Saturday, September 28, 2019

Priceless Trip to Arizona State Rewarded with Big Colorado Win!

Some things are just absolutely priceless.
  • Traveling back to your hometown to see family.
  • Going to a game in the stadium you grew up in as a kid.
  • Proudly wearing our Colorado gear at an away game.
  • Watching our Buffs win a game against Arizona State in Tempe for the first time ever.
  • Being there for Colorado's first win on the road against a ranked opponent in 17 years.
  • Watching Mel Tucker rocking the sidelines in shorts as his CU team moved his record against ranked teams to 2-0.
  • Sharing all that with your spouse and son and Arizona family.
  • Celebrating with other CU fans during and after the game.  
While Colorado had never beaten Arizona State in Tempe before, it was NOT the first win ever for CU in Sun Devil Stadium. 

That distinction came at the end of the 1994 season, when Bill McCartney's final Colorado team beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, 41-24.

Happy to say, I was there for that game as well. So, my Buffs are 2-0 in the Valley of the Sun with me in the stands.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Trial By Fire in Tempe for Colorado Against #24 Arizona State

The Colorado Buffaloes fly off today for a desert showdown with #24 Arizona State in Tempe. Game-time temperatures are expected to be in the mid 90's. 

That heat may be hard to fathom for Buff fans who have never been to Sun Devil Stadium, but it's actually a breath of fresh air for ASU fans. Their last game at home kicked off with a temperature of 108 degrees... even though it was a night game!

After their lackadaisical loss to Air Force at home in Boulder last weekend, the Buffs have had to deal with a coaching staff that has taken their already tough practices and ratcheted them up a great deal.

Head coach Mel Tucker has been after his charges all week to take their game to the next level. He was overhead very loudly imploring and warning his players of his seriousness.

"You'd better be comfortable with being uncomfortable, with that sense of urgency to do it right every time, or you can take your ass to the [NCAA transfer] portal right now."

The above quote was taken from a great article in The Bleacher Report about Buff wide receiver Laviska Shenault. Click the link to see that article.

That quote is why so many long-time Colorado fans are so excited to have Mel Tucker as their coach. He's making it clear that the most fun they are going to have each week is playing the game. Practice is to harden them physically and mentally.

Sun Devil Stadium's field is named in honor of legendary ASU coach Frank Kush. He coached in Tempe from 1958 to 1979. His teams were 176-54-1 during his tenure. He was also known as the toughest coach in the country. 

One year, when Kush was unhappy with the lackadaisical play of his team in a rare home loss, he kept his players on the field after the game and made them go through a full two hour practice right there in Sun Devil Stadium.

We will see if Mel Tucker's Buffaloes have learned their lesson. It's a process, and Tucker and the coaches know that. But one thing they will not stand for is lack of effort.

The game is Tempe will be a trial by fire for the Colorado Buffaloes. They've already beaten one ranked team this year. And defeating a higher ranked team is something that Colorado never did under the prior coach in six years.

Mel Tucker knows that for Colorado to compete for championships in the Pac-12, his team is going to playing a lot of ranked teams. The P-12 has six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 this week. Beating ranked teams has to become ordinary and expected. There is no other way to be the best.

It's a process, and it will not happen overnight. Losses will happen. But the players now know it will not be for a lack of effort or concentration. 

Go Buffs!


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Air Force Win Will Force Colorado Coaches to Make Some Tough Decisions

After the Colorado Buffaloes walked off the Folsom Field gridiron with their first loss of the season, they got to the locker room and realized that blame for this game was on everyone.

Quarterback Steven Montez, the senior three year starter, continued to make mistakes like a rookie. He missed wide open receivers over and over. Once hit, like he has done way too often, he became gun-shy and tentative.

Kicker James Stefanou has been a beacon of steadiness in his Colorado career. The streak of never missing an extra point came to a dramatic end in the 4th quarter. A low kick and bad blocking ended the chance that Colorado would come back for a one point victory in regulation.

The entire offense seemed unhinged. Over and over, a Buff would move before the snap and send the Buffs backwards five yards. This kept the Buffs from getting into a rhythm all day long.

The defense continued to be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They continued their ability to cause timely turnovers, yet they didn't force Air Force to punt until deep into the 2nd half. They also allowed the ground and pound Falcons to turn into a quick strike offense. 

Air Force had three scoring plays of 25 yards or  longer (25 yard run, 32 yard pass, and an 81 yard pass). Coming into the game, the Air Force QB had thrown a total of ONE pass. He threw 12 on Saturday, including two touchdowns.  If it hadn't been for the turnovers, Air Force may well have scored 40 points or more.

The Colorado coaches are mostly to blame. They said the right things about getting their guys ready. They talked about how dangerous Air Force was. But apparently no on the team was taking them seriously. They should have known. Maybe they did, who knows?

Colorado was not ready for a team as well-conditioned as they are. The Falcons did not tire like Nebraska and Colorado State. They kept on coming through overtime and the Buffs were not ready. Once again, that blame falls on the coaches.

And it was not just the preparation by the players. It was the play calling by the offense coordinator. It seems everyone talked about how difficult it would be to stop Air Force, but it looked like no one spent any time devising a way to score against the Falcons.

The Falcons may have a difficult offensive to scheme to defense, but they also have to play defense. With Colorado's skill players, they should have been able to score a lot more points and move the ball a lot more consistently. They didn't.

The offensive play calling was extremely vanilla the whole game. Every effort to stretch the field for a deep ball failed because the Montez was vastly overthrowing his wide open receivers.

It's the coaches who have to make the tough calls. When Montez was obviously having an off game, maybe they needed to bring a backup in for a series or two... or the rest of the game if they play well.

Montez is a senior with all the talent in the world. He has the size and skill-set that NFL teams love. He also plays often as if he doesn't realize that his NFL dreams may be fading before his very eyes. 

To paraphrase an old coach, "If you can't manage to get yourself mentally motivated for a game that's only played once a week, maybe you need to find another sport".

There is a reason that football is often compared to war. You are either all-in and ready for battle... or you become a casualty. Colorado was a casualty on Saturday.

That said, it's the coaches jobs to get their guys ready. They are the ones getting paid. The players are college students with two full time jobs. It's the coaches who also have to make the tough decisions.

All summer and camp, Mel Tucker and the other coaches have preached that the guys who practice the hardest  and make the most plays will play. We've seen that with just about every position except quarterback.

Maybe a quarter or a half on the bench will motivate Steven Montez. If not, leave him there. Yes, he's a senior. But he is not ENTITLED to be the starting quarterback at the University of Colorado.

Serious fans care about wins and losses. Another season without a bowl game will not be made less painful if Montez breaks the rest of the QB records. We'll be happy for Laviska Shenault if he becomes a first round draft pick. But we'll be much happier with a winning season.

Personal records mean NOTHING without a winning season. Since the Colorado streak of futility began with the firing of Gary Barnett in 2005, one thing Colorado has had was a string of "record setting" quarterbacks.

Cody Hawkins, Tyler Hansen, Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez all made big marks in personal stats and records at Colorado. 

Since 2006, however, the Buffaloes have LOST 50 MORE games than they have won. Or to put it another way, the Buffs have lost almost twice as many games as they have won in that time. Their record since the 2006 season began is 57-107.

Forget the individual records. Winning the games needs to be the focus. 

If anybody thinks this is too drastic, look at Alabama in the 2017 season. They had a dynamic, experienced, quarterback in Jalen Hurts. He had led them to an 11 win season and the national championship game. He had played in the national title game the year before as well.

In the title game against Georgia (Mel Tucker's last team), Alabama could not get untracked offensively and trailed 13-0 at halftime. Nick Saban made the hard call and brought in true freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa. He sparked the Crimson tide to catch up in the 2nd half and a win in overtime for another National Championship.

Was that the proper decision to make? Thrusting a true freshman onto the biggest stage in college football instead of relying on a seasoned veteran? The "playing it safe" crowd would say absolutely not. 

But the playing it safe crowd does not own five national championships like Nick Saban does. Mel Tucker watched that game from the Georgia sidelines as defensive coordinator. His guys had held the vaunted Alabama offense scoreless in the first half. But a change in quarterback gave the Tide the spark they needed to come back.

Closer to home, in the Pac-12, both USC and Arizona State are starting true freshman quarterbacks. USC was ranked last week and Arizona State is ranked this week.

Also, another true freshman starting this season is Hank Bachmeier at Boise State. This writer got the chance to spend much of the 2nd half of a game with Hank, his dad and his uncle, when he made his official visit to Colorado. Boise State is also ranked with a true freshman at quarterback.

Steven Montez, our senior, record setting quarterback, will be gone after this season no matter what happens the rest of the year. The Buffaloes need to prepare for the future. A new quarterback will be playing for Colorado next year one way or another.

Also remember that it was a young Steven Montez who came in and sparked Colorado to some big victories in 2016 when Sefo Liufau got hurt.

Maybe the best thing that could happen for Steven Montez is to spend some time as 2nd string, in practice and in a game. It could be that some bench time is the type of motivation he needs.

If he responds to the challenge and ups his game, he's there when needed. If he instead chooses to sulk and withdraws, it means he's not the leader the position needs him to be.

The clock is ticking. Monday will soon be here. A game on the road against a ranked Arizona State team is looming. And the Pac-12 conference gauntlet is starting.

What will Mel Tucker and the Colorado coaches decide to do? Do they play it safe? Or do they shake things up? We'll see.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Buffs Beware: A Dangerous Air Force Team Comes to Boulder

The Air Force Falcons make their way to Folsom Field from Colorado Springs this Saturday. Head coach Mel Tucker and the Colorado coaches have tried to explain just how dangerous a game this truly is for Colorado to their players. Hopefully, they listened.

Casual fans look at the fact that Air Force won only five games last year and that the Falcons play in the Mountain West and think that the game will be a blowout for Colorado. They better think again.

Air Force may have lost seven games each of the last two years, but so did Colorado. Also, a closer look at last year shows that Air Force lost all seven of those games while being within 10 points. In four of the games, the Falcons were within 4 points at the final whistle.

That means that Air Force is typically in one score games, and that's dangerous for an opponent. One missed tackle or blown coverage, and the Falcons could be able to pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat.

Colorado needs to be dedicated and have their heads in the game. After two big victories over rivals Colorado State and the Nebraska CornWhiners, it would be easy for the Buffs players to have a letdown. It's up to the team leaders and the coaches to make sure that doesn't happen. 

The cadets may not be as big and fast or strong as the Colorado team, but they are incredibly disciplined. And the Falcons play a running game designed on multiple sets designed to eat up clock and keep them in games. 

The Buffs better be ready. 

Go Buffs!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Mel Tucker Has Already Achieved What Mickey Mac Never Could

Just two games into his tenure as Colorado Buffaloes head coach, Mel Tucker has accomplished something his predecessor never could. His Buffs defeated a nationally ranked team. His record against teams listed on the AP Top 25 is now 1-0.

Compare that if you will with Mike MacIntyre. In six years,  Mickey Mac the Carpetbagger had the distinction of being 0-19 against teams that were either higher ranked than Colorado or ranked at all when the Buffs were not. He also had the horrible record of going 0-10 in his last two seasons in games the Buffs could have become bowl eligible.

Another difference between the coaches is that Mel Tucker stays calm on the sidelines, while Mickey would flip out whenever things went south. That happened a lot in Mickey Time.

Colorado finally has the right man leading their program. Thanks to the football gods for Mel Tucker.

Photo credits to the University of Colorado (Tucker) and the Associated Press (MacIntyre)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Mel Tucker's CU Buffs Storm Back from 17 Down to Beat Nebraska in OT!

It ended up being a Nightmare on the Pearl Street Mall for Scott Frost and the Nebraska faithful. And it all started out as a dream come true for the Big Red. But like life shows over and over again, sometimes good dreams turn bad.

Give the Husker fans credit, those Nebraskans keep their word. As promised, they delivered a sea of red inside Folsom Field. They paid big bucks to travel to Boulder, pay for lodging, and bought up every available ticket they could find.

Half the double wide trailers in Nebraska had 2nd (or 3rd) mortgages taken out so the Great Red Horde could take over Boulder and the University of Colorado. They succeeded on every count.

They knew it was a steep price to pay. But, after all, how often does one get the chance to attend the coronation  of the boy prince to become the new king?

When their beloved Huskers stormed out to a 17-0 lead, the fans in Red rollicked in the belief that Nebraska football was back. They relished in their faith that head coach Scott Frost was indeed the new savior that they had been praying for.

The Huskers were dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Red Horde just knew that a world class butt kicking was in the offing. It was just like the good old days.

Then, the 2nd half started.

Husker QB Adrian Martinez, who completed every pass in the first half, all of a sudden had defensive players in the backfield with him. And, shockingly, not every play went for a first down. The Huskers actually had to punt the ball. In a tough defensive 3rd quarter, the Buffaloes finally scored to cut the Nebraska lead to 17-7.

