Few expected Colorado to win this game, but many expected a more disciplined effort. Mel Tucker and his coaching staff now have a week and a day to instill some semblance of order on his team.
The Pac-12 is a league of intense parity. That being the case, all the league coaches know that they need to gain any physical or mental advantage they can muster to get wins.
The cheap shot by Arizona State to get Mustafa Johnson off the field comes to mind. Also, every Pac-12 game has featured numerous after-the-whistle shenanigans by opposing teams. Colorado needs to expect this kind of thing.
Colorado's league opponents are also flagrantly manhandling of the Buff's receivers to prevent big plays. Why are they doing it? Because it is working!
One of Oregon's defensive strategies was take pass interference penalties for 15 yards rather than give up long or TD passes. And they were not ticky-tack fouls. They were blatantly holding and shoving the Buff wideouts and tight ends. They weren't even trying to be subtle.
The Ducks and other Pac-12 opponents are also engaging in some serious trash talking. They are doing it because it works against Colorado. It works quite well, thank you.
Mel Tucker let his team know in camp that he would not abide trash talking from his team. That's good. But they also need to learn not to listen to or respond to other teams and players when they start talking crap during the game.
You would think that telling the Colorado players not to trash talk would also mean not to react physically to the trash talk. But numerous players on the offense reacted badly. One was tossed for throwing a punch or two. And another was lucky not to have been called for shoving an Oregon player after the Duck was called for pass interference.
It's not like the trash talking should have been unexpected. Mario Cristobal played for the Miami Hurricanes from 1989-92. They won two national championships during his playing days.
And, for those of you not old enough to remember, those Hurricane teams brought trash talking to a level never before seen in college football. They also got involved in numerous on-field brawls, including one against Colorado at Folsom Field.
That's the background that Cristobal brought to Oregon. And his Ducks just blatantly demonstrated to the rest of the league how to get inside the Colorado heads.
Note to Mel Tucker and the Colorado Buffaloes: The word is out on your team among the Pac-12 coaches. The team from Boulder is getting the reputation as a tough, physical team... but that it's easy to get under their skins and into their heads.
Next week the Buffaloes travel to Pullman to take on the Mike Leach and his Washington State squad. Leach has a reputation as a one of the smartest coaches in the country. He always seems to have good teams even when his player talent level is not as high as other teams in the league. Rest assured that he will be watching tape of Colorado games and noting how easy it is to get them unfocused.
Mel Tucker, the ball is in your court. Time to make your guys comfortable with being uncomfortable on the field of play as well as in practice. If they don't learn quickly, the season will quickly spiral out of control.