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“The Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”

The above quote is attributed to Albert Einstein, though there is no evidence he actually said it.

Nonetheless, the “definition” is widely known, and, like many quotable quotes, can be applied to college football.

In the context of Colorado football, it applies to the Buffs’ attempt to pick up bowl eligibility. Seven times in the past 12 months, the Buffs have run onto the field with five wins, needing a win to secure bowl eligibility.

Seven times, the Buffs have walked off the field with a loss.

Not to spend too much time belaboring the tragedy which has become the CU football program, but here is the roll call of pain from the last year of frustration:

  • November 4, 2017 – Arizona State 41, Colorado 30. The 5-4 Buffs went on the road to face the 4-4 Sun Devils. The Buffs took a 27-17 lead into the fourth quarter, but were out-scored by the Sun Devils, 24-3, in the final 15 minutes;
  • November 11, 2017 – No. 15 USC 38, Colorado 24. The Buffs were never in this one. It was 20-0 at halftime, and 27-0 before the Buffs found the scoreboard. CU’s senior class limped out of Folsom Field with a 5-6 record, and one more chance at a bowl;
  • November 25, 2017 – Utah 34, Colorado 13. The Buffs had a bye week to prepare for the regular season finale. Both teams were 5-6, both needed a win to earn a bowl bid. The Utes raced to a 28-0 halftime lead, picked up win No. 6, and went bowling. Th Buffs finished the 2017 season with a 5-7 (2-7) record;
  • October 13, 2018 – USC 31, No. 19 Colorado 20. The Buffs carried a 5-0 record into the Coliseum, and had a 7-0 lead against the 3-2 Trojans early in the second quarter. USC then scored the next 28 points, and the Buffs were never within two scores again;
  • October 20, 2018 – Washington 27, Colorado 13. The first of three straight “missed opportunity” games. Buffs settle for a field goal late in the second quarter after an interception gives the ball to the offense at the UW nine-yard line. Buffs stay within a score until final two minutes, but never make the big play which could have brought about an upset;
  • October 27, 2018 – Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 – OT. No Buff fan will forget this game anytime soon. Any one of 15 plays in the second half would have clinched a victory, but the Buffs fall to a Beaver team which hadn’t beaten an FBS team in two years; and
  • November 2, 2018 – Arizona 42, Colorado 34 – