commanding 66-22-2 edge in the series, but there have been numerous years where high expectations in Boulder were dashed by the upstart Rams.

In 1986, often called the turnaround year for Bill McCartney's Buffs, the season started with a 23-7 thrashing by Colorado State at Folsom Field. 

The Buffs went on to start the season 0-4 as grumblings about the direction of the Buffaloes were starting to grow ever stronger. Then the Buffs went on the road and beat Missouri. It was the first of five straight wins for Colorado. One of those was games was against #3 Nebraska. It was a shocking win and changed the program for a long time. 

After 1986, Colorado reeled off 8 straight wins against the CSU Rams and went 2-2-1 against the Cornhuskers. That was shocking because the Buffs only beat Nebraska once between 1962 and 1985. 

Winning three out of five against NU helped make Colorado a national powerhouse that would play for two national championships. They lost their first attempt to win the national title in 1989 but won the following year. In 1994, the only thing between another national title for the Buffs was a lone loss against... Nebraska, who did win the national championship. That's how fierce rivalries are made.

The next game is against New Hampshire. Yawn.

New Hampshire comes to Colorado with an 0-2 record. They lost to Maine and Colgate in their opening games. Safe to say that Colorado SHOULD win this one even if they let all their starters 
have the day off.

However, "should" does not always mean "will" in college football. In 2009, Colorado went on the road and played Toledo and got shellacked 54-38.

In 2011, the Buffs were roasted on the road by Hawaii 34-17.

In 2012, the worst year in the history of CU Buffs football, the teams started the season with a loss to Colorado State in Denver. They followed that with a 30-28 loss to FCS Sacramento State in Boulder. They next week they gave up 69 points to Fresno State in a 55 point loss.

What's the moral of the story here?

The Golden Buffs need to run roughshod over New Hampshire. Rest the guys who are dinged up after two big emotional wins. And, most importantly, let the backups get some real time playing. Let the backup QB's throw some passes. Let some freshman who they want to redshirt find out what it's like to play in a college game.

Most of all, get the win and get the team ready. Pac-12 play starts the following week and Colorado needs to start beating THOSE teams once in a while. That's the only way they will start building some rivalries in their new conference.

CU won only three conference games in their first three years in the Pac-12. All against the worst teams in the league. In 1986, the Buffaloes finally beat some good teams on their way to the Pac-12 South crown. They finally beat Oregon, Arizona State, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA for the first time since joining the Pac-12.

Last year, the Buffs fell backwards. They only won two conference games. Both against the worst teams in the league. This year the Buffaloes need to be a team worthy of building rivalries in the Pac-12. They've still never beaten USC. 

For the Buffs to be taken seriously in the Pac-12, they have to start winning conference games more often. Doing so builds rivalries. And rivalries are what makes college football so much fun.