December 31st

Nebraska closes Big 12 book with two consecutive losses

In reviewing the slate of bowl games involving 2011 Colorado opponents, it appeared that Washington was the surest bet to head into the fall campaign with a loss. After all, Washington was only 6-6 on the season, including a 56-21 loss, at home, to 10-3 Nebraska. The Huskies were solid two-touchdown underdogs to the Cornhuskers as the Holiday Bowl kicked off.

So naturally, Washington won, 19-7. Husky tailback Chris Polk out-rushed the vaunted Nebraska rushing crew all by himself, out-gaining the Cornhuskers, 177 yards to 91. “We just ran right at ’em,” said Polk. “We knew we could win if we ran the way we know how to run. They couldn’t stop it. We whupped a team which didn’t respect us.”

After surrendering 533 total yards in the September game in Seattle, the Huskies held Nebraska to 189 total yards.

The loss left the Big 12 with a 1-4 bowl record, with Oklahoma State’s win over Arizona the only victory (Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma still have bowl games to play). As for Nebraska, the Cornhuskers finished the season with only one win in their final four games. For those who will still have to deal with Cornhusker fans in the future, feel free to tuck this away in your trivia jar: Between Colorado and Nebraska, which left the Big 12 on a two-game losing streak? … ūüôā

As for Washington, the Huskies will enter its first season in the Pac-12 on a four-game winning streak. After a 53-16 thrashing at the hands of the Oregon Ducks, Washington was sitting at 3-6. A home win over UCLA was followed by road wins over Cal and Washington State to secure its first bowl berth since 2002.

It will be interesting to see what the preseason magazines do with Arizona and Washington next summer. The two teams each finished the 2010 season with 7-6 records, but the two teams took diametrically different paths to get to those records. As the calendar turned to November this past fall, Arizona was 7-1 and ranked 15th in the nation; Washington was 3-6 and going nowhere after three straight blowout losses (44-14 to Arizona; 41-0 to Stanford; and 53-16 to Oregon).

From the 1st game of November on, however, Arizona did not win a game, and Washington did not lose one. Will these streaks cause preseason prognosticators to load up on Husky stock, despite the loss of quarterback Jake Locker? Will it cause the magazines to bail on Arizona, despite the fact that the Wildcats are returning all of their skill players from a team which was ranked 9th in passing offense and 24th in total offense?

And what will the magazines say about Nebraska, stumbling into the Big Ten on a two-game losing streak … ?

December 30th

Arizona loss brings CU 2011 opponents record to 0-3

The routs keep coming.

Colorado will have to play seven teams next fall who are participating in bowls this season, and, at least so far, things are looking good for the Buffs.

First up was Utah, which fell 26-3 to Boise State in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas. Then came Hawai’i, which was thumped by Tulsa in the Hawai’i Bowl, 62-35.

Wednesday night it was Arizona’s turn, falling 36-10 to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. The Wildcats opened the season with a 7-1 record and a No. 15 national ranking. Arizona looked to be in line for a Rose Bowl date¬† before a 42-17 drubbing by Stanford on November 6th. That loss sent Arizona into a downward spiral which lasted the remainder of the season. Close home losses to USC and rival Arizona State were sandwiched between a blowout loss to Oregon, giving the Wildcats a four-game losing streak to end the regular season.

The loss to Oklahoma State leaves Arizona with a 7-6 overall record, and quite a few question marks for the 2011 campaign. With Arizona and Utah not exactly shining in their bowl games, and Colorado, USC, UCLA, and Arizona State sitting out the bowl season, the first season for the new Pac-12 South should be interesting. If USC’s NCAA appeal is not reversed, and the Trojans are forced to sit out another round of bowl games, the race for the first berth in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game could be a free-for-all.

Just sayin’ …

Oregon running back returning for 2011 season

Speaking of the disparity between the Pac-12 North and the Pac-12 South …

Heisman trophy finalist LaMichael Jones will return to Oregon next fall. Jones rushed for 1,682 yards this past season, and was third in the Heisman trophy balloting. Jones is a third-year sophomore, but would be eligible for the 2011 NFL draft, but has decided to stay. “I came to the University of Oregon to get a quality¬†education, as well as to play football,” said Jones in a statement, “and I feel I have yet to complete that goal”.

This past spring, Jones was accused of assaulting an ex-girlfriend, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge. Jones was suspended for the season opener against New Mexico as a result of the criminal plea (imagine how a similar plea would have played out in Boulder …).

As a result, it appears that Jones will be traveling to Folsom Field on October 22nd to take on Colorado.

December 28th

Kansas State stranded in Gotham

Had Colorado finished the 2010 season with a victory over Nebraska, the likely bowl destination would have been New York City, with a date against Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Be careful what you wish for …

While the extra practices would have been a godsend for the Buffs, the “bowl experience” in New York would have been less than what was promised. With the east coast buried in snow, many of the activities planned for the Wildcats and Orangemen have been canceled. Instead of practicing at Columbia on Sunday, Kansas State had to do a walk-through at their hotel. Instead of a pep rally on Monday, the teams stayed in their hotels. The chance to meet some of the New York Giants players also went awry when the Giants were stranded in Green Bay after their game on Sunday.

Nothing quite says “bowl experience” like 20 inches of snow ….

Bohn puts numbers in perspective

The cost of moving to the Pac-12? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 – $17 million.

That’s what Colorado could be looking at over the next few years as the Buffs suffer from the lack of funds from the Big 12 (a $6.8 million exit fee), a buyout of former head coach Dan Hawkins ($2 million), and a reduction of income from the Pac-12 as Colorado makes its transition to the new conference.

“We have numerous options to explore to include an advance from the Pac-12 (reportedly, Colorado has been offered up to $10 million from the league, to be offset by a reduction in revenues over a period of years), and to include a financing package potentially with the institution,” said Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn. While the Colorado administration might float the athletic department a loan during the transition period, Bohn said that he recognizes that “the athletic enterprise must self-generate its revenue to run its program.”

While¬†the athletic department might be seeing red for the next few years, the long term potential revenues (read: benefits) far outweigh the short-term struggles. “It is an initial investment in getting into that league so we can reap the benefits of revenue sharing,” said Bohn. “That’s what we’re investing in. We’re not being assessed something that doesn’t allow us to build upon it. We’re investing in a big deal, in a league with significant equity, and significant position for future growth.”

Most Buff fans understand, and are buying in. Mike Bohn has done a great deal for the future of Colorado athletics.

Now its up to Bohn’s coaches to start winning on¬†the field …

 

December 25th

Buff 2011 opponents 0-2 so far in bowl games

Colorado will¬†play at least seven¬†games next fall against teams which are bowling this year (it could be eight, depending on whether California or another bowl eligible team fills the September 10th open date). In conference play, Colorado will play Arizona, Oregon, Washington,¬†Utah¬†and Stanford (USC had an 8-5 record, but was not eligible for a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions). Amongst the non-conference foes, Hawai’i and Ohio State are bowling in 2010.

To date, Buff opponents have racked up an 0-2 record, and have not looked impressive in doing so.

19th-ranked Utah had the uneviable task of taking on 10th-ranked Boise State. The Utes were 10-2 overall, and 7-1 in their final season in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State, meanwhile, was in the mix for the BCS national championship game until a late season overtime loss to Nevada relegated the Broncos to a pre-Christmas matchup against Utah in the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas. High-scoring Boise State didn’t get on the board until running back Doug Martin raced up the middle for an 84-yard scord midway through the second quarter to give Boise State a 7-3 lead. From then on, the Broncos dominated, holding Utah to eight first downs and 200 total yards of offense in a 26-3 rout.¬†

Offense was not the problem for Colorado’s 2011 opening day opponent, Hawai’i. The 24th-ranked Warriors had 550 yards of total offense in the Hawai’i Bowl, and scored 35 points, but those numbers weren’t nearly¬†enough to keep Tulsa from rolling to a 62-35 rout. The Golden Hurricane showed Colorado the way to beat Hawai’i – turnovers. Hawai’i turned the ball over six times, including two interceptions which were returned for touchdowns in the second quarter when Tulsa turned a close game into a dominating performance. Warrior wide receiver Greg Salas had 13 catches for a career-high 214 yards and two touchdowns. Fortunately, the Buffs will not have to face Silas again, but quarterback Bryant Munoz, who had 411 yards passing in the Hawai’i Bowl, and who finished the 2010 season with 5,040 passing yards and 39 touchdowns, will be back for Hawai’i next fall.

Up next on the parade of Colorado 2011 opponents … the Alamo bowl on December 29th, when 7-5 Arizona takes on 10-2 Oklahoma State.

December 24th

USC to have its appeal heard in January

For prior transgressions, USC was sanctioned by the NCAA to the tune of a two year ban on post-season play and the loss of 30 scholarships over three years. The Trojans are sitting out this year’s post-season, but are hoping to have the second year ban lifted at a hearing before the NCAA Infractions Appeal Committee on January 22nd.

In order to be successful, USC must convince the committee that: 1) there is evidence gathered since the June ruling which will disprove the ruling; 2) there were no rules actually broken by USC; and/or 3) the NCAA penalty was excessive.

Since there have been no stories posted which would lead one to believe that USC has a case under either of the first two exceptions, the appeal will center on the “excessive” nature of the penalty. In one sense, the fact that the NCAA cited a “lack of institutional control” in June, there should be little basis to reduce the penalties. However, in light of Auburn not facing any penalties over the Cam Newton recruitment, USC can argue that the school is taking too great a blow for the actions of others outside the program.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the NCAA did reduce the penalties to a degree, perhaps on the scholarship side, but not on the bowl participation side.

December 23rd

Ohio State loses five players for five games

The line on the Ohio State / Colorado game just went down a touchdown or so …

Five Ohio State players, including quarterback Terelle Pryor, must sit out the first five game of the 2011 season for accepting improper benefits, according to an NCAA ruling. Five players were found to have sold awards, gifts, and NCAA apparel in violation of NCAA rules.

The five players who will watch the CU game from the sidelines are: quarterback Terrelle Pryor, senior offensive lineman Mike Adams, senior running back Mike Herron (who had 1,068 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010), senior wide receiver DeVier Posey (who had 50 receptions for 778 yards and six touchdowns), and senior defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

“After going through this experience, we will further enhance our education (about not selling awards and apparel) for all our student athletes as we¬†move forward,” said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.

Ohio State plays four of its first five games of the 2011 season at home, starting with MAC foes Akron and Toledo on September 3rd and 10th. A road game against Miami precedes the Colorado/Ohio State matchup on September 24th. The fifth game of the Ohio State season pits the Buckeyes against Michigan State in OSU’s Big Ten opener.

December 17th

Josh Moten may be given a shot at quarterback

The career of Josh Moten has certainly had its ups and downs.

Moten was a star quarterback in high school in Carson, California, and was promised a shot at the quarterback position by Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins. Moten was a member of the recruiting class of 2009, but was asked to grey-shirt, delaying his enrollment until January, 2010.

This past spring, Moten practiced as a defensive back. “I don’t want to say that (Dan Hawkins) didn’t give me a shot, because a lot of that was on me,” Moten said of his switch to the defense. “I kind of listened to some people who said, ‘Oh, Josh, you will do great at corner’. I kind of fed into the hype. I stayed there when I should have gone back to quarterback.”

In October, Moten’s future at any position was in jeopardy, as he¬†was arrested for assault and domestic violence. Moten was immediately suspended from the team and the school. It appeared that Moten’s¬†future would not include¬†any playing time in¬†a Colorado uniform.

As it turned out, though, Moten was just trying to defend himself when he was slapped by an ex-girlfriend. The charges against Moten were dropped, and he has been reinstated to the University and the team.

The suspension cost Moten six weeks of practice at cornerback, but it may work out well for Moten in the end. When asked about the quarterback situation, new head coach Jon Embree responded. “It’s going to be equal all the way because it’s a new system. You can’t say Tyler has a leg up¬† because he knows the plays like he would if we had stayed in the same offense,” said Embree. “Everybody’s¬† going to have an equal¬†chance.”

These words are music to Moten, who sees only senior Tyler Hansen and red-shirt freshman Nick Hirschman on the scholarship roster. Moten, who accounted for 3,340 yards¬†of total offense in high school, might be the dual-threat quarterback the Buffs have been lacking. “Why not give¬†it a shot?”, says Moten. “I love (playing quarterback). I have fun doing it. At least give me a shot and see if I can do good at it. If not, then I don’t have any problem with you … I’ll just go play where I fit in on the field … The guys on the team are telling me that I’m actually getting better (at playing corner). Right now, I feel like I can play both. So when I get back in January, I’ll see what direction¬†it takes.”

With two of the greatest needs for the Buffs being at the quarterback and corner positions, it’s a safe bet that Moten¬†will see the field as a Buffalo after all.

We just don’t know on which side of the ball he will be playing …

Buffs to look better on the road

I know that the players are given a say on which uniforms they will don on gameday, but I have never been a fan of the white-on-white road uniforms the Buffs have worn in recent years. the white uniforms and white pants never seemed very, well, intimidating.

Apparently Jon Embree agrees.

When asked about uniforms in a Q&A for the Denver Post, Embree said, “We are in the process of discussing uniforms, but there are so many things I have to do before I can really address that. I can tell you this; we will be white with black pants on the road and black with gold pants at home. We won’t be white-on-white on the road anymore. The¬†uniform will have a clean look, and players will have their names on the back.”

