Reality Check

No sense beating a dead horse here.

I have been in the disillusioned, disenfranchised, disappointed, and disgusted camp since being a first-hand witness to the meltdown in Toledo.

I’m ready to get past the “how the Buffs can still win the North” scenarios. I’m over the “the Buffs can win out and go bowling” dreams.

It’s time for the Buffs and their fans to face reality. Colorado is one of the worst programs in Division 1-A football, certainly one of the worst in the six BCS conferences. What teams are worse? Perhaps Virginia (3-7) or Maryland (2-8) from the ACC? Syracuse (3-7) from the Big East? Illinois (3-7) or Indiana (4-7) from the Big Ten? Vanderbilt (2-9) from the SEC? Washington State (1-9) from the Pac-10? Certainly, Colorado is better than some, if not all, of these teams – but them’s slim pickin’s, folks. There are 65 teams in BCS conferences. It would be tough to make an argument that Colorado is in the top 55.

How can the Buffs recover? How does the University of Colorado rebound from four straight losing seasons?

Let’s look for a bright side …

How’s this? Colorado does not have a large senior class. Almost all of the offense generated this year, save the catches by tight ends Riar Geer and Patrick Devenny, has been by from underclassmen. Quarterback Tyler Hansen is a true sophomore, and, over the past few weeks, has shown glimmers of what he can bring to the table, not only with his feet, but with his passing arm. The running back and wide receiver corps will return virtually in tact. The offensive line, for all of its penalties and sacks given, remains a unit with potential.

On the defensive side of the ball, there are a few losses, but mostly in the linebacking corps. Senior Jeff Smart leads the team in tackles, with fellow senior Marcus Burton seventh. Still, if there is one unit which the Buffs have had adequate depth in the past, it is the linebackers. In the secondary, cornerback Cha’pelle Brown will be missed, as will Benjamin Burney. The remaining play-makers, though, return (there has been talk about junior cornerbacks Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith leaving early for the NFL draft, but I don’t see their draft stock being high enough to warrant giving up another year of perfecting their craft in the collegiate ranks).

We will go through the depth chart in great detail during the “Doldrums” – the period in December when football teams with winning records are preparing for bowls, while Colorado, for the third time in four years, is putting in that extra time in the weight room, staring at motivational posters about getting ready for CSU next September. For now, Buff fans, it’s enough to know that the Buffs are showing marginal signs of improvement (more total yards on offense, fewer points on defense). Colorado has only been blown out of a game twice (Toledo and Missouri), and has hung tough against better opposition.

Let’s hope for more of the latter, and less of the former, come Thursday’s game against Oklahoma State, and next week’s game against Nebraska.

The pressure of trying to win out is gone. The pressure of trying to cling to false hopes has dissipated.

The remaining two games only have relevance to the Buff players – and their coaches.

There is no reason not to try some trick plays, and go for broke. No one would be surprised if Colorado is blown out by Oklahoma State and Nebraska, so there is nothing left to lose.

That’s Colorado’s 2009 reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *