I Want to Be Spoiled Again

They are back there. Way back there, tucked away deep in the recesses of my memory.

But they are there.

Memories of the days in the early to mid-90’s, when Colorado was on a run of eight straight years of being ranked in the national polls.

I remember writing out, on a legal pad, the weekly Associated Press poll. There was a column for that week’s rankings, then a column of the opponent each ranked team was playing that week. Using this (now) seemingly archaic system, I was able to track the games being played by the teams ranked above CU, as well as the games of those teams who were ranked below. Each weekend, I would post the results of each top 25 game, so that would be better able to predict where CU would be ranked the following week.

I actually remember lamenting, when CU was entrenched in the top ten for much of the mid-90’s, not having more relevant games to track. CU was ranked so high that the vast majority of games being played across the country that weekend simply had no bearing on the future of my Buffs.

I want to be that spoiled again.

There was a taste of being spoiled – just a taste – as Colorado was defeating Charleston-Southern, 43-10.

The score should have been enough. The 33-point win was the greatest margin for CU in six seasons, going back to the 42-0 shutout of Miami (Ohio) in 2007. The Buffs went for 416 total yards against Charleston-Southern, to just 196 for the Buccaneers. Freshman Michael Adkins posted a school record by scoring four touchdowns in his debut. Fellow freshman Sefo Liufau won his debut as the starting quarterback, passing for almost 200 yards with one touchdown – and no turnovers. The defense allowed all of 46 yards, and only two first downs, in shutting out CSU in the second half.

It was, overall, a good team victory over a ranked FCS team.

But I wanted more.

Perhaps if the game’s halves had been reversed, I would have been more pleased. Perhaps if Colorado had posted a dominating 21-0 first half, then allowing Charleston-Southern to piece together not one, but two, nine-minute drives in the second half, a 22-10 second half would have been more tolerable.


Who am I kidding?

If the Buffs had been up 21-0 at halftime, I would have been wondering why it wasn’t 28-0 or 31-0. I would have wanted the Buffs to post a shutout in the second half as well.

But now, as the Buffs hit the midway point of the 2013 season, it’s time for yet another in what is seemingly a long string of reality checks for the Buff Nation.

The fact is, CU fans should be pleased with what Mike MacIntyre are piecing together with teaching of the basics, inspiration – and duct tape.

Colorado is 3-3 on the 2013 season. Yes, it is true that, had an undefeated Fresno State team come to Boulder instead of an undefeated Charleston-Southern team, the results would likely have been quite different.

But the change in schedule was not of the doing of these coaches or these players. They have played the schedule put before them, and, unlike CU teams of the recent past, have won the games they were supposed to win.

The Buffs could have won the games against Colorado State and Sacramento State to open last season, but failed in both attempts.

The Buffs could have lost the games against Colorado State and Central Arkansas to open this season, but rallied to win both games.

At times, the game against Charleston-Southern was not pretty.

It is inexcusable for the CU defense to give up not one, but two nine-minute drives to an FCS offense utilizing a third-string quarterback. But the CU defense came to play in the second half, and that dominating performance is something to build upon.

It is hard to watch when the CU offense spends much of its time running up the middle into a pile of players which is supposed to represent a hole, or throwing to the sidelines on most plays instead of throwing downfield. But the CU offense, with a freshman quarterback and a freshman running back, had no turnovers, and posted over 200 yards rushing and 43 points, which is something to build upon.

It is unfortunate that CU special teams play has not generated much in the way of positive yards for the team. But, with little notice or fanfare, the special teams play is much improved these past few games – that is to say, not making huge gaffes and giving up huge returns – which is something to build upon.

All this will be necessary to comfort us over the second half of the season, as the Buffs, a 31-point favorite against the Buccaneers, may not be favored again this fall.

Bowl talk is a discussion best left for this next off-season, when a light non-conference schedule in 2014 – Colorado State (3-4), at Massachusetts (1-6) and Hawai’i (0-6) – might give rise to serious consideration for post-season play.

Can the Buffs find a way to go 3-3 in their last six games, and qualify for a bowl this year?

It’s possible, but not likely.

Let’s rate the remaining schedule:

October 26th – Arizona … Odds of winning: 25% … The Wildcats are 4-2, 1-2 in Pac-12 play. Had Arizona fallen to Utah Saturday night, this might have been a 50/50 game. Then Arizona would have been, like Colorado, 3-3, with all three wins coming in non-conference play. Instead, Arizona took out Utah, 35-24, with Ka’Deem Carey going for 236 yards on 40 carries. You remember Ka’Deem Carey, don’t you? He was the guy who ran for a Pac-12 record 366 yards against Colorado last fall. Ouch.

November 2nd – at UCLA … Odds of winning: 10% … UCLA lost its first game of the season Saturday, falling to Stanford, 24-10. The Bruins now must go on the road to face Oregon before returning home to take on the Buffs. The fact that UCLA will be coming off of those two tough road games (with another road game against Arizona to follow) might be the only reason this game could be kept reasonably close.

November 9th – at Washington … Odds of winning: 10% … Washington was spanked by Arizona State Saturday, 53-24, falling behind 29-7 at halftime (so perhaps the Buffs’ blowout loss to the Sun Devils wasn’t quite as bad as previously thought). The Huskies opened the season 4-0, but have since lost their last three games. The next two games are “make you feel better about yourselves” home games against Cal and Colorado, with the CU game coming off of a bye week. Washington will be looking past Colorado to their next game, a road tilt against UCLA, but probably not enough to keep this one close.

November 16th – Cal … Odds of winning: 50% … Depending on how the Buffs hold up in the three games leading up to this contest, this is likely the most winnable game on the remaining schedule. Under first year head coach Sonny Dykes, the Bears have struggled. Cal is the only other team in the Pac-12 without a league victory, with the Bears’ only victory in seven tries coming against Portland State in week two (and that was by a score of 37-30). The Bears will face Washington, USC and Arizona before facing CU, and could come to Boulder in mid-November on an eight game losing streak. This could well be win No. 4.

November 23rd – USC … Odds of winning: 33% … Colorado has never defeated USC, and, at the beginning of the season, did not appear to have a chance at changing that fact this fall. The Trojans are only 4-3 so far this season, however, and USC has several tough games to play before traveling to Folsom Field in late November, including a road trip to Corvallis, and a home game against Stanford. All the Trojans will have left on the schedule before playing CU will be a rivalry game against UCLA. Perhaps the combination of a tough year, some bad November weather, and a motivated CU team, will give the Buffs a chance at an upset.

November 30th – at Utah … Odds of winning: 25% … This is the true wildcard in the deck, as so much football will be played before this game which will have a bearing on the odds for this contest. Utah was flying high after upsetting Stanford, but fell in the desert to Arizona. Three of Utah’s four games before facing the Buffs are on the road, including road games at USC and at Oregon. The 4-3 Utes might still be looking for bowl eligibility themselves when CU comes back to the site of its lone road conference victory in 2011.

So … The Buffs are 3-3 to open the Mike MacIntyre era, but are not likely to post a similar mark in the second half of his first year.

But it is still nice to be at .500 for another week.

Few fans remember, but it took awhile for Bill McCartney to push his record past .500 once and for all. He won his second game as CU’s head coach, against Washington State on the road, to push his 1982 record to 1-1. McCartney, who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this December, would not see the positive side of .500 in his career … until the middle of the 1989 season.

We were so spoiled in the 1990’s. It’s hard to remember sometimes what we had to go through before getting to the glory days.

Colorado won by 33 points against Charleston-Southern … and I wasn’t satisfied.

I look forward to being similarly spoiled in the not to distant future …


13 Replies to “I Want to Be Spoiled Again”

  1. One thing that is different is that in the eighties we didn’t have internet chat boards to hear all the fans complain and have unrealistic expectations (not so much this site, but others). In fact in the early to mid-eighties there was very little written or spoken about Colorado Football at all. A picture in the DP or RMN and an article with a box score every Saturday and then an article mid-week was about it. It took a long time for McCartney to see the results of his work. Nobody cares now because he got it done. I think MacIntyre will get it done too, but it may be a few years. Expectations are high, but right now it is baby steps. I am happy that at least it is moving in the right direction.

  2. Stuart, I would really like to see a quartet of RB’s with Avg. carries like those from the 1954 team that went 7-2-1. They were John ‘The Bull’ Bayuk, 5.2, Frank Bernardi 8.9, Carroll Hardy 9.2 and H. Jenkins, 6.5 (can’t remember his first name). Quite a quartet, huh?

    Stuart, do you happen to know if Coach Gary Bernardi is related to Frank Bernardi?

      1. Don, thanks for the correction…. obviously, my recall is more than a bit “OFF”. Things start getting fuzzy on the edges when you’re 75.

        I also really liked the way Starr Yelland announced those games back then.

        1. Yea, I know but you have me by 3 years. Also thought Starr was an amazing announcer. Made you feel like you were there. Seems like John Henry did broadcasts on a different station and was really Blah when compared to Starr.

  3. I’m encouraged. The running game seems to have awakened with Adkins as a primary RB. Sefo looked good in his first start by taking care of the ball better and the OL gave Sefo some protection and time to go through reads. Granted, our offense wasn’t playing a PAC-12 defense, but still, they appear to be developing a foundation to develop on, as you pointed out Stuart.

    As I was watching, I felt MM and Lindgren were being conservative in their play calling as not to give the PAC-12 a glimpse at our playbook… for instance not utilizing the option on running plays, etc. when Sefo could have taken advantage of when it presented itself. Also, not revealed were slants and across the middle passes to flankers and tight ends.

    My biggest concern at this point would be the defense, pass rush and defensive backfield which seems to be porous to say the least.

  4. Stuart,

    After the nightmare of 2012, I am quite happy with 3-3 halfway through the season.

    For the Buffs to really turn the corner, though, and be able compete on the Pac-12 level, the play calling on both offense and defense really has to take it up a notch or two.

    My latest post points out that the Buff passing game focused 2/3 of their passes to TWO small boxes on the sidelines during the last game. We also threw almost 60% of the passes toward Paul Richardson when he was still in the game. If memory serves, when we tried that against Pac-12 foes we get smoked.

    Check out my chart diagramming where the Buffs threw the ball. It is quite enlightening.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Mac and Baer really need to move it into attack mode. Our guys really aren’t good enough yet to keep the excellent receivers in our conference covered for long if opposing quarterbacks are given time to find them. We may certainly give up some big plays when we blitz, but we give them up now already.


  5. How can the kids build any confidence by beating an FCS (Really good HS Football team}squad 43-10? That victory could be compared to showing up at prom with a 12 year old. After the announcement that the Buffs won’t be scheduling anymore FCS teams it kind of makes you wonder how they are gonna win more than one game a year for the next decade. At least Mac didn’t pull a Mike Leach against Oregon; those first half stats the Buffs put up were against the first string but unfortunately the second half stats were against the scout team!

    1. C’mon, Rob! Its always good to beat a decent FCS bunch. The gap is narrowing and you take confidence where and when you find it. You didn’t pay much attention to the CS lineup; their 320 lb linemen were not world beaters, but not bad. For the Buffs to adjust and shut them down entirely in the 2nd half, is confidence booster for any team, short of UO or ‘Bama.

      Who’s going to have a better practice week: Buffs or U$C Trojans? who lost to a real mediocre QB-less ND squad. A win is a win is a win. They make practices all that much better and can change attitudes.

  6. still got a half glass of koolaid
    I think Washington is vulnerable. Too bad its on the road. Even so I would give that one 25%

    Cal is at home so I’m actually going to favor the Buffs and ramp it up to 60%.

    USC is at home too but I think you have that one right. The talent difference in the O and D lines may be too much to overcome. Still, this is the one I would love to win the most. Hopefully that chip will be on the player’s shoulder.

    We actually beat Utah in Utah, didnt we? Only 25%….I’m going with 35%.

    All this, of course, will completely unravel if AU blows us out. Maybe their
    RB will have a bad tuna sandwich the day before the game.

    And Harry is absolutely right. It seems the DC is handing most of the “writing” chores over to a guy, if he actually has a mind of his own, is afraid to show it.
    So glad you are here Stuart

  7. Great column.I am glad that you actually take the time to think about what you write before you put it on line. The DC has no clue about what they are writing. Thank you.

    1. Harry,
      It’s not just the Daily Camera. In the glory years under Bill McCartney, the Camera, the Post, the Rocky Mountain News, the Colorado Daily and the Longmont Times-Call ALL had several reporters covering the Buffs. Boulder and Denver had one of the BEST and most heated newspaper competitions in the entire country. To compete, you had to put out a good product every single day.

      Alas, the News is no more, and the same company owns all the rest. There is no competition among newspapers anymore, and to save money the print media giant that owns the “locals” does as little as possible. Instead of 10-15 reporters covering college football, you get two or three.

      C’est la vie. Fortunately, we have blogs like CU at the Game, Bring the Buff, Colorado Buff Watch, and the Ralphie Report to do the jobs that used to be done by the newspapers.

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