All I Want for Christmas – 2016

Dear Santa,

I don’t know if I qualify as being naughty or nice, but the Buff Nation as a whole has received enough coal in its collective stockings the past few years to take care of any energy crises which may arise. We are tired – and dirty – and deserve better in 2016.

True enough, since joining the Pac-12, the CU athletic department has posted a number of conference championships, including five-for-five in men’s cross-country titles. The Buffs even have a men’s basketball title to their credit, and three NCAA tournament appearances. And yes, there have even been additions to the CU national championship rolls, with the men’s cross-country team and the ski team each picking up a pair of national titles in the past five years.

We are grateful, to be sure, but CU, first and foremost, is a football school, and five Pac-12 conference wins in five seasons is a drought of epic proportions.

So, before you even have a chance to think about resting from your Christmas, 2015, labors, I am putting in my Christmas wish list for 2016.

Commit the following to memory, and see what you can do about delivering Buff fans some early Christmas presents:

– September 2nd – Colorado State

This game may be the “Super Bowl” for the Rams and their fans, but it is the “sine qua non” for the Buff Nation. I remember enough from Latin class to remember that “without this, nothing” is appropriate here. A victory against Colorado State guarantees the Buffs nothing; a loss ends the season before Labor Day weekend even starts. Colorado is looking at bringing in one of its largest recruiting Classes in a decade in February, 2017, and having a lame duck coach for all of the 2016 season is simply unacceptable. Santa, please mark this one down … the Buff coaches, players, and fans deserve a CU rout in this one.

– September 10th – Idaho State

The one gimme on the schedule. Last year, Colorado defeated UMass 48-14 and Nicholls 48-0. Let’s split the difference: Colorado 48, Idaho State 7.

– September 17th – at Michigan

Michigan loses a huge senior class this winter, and recently lost its defensive coordinator. Still, it’s hard to see the Buffs winning this one. That being said, the Wolverines owe us one. In 1997, the Buffs went to Ann Arbor as the No. 8 team in the nation, and were blown out by the No. 14 Wolverines, 27-3. That loss foreshadowed a 5-7 season, the first losing season for Colorado in over a decade, and the first time out of the national polls in eight years.

It could be argued that the fall of the CU program from the status as an elite national program began against Michigan in that 1997 encounter. It would sure be nice to have the turning point of the program back into an elite program start on the same field.

– September 24th – at Oregon ….. October 8th – at USC ….. October 22nd – at Stanford

The Pac-12 is kidding, right? Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott wants Colorado back as a competitive team. What better way to accomplish that feat that to have the Buffs go on the road three of the first five weeks of conference play, to play the three teams most likely to be picked as top ten teams in 2016?

How does this translate? Colorado plays four road games in the first eight weeks of the season, with none of the games being realistic chances at a victory.

Which means that, for the Buffs to be 4-4 and have a decent shot at a bowl game in 2016, then will likely need to win the other two games on the October calendar …

October 1st – Oregon State ….. October 15th – Arizona State

The Oregon State will be seen by the Buff Nation – and most prognosticators – as a Colorado victory (it will also be written up as the Beavers’ best shot at a Pac-12 win in 2016). The Arizona State game is more troublesome. Not because the Sun Devils are returning boatloads of talent or will be favorites in the Pac-12 South.

It’s just that, well, Colorado has never defeated Arizona State.

Matter of fact, the Buffs have never defeated either Arizona State or USC in football.

Tell ‘ya what, Santa. Give us one of those games in 2016, and we’ll wait on the other until 2017. Fair enough?

October 29th – Bye

Bye? What the Hell is a Bye?

November 3rd – UCLA

If the Buffs can run the October gauntlet and emerge with a bowl opportunity anywhere in their sights, the schedule gets better in November. Three of the final four games will be at home, starting with a Thursday night game against UCLA.

You remember the Bruins, don’t you, Santa? The team the Buffs took into double-overtime in 2014, and had a fourth quarter lead on last fall? It’s time for UCLA to learn to play fair and give us one, don’t you think?

November 12th – at Arizona

The last road game of the season will present the Buffs with their best chance at a road victory. The Wildcats have been up-and-down of late, and will be playing the Buffs after a trip to Pullman to play Washington State in the cold (and before a trip to Corvallis to play Oregon State in the rain). The Buffs used to own the Wildcats … it’s time to reinstate that tradition.

November 19th – Washington State ….. November 26th ….. Utah

Colorado finishes the 2016 season at home against two teams which will not be bothered nor intimidated by the cold of Folsom Field in November. Both teams were supposed to be teams Colorado would put in its rear view mirror in Pac-12 play. The Oregon’s, the Stanford’s, the USC’s were supposed to be the elite teams the Buffs would be chasing, with the Oregon State’s, the Utah’s, and the Washington State’s in the group at the bottom.

Both the Cougars and the Utes over-achieved in 2015. Both believe they are now primed to challenge the elite teams in the league.

It’s time to pull one … or both … back down to historical reality.

So, Santa, I can see how it will be hard to come up with a winning season for Colorado in 2016. I can also see how it can be accomplished, with just a little better play and a little luck.

And that’s where you come in.

The Buff Nation needs you. We are the Bob Cratchits of the college football world, toiling endlessly for the bitter Mr. Scrooge, with no end in sight for our plight.

You can do it, Santa. If you can grant wishes to fans of basketball schools like Duke, Northwestern, and Indiana, you can certainly spread a little good cheer to the fans of Colorado.

I don’t know how to make the above schedule translate into a 7-5 record (not 6-6, please. I don’t want to have to worry about losing the bowl game and winding up with yet another losing season). I will leave it to your best judgment how to manipulate the college football world into a pleasant fall for the Buff Nation.

I have my two front teeth, Santa.

All I want for Christmas, 2016, are a pair of CU bowl tickets under my Christmas tree.

Best wishes,

Stuart

—–

 

3 Replies to “All I Want for Christmas … 2016”

  1. Why is U$C so sacrosanct? They didn’t look like world beaters all season, the UCLA game notwithstanding(another Mora FUBAR for the Bruins). They lose their QB and likely a couple of their better underclassmen to the League. They also lose a fair amount of depth on “D”.

    As for ASU, same thing: lose their QB and on offense their best coach, Norvell, who saved Graham’s bacon from his own “Krazy” many a time.

    So, NO, the Buffs aren’t automatically out of either of those games. Even Stanford loses a senior QB and as a regular target, who knows how long an under-sized McCaffery will do THIS coming season. And Oregon too will be bringing in a new OC and a new QB Neither is as fearsome as you make them out to be.

    1. CU in the Pac-12 vs. USC – 0-5
      CU in the Pac-12 vs. Arizona State – 0-5
      CU in the Pac-12 vs. UCLA – 0-5
      CU in the Pac-12 vs. Stanford – 0-3
      Attrition hasn’t mattered so far when CU has played these teams. It’s up to the Buffs to prove they belong …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.