Confession time.

At halftime of the Nebraska game, the Buffs were down 35-24, and I confess I wasn’t thinking of ways the Buffs could make their comeback. Rather, I was trying to think of ways to put a positive spin on a season which was 30 minutes from its conclusion.

After all, the CU defense had given up touchdowns in three consecutive drives to close out the first half, and there was little reason to believe that there were miracles coming after the break. Colorado had been out-scored by an unbelievable tally of 123-59 in the third quarter over the course of the season, and had been out-scored 31-7 by Iowa State in the second half of their last game. The reality of a 5-7 finish to the season was setting in, along with the equally sour thoughts of Nebraska (and perhaps Kansas State as well) playing in a bowl. Yuck!

I was not a happy camper.

My mood was not enhanced by my surroundings. First, my feet were getting cold. (Note to self: Apparently, wearing an extra pair of socks is insufficient protection if you are planning on standing on a glacier for four hours). Plus, the seniors in the CU band, for their finale, had chosen a Chuck Mangione tune to inspire the crowd (Note to band members: Chuck Mangione? In November? In the snow? Really?).

A happy camper celebrates the look of the scoreboard
A happy camper celebrates the look of the scoreboard

So, as I wallowed, I tried to come up with something positive to write about after the game. A sampling:

5-7 is certainly better than 2-10 (we’ll try to ignore November – the blowout loss to Missouri, the collapse against Iowa State, and the 1-5 finish after a 4-2 start);

there were a number of freshman records set, which bodes well for the future (or condemns the Buffs to a span of mediocrity);

there were no scandals in the newspapers to contend with (though the trial against the University still looms);

the Flatirons, blanketed in frost, made for a magnificent view outside the stadium (sorry, Husker fans, no such beauty outside War Memorial Stadium. Been there; seen that); and

well, at least we weren’t firing our coach on Saturday, and we weren’t Notre Dame.

Slim pickings for a team which had shown such promise early on, a team which had left Lubbock with a 5-3 overall record. Still, that is all we would have left. A long, cold, winter of what coach Hawkins and his son the quarterback had said several times during the season: “woulda, coulda, shoulda”.

Now the 2008 preseason magazine spin, regardless of the outcome of the bowl game, will be positive.

How is: “Colorado finished third in the Big 12 North with a 4-4 conference record, moving up from a fifth place finish last year, and looking to make a move on the title in ‘08?,

vs. “Colorado finished with a 3-5 record in the Big 12 North, tied with Kansas State and Nebraska, teams which both beat the Buffs in ‘07. It looks like another year of struggle just to get to .500 in Boulder”?;

or: “Colorado showed its progress and new maturity by overcoming double digit deficits to both Oklahoma and Nebraska, and by beating Texas Tech on the road”,

vs. “Colorado fell apart at the end of the season. A 4-2 opening was wasted with five losses in six games to close out the year, including blow out losses to Kansas State, Missouri, and Nebraska”?

There is so much to look forward to over the next nine months which wouldn’t have been there had the Buffs not staged their comeback against the Cornhuskers.

Here’s what we have to look forward to now:

the Buffs remain in the national conversation for the next month;

recruiting can’t help but be enhanced;

15 extra practices for a young team are nothing if not a bonus;

Colorado can finish with a winning season, avoiding consecutive losing seasons for the first time in 22 years;

the Buffs will be one of those “up and coming” or “sleeper” teams for ‘08; and best of all – Nebraska has to deal with a losing season for only the second time in the past 46 years (and in both 2004 and 2007, it was losses to the Buffs on the last game of the year which sent the Huskers home for the holidays!!).

The cold feet were certainly worth all of that.


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