Every day, in every way, things are looking better in¬†Boulder …

December 15th

Buffs need to find opponent for September 10th

The Daily Camera is quoting officials from Colorado, Cal, and the Pac-12 that the Buffs and the Bears may, in fact, finish out their home-and-home series with a non-conference game in Boulder on September 10th. When the 2011 Pac-12 conference schedule was announced, and Colorado and Cal were not opponents, it was widely assumed that both would drop the game in Boulder, and seek out another non-conference opponent.

In theory, Colorado could drop the game altogether, and still have a 12-game schedule. That would mean, though, that the Buffs would have only four home games, one neutral site game (CSU), seven road games. Considering that having only five home games was a hard sell for the athletic department, the option of not playing any opponent on September 10th is a non-starter.

But does it have to be Cal? Sure, the Bears slumped to a 5-7 record after a quick start which included a 52-7 drubbing of Colorado, but there are any number of reasons for Colorado to look elsewhere. First, it gets Larry Scott’s new Pac-12 off to a stumbling start. The new conference will want to¬†showcase its new league and new divisional rivalries, so beginning the “Pac-12 era” with an “it really doesn’t count” game between two 5-7 teams doesn’t sound like good marketing strategy.

Plus, it would not be a great move for the new coaching staff. Yes, Bill McCartney wanted to take on all comers, and did so (remember four of the five non-conference games in the national championship season of 1990 – five of¬† six if you¬† count the bowl game – were played against ranked opponents), and Embree is certainly a Mac disciple. That being said, the 2011 non-conference schedule, with games at Hawai’i (10-3 before its bowl game) and Ohio State (11-1) present enough of a challenge for a new coach. A game against a lesser opponent would not only be forgiven, it would be understood. Oregon State this week rounded out its 2011 non-conference slate with a game against Sacramento State (in addition¬†to BYU and Wisconsin).

There is still time for Colorado¬†to make other arrangements. As noted, Oregon State just added Sacramento State, and there are dozens of other teams willing to come to Boulder next September in exchange for a paycheck. (Northern Colorado would have been a logicial choice, but UNC already has an opponent on September 10th … Colorado State. For those interested in revenge against Montana State, the Bobcats¬†already have a September game scheduled against a Pac-12 team … Utah)

The 2011 schedule, with seven road games, is already tough enough. Whether¬†the rationale is¬†Pac-12 marketing, monetary concerns, or simply looking for a “W” early in Embree’s first season, Cal should not be on the¬† calendar for September 10, 2011.

December 14th

Nate Solder First Consensu All-American Buff since 2001

Accolades continue to accumulate for senior offensive tackle Nate Solder.

A week after being named to the Walter Camp All-American team, Solder was named to the Associated Press All-American team. Solder is the first All-American for Colorado since 2007, when linebacker Jordon Dizon was so honored, and is the first consensus All-American Buff since tight end Daniel Graham in 2001.

Note … To be a “consensus” All-American, you must be¬†honored as an All-American by three of the five organizations recognized for this purpose by the NCAA. Solder has been named to the AP and Walter Camp teams, as well as the Football Writers of America team. The Sporting News All-American team is to be announced later this week, with Solder expected to be named to that team as well. The only list which is keeping Solder from being a “unanimous” All-American is the American Football Coaches Association team, which did not list Solder. As a result, Solder is only one All-American listing¬†short of becoming only the seventh unanimous All-American in Colorado history¬†… Trivia time: I’ll pause for a moment here while you try and think of the six Buffs who are on the list. Answer below …

“Being an All-American is something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Solder. “I was always told that I could be good, but I never realized it would be to this magnitude.”

It’s almost hard to believe that Solder came to Boulder as a tight end, only switching to tackle after his red-shirt freshman season. “I really enjoyed playing tight end, but it was (former CU offensive line) Coach (Jeff) Grimes who supported me and saw things in me that other people didn’t see.”

Solder is the first offensive tackle at Colorado to be named a consensus All-American, and the first Buff offensive tackle to garner any All-American honors since Stan Brock in 1979.

Trivia answer … Did you have enough time? Okay – the only six Buffs who have earned unanimous All-American honors are: running back Eric Bieniemy (1990); guard Joe Garten (1990); linebacker Alfred Williams (1990); center Jay Leeuwenberg (1991); running back Rashaan Salaam (1994); and tight end Daniel Graham (2001). How many did you get?

Other Buffs honoredSports Illustrated, in addition to naming Solder to its All-American team, named Rodney Stewart as an honorable mention selection … Collegefootballnews.com, meanwhile, placed offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and wide receiver Paul Richardson to its Freshman All-American teams, with Richardson being named second team, while Bakhtiari earned honorable mention status.

Decembe 13th

Big Ten Divisions named

When the Big Ten conducts its first conference championship at Indianapolis next December, it will be a battle of the Legends and the Leaders …

Seriously?

The Big Ten¬†has named its two divisions. New member Nebraska will be a part of the “Legends” division, along with Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Michigan, and Northwestern. Meanwhile the “Leaders” division will be made up of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

“The Legends, not too hard in that we have 215 College Football Hall of Fame members, we have 15 Heisman trophy winners,” said Big Ten commissioner. “We thought it made perfect sense to recognize the iconic and the legendary through the naming of the division in that regard”.¬† Other names which were considered included: Stars and Stripes; Plains and Lakes; Schembechler and Hayes; and Traditions and Legends.

The new logo has the “I” looking like a numeral “1”, while the capital “G” is shaped to almost look like a “0”. Unlike the preceding Big Ten logo, which had a “hidden” 11, there is no¬†“12” to be found. For conspiracy theorists – the “G” could easily be made to look like a “6”, as is the Big 16 …

The Big 10 also came up with 18, count ’em 18, trophies. The title game winner will earn the Stagg-Paterno Championship trophy. The MVP of the title game will raise the Grange/Griffin trophy. Other trophies include: The (Otto) Graham / (Eddie) George Offensive Player-of-the-Year; (Bronko) Nagurski / (Charles) Woodson Defensive Player-of-the-Year; and the¬†Hayes/Schembechler Coach of the Year.

For those keeping score, the only trophy amongst the 18 with a Nebraska player named goes to the Offensive Lineman of the Year, who will receive (Orlando) Pace / (Dave) Rimington Award. Overall, there were five trophies associated with Ohio State, four each for Wisconsin and Michigan; three for Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State, and Penn State. Schools with two award honorees were Indiana, Iowa, and Northwestern.

Nebraska was tied for last with … the University of Chicago. The former member of the Big Ten (until 1939) was coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg.

History alert – the University of Chicago was a member of the Big Ten from 1896 to 1939. Before the turn of the (20th) century, there were only seven teams – Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, Chicago, Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue. In 1900, Iowa and¬†Indiana joined, to bring the total to nine. Michigan dropped out in 1910, playing as an independent until 1917. By then, Ohio State (1913) had joined, making the Big Ten an actual “Big Ten” for the 1917 season.

From 1917 to 1939, the Big Ten had ten teams (including the University of Chicago). Between 1940 and 1952, the Big Ten played with nine teams, with Michigan State joining in 1953. The Big Ten then played with ten teams until 1993, when Penn State joined the league.

As a result, since 1896, the “Big Ten” has played with ten teams for 62 seasons, and has played with a¬†number of teams other than ten¬†for 52 seasons.

Gotta like the math …

 

December 10th

Hawai’i latest team to bolt the WAC

Hawai’i will become a football-only member of the Mountain West Conference in 2012, and play in the Big West Conference in other sports.

The move is just the latest in the disintegration of the Western Athletic Conference. Boise State is leaving after this season, and now Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawai’i will be gone in 2012. All that remains of the WAC now is Louisiana Tech (which could bolt for the Missouri Valley Conference), New Mexico State, San Jose State, Idaho, and Utah State. New members Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Denver (which doesn’t have a football team) will join in 2012.

Side note … In November,¬†Montana declined an invitation to join the Big West. Even though it would have meant a jump up from the FCS (1-AA) to the FBS (1-A), the Grizzlies decided to stay in the Big Sky Conference. (The joke here is that Montana wanted to stay a big fish in a smaller pond, rather than have their hats handed to them in the big leagues. The Grizzlies had been in the FCS playoffs every year since 1992 – that is until the Montana State Bobcats defeated the Grizzlies in Missoula in November to claim the Big Sky Conference title – ha!).

The new and improved Mountain West Conference, for all of its “upgrades”, is actually beginning to look more and more like the old Wac-ky WAC. Take a look:

Western Athletic Conference (1995) – the year before the conference expanded into a 16-team, two-division conference):

Colorado State; Air Force; San Diego State; Wyoming; Fresno State; New Mexico; Hawai’i; UTEP; Utah; and BYU.

Mountain West Conference (2012):

Colorado State; Air Force: San Diego State; Wyoming: Fresno State; New Mexico; Hawai’i; Boise State; Nevada and UNLV.

Seven out of ten¬†… ¬†anyone up for some good ‘ol 55-49 shootouts?

December 8th

Solder 1st team All-Big 12; 2nd team All-American

Senior offensive tackle Nate Solder did not receive the Outland trophy, given to the nation’s best interior lineman. The award went to Wisconsin lineman Gabe Carimi.

Solder did continue to receive accolades, however, as he was named to Rivals.com 1st team All-Big 12 team and 2nd team All-American.

Other national awards of note

Cameron Newton is well on his way to the Heisman, which will be awarded Saturday. On Thursday, Newton received the Walter Camp Award, given to the nation’s Player-of-the-Year, as well as the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s best quarterback. Newton also won the Maxwell Award, the Outstanding Player Award which is often seen as a barometer of how the Heisman trophy voting will turn out.

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, two years removed from a 5-19 record at Iowa State, was named the Coach-of-the-Year.

Colorado’s former conference, the Big 12, fared better than the Buffs’ new conference, the Pac-12. Oklahoma State wide receiver received the Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver); the Dick Butkus Award (linebacker) went to Von Miller of Texas A&M; while the Lou Groza Award (best kicker) was given to Dan Bailey of Oklahoma State. The only major award given to a¬†Pac-10 player was the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back, given to Oregon sophomore LaMichael James.

December 7th

Alfred Williams inducted into College Hall of Fame / Solder honored as a scholar athlete

But for the fact the University of Colorado was pre-occupied with the hiring of the 24th football head coach in school history, this still would have been a good week for the Buff Nation.

Alfred Williams

On Tuesday night, Alfred Williams became the fifth Buff to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. “The men who coached me over the years have been outstanding, and I want to say thank you to all of them,” said Williams. “This is our 20-year anniversary of our national championship so for me it’s been a wonderful year … This has been a wonderful, wonderful day for me and my family, and we want to say thank you”.

The Big Eight Conference Defensive Player of the Year in both 1989 and 1990, Williams was a consensus All-American his junior year, then a unanimous All-American in his senior year. In 1990, Williams became the first player in school history to earn a national award when he earned the Butkus Award. “This has been a tremendous experience and may more memories have been created for me,” said Williams Monday night. “I said this when I first learned that I was going to be inducted, and that is that I absolutely love my alma mater. The University of Colorado is a special, special place.”

(In case you want to impress your friends … The other four Colorado members of the College Football Hall of Fame are: Bobby Anderson (inducted in 2006); Dick Anderson (1993); Joe Romig (1984); and Byron “Whizzer” White (1954).

Nate Solder

Also being honored Tuesday night in New York City was senior offensive tackle Nate Solder, one of 16 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is considered the “Academic Heisman”. As a finalist, Solder received an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.

“For any college football player, it’s an incredibly demanding sport,” said Solder. “And on top of that to have a good GPA in a challenging major (Solder has a 3.52 GPA in Biology) is just another step of difficulty; that’s something these guys understand … I’m humbled and honored to be here, and I appreciated it.” As part of his trip, Solder was able to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (and pose with the Lombardi trophy), as well as Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe.

From New York, Solder will travel to Orlando, for Thursday’s ESPN Home Depot Award show, where Solder is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy.

December 6th

Bowl system¬†not giving all¬†players the “bowl experience”

There will be, at least for the foreseeable future (read: three more years on ESPN’s BCS contract), a BCS championship game and no playoffs.

One of the main arguments propounded by the “little guy” bowls is that a playoff system would kill the minor bowls, thus denying any number of student-athletes the reward of a “bowl week experience” – different stadium; different climate; a week away from family; etc.

Then why are so many bowl participants staying home?

A look at the bowl schedule shows an inordinate number of schools traveling just a short distance – or staying home altogether. Hawai’i is playing at home in the Hawai’i Bowl; San Diego State is playing at home in the Poinsettia Bowl; Baylor is playing just down the road in Houston in the Texas Bowl; Syracuse is playing in New York City in the Pinstripe Bowl; Florida is playing in Tampa in the Outback Bowl; Tennessee is playing in Nashville in the Music City Bowl; SMU is playing at home in Dallas/Ft. Worth in the Armed Forces Bowl; Texas Tech has a short trip to Dallas for the TicketCity Bowl; and UTEP has a short trip to Albuquerque for the New Mexico Bowl.

Why are so many bowl participants staying home? To get more tickets sold, of course. More fans will attend, filling the stadium when it might otherwise be half empty.

But the “bowl experience” for the players? Not so much …

 

December 5th

2011 opponents draw tough bowl assignments

Seven of Colorado’s thirteen opponents in 2011 will be going bowling in 2010 (assuming that “Open Date” doesn’t turn into another bowl opponent). In order of appearance, the Buffs will play Hawai’i, Ohio State, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, Arizona State and Utah. (The five teams on the schedule¬†which are¬†done for the season are: Colorado State, Washington State, Arizona State, USC, and UCLA).

Bowl games to keep an eye on over the next month …

December 22nd  РLas Vegas Bowl РUtah v. Boise State РThe Broncos were a potential BCS championship game participant two weeks ago. A tough draw for the Utes, who struggled in their rivalry game against BYU.

December 24th – Hawai’i Bowl – Hawai’i v. Tulsa – The Golden Hurricane finished 9-3 and on a six game winning streak (including a win over Notre Dame in South Bend).

December 29th – Alamo Bowl – Arizona v. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys lost only two games all season, to Nebraska and Oklahoma (and scored 41 points in both games).

December 30th – Holiday Bowl – Washington v. Nebraska – The Huskies had to score in the last minute in the Apple Cup to defeat 2-10 Washington State just to get a bowl bid. For their reward, they get a return date with the Cornhuskers, who defeated Washington 56-21 in Seattle back in September.

January 3rd – Orange Bowl – Stanford v. Virginia Tech – The Cardinal were hoping for a shorter trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Instead, Stanford travels cross country to face a team which has won 11 straight games after an 0-2 start.

January 4th РSugar Bowl РOhio State v. Arkansas РThe Razorbacks are 10-2, and are on a six game winning streak. Included in the streak are wins over ranked South Carolina, Mississippi State, and LSU in three of their past four games.

January 10th – BCS National Championship game – Oregon v. Auburn – The game speaks for itself. Two undefeated teams squaring off for the national title. A loss to the Tigers will not make it any easier for Colorado to play Oregon in 2011, so just sit back and enjoy!

Paul Richardson Staying!

A few days after Ryan Miller announced that he would be returning for his senior season, Buff fans received another piece of good news …

Sophomore-to-be Paul Richardson will be back as well.

The record-setting freshman wide receiver told the Longmont-Times Call Saturday night, “I’ll be back”. There had been speculation that Richardson, home sick for southern California, was considering transferring. Instead, Richardson will be back in Boulder. “It was only half a year,” Richardson said of his 514 receiving yards, a Colorado freshman record. “No telling what it would have looked like if it was for the entire season.”

The only thing changing for Richardson next year will be his number. Instead of No. 80, Richardson will wear No. 6, which is the number he had in Pop Warner. “I’ve been getting a lot of love (from my teammates), and I feel this is where I should be, and I should finish out my college career here,” said Richardson. “Mainly it was talking to my mom, and she wants me to stay where I am.”

Thanks, Mom!

Darian Hagan’s son found dead

DeVaughn Levy-Hagan, son of Colorado running backs coach Darian Hagan, has died. A Garden City Community College student, Levy-Hagan, 20, was a star at Cherry Creek high in Denver.

Condolences from the entire Buff Nation … ¬†

Brock Berglund stars in state finals

Colorado recruit Brock Berglund led his Valor Christian team to the state Class 4A title Saturday. Berglund, who reaffirmed his commitment to Colorado after Dan Hawkins was fired, threw for 280 yards and ran for another 122 in leading Valor Christian to a 38-8 victory over Wheat Ridge in the state title game. Berglund went 12-of-16 passing for three touchdowns and had 14 rushes for his 122 yards, including a 24-yard run for¬†another score. “I love it in Boulder and I’ve grown up a CU fan, and that’s where I’m going to school,” said Berglund after the game.

Valor Christian (11-3), a new school with a varsity program for just three years, already has two state championships (winning the state 3A title last season). Wheat Ridge (12-2), has won seven titles, and lost in the state championship game for the first time. The last win for the Farmers in the title game, as Buff fans might recall, was when Parker Orms, playing on both sides of the ball, led Wheat Ridge to the state championship in 2008. Orms, who sat out the 2009 season, was the starting nickel back for the Buffs in the opener against Colorado State, but was injured early in the first quarter. Orms qualifies for a medical red-shirt, and will still have four years of eligibility remaining come next fall.

 

 

December 4th

More reports on Bieniemy

Colorado already has an offensive coordinator under contract, Eric Kiesau, but that may change this weekend. It is being reported by multiple sources now that Minnesota Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy will be named Monday as the Buffs’ next offensive coordinator. Kyle Ringo of the Daily Camera has posted a statement that EB is coming, and Vikings’ running back Albert Young put out a “tweet” congratulating his position coach on accepting the offensive coordinator position. For his part, Bieniemy texted the Denver Post, “Be there soon!”.

Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn is meeting with Washington Redskins tight ends coach Jon Embree in New York on Saturday, presumably to work out final details in anticipation of a Monday press conference announcing that Embree will become the 24th head coach in Colorado history. The Redskins are in New York to play the Giants on Sunday, which may well be Embree’s last game with the Redskins.

Washington head coach Mike Shanahan has already indicated that he will release Embree to join the Buffs. However, it remains unclear as to whether Bieniemy will be afforded the same opportunity. According to a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Bieniemy will finish out the season with the Vikings. The story notes that Bieniemy, in addition to being the running backs coach, is an assistant head coach, including working with the entire offense on blitz protection.  

Cabral to Northern Colorado?

Colorado still has an opening on its 2011 schedule. The Buffs need to come up with a replacement for Cal on September 10th, and, with seven road games and home games against the likes of Oregon and USC, an “easy” game would be welcome.

Anyone up for Northern Colorado … coached by Brian Cabral?

The Colorado interim head coach, who went 2-1 replacing Dan Hawkins, has had a discussion described as “preliminary” with Northern Colorado of the Big Sky Conference. Asked if he would be interested in taking over in Greeley, Cabral said, “I’m not sure yet”, adding that he wants to wait and find out if he still might have an opportunity to stay on at Colorado. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cabral said about the imminent hiring of Jon Embree.

While no one could blame Cabral for wanting to take on a head coaching job, most Buff fans would be in agreement that they would like to have Cabral back coaching linebackers for a 22nd season in 2011.

Arizona State staying home for the holidays

The Arizona State Sun Devils won a wild double overtime rivalry game against Arizona Thursday night. Two blocked extra points, one at the end of regulation, the other in the second overtime, gave Arizona State a 30-29 victory and a 6-6 overall record.

Normally, that would result in a bowl bid, especially in a season when the Pac-10 is struggling to fill its bowl slots (Oregon and Stanford are looking at BCS bowl games, and USC is not eligible for a bowl bid). However, there is the slight issue of the Sun Devils schedule. Arizona State opened the 2010 season with two wins – over schools from the Big Sky Conference. Only one win against a 1-AA school counts toward bowl eligibility, however, leaving the Sun Devils with only five wins to count toward bowl eligibility. Arizona State asked the NCAA for a waiver, but was denied.

“It’s a pretty steadfast rule, but I thought we had a chance in our discussions with the NCAA because of our situation,” said Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. “They didn’t okay it, and I understand that.”

