Friday Fast Facts – Colorado v. Utah edition

Trivia question of the week I: Cal becomes just the third team the Buffs have faced in a regular season finale since 1995 (joining Nebraska and Utah). Which team did CU play in its regular season finale in 1995 – the last game CU played in the Big Eight?

Trivia question of the week II: In the nine games played between Colorado and Cal, only once has one of the teams been ranked. What was the year, and what was the result of that game?

Big Picture

— CU quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper is the third “interim” head coach in CU history, following Mike Hankwitz (2005, 0-1 – Champs Sports Bow) and Brian Cabral (2010, 2-1) …

— The last time Colorado played in Berkeley, it was an epic game. Sefo Liufau crushed his previous career bests with 449 yards passing and seven touchdowns, but it was not enough, as Colorado fell in two overtimes to California, 59-56 ;

— Cal leads the series, 5-4, though CU leads 2-1 in games played between  as Pac-12 opponents. The two teams did meet in Boulder in 2011, CU’s first season as a member of the Pac-12. It was a pre-scheduled non-conference game, however, and did not count in the league standings. Cal won that September afternoon in Boulder, 36-33 in overtime, in a game in which Paul Richardson set a school-record with 284 yards receiving;

— So yes, the last two times Cal has beaten Colorado, the victories have come in overtime;

— Cal is 6-4, 3-4 in Pac-12 play. The Bears were to have played Stanford last weekend in the “Big Game”, but smoke from wildfires made for unhealthy conditions, forcing a postponement. The game will be made up next Saturday, December 1st.

Pac-12 lines and television schedule … 

Lines from Pac-12 lines:

— Oregon State … a 14.5-point underdog at home against Oregon … Friday, 2:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Oregon leads the series, 69-10 …

— No. 7 Washington State … a 3.5-point favorite at home against No. 16 Washington … Friday, 6:30 p.m., MT, Fox … Washington leads the series, 72-32-6 …

— UCLA … a 5.0-point underdog at home against Stanford … Saturday, 1:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … UCLA leads the series, 45-41-3 …

— Arizona … a 2.0-point underdog at home against Arizona State … Saturday, 1:30 p.m, MT, FS1 … Arizona leads the series, 49-41-1 …

— California … a 11.5-point favorite at home against ColoradoSaturday, 5:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Cal leads the series, 5-4 …

— USC … a 9.5-point underdog at home against No. 3 Notre Dame … Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT, ABC … Notre Dame leads the series, 47-36-6 …

— No. 18 Utah … a 13.5-point favorite at home against BYU … Saturday, 8:00 p.m., MT, FS1 … Utah leads the series, 60-34-4 …

Statistically speaking

— Cal is great on defense, but poor on offense. The Bears are 34th in rushing defense; 20th in passing defense; 18th in total defense; and 28th in scoring defense, surrendering just 21.1 points per game (which does not bode well for a Buff offense which has scored just two first quarter touchdowns in the past two games;

— Meanwhile, the numbers for the Cal offense are not impressive … the Bears are 99th in passing offense; 103rd in total offense; and 112th in scoring offense, posting just 22.7 points per game;

— The Bears are also 100th or worse in a few other significant categories, including turnovers lost (23; 113th nationally), as well as red zone offense (129th in the country) and red zone defense (100th). Translation: win the turnover battle, take advantage of red zone opportunities, and hold the Cal offense to field goals … A + B + C = a win;


Colorado and California … historical

The University of Colorado-Boulder Buffs and the University of California-Berkeley Bears have more in common other than a politically left leaning home town. The two schools have a fairly similar history on the gridiron.

Of the 12 categories tracked by Winsipedia, the Buffs lead the Bears in nine, though teams are close in most of them. Cal, though, has the edge in arguably the most important category: National championships.

While Colorado has one national title to brag about, Cal claims four, or perhaps five.

Five national titles? Cal?

Well, they are all before the NCAA national championships were centralized (at least in the eyes of most schools and their fans) in the Associated Press and UPI polls (which morphed into the USA Today coaches poll of today) in the late 1930’s.

From 1920-23, the Bears went 36-0-2, winning two Rose Bowls and claiming four national titles. The fifth claimed title came in 1937 when California went 10-0-1 and defeated Alabama, 13-0, in the Rose Bowl.

So, Cal either has five national titles … or none.

Some other categories:

— All-time wins … Colorado – 705, 25th all-time … California – 669, 36th

— Conference championships … Colorado – 26, 10th all-time … California – 14, 41st

— Consensus All-Americans … Colorado – 31, 21st all-time … California – 29, 24th all-time

— Weeks in the Associated Press poll … Colorado – 304, 26th all-time … California – 198, 44th

but … First round NFL draft picks … Colorado – 24, 27th all-time … California – 27, 22nd

Colorado and California – head-to-head

— California leads the all-time series with Colorado, 5-4, with the Bears holding a 3-0 advantage in games played in Berkeley.

— The series dates back to 1968, when Cal shutout the Buffs, 10-0, in a game played in Berkeley. The next three games were played in Boulder between 1972 and 1982. The Buffs won the first two, with the Bears taking the 1982 contest.

— The 1982 game was memorable in Buff lore as it was the first game coached by CU’s all-time wins leader, Bill McCartney. The Bears won, 31-17, in the first game coached at Cal by former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp.

— The Bears won again in Berkeley in 2010, 52-7, with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott on hand saying that there was a “less than 50 percent chance” of Colorado joining the Pac-12 in 2011.

— Of course, the Buffs did join the Pac-12 in 2011, and did play the Bears again. The game, a 36-33 overtime win for California, though, was not an official Pac-12 game, as the Buffs and Bears finished off a home-and-home non-conference commitment before CU officially started Pac-12 play.

— The Buffs broke a three-game losing streak in the series with a 41-24 win over Cal in Boulder in 2013. Sefo Liufau threw for 364 yards, with Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce collecting 140 yards receiving apiece.

— The last time the two teams played in Berkeley, in 2014, it was another record-setting game. Cal outlasted the Buffs, 59-56, in two overtimes. Sefo Liufau passed for 455 yards and seven touchdowns (hitting Nelson Spruce for a school-record 19 receptions), but the effort was wasted as Jared Goff threw for 458 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Bears to a win. In the game, 37 CU school records (29 individual; 8 team) were set. The 14 combined passing touchdowns also set an FBS record for the most touchdown passes in a single game.

Player Notes

— Quarterback Steven Montez remains ranked nationally in a number of categories: completion percentage (18th – .661); passing efficiency (49th – 139.7); and total offense (37th – 260.4 yards/game);

— Defensive lineman Israel Antwine has been on the field for 415 snaps this season, already a freshman record for defensive linemen/outside linebackers, passing Josh Tupou’s 343 plays in 2012. Antwine’s total is currently 7th on the all-time list for all freshmen at Colorado;

— Travon McMillian has gained over 50 yards on both rushing (75 yards – twice; then 64 yards against Washington State) and receiving (57 yards v. Arizona), becoming just the 12th Buff to have both a run and a reception of over 50 yards in the same season;

— Travon McMillian has 951 yards rushing this season. There have been 16 1,000-yard rushers in Colorado history, with Phillip Lindsay the most recent, posting 1,189 yards in 2016 and 1,474 in 2017;

— Laviska Shenault has 946 yards receiving this season. There have been nine 1,000-yard receivers in Colorado history, with Nelson Spruce the most recent, posting 1,198 in 2014 and 1,053 yards in 2015;

— If McMillian and Shenault both surpass 1,000 yards this season, it mark the very first time in CU history that there has been a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season;

— Defensive end Mustafa Johnson is 2nd in the Pac-12, and 56th in the nation in sacks per game (.59);

— Running back Travon McMillian is 7th in the Pac-12 (33rd in the nation) in rushing yards per game (91.0 yards/game);

— Defensive back Ronnie Blackmon is 2nd in the Pac-12 (20th in the nation) in punt return average (10.6 yards/return).

Pac-12 Notes

— The Pac-12 boasts five of the top 10 running backs in the nation – Eno Benjamin, ASU (4th); Zack Moss, Utah (5th); Jermar Jefferson, OSU (7th); Joshua Kelley, UCLA (8th); J.J. Taylor, Arizona (9th);

— Three teams from the Pac-12 were ranked in the latest Associated Press poll … No. 7 Washington State, No. 16 Washington; and No. 18 Utah. “Others receiving votes” include No. 32 Stanford;

— Nine Pac-12 teams have been ranked at one time or another this season.  Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon State are the three teams to never crack the poll in 2018;

— Washington has a home-game winning streak of 13 games, tied for second-longest in the nation (Alabama is No. 1 at 23 straight). Washington State it tied for fourth, with 12 straight home wins;

Trivia question answer I: On November 18, 1995, No. 9 Colorado went on the road to Manhattan, Kansas, to play No. 7 Kansas State. The Buffs emerged with a 27-17 victory to finish the regular season with a 9-2 record.

Trivia question answer II: In 1972, No. 2 Colorado hosted Cal. The Buffs won a hard fought game, 20-10. The game was the season opener for the Buffs, with the No. 2 ranking the highest-preseason ranking in school history. CU went on to finish the 1972 season with an 8-4 record, and a No. 16 ranking.


4 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

  1. There is a perfect landing spot for Mike.

    Arkansas. The coach they just hired is not a turnaround expert like Mike
    Ole Miss………………Matt luke is gonna be fired……….Not a turnaround guy like Mike

    Its happening.

    Buffs to a bowl…………Mike to the SEC………..

  2. I’m pretty much a flip flopper on rooney. His takes on bb and the non football sports are pretty okay. He does appear a bit overwhelmed by the football stuff. He was the first to nibble at wacmacs abilities and pointed out weaknesses many denied cause they didn’t wanna see it.
    I’m figuring Mike burned him somewhere along the line.
    Cause the current article is really a big synopsis/parody of Mike and the WacMac era.

  3. I have never paid much attention to Rooney’s articles. What little interest I had has now disappeared with his most recent article, which I had time to read today having a day, off, regarding the bowl game being meaningless. He obviously has a loser’s attitude toward life.

    1. cjbuffco, reading the article really made me frustrated that the DC has not allowed comments on articles for over a year. What a despicable analysis of the program. What a cynical approach to the program that he follows and is supposed to comment on. What a miserable outlook on the CU Buffs and all they are attempting to accomplish.

      A pox on Rooney and I plan on not reading another article he writes either on CU Women’s BB or any of his other goofy outlook on what he earns a living supposedly doing for the DC.

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