After a Tough Loss to Washington, Buff fans need to tear off the Band-Aid and Move on

Anyone who follows CU at the Game knows that I am a big believer in schadenfreude.

The “satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune” is not for everyone. There are those who say they cheer for Colorado State when the Rams are not playing the Buffs, but I have never understood that sentiment. If the Rams and Cornhuskers (as long as they remain on the Buffs’ schedule) go 0-12 every season, that’s just fine with me.

Schadenfreude led me earlier this week to Go Big Redcast, a podcast put out by Nebraska Cornhusker fans. With the Buffs coming off of a tough loss against USC, I wanted to ease my pain by hearing about the suffering of the Husker Nation. Nebraska was off to the worst start in school history (0-6), and in the midst of a school-record ten-game losing streak overall. I tuned in expecting to hear Cornhusker fans mourning the state of their program.

Instead, I heard fans trying to stay upbeat, trying to see the progress being made in Scott Frost’s first year. Sure, they were upset about Nebraska blowing a ten-point lead in the final five minutes in what was to become an overtime loss to Northwestern last weekend, but they still tried to find the positives from the game.

The relevance of that podcast to Colorado’s 27-13 loss to No. 15 Washington?

The lesson it taught me about keeping things in perspective.

Am I upset about the Buffs falling to the Huskies in a game they could have won?

You bet. The play-calling was again suspect, and the Buff squandered an opportunity for season-altering win.

The final score turned out about how I had predicted (31-14), but didn’t come about the way I thought it might. I had envisioned the Huskies rolling to an early lead (14-0 in the first quarter), easing into halftime with a comfortable lead (say, 24-7), with the second half playing out as a mere formality.

All the elements for an easy win for the home team were there:

— Colorado was coming off of a difficult road loss to USC, a game in which the Buffs were dominated on both sides of the ball;

— The Buffs had a history of faring poorly in back-to-back conference road games since joining the Pac-12 (even when the competition wasn’t as good as it was this year). Colorado entered the 2018 season 0-5-2 on such road trips (zero sweeps; two splits; swept five times), which translated to a record of 2-12 in such games over the past seven years;

— Colorado came into the game with a 28-game losing streak in road games against ranked teams, with the last win coming three coaches ago, back in 2002;

— The Buffs were 0-6 against Washington in Pac-12 play, with an average score of 44-13 (with the Buffs finishing within 27 points of the Huskies exactly once in that span);

— The Colorado roster was depleted, with the Buffs without about 45% of their offense in mid-season All-American wide receiver Laviska Shenault (toe). Also out was the Buffs’ best cornerback, Delrick Abrams (calf), reliable receiver Jay MacIntyre (concussion); and reliable defensive lineman Jase Franke (knee, out for the season). Hell, the Buffs were even without their placekicker, James Stefanou (hip);

— As a result of injuries, the Buffs started five freshmen against the Huskies – WR Dimitri Stanley; DE Israel Antwine; CB Chris Miller; C Colby Pursell; and LT Will Sherman). It was the highest total for freshman starters since six freshman started against Arizona State in 2015.

Instead of folding, the Buffs did just the opposite. They came to play, and played with grit and guile the entire game.

True freshmen scored all of CU’s points, with wide receiver Daniel Arias scoring on a 37-yard pass on his first touch of the ball as a Buff. Kicker Nick Price took care of the extra point, and posted two field goals.

The game, as close games usually do, came down to a handful of plays. In this case, it was two fourth down plays:

— Third quarter, 7:30 remaining. Washington 14, Colorado 13. The Buff defense had forced a three-and-out on the Huskies’ first possession of the second half, and had the ball near midfield. Facing a fourth-and-one at the Washington 45-yard line, the Buffs went Wildcat, with a direct snap to running back Travon McMillian. It was a formation used with great success with Laviska Shenault, but this was Travon McMillian, and the Buffs ran up the middle against the best defensive line in the Pac-12. No gain. Washington takes over and drives for a momentum shifting field goal to make it a 17-13 game;

— Fourth quarter, 4:00 remaining. Washington 17, Colorado 13. Despite being pushed around for much of the afternoon, the Buffs – as they had been all afternoon – were only one play away from taking the lead. The Huskies had taken the ball from their 16-yard line to the CU 26, taking off five minutes of game clock in the process. Facing a fourth-and-five, Chris Petersen elected not to try a 43-yard field goal, opting instead to go for the game-clinching score. The Buffs blitzed, leaving the defensive backs with one-on-one coverage. Husky quarterback Jake Browning found wide receiver Aaron Fuller across the middle. Touchdown. Game over.

“We had our chances and Washington had their chances,” said Mike MacIntyre. “But it all boils down to they converted their fourth downs and we didn’t. That was the meat and potatoes of the game.”

Here’s the thing …

I understand the frustration.

This was a winnable game. The Buffs put themselves into position to snatch a road victory against a ranked team, and came away empty. The offensive line was dominated by the best defensive line CU will face all season, exposing what we have known for months to be the weakest unit on the team.

Still, I’m more interested in the big picture.

Two months ago, no sober CU fan would have said “no, thanks” to a 5-2 record.

For the long nine months of this past off-season, I was hoping that the Buffs would be able to cobble together a winning record and a bowl bid. Colorado entered its final three games of the 2017 campaign with a 5-4 record, then proceeded to lose its last three games, including a humbling 34-13 loss to Utah to send the Buffs home for the winter.

Colorado had a good Recruiting Class of 2018, and had the makings of a strong Recruiting Class of 2019. Another losing record? Perhaps the head coach would be gone, the recruiting Class would disassemble, and the Buffs would be starting over … again.

Instead, the Buffs opened strong, taking care of business against Colorado State, picking up a huge road win over a Nebraska team (which had a sellout crowd ready to anoint its prodigal son in Scott Frost), and did what they had to do to pick up wins over UCLA and Arizona State.

And – they played well against Washington, much better than they did against USC. Against the Trojans, the Buffs looked like the CU teams of 2015 and 2017. The team that we watched against Washington – one of the best the Pac-12 has to offer – is a good team, and will continue to be a good team for the foreseeable future.

Members of the Recruiting Class of 2019 watched a team which had its chances. And don’t think for a minute that those high school seniors watching the Buffs didn’t notice all of those freshmen out on the field contributing to the Buffs’ success.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Buffs were hoping for their “first win over xxx since xxx”. Now, the narrative is changing.

Next year, you will hear storylines such as:

— “Colorado has won two of its past three over UCLA”;

— “Colorado has won two of its past three over Arizona State”;

— “Nebraska hasn’t beaten Colorado since 2010, the last season for both teams in the Big 12”; and, not for nothing …

— “Colorado has won four straight against Colorado State”.

That’s CU’s “new normal”.

For a program which has finished last in its division for six of its first seven years in the conference, that’s a welcome change.

The Buffs are no longer just trying to be competitive in the Pac-12 … they are competitive in the Pac-12.

True enough, there are two major hills are left to climb … the Buffs haven’t beaten Washington in Pac-12 play, and have never beaten USC.

The Buffs will get both at home next season.

But let’s worry about 2019 when it gets here. In the meantime, let’s get excited about the fact that the Buffs are 5-2, have a great chance to get to 6-2 next weekend (against an Oregon State team which hasn’t beaten an FBS team since 2016), and pick up several more wins before season’s end.

If you are upset that the Buffs aren’t beating nationally ranked teams on the road, and are calling for the heads of the coaches, I can’t help you. Were you really expecting this team to be undefeated and ranked in the top ten nationally? Sure, it would be great if the offensive line could have a replacement for Klayton Adams, but that’s a discussion for December, not October. The CU offensive line is a liability … that’s not exactly breaking news.

This just in – CU isn’t that great, at least not yet.

Going from worst-to-first is an anomaly, not a pattern for success.

The Buffs played well against the Huskies. Not quite good enough to win, but closer than every other Buff team which has played a Washington team in Pac-12 play (and that includes the 2016 Pac-12 South division winning team, which was blown out in the title game).

Turn the page … move on … rip off the band-aid instead of peeling it off slowly and painfully.

And get ready to celebrate some more Buff wins.


37 Replies to “Tear Off the Band-Aid and Move On”

  1. QB Montez Says Buffs Need To ‘Come Out Swinging’

    Well okay then. Mac can you get your nose out of the offense, and let them boys coach and play? Please? Maybe keep your eyes on the clock for a possible use of time outs. If timeouts were cumulative from game to game and year to year, your would have about 300 you shoulda used but didn’t. But of course they are not cumulative. Thanks.

    Your conscious until I am not,

  2. If you haven’t listened Mikey and his press deal.

    It be all right there.

    The dancing bear………..Just beautiful . Stutter city while he figures out how to avoid the question. Low level politician. Seems like a good……………well not really…………….I just want him to move on. And wish him luck and hope he gets his SEC rebuild job and does great. But Peter will always show up.

    Up the Mighty Buffalo

    Note: Blame the players
    Note: No responsibility on the coaches
    Note: Loves Lindylu
    Note: Mac delayed the possible success of the program by bringing that junior league coaching staff with him. A couple more need to go. And if washu wanted adams they can have him.

    1. Ah yes. Because when he says “our togetherness, our fight, our effort, that was all there” that’s blaming the players. Yep. Sure. When he talks about execution? He’s being honest. Not coach speak. Dude calls it like he sees it. You may not like it, but… it’s how he is.

      And, he’s also a pretty dang good coach. It’s going to be so sad for you to get 8 or 9 wins, and have him around a while longer, huh?

      Go Buffs.

    2. Oh yeah, don’t let me forget, Stu once asked you to name two offensive coordinators you’d rather see than Lindsay. You said Pep Hamilton and Chip Lindsay. Chip’s struggling at Auburn. Now, again, doesn’t mean he’s a bad coach. It’s just not working for him this year. And, Pep’s getting blasted by the Michigan base. And, you’ve got your golden boy – well, at least he was before two weeks ago now – so? Support the dude, will ya? He’s doing ok for his first year calling plays. Really. Room for improvement? No doubt. But, cut the guy some slack. He’s no dummy either. And, if there’s one thing we all know, with 100% certainty, he’s losing more sleep than anyone working to improve his craft.

      Go Buffs.

      1. Chev gets a lot of slack.

        Mac gets none. He has his fingers in that play calling and that conservative attitude and his lack of understanding clock management has been around for years. Too many years.
        Hope the Buffs finish strong and he takes that rebuild offer from the SEC.

        Merry Christmas.


  3. More positives…our defense is gritty enough, health is going to be huge as we are thin.
    We threw to the TE!!! More please.
    Daniel Arias is fast.
    Stanley wasn’t overwhelmed and made a couple of nice, tough, catches.
    Overall while not perfect, offensively USC forced us to make tweaks to accommodate for poor Oline play (rollout Montez plz.!), now if we can combine/execute the game plans in concert during the same game, we become much harder to defend.
    Excitement for the stretch run, every game is winnable and potentially meaningful, a far cry from the dark years.
    Go Buffs!

  4. One of your best essays! Thank you for the perspective help, Stuart.

    Thanks, too, for subtly mentioning Klayton Adams. This is certainly not something I like to mention because these are men with families, but a year ago MM had to make the difficult decision to let go of long time friend and coach, Jim Jeffcoat. Now, less than a year later, I believe we have already seen sizable gains in D-line recruiting and player development. Our O-line seems to be stuck in 6-years of mediocrity, continuing to struggle with recruiting and player development. We hear and see positive signs at times, but, in the end, here we are again mixing and matching players and going in what seems like circles, depending on too many “freshman with promise” to lead the way. Klayton has much to prove in these final games or it might be time to consider a “fresh perspective.”

  5. Ouch!!!! I just tore off my Band-Aid………..Band-Aid????? More like a Yuuge Bandage. Still some festering and some Black/Silver & Gold bleeding. Yes Stuart, you make some very good points but I do still have to say that even after hearing or I mean reading you dulcet typing strokes there is some argument to your whole premise.

    If as it appears to many of us that we started the first 5 games with what seemed like a much more Swashbuckling Offense then against what now in retrospect seems like 5 lesser solid teams then the last two, why the somewhat more Fetal Position with what we knew would be our most challenging opponents? Especially when it seemed that we had a chance to really compete with those two superior programs, as I felt that going in to those games we would be playing from behind anyway. It just seemed as if they weren’t willing to let it all hang out for fear of getting too far in the hole.
    While all your points are very good and valid, Frosh Starters, RS Frosh etc. a Junior Soph. dominated team the future does look bright and even though we are probably one year away, why not give it hell now. One also has to also wonder about next year when the chance to really compete and be a potentially Top 10 or 15 type program will these same coaches even become more “Cautious”?

    1. Spot on. No reason not to give it your all in these games. Next year gives CU the chance at home to win these games but not with a “cautious” approach. Mac2 makes millions. Be bold. The chance to be bold doesn’t have to wait until next year. 11/10 and 11/17 look like golden opportunities to do so against quality opponents.

  6. This just in off the news wire. Based on the comments in this forum, Rick George took notice and forced MAC II to relieve Chev and Adams of their play calling duties. Chicken Little is the new Offensive Coordinator.

    Go Buffs.

    1. I mean, we do know that everything good w/ the football program is Rick George’s doing, and Mac’s just bringing it all down, but, come on. Chicken Little?

      You’re on fire today. Hilarious.

      Go Buffs.

    2. I have lousy offense planning and game time decisions, or lack thereof, syndrome. Then there is Eric and you who approve of what went down on offense the last 2 games. Both of you like to chastise everyone who hasn’t coached (I have) and seem to think the current status of this team is fine for the future and beyond. And then there is Eric who would have that vacant grin if the Buffs were still winless in the PAC 12. I wont be satisfied until we are in the top 10 and going to a premium bowl which means playing with anyone in the country.
      You guys keep dining on fast food and bud light and call it a banquet….sure glad you arent coaching. To quote VK…participation ribbons for everyone …right?

      1. Fine Ep, and since you have coached football, and presumably designed and diagnosed plays, tell me, were the passes to the tight ends this game the same as those prior to Viska, only to the actual tight ends this time? Sure seemed like it to me.

        And, since you are waiting for top 10 finishes to be happy with our Buffs, when “should” those occur? How long does it take to go from a lost decade as a bottom feeder to top ten program, typically?

        And lastly, how many top 10 finishes has CU had in its entire football history?

        I dont know your exact age, but that must mean a whole lot of unhappy football seasons for you, my man. Sorry.

        Having said all that, again, we all want greatness for CU football. You think Mac doesn’t? And what makes you think Mac can’t get us there? After all, he has been arguably the best coach since McCartney, at CU. I welcome your response and discussion.

        Go Buffs

      2. You and Dusseldorf claim to be football savants but your actually just armchair QBs who bloviate the same garbage every time. Better play calling, better play coaching, throw to the tight ends (which they did), blah, blah, blah. But to quote Jim Mora, “you think you know, but who don’t watch the film, aren’t at practices, so you don’t really know.” So go back to your 5 star gourmet meal which you engorge in your armchair in front of the tv and make sure you take your pills afterward to moderate Lindgren Derangement Syndrome. I take satisfaction as a Buff fan knowing that Rick George is a lot smarter than you clowns in the armchair squad which is the only thing you coach now.

        1. I’m taking satisfaction from your reply. You obviously cant understand whats going on simply on your TV screen.
          and then we got Eric again trying to say if you can understand whats going on during the game you can predict everything in the future.
          And quoting Jim Mora? Thats a really good one. Where is ol jim these days?
          Clowns indeed.
          Forget coaching and film. You guys never set foot on the field.

          1. Actually, I did play multiple sports including football and coached basketball at the college level plus spent two decades in the military continuing to play, coach and take numerous leadership courses. So don’t try to put me in your little box because we disagree. You know which people I respected form having served and coached under? Those who didn’t panic after a little adversity. Hence the chicken little comment which got you all bothered. And I don’t respect half-baked lunacy theories like “MAC is holding back Chev” when the Buffs lose and “Chev unleashed, the anti-Lindgren” when they win.” I stand by that since you aren’t watching game film, aren’t at meetings and practice, and based on your previous posts which tell us nothing, then you are nothing but an armchair savant. So I’m sure Stuart will give you the last word which you should have and then shut down this thread, but the fact is we are both Buff fans that happen to have a different outlook on the state of the program and how they can break through to the next level. Panic after two losses is not the answer and if that’s what you showed to your team when you coached then I am thankful I never played or coached for you.

            GO Buffs

        2. Hey 96 big mouths in the light brigade with 220 more unknowing ones close behind. Now now son, Don’t get all prissy on me. You know since the beginning you been a whiner and a shiner and a diner. Bloviate. Appears the same cause well you missed it all the first time. You backed that first defensive guy till you didn’t. You backed lindgren and still do. Same with Jeffcoat and that ol special teams guy….you loved him……….what wast his name again.. now you don’t.

          Now you say you use to do all that stuff. Back in the day of leather helmets blah blah. The game has passed you buy ol man. You don’t get 20 years (Lifer eh…club sports in the coast guard………….sorry that’s pop warner stuff) let alone six.

          Here is the good news. No extension last year for mac. And none this year. And he won’t be here. He has worn out his welcome.

          “Don’t believe it just watch”


          Note: Lotta big shots hangout in big ol chairs with arms. You ain’t one of em.

          1. I’ll make a bet with you Dusseldorf. Find one post I ever made supporting Kent Baer. If you do, then I’ll stop posting on this site for good. If you don’t, then you stop posting forever. I knew more about Jim Leavitt than you ever did as I was based in and out of Tampa for a good number of years and was glad to see him come on board. As for Lindgren, I wasn’t enthralled, but didn’t think he deserved all the blame and mostly posted to derail your lunatic theories about MACII which you never have any proof. It was time for him to move on. But Chev has had his hand in this offense for three years, its on him, Adams and yes MACII. Hence my Lindgren Derangement Syndrome jabs. So what do you say big mouth, give you five days for the bet (to post a pro-Baer post I made) there Chicken Little?

          2. I don’t Bet. You don’t tell me what I can and cannot do. I take no orders from you. I probably out ranked your NCO arse anyway. So drop and give me 20. Hey spent alot of time around Tampa too. Leavitt got screwed by people like you. No Mac theories. He is two faced. Screwd up that domestic thing. Denied it and then pouted for a year cause he had to pay 100k and admit he did bad. Called out a team captain last year cause the captain said the team wasn’t ready. Mac said he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Fact is he did Lost the next 5 games. Never admits mistakes. Its always the “Players win games” crap. The latest little videos where he puts it out there in is little whiny voice the response from the players is not as enthusiastic as it was in the past. Fact.
            They know when coaches screw up. Anyway I don’t like Mac. Don’t trust him. And he is a phony of a HC. Can’t wait till he is gone.
            I’m hitting pretty good
            Wanted Baer gone………………………..gone
            Wanted the wimp ST coach gone……gone
            Wanted that DL coach gone……………gone
            Wanted Lindgren gone…………………Gone
            Want bernardi gone……………………this is his last year
            Want Adams gone…………………….maybe one more but I hope not. gotta be gone
            Want Mac Gone………………………….It is gonna happen


            Note: Mac did a nice turnaround though it took 3 years too long cause he had that junior level coaching staff. Time for him to go find another turnaround. P is in the house.

    3. dont put me in your little box….exactly what you did to me with your amrchair codger QB BS. You and Eric can certainly claim your coaching chops by worshiping Lindgren and the Lindgren like coaching in the last 2 games

      1. Wow man, no worship. Just perspective. And, now you’ve devolved into the trap of name calling vs. actually having a discussion and trying to support your opinions with actual facts. Well played, sir.

        I guess when you’re looking for your team to be ranked in the top ten to be happy with the football program, something they’ve done like 8 times in their entire storied football history, maybe your perspective is a little skewed?

        Either way, carry on. We’re all fans of our Buffs here – at least I hope we are. But, clearly, we choose to carry that fandom and support (or derision) in different ways.

        No participation ribbons, but to be at 5-2 with five winnable games left is a nice bit of progress from three short years ago, let alone the entire lost decade of CU football, and really, pretty much the entire life of the CU football program, other than the roughly 10-year period from 1988/89 through to roughly 1998 (we can toss 2001 in there, but 1997, 99 and 2000 seasons weren’t that great, either).

        Yet, you cannot seem to stand the guy who brought in 10 wins in year four, and now has a shot at another 8-10 win season in year six. I just don’t understand your perspective. Feel free to inform me about your opinions. Or, just call names. I’m ok with that too.

        Go Buffs.

      2. Let me try this again, EP. I’ve tried numerous times over the years w/ VKB, and I’ve never gotten the level of discourse and support of his opinions that I’d hoped. And, I realize, these are our opinions. They’re unlikely to change, regardless of the arguments we present. What I’m after, as if we were at a bar, enjoying a beer, watching our Buffs, is the discussion. And, a rationale backing of our respective opinions.

        Let me see if I understand your general opinions about our Buffs:
        1) Mac is a mediocre coach, at best, right?
        2) the success he had in 2016 was because of Leavitt, not Mac, right?
        3) if only they had a better offensive coordinator/play caller, the offense would take off, and wins would pile up – more than they have to date, correct?
        4) RG has been behind any/all of Mac’s hires
        5) you didn’t like either the DJ Eliot hire, nor Kurt Roper, because you felt they had been failures before, and were only here b/c they were friends of Mac’s, right?

        Please correct me where I’m off on those.

        And, please also address each of my counter arguments to those opinions, if you will:
        1) I believe Mac is a good coach, who could very well become a great coach. Why? At CU in his fourth year, with a roster laden with overlooked recruits, he won 10 games, and half of that defense went into the NFL. Year six speaks for itself so far, and will at the end of the season, I believe, too. Prior to that, he rebuilt SJSU. He was successful at Ole Miss and Duke as an assistant. He was successful w/ Bill Parcells. He grew up watching his Dad coach and turn teams around. Not a bad track record, in my opinion. Please present why that shows he’s a mediocre coach, at best, who cannot take CU to the next level. Unless I’m mistaken, and that’s not your belief.

        2) Leavitt’s gone. Yet, somehow, this defense in 2018 is about as good as the 2016 defense. How? Do they have half the roster that will go into the NFL next year? I doubt it. But, I do think they have probably more than half the current defense who will have a shot at the NFL in the next year or three. They’re just younger than the 2016 version. Is that Mac, DJ, the players? Or all the above? D- all the above. But? Who put that lineup in place? Not Leavitt. That’s not to take away from Leavitt. As I have always maintained, dude’s a good coach. He’s just not the sole reason, nor probably even the major reason, the 2016 defense was so good.

        3) The Lindgren effect. Keep in mind, when Mac took over, CU was a place coaches came to kill their careers (or at least stunt them). Yet, somehow, he got basically his entire staff to come with him. I thank him, and them. Lindgren went on to produce an offense that beat most CU records. Granted, still only in the middle to bottom of the Pac 12, yet still light years ahead of any offense CU had ever seen. And? Part of the Rise and turning this program around. And? Johnathan Smith, a Petersen protege, thought enough of the guy, and his offense, to bring him to OSU (granted, maybe like with CU, not many candidates wanted to go there, but… Johnathan Smith is no dummy either). Moreover, we now have a new OC calling the plays. He was a genius by most accounts – and by that I mean VK’s mostly – until they ran into better defenses. Then? Hey, what happened? Was he suddenly a bad coach? You’ve coached. You know. Just because a play doesn’t work, doesn’t mean it was a bad call, nor a bad play. For those that rip on the play calls, please get specific. Tell me the reason why the play didn’t work, including what the call was, any adjustments/checks at the line, what the defense was, and whether the play worked or didn’t b/c of execution, lack thereof, etc. I’m not smart enough to know all that. So, I ask anyone to educate me. The answer I get – from VK – is “you’ll never understand”. Ah. Ok.

        4) RG makes all the right moves, and Mac just brings him down. Ok. First of all, dude’s got his hands in everything, no doubt. But, he’s not a micro manager. He’s way too busy doing what AD’s do now – raise money. He lets Mac, and all his coaches, run their programs. Period. Full stop. And, he is pretty happy with the foundation Mac has built, the roster, the off field performance of the football team, the on-field performance of the football team (so far, and I expect that to continue) and Mac will likely get another contract extension, whether this year or next. Unless of course he/Mac (or RG for that matter) chooses to move on, which I think is unlikely, but? What do I know?

        5) DJ’s also acquitted himself for last year pretty well, no?

        Again, I’m not looking to change your mind. I’m looking to have a conversation, and hear your reasons to support your opinion. That’s what a conversation is. It’s not a monologue nor tirade.

        Want to engage?

        I’m sure we’ll keep posting our thoughts, either way. I just hope you’ll support your thoughts w/ facts (speaking of which, I don’t think your example of the Martinez trick play you mentioned seeing is why NU beat MN. It’s b/c MN is terrible; ok, they’re not Kansas or OSU terrible, but they’re pretty bad).

        Go Buffs

  7. I, like many other fans on this site was very upset about the play calling. However, Stuart is right, what is done is done, we need to move on. Hopefully MM and Chev will get it together for the remainder of the season and fix their mistakes. GO BUFFS!

  8. Yo Stuart,
    Your reasoning, based only on the premise of years of bad football, is sound. But if all our expectations are only allowed to be based on the worst years of Colorado football, then I guess we are supposed to be happy with mediocre records forever more.

    Yes, most Buff fans would have been happy with a projected eight wins before the season started. But after starting the season 5-0, some of us upped our expectations. We have the players now to play straight up with the likes of USC and Washington. Mac and staff deserve the credit for that.

    It used to be that the Pac-12 powers took Colorado for granted as an easy win. And they were right. They did not have to put a special game plan in to beat the Buffs. They could just show up and play their game and put another game in the win column.

    Now that we have the players to compete, it’s up to the coaches to start winning some of the chess matches with other coaches. Our defensive coaches have accepted that challenge and reacted accordingly. The Buffs are now adjusting on D like a very good team.

    Mac 2 and Chiaverini, however, cannot say the same. They look great against the teams we are better than, but seem to abandon rationality when facing good teams and strong defenses. USC based their defense on stopping Shenault. They basically said that Colorado might beat them, but they wouldn’t do it on the back of Laviska. After Shenault’s long run for a TD, USC tightened the screws even more and Colorado did not adjust. USC won and Viska was injured in the beating he took.

    Against Washington, the Buffs came out as if they had learned from the mistakes made against the Trojans. They put the ball downfield and used the tight end (as a receiver for the first time this year) in the first quarter. They moved the ball well down the field to take the lead. Hopes that MM and Chev had learned and adjusted were realized, and expectations for the rest of the game and season were increased.

    Then, from the 2nd quarter on, the Buffs seemed to think that they could play “four corners offense” for the rest of the game. It didn’t and couldn’t work. Only the fact that the defense played “lights out” and a couple of very lucky bounces prevented the game from getting way out of hand.

    Colorado adjusted their offense in response to their loss at USC (and the lack of Shenault) in the first quarter to great success… and then abandoned those adjustments. Even after Colorado fell behind, the offensive play calling looked like they were trying to protect a lead and run out the clock. That won’t work for three quarters against good teams.

    We play Oregon State next. We should be able to beat them without doing anything specific in game planning. That will make Colorado eligible for the Cheez-It Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl. Oh Joy! Be still my beating heart, right?

    But before we get ahead of ourselves, Colorado really needs to win that game against Oregon State. Washington State and Utah come to Boulder after that… and those two teams right now look like tough sledding. Winning those games against top notch coaches will mean that Chev and MM need to step up their games. Are they up to it?

    And, please, win next week. If the Buffs have to go on the road and win their final game to become bowl eligible, all bets are off. It’s tough to win on the road in the Pac-12. Take away the 2016 anomaly season and the Buffaloes have only beaten one Pac-12 team on the road in the MacIntyre era. That would be Oregon State and the Buffs have done it twice.

    Wins on the road in the Conference of Champions are few and far between even for the better teams in the Pac-12. When Colorado has the chance to win, MacIntyre has do everything in his power to make it happen. Playing not to lose will never work. It never has.

    And having perpetually low expectations does not work for me. I’ve seen the Buffs at their best and their worst. I’ve been to Orange and Fiesta Bowls, and cheered the Buffs from the stands as they played for the national championship. I will never be happy or excited if the Colorado coaches think that making it to the Cheez-It Bowl is something to aspire to. Those kind of bowls are what good teams settle for at the end of bad seasons.

    I want more. And I think the Buffs players want more as well. And I think we ALL deserve to have high expectations from the guys making all that taxpayer money. As the old coaching axiom goes, “All credit goes to the players, and all blame goes to the coaches.”

    If criticizing bad coaching decisions makes me a “Buffs Hater” in the eyes of those who settle for mediocrity, then so be it. But I’m a Buff for life. It’s my alma mater. I paid to go to school here and graduate. I bleed black and gold. It will still be my school long after Mac has headed off to another gig.


    1. Hey Mark,

      Gotta love your passion for CU. We hail from roughly the same era, the “golden years” of CU football.

      However, I think your premise is flawed that I (or pretty much any fan) let alone the coaches, the athletic department and dare I say, even the Chancellor and President (which is a relatively new – or coming full circle maybe – thing) are OK w/ mediocrity in football, basketball, or any of our sports.

      In my case, I won’t be happy with 6 and 7 win seasons forever. And, the “lost decade” of CU football was frustrating. Yet, my love and passion and support for CU and its sports, particularly football, remained strong. And, I knew that getting back to respectability would be a process.

      Enter Mac. We know the story, but, I’ll recap again: Years one through three were really tough. But, there was constant improvement evident to pretty much anyone/everyone, despite the win/loss totals. Year four, competing for a conference championship, and winning our division – with lower level recruits; nevertheless, more than half that defense went into the NFL (even if for some it was a brief stay, several are now starting).

      Year five was a step back, as we all know. Was anyone happy about it? No. Most likely largely explains Mac’s demeanor last year. He was working his ass off, pushing all the buttons he could, and… it wasn’t working. If coaching D1 football were easy, we’d all be doing it, living on the “taxpayer dole” you mention, right?

      Year six. 5 and 0 start. Recruiting is picking up (as Stu highlighted, when was the last time you remember a Buffs team where they could start so many freshmen and sophomores and go toe to toe with a team like UW?) The future is bright. And, we all want more. To start this season, I saw an 8-4 or 9-3 win team, realistically. Not just dreaming (in year two, that was obviously a dream with next to zero chance of happening). In year six? Fully legitimate expectation. And? It’s still right there. Now, if they lose out, or only beat OSU is that a reason for concern? Absolutely. However, I see that as likely as having won 8 games in year two of the MacIntyre era.

      Mac expects to win every game. He coaches to win every game. We’ve seen his emotions on his sleeve for six years now. Crying after big wins; yelling and screaming amidst heartbreaking losses. He cares. He’s not coaching “not to lose”. If you’re a competitor – and dude is – that is an oxymoron, and any competitor knows that.

      Now, does that mean you sometimes might make a call you wish you had not? Nope. You make decisions in the moment, and when they work, you’re a genius. When they don’t, you’re a goat (See Petersen vs. Oregon, or Crystobal vs. Stanford). But, to think those decisions are based – whether knowingly or unconsciously – on being ok w/ mediocrity, and/or a fear/trying not to lose? I’d say that’s not understanding the character of a competitor. And, Mac’s a competitor. His team is full of competitors, and so is his staff (coaches and admin too). It’s in his DNA, and it permeates his program. Much like in mine, or probably even in yours.

      As to his ability to make CU a perennial power? There’s no reason I can point to that he cannot. All he’s done is bring this program out of the ashes, to a point where they can go toe to toe with just about anyone (and seen and/or been involved with many others). Now, would they get completely waxed by the likes of Clemson or ‘Bama? Absolutely. Why? Because those guys put 2/3 of their lines into the NFL every year. In 2016 they got waxed by UW and OSU. They were not at that level. I would argue this team is better than the 2016 version.

      Having said that, I see at least a few guys on the current lines who have NFL potential. Not to mention the linebackers, DB’s and WR’s. And, they may have some more that we have not seen yet. After all, Mac and Co do have a pretty good track record of finding, and developing talent, right? Or, do you dispute that point, too?

      Now, if they can just get some more “man children” who’re ready to play on the line/s at 18-19yrs old, vs. 20-21? That will go a long way to moving this team from pretty good/good to really good/great.

      I believe Mac can get us there. I said this year would teach us all a lot more about this staff’s ability to do that (be more than just a turnaround story, but actually have the ability to sustain success) and put to rest whether 2016 was an anomaly, or really a showing of what these guys can do consistently. 8-4 or 9-3 should help put another arrow in the quiver of the “Mac and Co are legit” story. 7-5 splits the difference; and I’d be disappointed, but depending on how/why that played out would be part of the analysis. 6-6 at this point, and I’d be a bit worried about the future. But, my money’s on 8-4 or 9-3. Shall we put a beer on it?

      Go Buffs

  9. The narrative you’ve presented for the new normal is spot on and this team will have the opportunity to solidify it with our remaining schedule. I’ve seen comparisons of this team with the 1987 team (my frosh year), when we started the slow climb into being a solid fixture in the Top 20. Your comment about worst to first not being a pattern for success is also spot on. We now have the foundation in place to win 2 out of 3, 3 out of the last 4 with half the teams in this conference. We’ll take a huge step again next year, as I feel this team is ahead of schedule. I remember when we first joined this conference, we didn’t have close to the number of skill players to need to be somewhat competitive – not even close. We’ve closed that gap and now have players getting noticed nationally and that will continue. It’s obvious the next step will require usto start landing better players on the line (as was required with the ‘’87 team) – and we will. Our teams in the 90s had some of the best lines on both sides of the ball, so history shows it is possible. I was worried about our play calling at the beginning of the year, but our players were able to hide it by ‘making the first guy miss’ or running through arm tackles. Our stats were inflated with tons of YAC numbers. The playing calling really hasn’t changed since the start of the year – just the talent on the other side of the ball. Utah did to U$C what we all were hoping we could do (and would have done with even an average OL). It was disappointing, but also promising, as I know we will get there soon, which will enable us to win one of these games against ‘blue bloods’ of the Pac12.

