Reassessing Goals

Back in August, “A Bowl is the Goal” was the mantra for the University of Colorado and their fans.

Colorado is now at 1-6 on the season after a 50-6 demolition by USC. With another beat down at Oregon up next, a bowl game is no longer an option – not that it has been since the second week of the season.

Some long-standing records are in danger of falling over the next five weeks, records which no Buff fan wants to hear about.

In its 123-year history, Colorado has never had seven consecutive losing seasons. One more loss, and the Buff Nation will have endured seven straight losing campaigns … with the end of that streak nowhere in sight.

Since 1915, Colorado has never finished last in conference play. A win over Washington State gave the Buffs a Pac-12 win, but it will likely take another win for this record to remain in tact.

Colorado has never had an 11-loss season, but 2012 might be the year it actually happens.

Dan Hawkins was reviled during his tenure in Boulder. In 58 games under Hawkins, the Buffs were blown out a total of ten times. In 20 games under Jon Embree, the Buffs have been blown out 11 times, with Embree’s record falling to 4-16 overall.

Colorado finished the first half of the 2012 season ranked 100th or worse in … deep breath … rushing offense, total offense, scoring offense, pass efficiency offense, passing defense, total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, third down conversion offense, sacks allowed, kickoff return defense yardage, and red zone scoring defense … and that was before USC quarterback Matt Barkley played pitch-and-catch for most of Saturday afternoon in the Coliseum.

So, what are realistic goals for the remainder of the season?

Let’s work through the remaining schedule, and goals for each game ….

10/27 … at Oregon … 1) Try and avoid a shutout. Oregon will score quickly, giving the Buffs plenty of opportunities with the ball. Colorado should win time of possesssion (CU had the ball for over 37 minutes against USC), but then again, Oregon (101st in the nation in time of possession) doesn’t care. 2) Keep the Ducks (with Chip Kelly’s permission, of course) under 60 points. Oregon scored 43 points in the first 20 minutes of the game against Arizona State. Had the Ducks maintained that pace, they would have put up 129 points against the No. 1 defense in the Pac-12 – a defense ranked in the top ten in the nation. Instead of continuing the pounding against the Sun Devils, the Ducks took the foot off the gas, and cruised to a 43-21 victory. If Chip Kelly wants 90 against Colorado, the Ducks will score 90. The only thing CU has going for it is that Oregon plays at USC the following game, and won’t want to get any starters hurt. 3) Keep everyone healthy … there will still be four games to play in November.

11/3 … Stanford … 1) Try and score in double digits. But for a 21-point barrage in the fourth quarter against Washington State, the Colorado offense has struggled to score points all season. Even when moving the ball against USC, the Buff offense was its own worst enemy (first five trips to the red zone against USC netted a total of six points. Colorado has now gone six straight quarters without a touchdown). 2) Keep the game interesting for the first half. The Buffs played fairly well against Arizona State … for a half. The second half kickoff return for a touchdown took the life out of the Buffs – and the Folsom Field crowd. Depending on the weather, the Buffs could be looking at a Homecoming crown of 40,000 or less. If the Buffs want to have anyone on hand in the stands for the second half, they must give fans reason to return from the halftime tailgating. Stanford is in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in scoring, but is in the top third in scoring defense. A low scoring game is a possibility, which gives the home team hope the longer the game goes on.

11/10 … at Arizona … 1) Remember that this is the team you beat 48-29 last November. Arizona sprinted out to a 3-0 record this fall, including an impressive 59-38 win over then No. 18 Oklahoma State. The Wildcats then lost their first three games of Pac-12 play, giving up 47 points per game. Arizona can give up points, to a team ready – and able – to score them. Can the Buffs finally show that they can score? 2)  Keep the final score within two touchdowns. This is still a road game, and Colorado has all of two road victories under its belt since 2007. Recall, the Buffs felt they had a fighting chance the last time they ventured into the state of Arizona. The result? Arizona State sprinted out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on its way to a 48-10 embarrassment of the Buffs. With the Buffs likely to be coming into the game with a 1-8 record, the Buffs will need some signs of momentum against Arizona for the final two games of the season.

11/17 … Washington … 1) Give fans hope for the finale. Washington opened the first half of the season 3-3, but all three losses were to ranked teams (and one of the victories was over a ranked team). This just in … Colorado will not be a ranked team on November 17th. Last season, in Seattle, Washington scored on its first five possessions of the game on its way to a 52-24 rout. The Huskies probably won’t do that against the Buffs in Boulder, but who knows what the state of mind of the Buffs’ players will be by  this point? The Buffs will need to show that they still have some fight left in them for Buff fans to continue to care. 2) Make some plays that give the CU video crew some highights for the 2012 season video reel. Of course, the plays should probably be shot at field level … so as not to show the plethora of empty seats in the background.

11/23 … Utah … 1) Rise up for senior day, just like last year. Colorado came into Senior Day last season against Arizona with a 1-9 record, and on a seven game losing streak. Coming into Senior Day in 2012, Colorado may well be looking at a 1-10 record, and may well be on a seven game losing streak. Last season, the Buffs surprised everyone, including themselves, with 48-29 victory over Arizona on Senior Day. Can history repeat itself? 2) Beat the Utes again, 17-14, to avoid the first 11-loss season in school history. The game will likely have to be a low scoring game, as the Utes have a good defense. A couple of breaks, a couple of turnovers, and who knows? The Buffs could end the 2012 season on an up note.

And avoid the conference cellar for the first time since 1915 …

Surely that is a reasonable goal for a season which Buff fand hoped would be ending with a bowl bid.




2 Replies to “Reassessing Goals”

  1. Eventually the horrible luck we have had the last couple of seasons with injuries and our ability to take one step ahead, but then take two steps back has to change.

    I will not point fingers or make excuses for the current state of the program! Eventually, the CU Buffs will rise up again and compete in a way that we begin talking about what bowl game we will play for, instead of how many points are we going to lose by this week.

    So do the unexpected and shock the world for the rest of the season! This team can win! We have all seen flashes of success from this team.

  2. Dear Folks,

    This is so painfull to watch, the CU team suffer, its players, fans and coaches. I watched as they were handed their hat; the USC players, coaches and fans dismissed them as nothing to be concerned about. Watching the USC team there arrogance took me back to 64 when we CU played USC in the Coloseum my junior season, we lost then as well. But also what was similar was that we didn’t quit or show any desire to be anywhere but there even though we were getting defeated. A year later we went 6-2-2 and were 20th the final pole. We had gone 2-8 in 63 and again in 64 but we got better and better until we able to play with the best. The present team and coaches have the courage to make it despite the horribel results!! CU will most likely suffer the same way again against Oregan so just see it through; learn, grow and never give into defeat. You will be there some day, some way!!! Dick Taylor, just think what I have had to put up with, with my first name “Dick”! Stick with it!

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