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Random Thoughts – Volume II – December 9, 2018

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … What Buff player holds the record for the most receiving yards in a single game? (Answer can be found at the end of the column). Your choices:

  • Walter Stanley
  • Paul Richardson
  • Laviska Shenault
  • Rae Carruth

CU 2019 schedule

The Buffs’ 2019 schedule was released this past week …  and it’s difficult. Air Force replaces New Hampshire in non-conference play, while Oregon State and Cal will be replaced by Oregon and Stanford. CU athletic director Rick George called the schedule an AD’s dream but a coach’s nightmare. A home slate including Nebraska, Air Force, USC, Washington and Stanford will sell tickets … but where are the wins?

Date – Opponent

  • August 30th – Colorado State – Denver (Friday)
  • September 7th – Nebraska
  • September 14th – Air Force
  • September 21st – at Arizona State
  • September 28th – Bye
  • October 5th – Arizona
  • October 11th – at Oregon (Friday)
  • October 19th – at Washington State
  • October 25th – USC (Friday)
  • November 2nd – at UCLA
  • November 9th – Stanford
  • November 16th – Bye
  • November 23rd – Washington
  • November 30th – at Utah

Times TBA

Thoughts? … Well, it’s hard to find a bunch of wins there, at least for the CU team which last took the field in Berkeley a few weeks ago, losing its seventh straight. But those were Mike MacIntyre’s Buffs, not Mel Tucker’s Buffs, and we’re turning the page.

Okay, there’s this … like Colorado, all three of the Buffs’ non-conference opponents are done for the year. Colorado State (3-9), Nebraska, (4-8) and Air Force (5-7) also missed out on a bowl invitation. In fact, four of CU’s first five opponents fared no better in 2018 than did the Buffs, with Arizona also going 5-7. The fifth game will be against Arizona State, a 7-5 team which I am not convinced has found all of the answers under Herm Edwards.

So, is another 5-0 start in the offing?

Perhaps. Not likely, but possible.

One thing I believe we can say for certain right now … if Colorado opens with a 5-0 start in 2019, the Mel Tucker Buffs will be going bowling. Mel Tucker’s Buffs won’t lose seven straight …

This just in … CU Basketball doesn’t have the same history as does the football team

It largely went unnoticed, but the University of Colorado men’s basketball program passed a milestone this week.

On Tuesday, with the 82-58 win over South Dakota, the Buffs posted the 1,300th victory in school history.

Sounds pretty good, right?

But … Colorado is also close to 1,200 all-time losses, with 1,198.

With the 84-72 over Illinois-Chicago, CU’s all-time mark stands at 1,301-1,198 (.520).

Nationally, if your program doesn’t have 1,600 wins, you ain’t even in the top 50 on the all-time list. For comparison’s sake, UCLA, the Pac-12’s top dog, has almost 1,900 all-time wins, and that’s only good enough for seventh nationally (the blue bloods, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina, are all over 2,200 wins).

In case you missed it … Colorado does not have a proud tradition when it comes to men’s basketball.

Which makes the run by the Buffs under Tad Boyle all the more remarkable.

In his ninth year, Boyle has a record of 173-111. His .608 winning percentage is second all-time at Colorado. There have been nine 20-win seasons in the history of the program, and Boyle has five of them.

True enough, CU’s 7-1 record so far this year is suspect. The Buffs have struggled to beat hyphenated teams like Nebraska-Omaha and Illinois-Chicago. Without Dallas Walton in the middle, CU may struggle when Pac-12 play opens next month.

But the Buffs are a much better program with Tad Boyle at the helm than they ever were before he arrived on campus.

Enjoy this “Golden Age” of Colorado basketball …

Mel Tucker’s Contract

CU athletic director Rick George has proposed that CU’s Board of Regents approve a five-year deal for new head coach Mel Tucker  which will be worth $14.75 million over five years.

The first year of the contract carries with it a salary of $2.4 million, which will then increase by $275,000 annually, not including additional pay if any of several incentives in the contract are met. The Regents must approve Tucker’s contract, which campus leaders hope to present for their consideration at their December 12th special meeting in Denver.

Considering that Mike MacIntyre was slated to receive $2.95 million in 2019; $3,025 million in in 2020; and $3.1 million in 2021, it sounds like CU got a good deal with Mel Tucker.

With the school saddled with the burden of some – if not all – of MacIntyre’s contract over the next three years, it’s good to see some fiscal resourcefulness by Rick George. I have no issue with contracts laden with incentives … if the team is successful, so to will be its head coach.

It will be interesting to how the contracts for the assistant coaches play out. There’s word of a 500/500 campaign from the athletic department, with the goal of raising an additional $500,000 for the recruiting budget, and an additional $500,000 to help pay for assistant coaches.

It’s a shrewd move, striking while the iron is hot. Getting some additional dollars in the till to help offset the financial challenges for the budget over the next few seasons.

Rick George has posted a balanced budget each of the past three fiscal years (if you haven’t seen the 2018 RAPID Report, released last month, you can check it out here – it’s a good read).

If CU can post another balanced budget this upcoming season, it will be largely due to some excellent financial maneuvering this month.

Recruiting Class of 2019

The early Signing Day is ten days away, on Wednesday, December 19th (and, yes, while we haven’t had much opportunity to talk it about it lately, there will be wall-to-wall coverage here on the website, starting with the return of “The Ticker” early Wednesday morning).

As of this morning, Colorado has the 46th-ranked Recruiting Class, according to Rivals (45th at 247Sports). The Buffs were in the high 20’s to low 30’s nationally for much of the fall, but have been hurt by the coaching change. Colorado hasn’t picked up a new commitment since September, and have had four defections from the Class since the firing of Mike MacIntyre.

There has been much hand-wringing over the time it took to bring in Mel Tucker as the new head coach. While some – if not all – of the new coaching staff will be announced this week, that leaves only one recruiting weekend for the new coaching staff to stabilize and enhance the Class of 2019.

It’s not likely that the new staff will be able to work miracles and produce a sterling first Recruiting Class.

And that’s okay – for two reasons.

First, December 19th is the “early” signing date. The “old” Signing Day, the first Wednesday in February, is still around, and the new coaching staff will be able to supplement the Class with players who don’t sign in December, plus junior college and senior graduate transfers. With the changeover in staff, there will also be a changeover in the roster, as some players who don’t like the new coaches – or their schemes – will either be asked to transfer, or will do so of their own accord, opening up roster space for new recruits.

Plus, and I can’t emphasize this enough … it was more important to get the new hire right than it was to save the Recruiting Class.

Mel Tucker, and the coaches he brings in, will have an immediate and long-lasting affect on the future of the CU football program. A handful of players who may decide to go elsewhere? Less than 10% of the 2019 roster.

In Tuck we Trust.

Buff Trivia Question of the Week – Answer … There have been six 200-yard receiving games in Colorado history, and Paul Richardson has three of them. The list:

  1. Paul Richardson … 284 yards (11 catches; two touchdowns) … California 36, Colorado 33 OT … Sept. 10, 2011
  2. Walter Stanley … 222 yards (five catches; two touchdowns) … Colorado 45, Texas Tech 27 … Sept. 12, 1981
  3. Rae Carruth … 222 yards (seven catches; two touchdowns) … No. 7 Colorado 41, Missouri 13 … Nov. 2, 1996
  4. Laviska Shenault … 211 yards (11 catches; one touchdown) … Colorado 45, Colorado State 13 … Aug. 31, 2018
  5. Paul Richardson … 209 yards (11 catches; two touchdowns) … Colorado 38, Central Arkansas 24 … Sept. 10, 2013
  6. Paul Richardson … 208 yards (ten catches; two touchdowns) … Colorado 41, Colorado State 27 … Sept. 6, 2013

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7 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Volume II”

  1. Nice write up Stu.

    The BB team has a nice depth of talent. Too bad the tall fella is gonna miss this run. Will miss him in the pac 12 games absolutely.

    Middle note: I know that someday I am gonna come on this site and read all about the WBB team. They are much like the mens team. Young and talented. Good depth. You oughta take a peak. In most every case in this pre season, when the WBB play at home you can go to the website under WBB schedule and there is a link to watch it. So there.

    Tuck em up Tuck em up go CU. I agree with you on the 2019 recruiting class. Again assuming Tuck is the man to get them over the “WACMAC Peter Hump”. (Noteanator: WacMac is back where he belongs according to Peter) It truly is amazing there is not one recruit from Texas. Not one. ( I will predict right now there will be 2+….. just a hunch don’t ya know.

    And you are right about the regular signing day. Lotta talent still out there. Really a lot. Big issue as it has been for years are the OL and the DL. Damn the Mighty Buffs need a real DLine Coach. Adams like recruiting 250 lb guys and hoped they would mature and grow into Pac12 lineman. Then he didn’t know how to teach em.

    Yup the schedule is tough.

    Go Buffs. Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  2. If Mel Tucker has a winning season next year I will be shocked, just look at Scott Frost who is a proven winning head coach and the type if year Nebraska had in his first year. Nebraska also had some talent so the cupboard was not bare there either. It was ugly for the first half of the season. I hope it’s different but I have no expectation it will be.

    1. You are right in the regards to frost but you need to also look at why. Scott frost runs a very specific system, and I think it is possible not everyone fit into said system. I think tucker will be a little more flexible to let his system fit his players. The first 3 games will tell a lot about him.

  3. 20 win seasons are a terrible barometer to measure NCAA basketball success. Why? Because teams play a lot more games in a given season. It’s why you can’t use a 1000 yard rushing (or receiving) season in a 16 game NFL schedule and compare it to when they played 12 games a year. Phil Lindsay will need to average 62.5 yards a game to reach a 1000 yards; Floyd Little needed 83.3. Over a 16 game season, 83.3 yards per game is a 1,332 yard season. That should be the measuring stick for 1000+ yard rushing season comparisons.

    Same goes for modern college basketball. CU had two great teams in 61-62 and 62-63 that made the NCAA regionals when only 16 teams made the tournament. Both teams went 19-7 for a 73% win percentage. Tad’s only NCAA tourney win came in 2011-2012 and they played 36 games total for a 67% win percentage. If they had only played 26 games like the 61- through 63 teams that’s 17 wins (or 26 wins if the 61-63 teams played 36 games). The 39-40 CU team went 17-4 for a 81% win percentage. That would be a 29! win season if they played 36 games.

    Agreed that Tad has done a nice job, but using historical 20 win seasons is misleading. Either use win percentage or 20 win seasons after say, 1980 when the NCAA began allowing more games per season. BTW, Forrest Cox has a better win percentage (and two Final 4s).

    We should rightfully enjoy Tad’s b-ball modern day success compared to Patton, Harrington, Miller (god-awful!) but historical? Arguable.

    1. Agreed. Winning percentage is an excellent measure.
      Tad Boyle (.620) is second all-time at Colorado, second only to Forrest Cox (.623).
      Another season or two (or perhaps this one), Boyle will have the best winning percentage in CU history.
      Cox only needed to go 5-5 in post-season play to achieve two Final Fours; Boyle is 4-6 against much better national competition.

      1. No argument here; otherwise it gets pedantically tiresome very fast. On Tad’s side you can say that the NIT was as good or better than the NCAA tourney so a Final 4 back in that era wasn’t as impressive. On Cox’s you can say that if you strip out the one NIT run (by far the inferior tourney now) in Tad’s first year he is 1-4 in the NCAA tourney.

        But who cares, Stu. I’m just glad you give b-ball some attention. Tad’s done a great job and I think he has a nice young squad that will be better in the PAC-12 than people think. A lot of potential if these young guys stay together and continue to develop.

  4. Stu,
    I think you are dead on in two aspects that I haven’t seen get much attention, the hire was more important that the ’19 class, and the Feb signing day. I would be shocked if there weren’t recruits to other programs that are looking at CU now with Tucker on board, and waiting to see who he hires. Also, no point in keeping kids in this class who would otherwise de-commit after FHCMM being fired (and I think those were all before Tucker was announced). We want the guys Tucker wants, guys to help beat USC. If recruits don’t see that in themselves they shouldn’t be here anyways.

    Love the stats about the 200-yard receiving games. Oh to have PR and LS on the same team…

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