    Next step – win this Saturday and get bowl eligible. Next step – take each week one at a time as they have been doing and increase the bowl game status. After that – focus on how to start getting the Oline back to how it was in the 90s.

    Go Buffs!

  10. Hear hear, Stu!

    Nothing better than the same people calling for coaches’ heads who’ve likely never coached a game of football in their lives. Not even for their kids’ peewee leagues.

    And Vk, what a quick turnaround on your boy Chev. What happened to “this isn’t the whole offense, we haven’t seen anything yet”? Oh right. Mac makes all the offensive game plans and calls. Ok.

    I bet the best defense in the Pac 12, and one of the best in the country had something to do with that performance yesterday.

    Even Petersen said “yeah, their game plan surprised us. They are a tempo team, we like to be the guys that grind it out on the ground, and that’s what they were working on doing.” Interesting. Congrats to Chev for trying something new. Dude isn’t dumb. Neither is Mac. And speaking of Mac, again he is showing that maybe 2016 wasn’t all leavitt. Mac knows defense, and DJ appears to as well (along with the rest of the staff).

    Lots of games left. I will look forward to seeing a handful more wins for CU.

    I felt 8-4 or 9-3 was a legit expectation for this year. It still is.

    Go Buffs

  11. Good thoughts Stuart!

    I speak only for myself, but would guess many agree… it isn’t that we lost to USC and Washington, but HOW we lost. USC game plan (was there one?) was atrocious for most of the game pretending we were going to beat SC’s speedy defense to the edges. Then, at Washington, the opening drive was creative and went directly AT them and resulted in a TD. So how did this coaching staff respond? By NOT doing it any more during the game. We had what?.. three tight-end catches in the first quarter, only to never target them again?? Dreadful.

    Yes, back in the summer 5 and 2 sounded good. However, since then, we all witnessed a much better team take the field and go 5-0. Now they are 5-2, but not because of the players. Lack of fight from the head coach and O Coordinator, imo. The D played well enough at both SC and Wash to win if the O wasn’t dialing up three-and-outs. Just frustrating.

    But I will take your words to heart. Rip the bandaid off, and move on. Go Buffs!

    1. This summarizes my sentiments well. It is the HOW that is the concern and the pattern of behavior in similar games that I want to see change in the big games. Great fight, great effort by players. Glad to be 5-2. And, in all probability, 6-2 and bowl eligible next Saturday night. It is time to move forward and appreciate the positives. Go Buffs!!!

  12. Yeah everyone should be happy we are 5-2 and I am but I am extremely disappointed we arent 6-1 having beat the PAC 12 standard bearer when all it would have taken was a little out of the box cleverness by the “cautious coaches.” I am a firm believer in the Satchel Paige practice of not looking back because something might be gaining on you. That something is already here. The playbook and the play calling.
    This game wasnt lost in the 4th qtr or because of any 4th downs.. It was lost in our first 2 trips to the red zone, and thereafter where the coaches froze up and the ghost of Lindgren descended onto the field. We actually called a time out on 3rd and goal the first time and still came up with the hand off into the middle of the best D line in the PAC 12. So forget Lindgren. I am actually ready to get off his back. If this decision was made during a TO it had to be MM’s call making me think all the brain dead offensive strategy has been his fault all along.
    And the second trip. Viska’s success with the wildcat had ended before this game. Every DC knows just like a pop warner DE that when they see that its time to “pin your ears back” when there is no chance the wildcat is going to throw the ball or hand it off. The rest of the game was more of the same. THAT is what lost the game.
    If this situation doesnt change we may have trouble beating Oregon State. Lindgren would actually be a factor helping out his DC. The coaches may have painted themselves in a corner. Bringing new things to the O in a weeks worth of practice isnt easy. Putting in some roll outs by Montez and some double moves by the WRs wouldnt be that hard.
    My wife is from Nebraska and during the 5 to 10 minutes of commercials during changes of possession we would flip to the husker game. I saw one play where Martinez faked a throw while doing a behind the back hand off for a jet sweep in the opposite direction that went for a big gain.
    And I am going to do my best to get to the OSU game in person. Doesnt mean I am going to be happy about things that arent that hard to fix.

  13. Stuart, thank you for this post! You are 100% right, Buff fans have a lot to be thankful for and should be excited about the future of this program! I was feeling sorry for myself after that loss but you put things back in perspective!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *