November 26th

Dan Hawkins to be Colorado head coach in 2010

Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn confirmed Thursday that Dan Hawkins would indeed be the head coach at Colorado in 2010. “Dan is our coach,” said Bohn. “We will continue to have candid, constructive discussions with each other”. Bohn went on to state, “We recognize the importance of continuity to reach our desired competitve results. We have made progress on many fronts, but fully realize the importance of improvement and growth of the program in all areas.”

CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil Di Stefano echoed support for the embattled Colorado head coach, who will enter the Nebraska game with a 16-32 record in Boulder. “I want all CU fans, supporters, and members of the University community to know that I support Athletic Director Mike Bohn’s decision to honor coach Hawkins’ contract,” said Di Stefano. Then, in a statement which will make Buff fans blanch: “…(Hawkins’) team has been competitive this year,” said Di Stefano. “He has done all that we have asked him to do.”

Really? 16-32 is “all that we have asked him to do”? No other coach, in the 120- year history of the football program at Colorado, has had four consecutive losing seasons. The top two rated recruits of the Hawkins’ era, Darrell Scott and Lynn Katoa, are nowhere to be found. A center (Kai Maiava) the Buffs wanted to move to fullback is now starting at center at UCLA. The single-season record holder for kickoff returns (Josh Smith) is sitting out the 2009 campaign, rather than play in Boulder.

Mike Bohn also had a few words for those who have been vocal about wanting a regime change. “During this challenging time, it is essential for our collective fan base to stay with the program,” said Bohn. “History has proven that our program is at its best when we channel collective passion, competiveness, and hard work in the same direction.”

The very worst part of this announcement will be the impact upon the 2010 recruiting class. Hawkins will be perceived – and portrayed by opposing coaches – as a lame duck. We will go into much more detail on this topic next week, as the Buffs once again have nothing to do but wait for spring, while other teams are getting in 15 more practices.

The 2010 season begins on Friday against Nebraska. A win, and there will be something to build on for next fall. Another loss, and the circle of support for Dan Hawkins will continue to grow smaller.

Mike Bohn has cast his lot with the future of Dan Hawkins. None of his three major hires have produced a winning season. If that trend continues, next fall Buff fans will be calling for more than the ouster of the head football coach …

Cheer loud and long for the Buffs against Nebraska. The near-term – and long-term – future of the program may just depend upon it …

 

Nov. 25th, 7:00 p.m. It is now being widely reported that Dan Hawkins will be retained for the 2010 season. 

(I’ll pause for a moment, to let that last statement sink in)

Multiple sources, including Scout.com, are reporting that Athletic Director Mike Bohn had intentions of firing Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins, but, while Bohn was in Hawaii with the men’s basketball team, Hawkins had meetings with Chancellor Phil Di Stefano and Colorado President Bruce Benson, and made a case for retention.

The scariest part of this latest development is the report that the 2010 verbal commitments have been contacted, and informed that Dan Hawkins will be retained.

The only hitch, pending the meeting between Bohn and Hawkins on Thursday, is that Hawkins must agree to restructure his buyout clause, and agree to changes in his coaching staff.

Stay tuned. This isn’t over yet …

November 25th

 I’ve tried to avoid the hyperbole which has surrounded the Dan Hawkins’ saga, but there is so much out there, I thought I should at least try and summarize the latest …

In the “He’s gone” corner, you have most of the commentary. After the loss to Iowa State, eliminating the Buffs from any chance at a winning season, a bowl game, and the Big 12 title game, the call for the ouster of Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins became a roar. All (objective) indications since have pointed towards the Nebraska game being the last of the Hawkins’ era. Athletic Director Mike Bohn and Chancellor Phil DiStefano have been badgered about what will become of the only coach in Colorado history to endure four consecutive losing seasons (Chuck Fairbanks was only around for three; Bill McCartney posted a winning season in his fourth campaign), but  there has been no official announcement.

There have been other clues, however, with the most telling of which might have come from Dan Hawkins himself. On Monday, Hawkins expressed regret about having his son come to Colorado to play football. “It was selfish on my part. It really was,” said Dan Hawkins about his recruitment of Cody. “But he’s been great with it … When you win, everything’s good. When you lose, then everything’s wrong. And that just becomes an even bigger lightning rod.” This about a player who still has a year left of eligibility. These are not the quotes of a coach looking forward to coaching his son in 2010. They sound more like a coach who is trying to make sense of what went wrong in during his tenure.