That Colorado touchdown made the horde sit up and take notice, but not become overly concerned. They rationalized that Colorado deserved to score a touchdown for their fans, so they would not leave the game completely depressed.

In their Red-tinted world, losing to Nebraska was something that all the other fans would have to accept, because in their minds Nebraska was the greatest and always would be.

Then the 4th quarter offensive explosion began.

Colorado and Nebraska had combined to score 24 points in the first 45 minutes. In the final 15 minutes, the teams scored 38 collectively, with Colorado scoring 24 to send the game into overtime.

The scoring madness started less than a minute into the final stanza when the Buffaloes pulled a flea-flicker that turned into a 96 yard touchdown pass. It was the longest play from scrimmage in Colorado history.

On Nebraska's next offensive play, a pass behind the line of scrimmage turned into a 75 yard TD that moved the Husker lead back to 10 points. In the span of 13 seconds, each team had scored a touchdown!

Colorado's next possession lasted less than two minutes and ended with another TD from freshman running back Jaren Mangham. That brought the Buffs back within three points.

Four minutes later, Colorado added a field goal to tie the game at 24. Nebraska's 17 point lead had been eliminated.

With under six minutes left in regulation, Husker QB Martinez scored on a short run to give NU a 7 point lead.

With 46 seconds left, Colorado QB Montez connected with wide receiver Tony Brown on an amazing over the shoulder catch in the back of the endzone to tie the game again.

A last ditch effort by Nebraska was foiled by an interception at the 15 yard line. That sent the game into overtime.

In OT, Colorado got the ball first and  settled for a field goal. Nebraska lost eight yards on their three plays from scrimmage in the overtime period. They then missed a long field goal, giving the victory to Colorado.

As thousands of Colorado students stormed the field to celebrate, the 30,000 Husker fans in Folsom Field stood in stunned silence.

What were they thinking? After all their talk by fans, players and coaches, they lost. After a 17 point lead, they lost. After spending so much money, they lost. All their hopes and dreams were scattered in the wind below the imposing Flatirons.

It was yet another road loss for Scott Frost, who has yet to win a game away from Lincoln since taking the helm before last season. Frost and the Husker fans know that Nebraska will drop out of the Top 25 yet again.

And worst of all, the team and their fans know it's a really long trip back to Lincoln, especially after losing once again to the Colorado team that they love to hate.

Mel Tucker told his players not to talk trash. He said play to the echo of the whistle. He said to play hard for all four quarters. He said winning was better than trash talking. He was right.

Go Buffs!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Boulder, Colorado Has Already Beaten Nebraska in the Game of Life

Excitement is a mile high on the Boulder campus for the first home game of a new season. That the first game at Folsom Field is against ex-rival Nebraska makes the excitement all the more palpable. Unfortunately, quite a bit of that enthusiasm in both Boulder and Lincoln is based on unreasonable expectations and outlandish prognostications.

National pundits have made talking about college football a 365 days a year a business… a big business. Unfortunately, they usually don't know what they are talking about. 

They talk about how good Clemson and Alabama are in a self-important reverence as if they were disclosing something they alone attuned from months of high level calculations. Poppycock! Even casual fans know that Clemson and Alabama are likely to end up in the college football playoffs.

When they get past the Top 10, they are mostly just running on history. They aren't (and can't) dig deep on more than 100 teams. They can't even do that with just the Power Five conference teams. So they just blather.

Collectively, the national pundits have determined that Colorado will finish the season at 4-8 or 5-7. Why? Well, they've finished 5-7 the last two seasons, so it's as a good a guess as they can come up with.

But sometimes gut feeling$ overtake $ensibilitie$ even for pundit$. Nebraska has finished 4-8 the last two years. The Huskers lost at home to Colorado last year, yet this year they enter the season ranked #24 in the country.

Why the $ $igns? Punditry is big busine$$. All those hits on the old web site mean $$$. And if you want to get tens of thousands of hits, tell the Nebraska faithful that their team is a Top 25 team. They eat that sh!t up like creamed corn.

In Colorado, lots of us love our Buffs... but Colorado's heart belongs to the Denver Broncos. That's not going to ever change. And besides the Broncos and the NFL, there's Major League Baseball, NBA basketball, and NHL Hockey. The Rocky Mountains provide world class skiing, snowboarding, hiking and rock climbing

In Nebraska, all there is to care about is Nebraska football and endless miles of genetically modified corn. Every time the Huskers play a home game, Memorial Stadium would be the 3rd largest city in the state. Really.

So, if Colorado loses a football game, the entire state doesn't go into mourning. In fact, many in Colorado don't care one way or another about college football, or the University of Colorado in particular. Colorado is a vibrant, fast growing state, that draws businesses and people from all over the globe with no ties to CU. Does anybody actually move TO Nebraska? Willingly? Not likely.

No matter the score of the game, those in Boulder have already won in the bigger game of life. Boulder has the healthiest and most well-educated population in the country. The University of Colorado is widely considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the country and is located in one of the most scenic towns in the USA.

And the University of Colorado has the most awesome mascot in all of sports, a live buffalo named Ralphie!

As the old chant goes, “We don't live in Lincoln!”

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ex-Rivals Colorado & Nebraska Meet Again in Boulder

Scott Frost is right, Nebraska and Colorado are ex-rivals. That doesn't mean they still don't like each other.

Frost and CU coach Mel Tucker know that the Buffs and the Bugeaters have new sets of rivals now. NU and CU were longtime rivals in the Big 7, Big 8 and Big 12. They played each year from 1948-2010. They were indeed conference rivals.

But the Cornpones left for the Big 10 in 2011, and CU left for the Pac-12 in 2012. They are no longer conference rivals. But they still can't stand one another.

Fusker fans can't stand that Colorado head coach Bill McCartney had the unmitigated gall to name them their #1 rival, and worse than that, managed to lead the Buffs to three wins and a tie from 1986-91.

That stretch broke a Nebraska dominance in Boulder that had run since the Eisenhower administration. Husker fans had become fond of their trips to beautiful Boulder, where they would gaze at the mountains, stink up all the bars and restaurants with cigarette smoke, win another game and then offer their smarmy condolences to the CU faithful.

Those were the good old days to the red horde. Then Colorado had the temerity to start winning. Those smarmy condolences quickly turned to seething hatred. They loved Colorado and their fans as long as they were winning damn near always. When Colorado became a Top 10 team, and winning was no longer a foregone conclusion, they started accusing Colorado fans of being bad sports and ungracious winners.

Nebraska long cultivated the reputation of gracious winners. They had rarely been forced to deal with losing. And when it started happening with some frequency, they exposed themselves to be some of the absolute worst poor-sport losers in college football.

When Colorado quarterback Sal Aunese died of cancer in 1989, Nebraska's "classy" fans painted the highway at the Colorado-Nebraska border with the infamous "Sal is Dead! Go Big Red!"

They tried to blame that on one bad apple, but they also sold bumper stickers with the same disgusting slogan. 
And it wasn't just the fans. Legendary coach Tom Osborne (aka Kernel Tom in Lincoln), was so petty and angry after Colorado coach Bill McCartney beat him to winning a national championship, that he left Colorado OFF of his final UPI Coaches Poll ballot. His childish action deprived CU of a unanimous title.

It's a culture of football worship in Nebraska. In Colorado, it's just a game. That's why the Husker Nu's got so angry when Colorado was no longer just an easy win.

In reality, though, those days are long gone. Also long gone are the days of annual Fusker dominance.  From 1969 to 2001, the Cornholers finished the season ranked in the top 25. In 25 of those years, they finished ranked in the Top 10. Pretty darn impressive.
Then, in 2001, something happened that shook the Nebraska faithful to their very cobs.  They were ranked #1 in the country when they arrived in Boulder to play Colorado. They left with their tails between their corn stalks after losing 62-36. Nebraska hasn't been the same ever since.

That 26 point loss to Colorado was something Red Horde never thought they would see. In their eyes, Nebraska was supposed to always be on top in those kinds of games. Unfortunately for the kernels, it was just the beginning. 

In 2002, the Corn lost to Penn State by 33, Iowa State by 22, and to Kansas State by 36. They finished 7-7 and out of the Top 25.

In 2003, NU lost at home to Kansas State by 29 and at Texas by 24.

In 2004, the Holers lost by 60 to Texas Tech. The
y also lost by 24 to Kansas State and by 27 to Oklahoma.

2005: Lost by 25 to Kansas!

2007 was a very bad year in Husker land. They finished 5-7. They lost by 35 to Missouri, by 31 to Oklahoma State, and 37 to Kansas. Then they finished the season by giving up 65 points to Colorado.

