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For the Buff Nation, our long nightmare, which was the end of the 2018 season, is finally over

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned as President.

As Nixon’s helicopter left the White House lawn, Vice-President Gerald Ford retreated back into the East Room, where he took the oath of office and became the 38th President of the United States.

Addressing the nation, Ford acknowledged that he was taking office “under extraordinary circumstances” – the Watergate scandal which had led to the first-ever resignation by a sitting President.

“My fellow Americans,” Ford said. “Our long national nightmare is over”.

For Buff fans, the loss to Cal meant that the slow, excruciatingly painful march to 5-7 was finally over.

The 33-21 setback against Cal left Colorado with a 5-7 record, ending the Buffs’ 2018 season. The loss, as painful as it was, at least allows the Buff Nation to move on.

Don’t get me wrong. Unlike the Daily Camera’s Pat Rooney, who opined before the Cal game that “the Buffs might very well be better off licking their wounds, heading home, and waiting to find out who their new leader will be”, calling a sixth win and bowl eligibility a “meaningless prize”, I very much wanted the Buffs to defeat the Bears.

I wanted the Buffs to get 15 practices for a bowl game. I wanted the 2018 team, as much criticism as has received, to become just the second team in a decade to go bowling.

I wanted the six-game losing streak to come to an end. I wanted the six-win “glass ceiling” jinx to come to an end at nine games.

But, most of all, I wanted the Buffs to have some momentum heading into the 2019 season.

Instead, every single preseason magazine next spring and every pundit next summer will note that the Buffs will be starting the first season under Coach “X” with a seven-game losing streak. The Buffs will have finished last alone at the bottom of the Pac-12 South for the seventh time in eight seasons in the league.

The Buffs may have started the 2018 season with a 5-0 record and a national ranking, they will say, but they ended the season just being the same ‘ol Buffs.

Yada, yada, yada.

We kind of figured the game against the Bears in Berkeley would end in a loss. After all, the Buffs were coming off of anemic 31-7 and 30-7 losses to Washington State and Utah, had posted six losses in a row, and were 12.5-point underdogs on the road to the 6-4 Bears.

When the Buffs fell behind, 14-0, in the first two minutes of the game, we knew the season was over … It would just take another 58 painful minutes to get there.

I give the Buff players a world of credit for fighting back. The game, and a bowl bid, were seemingly out of reach, but they turned a 21-0 first quarter deficit into a 27-21 game heading into the fourth quarter.

It could have been … perhaps should have been … a 52-7 game (which was the score when the Buffs traveled to Berkeley in 2010). Instead, the Buffs fought deep into the fourth quarter, never giving up on the dream of win No. 6.

“I think those guys really fought hard and they competed for the entire game and tried to battle back in it and gave us a shot,” said interim head coach Kurt Roper. “I just told those guys after the game is we really appreciate all the sacrifices they make for us as coaches to allow us to coach a game and moving forward it’s a great program and it’s going to do nothing but ascend.”

The Buffs willingness to continue the fight, despite a deficit which was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, gives me some optimism heading into the off-season. This remains a young team, and the next coach will not find the cupboard bare.

Mike MacIntyre took over a dumpster fire of a program in December, 2012.

He does not leave behind a dumpster fire of a program in November, 2018.

That being said, the way the 2018 season ended was disappointing, discouraging, and frustrating … and it’s time to move on.

Our 2018 nightmare is over.

While it has been easy to dwell on CU’s issues over the past two months, it bears noting that the 2019 Buffs do not have a mountain to climb in order to make some noise in the Pac-12 South:

— Arizona opened the season as the No. 31 team in the nation (receiving 28 votes in the Associated Press poll), with a Heisman trophy candidate in quarterback Kahlil Tate. The Wildcats, who fired Rich Rodriguez after going 7-6 last fall, finished the season 5-7, just like Colorado;

— USC opened the season as the No. 15 team in the nation, and the prohibitive favorite to win the Pac-12 South. Instead of a Pac-12 title game berth, the Trojans finished the season 5-7, just like Colorado. The losing record was just the fourth for USC since 1961, and the first missed bowl season since 2000 … and, as of this morning, Clay Helton still has a job;

— UCLA finished the season amidst a great deep of hoopla about a bright future. You heard it here first: Pundits will fail to acknowledge in the 2019 prognostications that the Bruins finished the 2018 season with a 3-9 record;

— So, yes, for those of you scoring at home, four of the six teams in the Pac-12 South are done for the year, failing to qualify for a bowl bid, with Colorado, Arizona, and USC all finishing with 5-7 records.

Then there are CU’s 2019 non-conference opponents. The trio are all also done for the season, posting a combined 2018 record of 12-24:

— Colorado State, who will play the Buffs in the last-ever Mile High version of the Rocky Mountain Showdown next August 31st, finished the season with a 3-9 record, closing the 2018 campaign with a five-game losing streak of its own;

— Nebraska, the Buffs’ 2019 home opener on September 7th, finished the season with a 4-8 record, ahead of only Illinois in the Big Ten West; and

— Air Force, who will face Colorado for the first time since 1974, finished the season with a 5-7 record. The Falcons had four wins over FBS schools this fall – none over a team which finished with better than a 3-9 record.

There are, of course, multiple examples of other teams across the nation which failed to live up to expectations (see: Florida State; Wisconsin, Texas Tech, etc.).

My point is that there are other fan bases who are less than pleased with how the 2018 season came to an end. Arizona fans will be turning over in their sleep for the next nine months, wondering how the Wildcats turned a 40-21 fourth quarter lead into a 41-40 loss to arch-rival Arizona State. USC and Colorado State fans will be left to ponder of the next 270 days how it is that Clay Helton and Mike Bobo are still on their respective team’s payrolls.

At least for Colorado fans, we are able to quickly move on, putting the 2018 season behind us as quickly as possible.

A month after he assumed office President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon. The move likely cost Ford the 1976 election, but it spared the nation from a long, drawn-out trial of its former President.

Ford’s move allowed the nation to move on.

Last week, Colorado athletic director Rick George fired Mike MacIntyre. The move was a bold one. George’s predecessor, Mike Bohn, was unable to pull the trigger and fire Dan Hawkins at the end of the 2009 season, leaving the program to tread water in 2010, Hawkins’ lame duck season.

Now, instead of living with the frustration which would have come with the anticipation of yet another losing season under Mike MacIntyre, the Buff Nation can move on. We can now look forward with optimism about the 2019 season and beyond.

Our long nightmare, which was the last seven weeks of the 2018 season … is over.

—–

31 Replies to ““Our Long National Nightmare is Over””

  1. Unfortunately, the nation’s ” long national nightmare is over” was premature as it lead to the feckless Jimmy Carter presidency two short years later after Gerald Ford’s Kurt Roper-esque interim job. Please, Rick George– do not hire Jimmy Carter as the next head coach. We don’t need another 4 years of misery in the cellar of the PAC-12 south.

      1. Yes, I graduated in 1996. Many of my classmates back then were easily offended in debates and needed “safe spaces.” You must have been one of them.

          1. Thanks AZ. Glad you see the ‘tongue-in-cheek” aspect of the post. I figured it would get some backlash from our Boulder poly-sci classmates. But it brings back warm memories of some good-natured heckling of Pat Schroeder at a politically rally and being set upon by her “progressive and tolerant” constituents. Those were good times in Boulder and man did we have some good football as well. Go Buffs.

    1. (Deleted – no name calling, please) … It appears you know even less about football than you do about politics – and you know nothing about politics!

      1. Ahh, C’mon Stu. Let him post the name callout. Everyone needs a good laugh now and then. At least Berlin is good for an honest retort to keeps things interesting and should be given credit.

      2. Dear Ervin:

        You overlooked my lack of basketball knowledge as well. Just thought I would point that out.

        Sincerely,

        Mr. Deleted-name call.

  2. Thanks Stuart. We needed a few closure thoughts before moving on. A time to grieve.

    I would appreciate hearing your thoughts via another essay on what you believe needs to happen going forward for us to continue an upward trajectory (it’s hard to say we actually have such a trajectory since we started in last place when MM arrived and ended there as he left, but…what you said above is true). Would you be willing to write such an article, addressing things like coaches contract incentives, play on the field, how long before we should notice a difference on the field (i.e. I already notice an improvement in Nebraska, UCLA and Cal vs. ah we just need to be patient and give the Coach “X” 2-3 more years before we see much of any improvement…it takes time…blah!), win-loss record, bowl eligibility, and recruiting? Our long-term struggles across the board have me wondering about what realistic expectations are any more for our program. I guess my hope is that if schools like Utah, Washington State, Cal and the like can recruit and field a good team year in and year out, then I believe we can, for I know we can out recruit schools like these! We just haven’t been able out coach them.

    Do you have plans to write such an article?

    1. Sounds like a good topic. I can state that in general, I see no reason why CU cannot regularly visit the Top 25 and compete for titles.
      As to the trajectory of the program, we’ll have to see where we are at with a new coach before guessing as to the near future.

    2. I guess I am growing weary of hearing most everyone say “a Top 25-30” finish is within our reach. Shoot, I even say it all the time. Meanwhile, we just let 6 more years of mostly bad football pass us by to the tune of many, many millions of more university dollars. I believe the best coaching move we’ve made in the last 15 or so years was to let Embree go after two years of really bad football. Stuart, I guess I am asking you to consider and communicate how we might proactively consider as fans what to hold our coaches and leaders to before we are asked to give the next guy 6 more years to the tune of umpteen more millions. I am not asking for it to be done in a tone of vengeance but rather from a perspective of, hey, we’re all in this together, so let’s clearly map out what to expect in two years or less…for starters.

  3. I have posted this on another of Stuart’s threads:

    OK VK, here is the challenge you have hinted, not too subtly I might add to the fact that you already know who the new Head Coach will be or is. The only way you can prove this is to send the name to Stuart in the mail. Stuart will not open the envelope until the new Head Coach has been announced and accepted the position. Stuart will then announce to Buff Fandom if you are truly “Carnac The Magnificent.”

    1. You AZ. How are ya.

      Interesting proposal. It is not the only way I can prove it if I am correct.
      When it is announced and I am correct, I will show you indisputable evidence.
      If by some small chance I am wrong I will tell you. So there.

      Buffs.

      Note: Stu is a Lawyer……………………nough said eh?

          1. It wasn’t a request that you go public, just that you send it to me in advance of any announcement, so we can see if you know what you are talking about, or just going off of what you read on Rivals and 247 Sports sites.

          2. Stu.
            You are the public. You’ll have to wait.

            Don’ subscribe to any of those sites.

            Don’t need em.

            Buffs

          3. Wait a minute, glen, is VK that dishseveled curly haired dude we used to see rolling around town, gesticulating and ranting and raving to himeself, only now he has the Internet? Holy crap. I thin you’re right!

      1. Please just tell me I will like the new coach. I am getting the feeling it is not Leavitt. I think Day is a pipe dream. Not sure if I am interested in another group 5 coach. And I worry about the p5 coordinators with no head coaching experience. There are a couple I might be interested in but you know what I think I would like most for Christmas….. I want a defensive minded head coach that Is going to bring in an offensive coordinator that has proven success.

        Well VK will I be happy?

        1. Don’t know if you will. But I will be.

          Buffs.

          Note: Buffalo God Willing, the info is correct eh?

          Note 2: Your plan of a Defensive minded coach an bring in a proven OC is the way it needs to be.

      2. Even though Stuart is an attorney, he is far above the level of media, and politicians, and yes even some attorney’s. He is a CU undergrad, and CU Law School Grad and his Fidelity to CU for lo these many years is good enough for me. I know in my heart that he is Bondable and I would pony up the money needed for said Bond.

        Therefore, VK send the darn name up to Montana and let’s settle this Head Coach Question once and for all. Seer, Insider, or Charlatan?

        1. All three. Depends on the situation eh?

          Go Buffs.

          Note: And all that stuff about Stu is true. Pony up the bond. Show me the proof and then we will see. Okay.

          Note 2: Being an attorney does not guarantee honesty. See lawyers in the government.

  4. I trust RG will bring in a quality coach for the first time since Barnett’s dismissal. I could spend a paragraph or more with all of my disappointments on last night’s game, this season, Mac’s lack of courage, the Embree and Hawkins eras but I will put faith that a good hire will be made, quickly and decisively, to help build on the foundation we have now, to retain most of our top recruits, minimize transfers, and instill hope that the next 12 years will not be like the last 12 years and the nightmare will truly be over with a sustainable program that goes to a bowl every year like 2/3 of FBS programs do. We have great facilities, a well regarded university, and one of the top locations and college towns in the US. I understand we will never be like Alabama but there is no reason why we cannot be a solid to good program every year and flirt with greatness every now and then. Go Buffs!!!

  5. Stuart
    Your detailing of the other PAC 12 South failures also underscores that the south was there for the taking this year. More glass half empty, I know, but the fact we are cleaning out the coaching house is a glass half full.

  6. Yes, the 2018 nightmare is over. The program is far better than when MM came in, and talent cupboard far from bare. Pressure on Rick now…imperative a great hire is made in order to prevent yet another long nightmare. IMHO, this program deserves to get back to national prominence. More significantly, we as Buff alums, fans, and supporters deserve it too!

  7. Looking forward, how will the numbers fall? If all the assistants are dismissed, then the AD has about $12M in liabilities over the next 3 years. In order to attract and retain a high quality staff, JG should be prepared to dish $8 – 9M/year. Does he have it?
    second question: CU is continuing its recent reputation as a coaching cemetery. how does JG portray Boulder as a good move for a coach? Who, among the 22 mentioned, could overcome CU’s well-earned 15-year-old losing streak?
    and finally, could someone answer the following question: what happened this year? predictability? Low talent level in key spots? Over-cautious game plans, strategies and tactics?
    I’ll offer that the most important qualities in a new coach are: 1) motivation skills, charisma (see McCartney, Bill); 2) ability to judge talent in players in coaches; 3) ability to ignite, in the Front Range, some interest in the program, i.e., it has been noted that Colorado population has increased substantially while a smaller Folsom is not routinely full.
    I’ll offer that this hire is key for CU. If JG whiffs, CU may be a cellar dweller for the next decade, too.
    sorry for the rant.
    db

  8. Sheesh thanks Stu. I feel so much better. Perhaps expand the sleep to more than an hour at a time without waking up screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO from a dream as the second pick-six happens.

    Thanks Stu I feel so much better now.

    Up the Buffalo Boys.

    Note: Please ensure you wife signs my pardon also. Thanks, Veektor. You know I deserve one and then we can move on together from the nightmare

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