Christmas Wish List, 2017 …

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring …

’cause we got ten inches of new snow, and I haven’t gone out to shovel the driveway.

No problems with a White Christmas in Montana, y’all, so let’s talk about what I would like to see in my Christmas stocking this year:

— A few large (and mobile) defensive linemen, please

Colorado currently has a grand total of five scholarship defensive linemen on the roster.

There is a grey-shirt freshman, Jalen Sami, on his way to help, and there is currently one commitment from the Class of 2018, Tava Finau.

Now, Finau may prove to be a great player … in 2019 and beyond, but Finau is listed at 6’4″, 255-pounds. If he is super agile, he may be able to become a force on the outside, but he needs a year (or two) in the weight room before he will be able to matchup with agile 300-pound offensive linemen in the Pac-12.

So, where does that leave the Buffs for 2018?

Somewhere between Whoville and the Land of Misfit Toys.

Now, the Buffs have offered a number of defensive lineman, and hosted one good looking prospect this weekend, Mustafa Johnson who recently completed his freshman year at Modesto Junior College. At 6’2″, 285-pounds, Johnson could have an immediate impact on the Buff lineup.

“Definitely going from not having anything (out of high school) to having (three) big schools come after me is a big change,”  Johnson told the Daily Camera about having at least three Power-Five scholarship offers (Kansas and Oregon State being the others). “It’s kind of a relief off your shoulders, to be honest, so that feels really good.

“It’s very exciting to know that I’m going to be able to have an opportunity to play at one of the highest levels of college ball.”

Even in Johnson decides to come to CU, the Buffs are still a few warm bodies short along the defensive line, which leads me to Wish No. 2 …

— A few pleasant surprises on Signing Day

Just like trying to get last minute Christmas shopping done, Signing Day, 2017, like Christmas, 2017, came upon us too quickly.

How the new system will work out remains to be seen, with some schools preparing for bowls during the final push for recruits, with others trying to fill their coaching staffs.

The turmoil could have some added benefit for Colorado come December 20th (just a reminder, “The Ticker” will be up and running at 7:00 a.m., MT, this Wednesday, with coverage on the Recruiting Class of 2018 throughout the day).

The CU Class as it stands seems fairly solid, both in terms of the commitments and their willingness to stay with the Buffs and not defect at the last moment.

Still, there are some slots still available for the Class of 2018, and it would be nice to see a surprise addition or two Wednesday morning.

Last year, the Buffs picked up defensive end Terrance Lang, tight end Jared Poplawski and offensive lineman Casey Roddick in the final frenetic days leading up to Signing Day. Two years ago, wide receiver Juwann Winfree and running back Beua Bisharat were last day additions.

Let’s hope for some Signing Day magic this year as well.

— A quarterback coach and a special teams coach who can work some Christmas magic

With the departure Brian Lindgren to Oregon State, and the NCAA-permitted addition of a tenth assistant coach this year, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre has two assistant coach positions to fill.

Lindgren, in addition to being co-offensive coordinator, was also the quarterbacks coach. It seems logical and likely that one of the new assistant coaches will work with the quarterbacks (the other, presumably, will become CU’s first full time assistant devoted to special teams, but you never know).

If Buff fans get their wish, the new quarterbacks coach will be able to work some Christmas magic on the Buff quarterbacks.

The odds-on favorite to start against Colorado State next September is the current starter, Steven Montez. The junior-to-be has the right size (6’5″, 225-pounds), the arm, and the mobility to become a star.

In 2017, however, Montez failed to live up to our expectations. Is it mechanics? Pocket awareness? Decision-making ability? Poor leadership ability? … or just poor offensive line play?

Whatever the cause, Montez, while setting some records in 2017, did not strike fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators across the Pac-12.

Here’s hoping that the new quarterbacks coach can take this physical specimen (or that of Tyler Lytle – 6’5″, 205-pounds, or that of Sam Noyer, 6’4″, 210-pounds), and produce a leader who can lead the Buffs back to winning records and consistent bowl appearances.

— Bowl losses for Colorado State and Oregon

Well done, Santa! Thanks for the early Christmas presents!

I can understand that some of you like to cheer for Colorado State when the Rams are are not playing the Buffs (well, no, actually, I can’t), and that some of you like to cheer for other Pac-12 teams when they are not playing the Buffs (well, no, actually, I can’t).

Hate to sound like the Grinch (or Machiavelli), but in my world, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Colorado State fans were on top of the world after the Rams thumped Oregon State in their 2017 opener. Not only was CSU going to take out CU, but would then give Alabama a game, propelling the Rams into the top 25 nationally.

Er … Not so much.

Colorado State won seven games this year, and did so by defeating exactly zero teams which finished the season with a winning record. Still, it was all goodness and light when head coach Mike Bobo was given a contract extension recently.

After falling to Marshall, 31-28 (the Rams were 5.5-point favorites), ESPN posted in its recap:  Bobo has led the Rams to three bowl games in each of his first three seasons. He recently signed a contract extension where he will earn $2 million by 2020. But at the same time, he’s only won seven games each season and lost all his bowl games so 2018 may be key season for him.

We’ll throw in that Bobo is 0-3 v. Colorado … oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Which leads us to …

Oregon was a 7.0-point favorite over Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, but lost, 38-28 … and it shouldn’t been that close. Boise State turned the ball over three times in the red zone in the first half alone, with two of those mistakes being returned for touchdowns. Had the Broncos merely held onto the ball and finished those three drives with chip shot field goals, it would have been Boise State 33, Oregon 0, at halftime.

With Boise State embarrassing Oregon in the debut of new head coach Mario Cristobal, Pac-12 fans everywhere will be spared for the next nine months from hearing about how unbeatable the Ducks are when quarterback Justin Herbert is healthy.

Prognosticators will still be forecasting a ten-win season for the Ducks next fall, in part due to a 2018 non-conference slate of Bowling Green (2-10 this year), Portland State (0-11), and San Jose State (2-11). It’s hard to conceive of an easier slate than that (while hapless Oregon State opens on the road against Ohio State), so Oregon will be getting lots of preseason love for its new coach.

Thanks to Boise State, though, the hoopla may be just a little bit more tempered … thanks, Santa!

— A winning season for the CU men’s basketball team

Mind you, I’m not asking for a winning record in Pac-12 play – just a winning season overall.

The Buffs currently have a record of 8-3, with one non-conference game (Iowa) left before embarking on an 18-game Pac-12 tour. The Hawkeyes are 6-6 (which includes a loss to the same South Dakota State team which took the Buffs into double-overtime), and there are some Pac-12 schools which are having down seasons so far, but …

… it’s tough to see Tad Boyle’s squad finishing in the top half of the conference this year.

Now, there is reason for great optimism going forward. The freshman class, including McKinley Wright IV (one rebound shy of a triple-double against the Jackrabbits) and Tyler Bey are going to be great performers. The losses of Evan Battey (academics) and Tory Miller-Stewart (injury), however, leaves the Buffs looking like a doughnut on defense – lots of good stuff on the outside, a big hole in the middle.

Buff fans will have to be patient, with the 2018-19 season and beyond looking very promising.

All I want for the 2017-18 season is a winning record … and perhaps an NIT bid.

— Finally, one last Christmas Wish

Yeah, I could wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season, but this is all about me …

Here’s hoping that Richard Rokos and the CU ski team brings home another national championship this year. The Buffs finished second at the NCAA championships last spring, and bring back a strong contender for the 2018 title. The NCAA finals will be in Steamboat Springs (March 7th-10th), giving the Buffs some home field advantage.

Go Buffs, bring home national championship No. 21 (and CU’s 28th overall)!

— Okay, just to show that I’m not all Bah! Humbug!

Here’s wishing you and yours a great holiday, and a healthy and prosperous 2018!

Go Buffs!




5 Replies to “Christmas Wish List …”

  1. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays……..

    Shovel the Snow?
    No snow removal service?
    No Snowblower?

    Some areas of the world have not been touched for generations.
    Shovel snow………………Just thinking about it, I am gonna have to sit down……..oh wait I already am………ok then an earlier nap.

    My wish list is lengthy………………. And I am gonna give it later but lets go to Number One:


    Settle down now.

    I mean a new head football coach but not get rid of MikeMac but do get rid of MickeyMac. Serously MickeyMac has got to go.

    Don’t want:
    MickeyMac consensus coach of the year
    MickeyMac gigantic ego and believing his own BS
    MickeyMac SAYING to a player “He doesn’t know what he is talking about”
    MickeyMac ranting on the sidelines
    MikceyMac talking the walk but unable to walk it
    MickeyMac being focused
    MickeyMac being defensive
    MickeyMac being paranoid.
    MickeyMac not taking responsibility for the results.

    Do Want:
    MikeMac the enabler
    MikeMac focused HC and not distracted
    MikeMac open and honest (not even perception of deceit)
    MikeMac owning the bad as well as the good. No deflections VERY IMPORTANT
    MikeMac walking the talk. I really want that I really do.
    MikeMac growing into a real HC
    MikeMac driving the offense to the next level. (God please let this happen)
    MikeMac having a good time and not so frigging depressing.
    MikeMac admitting coaches win games. And provide the tools to make the plays.

    So coming into his 6th year I want:


    All those people saying: (Loan shark, ol one, AZ and too many too believe)
    Give him more years
    Look at McCartney…How long it took him blah blah blah

    Well you are here now.
    McCartney never had a losing season after year 3.
    So you can’t back down now. MickeyMac just had one in year 5.
    No switching goats eh?

    Well gotta go brush some snow off the deck. Oh wait……… I don’t


    Note: Basketball? not much…….Love to hear they beat Arizona and the diaper whiner cheater (allegedly)


  2. Merry Christmas to you Stuart, and thanks for another great article. Could you please send some of that Montana snow down south? We could use it down here in Colorado.

  3. I liked the donut metaphor Stuart but can we combine the D line wish with a human eraser with a wagging Mutombo finger for Tad?

  4. Mac has shown he can win with the right assistant coaches. Here’s hoping for two good hires. If they can recruit they can win.

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