2008: Lost by 35 to Missouri and by 34 to Oklahoma.

2011: Their first conference game in the Big 10 was a 31 point loss to Wisconsin. Michigan later beat them by 28.

2014: Another 35 point loss to Wisconsin.

2015: An odd year, the Fuskers lost 7 times, but six of the losses were by 5 points or less. Or what delusional NU fans would say, a sign that they are a Top ten team… almost.

2016: The horde were shocked when Ohio State destroyed their team 62-3. All of sudden, that 62-36 loss to Colorado didn't seem so bad. Iowa also beat them by 30. (An interesting tidbit, I talked to a Nebraska fan this week, and he felt that Ohio State fans were the worst! I guess giving up 62 points to any team makes their fans the worst.)

2017: A 42 point LOSS at home to Ohio State, a 33 point loss at Minnesota, and yet another 42 point loss at home to Iowa.

2018: The Scott Frost era in Lincoln starts off 0-6. Colorado wins in Nebraska, and Michigan hands the Hucksters a 46 point loss. 

The CU-Nebraska game will start in about 40 hours. One team will win and one will not. Both teams have struggled over recent years. In fact, since 2015, Colorado has a better record than Nebraska. Can you imagine?

The ex-rivals will play, but both are now just struggling to get back to bowl eligibility. They want this game, for sure, but they know their paths back to respectability go through their newer rivals in the Big 10 and Pac-12. A win or a loss to an old rival matters little if neither team can manage to win enough conference games to make it to the postseason.

Both teams face a gaggle of ranked teams this season. Both coaches would trade a loss on Saturday for three wins over ranked teams in conference play and a bowl game at the end of the season.

Go Buffs!


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Some Needed Perspective on the Rocky Mountain Showdown

The final Denver based Rocky Mountain Showdown is over. The Colorado Buffaloes won Mel Tucker's first game as head coach. They put up 52 points on the Rams. CU won by three touchdowns. The Buffs defense caused four turnovers. The Buffs offense had no turnovers.

If you had asked Buff fans before the game if they would take those stat lines, they would have all jumped for joy at the prospect.

After the game, however, many Buff fans on various sites were writing or commenting that the end was near for Colorado. Some were saying that CU was looking at 3-9 record if they continued to play that way. Others opined that the big, bad Fusker machine that rolls into Boulder next week would make a mockery of the the maligned Buffaloes defense. Blah, blah, blah.

I hope some of these people bothered to watch football on Saturday. The #24 Lincoln logs looked absolutely pedestrian against SOUTH Alabama. Sure, they won by 14. But they needed three non-offensive TDs to win the game at home. They were also favored by 36.

And it wasn't just the Huskers. Tennessee was a 25 point favorite over Georgia State, and LOST at home. Iowa State began the season ranked for the 2nd time ever, and promptly needed three overtimes to beat Northern Iowa.

Florida State hosted and thoroughly dominated Boise State to start the game. Boise State's QB was true freshman Hank Bachmeier. Early in the game, the QB looked flustered as the Seminoles took a 24-6 lead. But Boise State kept going as the game went on while Florida State crumbled in the Florida heat. Final Score: Boise State won 36-31.

For the second time since Mario Cristobal took over at Oregon, his Ducks were dominating a ranked opponent, and about to put the game out of reach.... when the unthinkable happened. The game against Auburn yesterday was eerily similar to the game against Stanford last season. Inside the five yard line, about to score another touchdown, touted Heisman candidate Justin Herbert fumbled a snap... and had the ball picked up by the defense and returned inside the five yard line on the other side of the field. In both games, the Ducks collapsed and ended up losing games they were dominating earlier.

It happens. That's why they play the games. 

Did the Colorado Buffaloes look amazing on both sides of the ball on every down? Absolutely not. Did the Huskers? Again, absolutely not.

Will things look different this week in Boulder? Count on it. Neither Colorado nor Nebraska wanted to get too deep in their playbooks in their first games of the season. Husker coach Scott Frost and Buff coach Mel Tucker wanted to give each other as little to work with as possible. And they both wanted to win their games. Mission was accomplished on both sides.

Style points may make a difference when you are angling for a spot in the College Football Playoff. But for teams like Nebraska and Colorado, coming off losing seasons, a win is a win. 

Both coaches know they need to get to six wins to make a bowl game. Crack that six win threshold and then you can worry about style points. And to get those six wins, you gotta play 'em one at a time.

Go Buffs.