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.