As a result of the NCAA’s decision, four of the six teams in the newly formed Pac-12 South will not be going to a bowl game this season. Utah, with a 10-2 record, will be playing in the Las Vegas Bowl as a representative of the Mountain West Conference. Arizona, with a 7-5 record (but losers of four straight games), will get a bowl bid … but that is it for the Pac-12 South. USC has a winning record, but is ineligible due to NCAA sanctions. Arizona State, as noted, finished with a 6-6 record but only five wins which counted towards bowl eligibility, is out, as is Colorado (5-7) and UCLA (4-7, with a finale against USC still to be played).

Not exactly murderer’s row, folks …

R.I.P., Keith English

Keith English, an All-American punter for Colorado in 1988, died in his sleep Wednesday night. He was 44.

English could have been a multiple year award winner, but he sat for two years behind All-American punter Barry Helton. Finally given a chance in his senior season, English had 51 punts for a 45.0 yard average. English was a consensus All-American, the only Buff so honored in 1988.

“It was an absolute shock when everyone got the news about Keith,” said former teammate Joe McCreary. “It would have made (Embree’s return) more fun to have Keith a part of everything,” said another teammate, Trevor Smotherman.

Keith English will be missed.

 

 

December 3rd

Bieniemy agrees to be Offensive Coordinator?

Mark Johnson of KOA Radio, the play-by-play announcer for CU games, is reporting that Eric Bieniemy has accepted the job as offensive coordinator for the Buffs.

If so, the hire will go a long way towards appeasing those who felt that Bieniemy should have been given the head coaching offer over Jon Embree.

More, when and if the story is confirmed …

Ryan Miller returning

In what could be considered the first good roster news¬†of the Jon Embree regime, junior Ryan Miller indicated on Friday that he will return to Colorado for his senior season. “I’m with the black and gold regardless of what coach is hired,” said Miller in a statement. “I will play my senior¬† seaaon in a University of Colorado jersey.”

Miller will be a fifth-year senior in 2011.

December 2nd

Colorado “Final Three” down to the Final One? … Denver Post says it’s Embree (and so does Coach Mac)

The Denver Post is reporting¬†that Jon Embree is going to be the Buffs’ choice as the next head coach, and BuffStampede.com says that it has confirmed the hire as well.

¬†For its part, the University is saying that the rumors are not true …¬†In a¬†statement¬†by CU athletic director Mike Bohn released¬†on Thursday afternoon,¬†the Post storied was denied:¬†“The rumors that the University of Colorado has hired our next football coach are untrue … I want to make clear that the search committee has not yet completed its work, and we have not yet offered the job to¬†any candidate …”.

However, former head coach Bill McCartney, who gave the story to the Post, was quoted later in the day on Thursday that, “Embree is going to be the head coach,” said McCartney. “Take it to the bank and hang your hat on it.” McCartney also indicated that Eric Bieniemy, the Vikings running backs coach, would be coming to Boulder to act as Embree’s offensive coordinator (this part of the story was not confirmed by BuffStampede.com).

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan indicated to reporters Thursday that if Embree were to be named head coach, that the Redskins would allow Embree to leave in order to recruit for the Buffs. “I told them (CU) that I would (release Embree) if he was given the job to help them with recruiting and stuff,” Shanahan told the Washington Post. “I’ve always believed, and I’ve always had the philosophy that if one of your assistant coaches has a chance to be a head coach, and really upgrade their job, and a lifelong dream for him, that I’d be more than happy to let him go early.”

The speculation is now that the official announcement that Jon Embree will be named the 24th head coach of the University of Colorado football team – and the first black head coach – could come as early as Friday, but no later than Monday.

Stay tuned …

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch …

The University of Colorado has reached an agreement with Dan Hawkins, with the former Buff coach to receive $2.1 million in compensation for not coaching. Hawkins’ contract went through January 31, 2013, and had Hawkins been in Boulder for his full term, he would have received $2.8 million.

Where will the Buffs come up with $2.1 million to buyout Hawkins, when the school is facing a shortfall in revenue due to the penalty for leaving the Big 12 a year early?

Anyone check out the Colorado 2011 schedule, say around September 24th?

Colorado at Ohio State … a one time deal, no return date.

Payout? With the television rights, it should work out to about … $2.1 million.

Welcome to the “Buyout Bowl”

Resumes for the Finalists …

Assuming it will be one of the three finalists, here are the¬† resumes of Bieniemy, Embree, and McElwain …

Eric Bieniemy

Resume:¬† As a Player … At CU … Eric Bieniemy’s name, 20 years after his last season in Boulder, remains littered throughout the Colorado record book. Bieniemy is Colorado’s all-time leading rusher, with 3,940 yards, and all-time leader in all-purpose yards (4,351). Until Mason Crosby came along, “EB” was also the Buffs’ all-time leading scorer, with 254 points. Third in the Heisman trophy balloting in 1990, Bieniemy was an All-American, and was a two-time All-Big Eight selection. Even before his senior year, Bieniemy was named to the Colorado All-Century team in 1989 … In the NFL … Bieniemy was a¬†second round pick in the¬†1991 NFL draft, and played¬†1991 to 1999, suiting up¬†for San Diego, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. In his nine seasons, Bieniemy accumulated 1,589 yards rushing, 1,223 yards receiving, and 1,897 yards returning kicks.

As a coach … Bieniemy’s first collegiate job in coaching came at Colorado, where he coached running backs in 2001 and 2002. Bieniemy moved on to a similar position at UCLA from 2003-05. In his last season, Bieniemy took on the additional titles of recruiting coordinator and¬†rushing game coordinator. In 2006, Bieniemy moved on to the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings, where he has been the running backs coach ever since. In 2010, Bieniemy also assumed the role of assistant head coach for the offense.¬† At Colorado, Bieniemy was the running backs coach when Chris Brown scored six touchdowns against Nebraska, and Colorado ranked 8th in the nation in rushing. In 2002, Colorado ranked 9th in the nation, with Chris Brown ranked 3rd in the nation individually. While at UCLA, Bieniemy coached Maurice Jones-Drew for three seasons before Jones-Drew went on to become a 2nd-round NFL pick. In his first four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, he has coached a 1,000-yard rusher each season. Adrian Peterson has been an All-Pro three straight seasons, and, in 2007, Minnesota led the NFL in rushing.

Positives

– As was the case with Bill McCartney, loyalty to the University of Colorado, and a knowledge of the opportunities and limitations which come with the head job in Boulder, cannot be questioned in Bieniemy. EB still bleeds black-and-gold.

– Motivational skills. Bieniemy was a leader of the 1990 national championship team, and EB is an “in your face” verbal motivator.

– Recruiting skills. Bieniemy hails from La Puente, California, and coached at UCLA. While he has been away from the college game for the past five years, the move by Colorado to the Pac-12 would open any number of doors for the Buffs if Bieniemy were to be named head coach.

– Positive vibe for the school. After a five year drought, the Colorado fan base needs to be restored. Positive energy and positive press would follow Bieniemy back to Boulder.

– Bieniemy has coached some talented players, and has been successful with the running games he had headed.

Negatives

– This summer, Bieniemy was named assistant head coach for offense at Minnesota. While Bieniemy is unquestionably loyal to the University of Colorado, should he be successful in Boulder, would he turn down an opportunity to return to the NFL?

– Bieniemy has some baggage in returning to Boulder, including his infamous run-ins with Marcus Houston. The top running back recruit in the nation in 2000, Houston had a difficult, controversial, and ultimately short stay at Colorado.

– Bieniemy has never been a head coach at any level; nor has he been a coordinator. Can Bieniemy assemble a staff and deal with the increased pressures of being a head coach?

 

Jon Embree

Resume:¬† As a Player … At CU … Jon Embree was an outstanding player on some poor Colorado teams. Embree was a first-team All-Big Eight tight end in 1984, leading the Buffs in record-setting fashion. Embree caught 51 passes for 680 yards, shattering CU records in both categories. The four-year letterman also led the team in catches in 1985 … with nine catches. After the Buffs switched to the wishbone, Embree’s pass-catching role was reduced considerably, with Embree catching only 17 passes his last two seasons. Still, Embree did enough in his years in Boulder to be drafted in the 6th round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1987 … In then NFL … Embree played only two seasons with the Rams before suffering a career-ending elbow injury in 1989.

As a coach … Jon Embree spent ten years as an assistant coach at the University of Colorado, coaching under Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, and Gary Barnett. While in Boulder, Embree coached tight ends (1993-94; 1999-2000), defensive ends (1995-98), and wide receivers/kickers (2001-2002). Embree moved on to UCLA in 2003, named as assistant head coach/wide receivers (2003), and assistant head coach/tight ends and passing game coordinator (2004-05). While in college, Embree coached two John Mackey Award winners – Daniel Graham at Colorado and Marcedes Lewis at UCLA … In 2006, Embree was hired as tight end coach by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he coached All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez. Under Embree, Gonzalez led all NFL tight ends with 99 catches for 1,172 yards. After three years with the Chiefs, Embree joined the staff of the Washington Redskins as tight ends coach in January, 2010.

Positives

– Again, like McCartney and Bieniemy, Embree would bring an unquestioned loyalty to the Colorado program, and would understand the opportunities/limitations of the head coaching job in Boulder.

– Embree is a Colorado native, going to high school in Denver (Cherry Creek), and committed to play for CU and Bill McCartney in one of the darkest periods of Colorado history. He was a team leader for a team which only had one winning season in his years in Boulder, but he was there on the field for the epic 20-10 win over Nebraska in 1986. He understands what it is like to see CU at the bottom, and what it takes to get Colorado back on top.

– Embree will have a number of recruiting advantages, having ties to both the Denver area, as well as a number of years coaching (and recruiting) for UCLA.

РWhile best known as a tight ends coach, Embree has had a number of different positions to coach, including wide receivers, defensive ends and kickers. He has also served in the capacity as an assistant head coach while at UCLA.

Negatives

– While a known quantity for many Buff fans, Embree would not likely be seen as a “home run” hire by the national media. Bieniemy was a star on a national championship team, while Embree toiled in anonymity for a poor to fair Colorado program.

– Without a head coaching background, concerns will be raised about Embree’s ability to bring aboard a first-class assistant coaching staff.

– Embree’s son, Tyler, is a junior at UCLA. Would Embree want to coach against his son in 2011?

 

Jim McElwain

Resume … Jim McElwain is in his third year of a very successful run as the offensive coordinator at Alabama.

Born in Missoula, Montana, in 1962, McElwain was an all-state quarterback in high school before going on to play football at Eastern Washington. McElwain stayed on as a graduate assistant after graduating in 1983, earning an assistant coach position at Eastern Washington in 1985. In nine seasons in Cheney, McElwain coached quarterbacks and wide receivers, with the Eagles twice earning 1-AA playoff bids. McElwain then moved on to another Big Sky school, Montana State (I knew there was a reason I liked this guy!). The highlight of his four years in Bozeman came in 1998, when the Bobcats led the conference in scoring, with 31.6 points per game.

McElwain’s first 1-A coaching job came in 2000, when he was hired as the receivers and special teams coach by Louisville. In his first season, the Cardinals set a school record with nine blocked kicks. After the 2002 season, McElwain was offered the position of assistant head coach at Michigan State, following Louisville head coach John L. Smith to East Lansing. In his three seasons with Michigan State (2003-05), McElwain coached receivers and special teams.

The NFL came calling after the 2005 season, but McElwain’s experience with the League was brief. McElwain was the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2006, but, after a 2-14 season, the entire staff of Art Shell, including McElwain, were fired. McElwain then spent one very successful season with Fresno State. There, as offensive coordinator, McElwain helped lead the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, with Fresno State averaging almost 33 points per game (ranked 32nd in the nation).

On February 1, 2008, McElwain was hired by Nick Saban to be the offensive coordinator for Alabama. In his first season with the Crimson Tide, Alabama went 12-0 in the regular season, and was ranked No. 1 in the country before season-ending losses to Florida in the SEC title game and to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. In 2009, however, Alabama redeemed itself, going undefeated and winning the national championship. In 2009, Alabama was ranked 12th in rushing offense and 22nd in scoring offense, with Mark Ingram winning the Heisman trophy. So far in 2010, Alabama is ranked 30th in rushing offense, 36th in passing offense, 23rd in total offense, and 24th in scoring offense.

Positives

– McElwain is from the west, and has recruited in Pac-10 country during his stints at Eastern Washington, Montana State, and Fresno State. Unlike Malzahn, McElwain does not have roots in the SEC, and would be far less likely to leave Colorado for an SEC head coaching position.

РMcElwain has seen what it is like to compete at different levels. From humble beginnings with Big Sky Conference teams, McElwain has reached one of the pinnacle of the college football world, Alabama, and has won a national championship and coached a Heisman trophy winner.

– McElwain has coached different positions. He has coached quarterbacks, wide receivers, and special teams on his way to being an offensive coordinator.

Negatives

– While Alabama did win the national championship in 2009, and McElwain did coach a Heisman trophy candidate, the Crimson Tide wins most of their games with defense. Alabama in 2009 was ranked 92nd in the nation in passing offense – for a 13-0 team. The Alabama defense, at the same time, was ranked in the top ten in nearly every category, and was ranked second in the nation in rushing defense, total defense, and scoring defense. McElwain won’t have the Alabama defense to bail him out in Boulder.

– McElwain has never been a head coach at any level.

– While he has coached seven different schools, none of them had any great success until McElwain hit Alabama. It could¬†certainly be argued that McElwain is more of a product of Alabama’s success than that Alabama owes its success to McElwain.¬†¬†

Which would you prefer? Post your comments below …

December 1st

Les Miles “not expecting to hear from any other school”

LSU head coach Les Miles, the former Colorado assistant, has been a dream candidate for many Buff fans.

Wednesday, though, Miles said that he not interested in coaching openings elsewhere. “I’m not expecting to hear from any other school,” Miles told the Times Picayune. ” I very much enjoy where I’m at.”

The speculation was that Miles was unhappy due to the pressure applied by rabid fans to his family, but that rumor was seemingly dispelled. “I have every reason to enjoy how my family is progressing,” Miles said. “And enjoy the team I’m fortunate to coach and the school I’m fortunate to represent.”

While you can never say never in this free-for-all, it doesn’t sound like Miles is leaving Baton Rouge for Boulder … for now …

McElwain a prime candidate?

Jim McElwain, the offensive coordinator at Alabama, interviewed for the Colorado head coaching job on Monday … if Joel Klatt is to believed.

McElwain (bio under “The Next CU Head Coach …” has been the offensive coordinator at Alabama for the past three seasons. A Montana native, McElwain has had stints at Eastern Washington, Montana State, Louisville, Michigan State, Oakland Raiders, and Fresno State.

“I think Colorado would be a great fit for him,” BamaOnLine writer Christopher Walsh told Buffstampede.com. “He is always talking about the Rocky Mountains. I think in the long run he wants to go back somewhere out west … The only draw for him to stay here besides the salary ($410,000 this year) is his daughter’s enrollment here at the school.”

McElwain meets some, but not all of the stated priorities of CU athletic director and the search committee:

1) Ties to the Colorado program (none);

2) Ties to the West, or the West coast, for recruiting purposes (McElwain was the offensive coordinator for Fresno State for one season, 2007. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1995-99 when McElwain was the offensive coordinator for Montana State to find ties to the West coast);

3) Previous head coaching experience, or at least a coordinator position (is currently an offensive coordinator; served as an assistant head coach at Michigan State);

4) Proven ability as a recruiter and game planner (Alabama’s numbers are good, but not great. Even in the national championship season last year – and with the Heisman trophy winner in the backfield – Alabama was ranked no higher than 42nd in total offense and 22nd in scoring offense); and

5) Must recognize the limitations of the Colorado program, and be able to raise money and create enthusiasm for the program (an unknown).

With all of the hype surrounding the possibilities of a “family” member being hired – McCartney, Bieniemy, or Embree – a McElwain hire would be a hard sell for some Buff fans …

… but nothing that eight or nine wins in 2011 wouldn’t cure.

 

November 30th

Calhoun out of the running

Troy Calhoun, the head coach at Air Force, is no longer being considered for the head coaching position at the University of Colorado. This may be Calhoun’s choice (next fall, his first recruiting class will be seniors, and he doesn’t want to leave them), or it may be CU’s (recruiting concerns; not a big “splash” hire; no ties to¬†Buffs), but it does appear that Calhoun is not going to be the next head coach at Colorado …

Solder; Smith First team All-Big 12

Senior offensive tackle Nate Solder continues to add to his list of accolades, being named the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in the Big 12. Solder was also named to the First Team All-Big 12 team, along with senior cornerback Jimmy Smith. Solder was also named First Team All-Big 12 in 2009.

No Buffs were named to the second team All-Big 12 team, but eight were given honorable mention: senior cornerback Jalil Brown; senior linebacker B.J. Beatty; senior tight end Ryan Deehan; junior defensive end Josh Hartigan; senior wide receiver Scotty McKnight; junior offensive guard Ryan Miller; sophomore defensive lineman Will Pericak; and freshman wide receiver Paul Richardson.

Colorado junior Rodney Stewart, who was third in the Big 12 in rushing (with 1,318 yards), first in rushing attempts (290), and third in yards from scrimmage (1,608, including receiving yards), did not receive even honorable mention status. Counting two each on the first and second teams, and four others listed as honorable mentions, a total of eight running backs were honored by the Big 12 … but not Speedy.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was named Coach of the Year. The offenisive player of the year was OSU wide receiver Justin Blackmon, with Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara named the defensive player of the year.

In the 15-year history of the Big 12, Oklahoma won the most major All-Big 12 awards, with 25. Texas was next in line, with 22, followed by Kansas State (16), Nebraska (14), and Oklahoma State (10). Colorado is next in line, with seven major award winners during the Buffs’ stay in the Big 12.

November 29th

TCU heading east

If you can’t get ’em to let you in, join ’em …

TCU, which might be undefeated and uninvited to the BCS championship game, will be joining the Big East starting in 2012. “Having BCS automatic-qualifying status was a priority for our football program, and a great reward for the success we’ve had the last decade,” said TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte.

The departure leaves the Mountain West Conference in a state of flux. Utah and BYU are leaving, Boise State joins in 2011, and Fresno State and Nevada join in 2012. “It’s not the league we joined,” said Del Conte, by way of explaining the move out of the MWC. “It’s not the same house that we bought, it’s not the same home we were invited into. Things changed; the landscape changed.”

For those of you scoring at home, the Big East will be the fourth conference for TCU since the old Southwest Conference disbanded in 1995. TCU was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1996-2000, then joined Conference USA from 2001-2004 before jumping to the Mountain West in 2005.

“Today’s intercollegiate athletics environment is very fluid,” said Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson in the understatement of the year.

In two years, then, the Mountain West Conference will have: Colorado State; Wyoming; New Mexico; UNLV; San Diego State; Air Force; Boise State; Nevada; and Fresno State (with Hawai’i still a possibility). The losses of Utah, BYU, and now TCU will hurt the Mountain West’s chances for automatic qualifying status in the BCS, though the efforts of TCU will still count as the Horned Frogs’ records are being posted during the BCS “evaluation period”. WAC commissioner Karl Benson, whose league was gutted by the race to join the Mountain West, had this to say: “I’m sure the WAC members that have elected to go to the Mountain West (Boise State, Nevada, and Fresno State) thought they were going to get closer to the automatic qualifying conferences. But, in effect, not a whole lot of upward movement has been made by those three schools.”

So, it was a good day and a bad day for the Buffs’ rivals to the north. Colorado State gets to check off an automatic loss off the calendar ¬†(TCU is 6-0 against CSU as a member of the MWC), but the hopes for extra riches which comes from being an automatic qualifying conference participant are now just that much further away.

One Reply to “The Colorado Daily – December”

  1. The Fox deal for the PAC12 next year is actually $25 million above the current contract for the PAC10. $14.5 million is only for the championship game but the other $10.5 is for the extra games that will be played in the conference by adding Colorado and Utah. So the move to add them has already added $25 million to the collective coffers of the PAC12 above what they would have gotten without adding them.

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