There is also this … According to Scout.com and Rivals.com, there are no scheduled official visits for recruits this weekend, and none scheduled for December. This is prime visitation season, and the Buffs have shut down recruitment with half a class (and about half of the remaining alloted official visitations) unaccounted for. For the sake of comparison, Colorado had eight official visits between the last home game and Christmas break last year; 12 the year before. If you are looking to read the tea leaves about what might happen later this week, look no further.

But …

Yesterday, Vic Lombardi from Channel 4 News reported that Dan Hawkins had told his assistants that he would be back for the 2010 season. The story goes that Hawkins met with Chancellor Di Stefano on Monday, and came away with the impression that he would be retained. This led to an annoucement today from DiStefano’s office that no decision has been made. “We talked about a lot of things,” Di Stefano, “but this is the AD’s decision. We talked about things like, if Dan returns, what’s he looking at, what do we need?”

Then, just to add a little more to the drama, came the report that a final decision will be annouced on Thursday. “We’ll head back on the red eye,” said Athletic Director Mike Bohn, who was in Hawaii watching the Buffs win the seventh place game of the Maui Classic over host Chaminade, “and we’ll spend some time with coach Hawkins (Thursday)”.

Stay tuned. Depending on when the announcement is made (with regard to my turkey eating), I will post the final word on this saga as soon as it becomes official ….

 

Misery Loves Company

It’s a familiar saying. Those who are suffering find solace in knowing that they are not alone.

In college football, every weekend half of the fans are unhappy with the results – it’s just the nature of the beast. It’s just that some fans are left to go home unhappy more often than others. Colorado fans, over the past four or five seasons (counting the embarrassing end to the 2004 season), have had more than their share of unhappiness of late.

There are other teams’ fans in 2009 whose seasons, though, have also not turned out as planned. It just so happens that half of the Buffs’ 2010 schedule is made up of just such teams …

Oklahoma

No team has fallen further – with regard to expectations – than have the Sooners, who were the No. 3 team in the nation in the preseason polls. Oklahoma suffered a 41-13 beat down by Texas Tech this past weekend, leaving the unranked Sooners at 6-5. How bad was the loss? The Red Raiders have only beaten the Sooners five times in school history, and never before by more than ten points, but won Saturday by four touchdowns. Texas Tech put up 549 yards against Oklahoma, which has a five loss season for the first time in ten years. Up next for Oklahoma? No. 12 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will be smelling blood, and the Sooners are facing the reality of a 6-6 record and a lower tier bowl game. Yes, Sam Bradford – and other Sooners – have been injured, but if Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State, and then loses its bowl game, the Sooners will finish with a losing season. Such a thought was unimaginable three months ago.

Colorado State

The Rams in 2009 were coming off a 7-6 season and a bowl victory. Expectations were not great, but a repeat winning season, and an outside shot at the elite in the Mountain West Conference, was not out of the question. This was especially true after the Rams opened the season 3-0, with wins over Colorado, Weber State, and Nevada. Halfway to bowl eligibility in September, the Rams have yet to post another win. Colorado State has lost eight games in a row, including a disappointing 29-27 loss to previously winless New Mexico this past weekend. If the Rams hope to head to Invesco Field to face the Buffs with something other than a nine-game losing streak, they will have to defeat Wyoming at home next Friday.

Kansas

No head coach in Kansas history has taken the Jayhawks to the heights reached by Mark Mangino. His overall record is only 50-47, but in 2007, the Jayhawks went 12-1, including an Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech. An 8-5 record in 2008 was a step back, but the Jayhawks had established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 North. The 2009 Kansas season opened with the Jayhawks posting a 5-0 record and a #16 national ranking. Then … the wheels fell off. Starting with a 34-30 loss to Colorado, Kansas has now lost six games in a row, including a methodical 51-20 thumping by Texas this past Saturday. Unless the Jayhawks can handle Missouri in the finale next weekend, the Jayhawks will be home for the holidays in 2009. If things weren’t bad enough, head coach Mark Mangino finds himself embroiled in controversy, as allegations of verbal abuse and inappropriate physical contact have been levied by former players. Mangino has denied the allegations, but the Jayhawks’ six game losing streak has not helped the chances that Mangino will be on the sidelines in Lawrence in 2010.

Baylor

How valuable can one player be to a team? Certainly the loss of Sam Bradford derailed the plans of the Oklahoma Sooners, but the argument can be made that the injury to Baylor’s quarterback, Robert Griffin, was an even more serious blow. The Bears were looking for bowl eligibility back in September, when Baylor opened 3-1. After the injury to their starting quarterback, though, the Bears have gone 1-6, with consecutive beat downs by Texas (47-14) and Texas A&M (38-3). Barring an upset of Texas Tech in the finale, Baylor will finish with a league-worst 1-7 Big 12 conference record. It’s true that Baylor is used to finishing at the bottom of the Big 12 South standings, but in 2009 – for the first time since the conference was formed – the Bears were not picked to finish last. The predictions were that Baylor would finish in front of Texas A&M, the team that beat them 38-3 this past weekend.

Georgia

The Georgia Bulldogs were ranked 13th in the nation at the beginning of the 2009 season. An opening day game against Oklahoma State in Stillwater was billed as a marquee match-up between two contenders in the two toughest conferences. Oklahoma State won the opener, 24-10, and Georgia never quite got the ship righted after that loss. The Bulldogs did win their next three games, climbing back to No. 18 in the polls, but have won only three games since. A dis-heartening home 34-27 loss to Kentucky on senior night (and only two days after mascot UGA VII unexpectedly died at the age of four) leaves Georgia at 6-5. Not only must Georgia get over the first home loss to Kentucky since 1977, the Bulldogs must re-group quickly, as the season finale is an away game against No. 7 Georgia Tech. A loss to the Yellow Jackets would give Georgia its first six loss season since the 1996 team went 5-6.

Kansas State

Remember when Kansas State was the darling of the national media? The Wildcats were 3-1 in the Big 12, and had a two game lead on the rest of the division. That was about a month ago. Kansas State has since lost three of its last four games, including the 17-6 to Nebraska this past weekend. Instead of winning the Big 12 North, the Wildcats have become the first team in the Big 12 to hang up their cleats for 2009. Kansas State finished with a 6-6 overall record, but is not eligible for post-season play. Two of the Wildcats’ wins were over Division 1-AA teams, and only one counts towards bowl-eligibility, so Kansas State is done for the year. The Nebraska game was “boom or bust”, and the Wildcats busted.

So, there you have it. Fans from almost half of Colorado’s 2010 opponents are just as unhappy about their 2009 seasons as you are about what the Buffs have produced. Some fans are even more melancholy, as two months ago, there was still hope aplenty for those fans, while Buff fans had already resigned themselves to a long fall.

A brief recap:

Georgia – preseason No. 13. End of September: 3-1 (No. 18). Now: 6-5.

Baylor – Opened: 3-1. Now 4-7.

Kansas – preseason No. 25. Opened: 5-0 (No. 16). Now: 5-6.

Colorado State – Opened: 3-0. Now: 3-8.

Oklahoma – preseason No. 3. End of September: 2-1. Now: 6-5.

Kansas State – Opened: 5-3; 3-1. Now 6-6, 4-4.

In addition to the six opponents listed above, the Buffs will have a home game in 2010 against Iowa State, which has finished the regular season with a 6-6 record. Iowa State will likely get a bowl bid, despite going 3-5 after a 3-1 start. There will also be a home game against Hawaii (5-6, with games remaining against Navy and Wisconsin – yes, Hawaii has 13 regular season games this year). Add it all up, and 2010 doesn’t have the scary look to it that it had back in September.

In fact, Nebraska and California (with eight wins apiece), along with Missouri and Texas Tech (with seven wins each), are the only teams on the schedule which we can say with certainly will finish with a winning 2009 season, and all four of those teams have had periods of poor play.

There. Feel better?

Not yet?

Then here is a bonus …

Notre Dame

Another team ranked this preseason which is now 6-5 is Notre Dame. For the second year in a row, the Irish lost their senior day home game to a Big East underdog. Last season, winless Syracuse was the conqueror; this season it was Connecticut, which defeated Notre Dame, 33-30, in double overtime. The Irish were ranked 23rd coming into the season, and some (okay, Lou Holtz) picked Notre Dame to play for the national championship. A soft schedule seemed to put Notre Dame in great position for at least a BCS bid, but the Irish have lost three straight (to Navy, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut). The worst kept secret in college football is that Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis will likely be looking for work after this season. With a road game against Stanford still to be played, Notre Dame under Charlie Weis is 35-26. His .536 winning percentage is lower than the .583 winning percentage of Weis’ predecessors, Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie – and we know what happened to those coaches.

I knew that would make you feel better!

Go Buffs!

3 Replies to “The Colorado Daily”

  1. Misery loves company. It’s good to know there are other big time programs having real problems right now.

    I’d like to see your opinion of who should replace Hawkins.

    Keep up the great work. I love your site!

  2. Don’t forget about Michigan! They started the season 4-0 and ranked in the top 25. Since then they’ve gone 1-7 and will not be going to a bowl for the second straight year under Rich Rodriguez. Maybe we could schedule a scrimmage with them in December so we could both get some post-season experience?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.