Random Thoughts – Volume I – December 2, 2018

Editor’s Note … During the season, Sunday mornings are times I set aside for my essay concerning CU’s game of the week. During the off-season, essays are not as common (that being said, I’ve posted two, “Wanted: A Splash Hire” and “Getting to Know: Mel Tucker” in the past three days). That doesn’t mean I don’t have newsworthy items I want to discuss, just that, for the most part, they don’t have 1,200-1,500 words worth of content.

As a result, today I am launching a new series, “Random Thoughts”. Each Sunday, I will post an article talking about Buff-related issues, but with a variety of topics. I hope you like it …

CU coaching search

While all signs point towards Mel Tucker being the next Colorado head coach, my concerns today are not so much about the choice (we’ll have plenty of time to dissect Rick George’s decision in future weeks), but about the process.

The CU athletic department let the cat out of the bag when it came time to dismiss Mike MacIntyre. The week leading up to the Utah game was a series of non-denial denials after Channel 7 reported the imminent firing, and it was an uncomfortable time for everyone. If the plan was to hold off on announcing the termination until after the Utah game, a game in which MacIntyre’s son was to run out onto Folsom Field a final time, I applaud the decision. Let Mike and Jay MacIntyre have their moment, as father and son, before telling the world that the coach was being fired. It was the decent thing to do – the right thing to do.

But it didn’t work out that way. The story was leaked, and the firing of Mike MacIntyre was a sordid mess.

With this recent memory seared into Rick George’s psyche, it was no wonder that the CU coaching search has been conducted with complete radio silence from the Champions Center. George told the assembled media at the press conference confirming the coaching change that there would be no announcement until there was an announcement.

All fine and good.

Hard on us die hard fans, who want to know everything that’s going on, but more than reasonable.

And now, it seems as if the CU administration, while again trying to do the right thing, is coming off as being unable to handle the process. If, as it appears, the plan was to have Mel Tucker coach in the SEC championship game free from distractions of being named the CU head coach – all well and good. Give Tucker the chance to tell his players himself, in his own way and on his own timetable. Perhaps Tucker and his family wanted to spend some time in Boulder before making a final decision, and wanted to do so without a media frenzy.

But, again, it’s not working out that way. The leak may very well have been on the Georgia side, not the CU side (it certainly looks that way as of this writing), but the optics, once again, are not favorable.

Even if there are no “last minute setbacks”, and Tucker is hired, it still looks to the outside world that CU doesn’t know how to handle a coaching change. The Butch Jones fiasco six years ago, followed by the botched firing of Mike MacIntyre, followed by a mismanaged – at least from the perspective of an outside observer – hiring of Mel Tucker.

Not the positive national press CU was hoping for in bringing in its 26th head coach.

Men’s basketball – Reasons for optimism or pessimism?

My first look at the 2018-19 men’s basketball team was during the game against Omaha, the night before the football team’s home finale against Utah. The Buffs won, 79-75, but it was less than a stellar performance. The Buffs had 16 turnovers, were never were able to pull away from the Mavericks (yes, I had to look that up), and needed clutch free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

That game was followed by a loss to San Diego – the second year in a row the Buffs have lost to the Toreros (yes, I had to look that up as well).

Not impressive.

Since then, the Buffs have looked impressive, averaging over 90 points a game in wins over Air Force, Portland and Colorado State. While none of those three teams are a threat to make the NCAA tournament, the three victories are steps in the right direction. The win over the Falcons broke a six-game road losing streak, and the win over the Rams broke a two-game losing streak in the series. Lucas Siewert is playing well, as is Tyler Bey … while McKinley Wright seems to be rounding into the All-Pac-12 player we expect him to be this season.

Positive steps. Baby steps perhaps, but positive steps nonetheless.

CU Cross-country teams worthy of our attention and support

While the Buffs were preparing to slog it out in the snow against Utah, the CU cross-country teams were in Madison, Wisconsin, also facing adverse weather conditions.

The NCAA national championships were run in temperatures in the high 20’s to low 30’s, with a 5-10 mph wind just to make it all the more uncomfortable. Despite the conditions, the women’s team captured their third-ever national championship, with senior Dani Jones capturing the individual title (the men’s team came in fourth overall).

The past two years, the CU women’s team entered the NCAA championships ranked No. 1 in the country, only to finish third on both occasions. Which made the win in Madison all the more sweet.

“I’m as happy as I could be,” coach Mark Wetmore said. “We had seven good races. Every one of the women is going home feeling well about themselves. They were in it the whole way. They were aggressive and confident the whole way. They have every reason to be really proud.”

The title gives the Colorado cross-country program eight national championships – three for the women; five for the men.

Speaking of national championships

The national title posted by the CU women’s cross-country team gives Colorado 27 national championships recognized by the NCAA … 19 by the ski team; eight by the cross-country teams; and one national title in football (the ski team has another national championship, but that came before skiing was recognized by the NCAA as a championship sport).

How does that rank among schools in the “Conference of Champions”?

Well, the California schools dominate not only the Pac-12, but the nation, when it comes to national titles.

Stanford has 117 national championships, followed closely by UCLA at 116. USC comes next with 106 … the only other school with over 100 titles. In fact, you have to get down to Oklahoma State, with 52, and Penn State, with 50, to find the next schools on the list with as many as 50 national championships (Oklahoma State, as it turns out, kicks butt in wresting, with 34 championships, while Penn State has won 13 titles … in fencing).

As to other Pac-12 teams, CU more than holds its own:

  • 4. Cal … 37 (14 in women’s water polo)
  • 5. Oregon … 33 (14 in outdoor track)
  • 6. Colorado … 27
  • 7. Arizona State … 24 (8 in women’s golf)
  • 8. Utah … 21 (11 in skiing; 9 in women’s gymnastics)
  • 9. Arizona … 19 (8 in women’s softball)
  • 10. Washington … 8 (4 in rowing)
  • 11. Oregon State … 4 (3 in baseball); and
  • 12. Washington State … 2 (men’s indoor track and, wait for it … boxing)

Why is the Daily Camera’s Patrick Rooney so negative? 

For those of you who have been with CU at the Game for years, you know that I have a policy of not posting any links to stories from the Denver Post … at least as long as Mark Kizla remains on the staff.

Now, I’m beginning to have my doubts about Patrick Rooney at the Boulder Daily Camera. Instead of a positive article about Mel Tucker, his latest article is entitled: “Mel Tucker checks some boxes, raises some questions for CU Buffs“. This, after his hard-to-understand “Bowl eligibility a meaningless prize for state of CU Buffs football” article before the Cal game.

Even Rooney’s tweets have a negative slant. During the final minutes of the CSU game Saturday, the Rams made a run. Instead of posting something along the lines of “Crowd of 7,887 on their feet as CSU takes a 75-74 lead”, Rooney posted, “#CUBuffs in danger of letting this slip away. CSU goes on 10-0 run to take 75-74 lead with 2:23 left”. It was almost as if Rooney was hoping the Buffs would lose, so he could write yet another negative article.

Compare this to the local Bozeman Daily Chronicle opinion column this morning. The Montana State Bobcats won their first round game of the FCS playoffs last weekend, earning a second-round trip to Fargo to play No. 1 North Dakota State (the Bison have won six of the last seven FCS national championships). The Bobcats were – predictably – routed, 52-10.

The title for the post-game essay: “Bobcats program may only be better after loss“.

Imagine such a headline about your Buffs?

Me, neither.

Perhaps I am overly sensitive to negative stories about my Buffs.

But it’s been a long decade or so of negativity … I’m hoping for some positive stories for a change.

Perhaps as early as this week, when Colorado names its new head coach …



9 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Vol. I”

  1. Long time listener, first time caller. Stu I think your comments are spot on especially about Rooney, he is terrible. The guy should go back to covering high school or preferably move on to another paper. Tucker is a total home run hire for the buffs, it’s rediculous the BDC didn’t write a better welcome story. There is no way a top P5 head coach is going to leave their current job and come to Boulder. I would take Tucker over Lake, Leavitt, Mason, Tedford, Babers and Fisch all day long. Ryan Day would be great, but he would have been gone after one or two years when Urban retires which is probably why he said no. If Day was 1A then Tucker is 1B. He is clearly one of the top 5 assistant coaches in all of college football, Georgia would have won every other P5 conference except the SEC. Anytime a coordinator gets promoted there is risk, but I believe Mel is ready and I think he gives CU a chance to be great again. He knows how recruit 4 and 5 star players, but more importantly he knows how to coach and earn the respect of his players. Watch the videos of his players and fellow coaches, they all speak glowingly of him. He clearly had a rough stint with the Bears, but other the that there isn’t a blemish on his coaching resume. Hopefully CU won’t screw this up, I agree that the leak probably came from Georgia and not CU, I just wish Plati had made no comment. His statement only served to create confusion make CU look like keystone cops. I hope we will see an announcement soon, George is a good AD who knows what he is doing. I really enjoy your website, thank you for keeping buff fans informed. Go Buffs!!

  2. Rooney is an interesting character. I bang on him alot. He truely is earache. Little knowledge about the real subject and pretends he does. Almost always covers his “ear” so it doesn’t ache,…Like he did in the latest article. Spent the last years covering high school sports. Promoted when kyle left and Howell got promoted. Oh well who cares.

    The DP and the denver media in general ignore the Mighty Buffs. Jumping in only when click bait is available.

    Buffs MBB looks good as do the women. In both cases it will all come to tell in the Mighty Pac.

    I am gonna try this again. Bumped into (LIterally) RG last night. He said “how are ya” I said “Good luck” We smiled and moved on. Love that guy.

    Welp as I stated before, It appears my inside info was just a bit off. So Be it. I’ll take this guy in a heartbeat. He is a real football guy. All the Dog write ups and comments around the country praise him big time. The Mighty Buffs could be getting mighty lucky.

    Uh Oh Buffalo.

    Note: Great the CC teams were honored last night. Crowd was very appreciative. Students showed up late but they were loud and fun to watch.

    Note 2: Don’t thing the coaching initiative was botched at all. It was a well kept secret. His name didn’t pop until 2 days ago. Damn fine job actually. Don’t be so negative Stu. Sheesh. It wasn’t that bad and CU is getting a great run of good press stuff. Enjoy it.

    Note 4: The athletic department is in really good hands. The Buffs have a winner for an AD.

  3. Thanks for the shout out to the Women’s Cross Country team… a great accomplishment by the Buffs runners!

    Now then…
    Kiszla is never constructive, always negative and has a holier-than-thou attitude. Rooney can be negative, but generally in a constructive way. In fact, his latest about Mel Tucker points out the two largest concerns I have about Tucker, which is that he has never been a head coach, and that his resume is in a “geographical footprint” that has had nothing to do with the PAC-12 or Boulder. CU is set to win right away, but maybe not if there is a learning curve for a head coach.

    Anyway, I’m just going to be annoyed if all we have done is buy into the SEC myth/bias for no reason, the way our little Ram Brothers in Ft Collins have done for their past two coaches… and don’t forget that McElwain never even got them to the Mountain West Championship game before running off to Florida where he was unmasked completely in a Power-5 job. I didn’t find anything wrong with what Rooney wrote as a whole. Kiszla, on the other hand, is just a paid Troll.

  4. As far as optics go they are never good when you have leaks. Period. Leaks are hard to control so I don’t give much weight to how things “look”.

  5. The Daily Camera is almost as bad as the Post but its going to be hard to find diverse news to post if they are shunned. The Post writes some very good articles, some of them seem to back the Buffs. Kiz needs to go. Who hires a sportswriter who hates all of the local teams? He rips the Donkeys as bad as he does the Buffs. I will never pay for a Denver Post until Kiz is gone. The Post needs to know this and the best way to hit it home is in their wallet.

  6. I stopped reading Rooney after he directly compared the Tumpkin fiasco to the fake Barnett scandal of early 2000’s. He proved himself to be a lazy journalist without historical perspective. No time for that. Kisza is just a muckraker. Makes sh** up as he goes.

    Regarding the coaching search optics. I don’t think anyone pays that much attention or cares. That is the blessing and curse of being in the forgotten time zone. As long as Tucker does the job, it will be irrelevant how he got here.

  7. Pish Posh….
    There are people that could win the Power Ball for $50 million and would complain that they didn’t win $60 million.

    Tucker seems like a “splash” hire to me. Isn’t he rated a top recruiter in the country? I don’t by that I personally could walk into a recruits house with a Bulldog sweatshirt on and automatically get a 4 star’s commitment. You either have it, or you don’t. Tucker apparently has “it”.

    As for the “leaking” and handling of the the MM termination…really, who cares? Coaching changes are “leaked” all of the time. Sorry J Mac that you couldn’t have that one last moment with your dad on the sideline, but the truth is that your dad couldn’t get it done, and like any business leadership position, you meet expectations, or you move on. The Buffs were going to lose against Utah even if MM was on the sideline.

    Being a Buff FANatic hasn’t been easy. If Tucker fires everyone, so be it. I want wins and I want them now (just run a clean program).

    Players apparently love this guy and big time coaches seem to love him as well.

    I’m very excited. Buff nation, you need to be excited too.

  8. I have figured out whoever vk really is, is. He is pat Rooney! Nah, just similarly slanted world views, I guess.

    As to the optics of handling the coaching transition, I agree. Could have been handled better. However, since I don’t buy the fabled Peter principle, I am not overly concerned. Just looked Ngo for continued improvement.

    Go Buffs

  9. Who cares what Rooney thinks, says, or does? Opinions are like ***holes…everybody’s got one, and are entitled to theirs. Remember when McCartney was hired? Nobody really knew anything except a DC from Michigan, right? Personally, as a “cup-is-always-half-full” Buff supporter, have to agree with you Stuart. Let’s give Tucker a chance, and the basketball team too for that matter.
    Anybody can sit there and criticize.

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