Road Trip, Anyone?

Waking up each morning some 700 northwest of the Flatirons, every CU game I attend is a road trip. That being said, the announcements this week that the Buffs’ football and basketball teams have scheduled three trips to the eastern time zone has me intrigued.

First up on the calendar will be a trip to the Big Apple (Brooklyn, to be precise) for a pair of games in the 2016 Legends Classic. The Colorado men’s basketball team will be playing games on Monday, November 21st and Tuesday, November 22nd. There will be four teams participating, with CU playing matching up with two of the other three marquee teams – Notre Dame, Texas, and Northwestern. All three of those possible opponents won 20 or more games in the 2015-16 season. Notre Dame and Texas both earned bids to the NCAA tournament, with No. 6 seed Notre Dame advancing to the Elite Eight before being ousted by No. 1 North Carolina in the East regional final.

What makes this trip enticing for me is that it is sandwiched between two CU home football games. My tentative itinerary … head to Denver on Friday, November 18th. Take in the Buffs’ home game against Washington State on Saturday, November 19th. Head out to New York on Sunday, with two CU men’s basketball games on Monday and Tuesday nights. A short train ride up to Boston for Thanksgiving with son Jason and his two boys before making my way back to Denver on Friday night … just in time for CU’s home football game against Utah on Saturday, November 26th.

There are any number of moving parts in that scenario, not the least of which is convincing my wife to go on a nine day road trip, with four of those days being taken up by CU events (sad confession: my wife is not a sports fan).

What the Hell … let’s do it!

The second announced trip back east won’t come until December, 2017, when the CU men’s basketball team completes a home-and-home series with Xavier. I am all in favor of CU scheduling quality opponents … the Musketeers were the No. 9 team in the final Associated Press poll this year, earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Xavier’s 28-6 season, though came to an end with a loss to No. 7 seed Wisconsin in the second round.

That being said … Cincinnati? In December?

Probably not.

I might be more inclined to make the trip if I didn’t have some less than pleasant memories of other CU ventures into the state of Ohio.

Most recently, I was in Columbus in 2011 when the Buffs played their money game against Ohio State. The Colorado athletic department came away with its $1 million payday, but the 37-17 loss to the Buckeyes did little to enhance CU’s status under head coach Jon Embree. (If you want to read up on the game, including two essays, “Skull Sessions” and “Band of Brothers”, click here).

The other 21st century trip by the Buffs to the Buckeye State occurred in 2009, when the Buffs landed in Toledo to take on the Rockets.

Yea, that game.

In my 35+ years of following the Colorado football game, the 54-38 loss to Toledo in 2009 ranks in my bottom three of most humiliating losses (along with the 1981 loss to Drake, and the 2006 loss to Montana State). The Buffs were down 20-3 at halftime to the Rockets, and never looked like a contender, giving up 624 yards of total offense to a MAC team which would finish 5-7 on the year. My essay that week was entitled: “Reflections from the Glass Bowl – The end of the Dan Hawkins’ Era“, but that proved incorrect, as it would take another season-and-a-half before Hawkins was finally let go.

Trips to the state of Ohio = not-so-pleasant memories.

So, another trip to Ohio … in the winter … against a quality basketball opponent …

Probably not.

The third east coast trip announced this week won’t take place for another decade, but I am already excited about it. Colorado has set a home-and-home series with Georgia Tech from the ACC, with the Yellow Jackets coming to Boulder in 2025, and the Buffs returning the favor with a road trip to Atlanta on September 5, 2026.

The last trip to the deep south for Colorado was in 2009, when CU played Florida State in Jacksonville. Other recent trips to the area were the 2007 Independence Bowl against Alabama in Shreveport, Louisiana, and a regular season game at Georgia in 2006, CU’s only contest to date ever in the Peach State.

I have fond memories of the 2006 trip to Athens. The Buffs lost that day, 14-13, to No. 9 Georgia. Colorado led for almost the entire game, but a fumble and a few missed opportunities late allowed the Bulldogs to avoid the upset. The trip, though, was a great deal of fun, and tail-gaiting in the South is not an event you want to miss.

My essay for the 2006 Georgia game was entitled, “The Quiet Bus Ride“, a reference to the bus ride with the CU faithful from Athens back to Atlanta after the game. It’s sounds despondent, but you can get an idea of the tone for the day from the closing:

“Later that night, Brad and I were walking back to the hotel from Corky’s, a local rib joint, where we had feasted on all-you-can eat ribs. It was dark, but still warm and muggy. ‘You know’, I said to Brad as we walked across the grass in front of the Marriott, ‘I guess we had about as much fun here as we can have with a one-point loss’. Brad turned and smiled. ‘Yea,’ he said, patting me on the back. ‘You got that right’ ”.

If Mike MacIntyre is still the head coach at Colorado in 2026, the Georgia Tech game will be a homecoming. “Playing my alma mater, Georgia Tech, will be both a unique and marquee series since both schools shared the ’90 championship,” MacIntyre said.  “Both have great histories in college football, and it will be a great intersectional non-conference game.”

It would be great if both schools were relevant on the national stage in 2025-26, with some attention then being afforded the 1990 national championship seasons for both schools.

It would be even better if Mike MacIntyre was still the head coach at Colorado for those games. That would mean MacIntyre would into his 14th and 15th seasons as the Buffs’ head coach, passing Bill McCartney (13 seasons) and tying Fred Folsom (15 seasons) as the longest-tenured CU head coach. To get that far, MacIntyre will have to be something special.

Here’s hoping …

So, trips to Brooklyn in November, 2016 … Cincinnati in December, 2017 … and to Atlanta in September, 2026.

If I make it that far (knock on wood), I’m in for two out of three.

Who’s with me?





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