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.