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First World Problems

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First World Problems

Colorado was a 36 1/2-point favorite over Texas State.

The Buffs won the game, 37-3, holding a second consecutive opponent to a field goal, giving the CU defense its best start to a season (in terms of points surrendered) since 1958.

CU didn’t cover the point-spread, but still won the game by 34 points.

And the Buff Nation is wringing its collective hands.

“I still think we’re going to be really good. We’ve shown really good glimpses of it”, said an almost apologetic Mike MacInytre after the game. “We’ll put that together for the whole game and do some really good things. We’ll make some plays; we’ve got some really good players across the board”.

Colorado is 2-0, with Northern Colorado from the Big Sky Conference coming to Boulder to finish off the non-conference campaign. A 3-0 start to the season, the first for the Buffs since 2008, is all but guaranteed.

But the Buffs are not yet living up to expectations … at least offensively.

“I feel like we are in a good spot,” said running back Phillip Lindsay, who went for 87 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. “We will continue to improve. Our defense is doing a great job. We just have to have confidence to go out there and make plays. We want to make plays for the defense. Not everything is going to be pretty. It is football. You are not always going to score a hundred points. I think that is what people tend to forget”.

Was the 37-3 win over Texas State as “pretty” as it could have been? Certainly not.

It was only 14-0 at halftime, with the first touchdown coming courtesy of a huge break, with an Isaiah Oliver fumble on a punt return not only being recovered by the Buffs, but returned 55 yards by Laviska Shenault for a CU touchdown.

But complaining about the Buffs in their current state is certainly akin to complaining about “First World Problems“.

The Buffs did struggle to put away the Bobcats, with the Buff faithful not feeling completely comfortable about the outcome until late in the third quarter.

Why this is a First World Problem … Being comfortable at any stage of any game is a step forward from previous years for the CU program.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Colorado bragged about being one of the few programs in the nation which had never scheduled a Division 1-AA/FCS opponent.

Starting in 2006, the Buffs jumped into the shallow end of the college football opponent pool … head first.

Against Montana State, Eastern Washington, and Sacramento State from the Big Sky Conference, the Buffs went 1-2, and needed two late scores (including a defensive touchdown) to claim the single victory.

Over the past decade, the Buffs have struggled in many a “gimme” game (and lost more than a few). Toledo, Central Arkansas, Hawai’i, UMass … no need to rehash all of those games, is there?

Point being, a 2011-14 Buff fan would have killed for a 37-3 win, even if it were an “ugly” win … Even if it came against Fairview high.

Buff fans are most concerned about the offense. The unit has yet to find any sort of rhythm, a full eight quarters into the season.

“It takes a couple weeks to start clicking,” said Steven Montez, who went 19-of-31 for 299 yards and a touchdown. “I think we are just starting to get that chemistry going in the offense”.

Why this is a First World problem … Colorado, over its first two games, is averaging 27 points per game, with an average of almost total 390 yards per contest.

Not great, but not awful, either.

The Buffs did have two long touchdown drives against Texas State, one covering 96 yards in nine plays; the other covering 86 yards in seven. Where the Buffs are currently lacking is consistency. Converting only 4-of-15 attempts on third down won’t cut in in Pac-12 play.

Fortunately, thanks to a soft non-conference schedule, the Buffs still have time to work on the offense.

While the offense is receiving most of the vitriol from the fan base, the defense is not without its detractors. The Buffs were “saved” by the referees from several long touchdown completions in the CSU game, and even Texas State had its share of big plays on offense.

The Bobcats opened the game against the Buffs with a 55-yard run. You know that play call was planned for well in advance, as the Texas State coaches must have seen on film a flaw in the Colorado defense they felt they could exploit.

On the second play of TSU’s opening possession of the second half, the Bobcats hit on a 45-yard pass. Again, this could likely have been the result of a halftime adjustment by the Texas State coaches.

If the Bobcats can find dents in the CU defensive armor, how hard will it be for teams with better personnel to do the same?

Why this is a First World problem … The above mentioned two plays went for 100 yards. Two other plays went for a total of 45. The other 61 plays run by the Texas State offense went for a total of 138 yards, or a total of 2.3 yards per play.

The Buffs did give their fans heart palpitations after the Bobcats’ first play went for 55 yards, but that drive ended in a missed field goal. Texas State went 2-for-15 on third downs during the game. After the Buffs went up 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Bobcats were never within a single score the remainder of the game.

While it was a nervous afternoon, the Buffs were never truly threatened.

And then there is this … Colorado wakes up this morning No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense. The only team ahead of the Buffs are down the road in Colorado Springs. Air Force opened the season with 62-0 win over VMI, and didn’t play in Week Two (the Cadets are heading to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in Week Three).

Barring an unforeseen collapse against Northern Colorado, the Buffs may head into their showdown against Washington with the No. 1 scoring defense in the country.

A nice problem to have.

While Colorado may be 2-0 on the season, the consensus among the naysayers is that the Buffs will receive their comeuppance once Pac-12 play starts.

Why this is a First World problem … look around the rest of the Pac-12. Some teams are playing better than expected, but others are playing worse.

– Oregon State won four games last year, including three in the Pac-12. The Beavers were supposed to be the CU of 2017, rising from the ashes.

Instead, the Beavers are reverting to 2015 form. Oregon State was blown out by Colorado State, needed a last minute touchdown to beat Portland State, and were blasted by Minnesota at home Saturday night, 48-14.

– Both Arizona schools lost on Saturday night, at home, to Group of Five conference schools. Arizona lost to Houston, 19-13, while Arizona State fell to San Diego State, 30-20. Both Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and Arizona State head coach Todd Graham will likely spend much of the 2017 season talking about their futures with their schools as much they will about future opponents.

– Utah got past BYU, 19-13, Cal was down, 20-17, to Weber State before rallying to win, 33-20, and Washington State overcame a three-touchdown fourth quarter deficit to defeat Boise State in three overtimes, 47-44. All three teams are undefeated, but none of their fans are making College Football playoff plans just yet.

How does CU’s future schedule look now, two weeks in?

— The Buffs should be 3-0 heading into Pac-12 play. Home games against Arizona and Cal continue to look winnable, and the road trips to Corvallis to play Oregon State and to Tempe to play Arizona State do not look as daunting as it did a few weeks ago;

— Washington and USC look good – as expected – but both do have to come to Boulder;

— UCLA looks better than expected (as least better than they did when they trailed Texas A&M 44-10 in the third quarter in the opener). Washington State and Utah on the road are daunting, but both teams have chinks in their armor as well.

Point being … it’s okay to fret over the slow start from CU’s offense in the first two games. It’s also okay to revel in how well the defense is playing (as well as the special teams, which have been a very pleasant surprise to date).

At the end of the day, Colorado is 2-0, second in the nation in scoring defense, and have another week to get their offensive issues resolved.

It’s nice to have First World problems for a change …

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22 Responses to “First World Problems”

  1. Andrew in Boston

    This comment section resembles a hyperbolic chamber.

  2. VK of Berlin

    This from a poster on allbuffs.

    ko_leos
    ko_leos
    Club Member
    Club Member

    I thought I would post it. From allbuffs poster. Good look at the 1st world problem

    Let me over-babble on our situation in several categories:
    First, to preface a bit with last season. Last year, we played with our hearts. We also had talent across the board, but depth was lacking. So our coaches overplayed their hand. By the Pac-12 championship game, we were burned out, both physically and emotionally. Washington had their way with us. The bowl game the same.

    Coaching
    Coach Mac is a motivator. His x’s and o’s are good (maybe even great) on defense, but weak on offense. Unfortunately, Coach BL is also weak here, and not a good game caller either. I don’t want to let Coach Chev slide either as he is 50% of the equation. But back to motivation by Coach Mac– his motivational speeches are not my favorite style, but it works. Finding and develop leaders as well as building team comradery has been his strong suit. On the flip side, we all have a love-hate relationship with Chris Peterson given his lack of history with the Buffs, but he is clearly a solid coach who knows his stuff. We will probably get out-coached, but you can’t discount the motivational factor we have going for us.

    Defense
    Talented but raw. We are making rookie mistakes. Hope that the first three games will be good lessons for the team, but Washington is a whole another animal. We will make some crazy good defensive plays, but also get burned as they pick on our freshman.

    Offense
    BL is not cutting it. With the talent we have, we sure know how to under-utilize them. I am sure he is keeping half the playbook up his sleeve, with the assumption that out-smarting his opponent will help us to win. I am not a fan of this. I think whoever executes better will win – this is more true in college than professional. We should be playing most of the playbook and trying to perfect it. Depending on the opponent, throw in some wrinkles. Not the crap we are trying to pull. That said, Montez is the make or break here. If he can play it loose, we have a fighters chance to keep up.

    Special teams
    Crazy how we were supposed to have Offense leading the way, a decent Defense, and a suspect Special Teams. For the first time in years, I feel comfortable to not worry about Special Teams.

    Folsom field
    Clearly at home in a night game is an advantage.

    My prediction
    I haven’t watched any Washington games this year, so I can’t say how they will perform. I will say that I like this being an earlier game on our schedule, ala Michigan. Our team is still fresh physically, and will be motivated. Given that, we will give a good game to any top 10 team in the country @ Folsom. To pull the bunny out of the hat, we will need Montez at his most fearless.

    Finally, stop analyzing the Washington game! We need to focus on UNC!!
    38 minutes ago

    • Eric Grathwol

      Vk, if you actually wrote that, it is a pretty reasonable take. Probably more reasonable if you didn’t. I don’t agree with all of it, but still well reasoned opinions.

      I will say this: everyone will know a lot more about our Buffs after the uw game. Win or lose, does it make or break the season? Probably not. But a good barometer nonetheless.

      Go Buffs.

  3. jhenry01

    Great write-up Stuart. Im also thinking that the following factors have come in to play:

    1. looks like a vanilla offense, maybe only 20-30% of the playbook in play at this point….. and that makes sense
    2. two Sr. Captains suspended at critical positions for both run blocking and pass-protection
    3. Noon kickoff in 90 degree heat with a scrimmage mentality in your home opener ? I get the slow start there

    My ask of the team is for leadership to step up, correct the mistakes and focus on every game. It looks from a distance that they lose interest if it isnt a ‘big game’…..

  4. buffnaustin

    We won again. Is so much better than we lost again.

    GO BUFFS!

  5. VK of Berlin

    Ok Stuart. Nice

    Do the same for the buffs. Subtract the big plays
    and see what the average is against a group 5 team I’m too lazy to do it

    Now about that oline. How did they
    Look against those group 5 teams.

    Yup 3-0 was always expected don’t ya think?

    Well anyway I got your seat numbers

    Buffs

  6. a win is what matters 1 point or 34 . Washington is what has me sweating pac 12 com. real tests are coming, and a lot of hard work. .why cant they get TE s a pass or to a game?

    • Old Codger

      A least UW will NOT have three video tapes of the Buffs showing off all their spiffy plays, special formations and tendencies, as so many of the Arm Chair QBs around here wanted them to display against the weak sister teams they’ve played to date. Simple bread and butter plays, great “D” and lots of rookies getting their first exposure to the bright lights (or hot sun!!!)

      As Stuart said: “First World problems.” Enjoy fretting over them, instead of worrying about that D-2 freshman DB who has to play, since there’s nobody else, as the coach ran off half the team……

      • ep

        all their spiffy plays…..good one. Why dont you hold your breath

      • VK

        1st world problems come out of playing 2nd world teams? Very interesting.

        As far as spiffy plays, I am pretty sure opponents can look at last years game and see “all” of them.

        It would appear that the offense was basic (bread and butter plays). It would also appear the offense had problems running that basic offense (Bread and butter plays). Not only the players and the coaches as well. Even the top dog. Well do we expect that again like old dodger says?

        Hmmmm so you are saying they can turn on the spiffy offense on game day with Wash. Very interesting.

        It would also appear that Montez (instructed by the “loanshark defined qb guru” has progressed………….not that much. Happy feet…..leaves the pocket too soon………inaccuracy…………wrong reads……….

        But I give him a break cause he has to deal with poor play design, poor play calling and poor very poor offensive line play.

        This week a 3rd world game. Wonder what the 1st world comments will be then

        Buffs

        • Stuart

          Is absolutely everything negative for you?
          How’s about:
          “Love those freshman receivers. Can’t wait to see what KD Nixon and Laviska Shenault will bring the next four years!”
          “Six sacks. Well done, Buffs! Leo Jackson is a beast!”
          “Isaiah Oliver may be the best corner CU has seen … and the Buffs already have two Thorpe Award winners!”
          “Let’s hear it for the special teams. A kicker who can make kicks! Alex Kinney is a real weapon!”

          Or even …
          “Would hate to live in Arizona … glad we have a staff with a program on the upswing. Sounds like both schools will be posting want ads come November!”

          Guess it’s just too fun being a naysayer.
          This just in … CU is likely to lose to Washington.
          Thanks for the banner headline. That’s not exactly news. Predicting a loss does not make you a soothsayer when it comes true.
          Unless CU goes 15-0 … you’re going to be right eventually. You will then post about how brilliant you were in predicting CU’s demise.

          I’m enjoying being 2-0. I’ll enjoy being 3-0 after Saturday. I’ll deal with Washington when Washington gets here.

          • KevMc

            Bravo Stuart. Many good points.

          • VK

            Stuart,

            nope everything is not negative like some others. I am very positive about things good or bad.

            If you recall, I been bragging the freshman receivers for some time as well as the DB’s. And the defense and the players and the coaches. And the special teams as well. You can look it up on your site if you like.

            For the offense i have always hope the OC’s can take advantage of the players on the field. Waiting.

            I don’t care about arizona or their struggles or whatever. Don’t post about em.

            And you can check your site and see what i predicted/hoped the Buffs would do this year.

            Too much coffee for you this am.

            Or go to Decaf. Funny you got all that from this post yet forgot all the others.

            It’s okay Stuart. It really is.

            Buffs

          • Personally, while I was frustrated in the first half with the O-line and Montez, I felt much better in the second based on the following. The O-line started to stay with their blocks longer. Montez finally started going to his check down receiver. Several times in the first half, he threw deep even though the receiver was covered and the pass went incomplete while a wide open check down opportunity was wasted. The second half saw a couple of long runs after the catch in similar situations. Some positive growth out of Montez I feel.

            What is there to complain about with the D. They are way better than I think anyone expected.

        • VK, I know you know this, but… Montez has improved since he got to campus. Can he improve more? Absolutely. Will he? Absolutely.

          He’s had five starts in his career. He’s young and learning.

          He needs to improve his touch, his pocket presence, and his patience, primarily. There are other things he can/will improve too. I’m sure you could actually get specific, and use your top notch football IQ and get in there and coach him up better than Lindgren.

          Or? Have you hit your peter principle ceiling? Seeming that way.

          Keep on keepin’ on.

          Go Buffs.

        • Third year in the system? Ok.

          But, as the coaching specialist you are, you know that as a freshman, he really didn’t get reps within this “system”. He was scout team dude, more often than not.

          2nd year, he was learning a new “system” using the Chev-Lindgren hybrid. Granted, I don’t think that was much of a shift in systems, and, he did benefit from the spring practice, but he still wasn’t the guy. And, by his own admission, really didn’t approach the season, practice, etc. as if he would be. Until AFTER the MI debacle.

          Now, he’s got his 5th game “in this system” as the guy, in his third year with the program. So, it’s not like he’s been “in this system” for three years, as you imply.

          Splitting hairs? Sure. But, it’s what you’re best at.

          In my eyes, he’ll calm down, stay within the system, improve his pocket presence and patience, and get better touch on the mid-length throws, and be really dangerous and efficient, in this system.

          Looking forward to seeing it come together.

          Go Buffs.

          • VK of Berlin

            If he didn’t approach the season as he should have well then I be looking at the coaching.

            The QB coach. So Noyer and Lytle are on the same path?
            Probably

            Your right the offense didn’t change much. Still the same ol middle of
            the PAC 12 or lower as it has been the last 4 years

            Oh well as long as mac is here Lindy will be here

            Tough to understand.

            Maybe that’s all there is?

            Guess that is ok

            Last year was a great year

            This year we will see.

            Buffs

  7. Thanks for putting it into perspective Stuart.

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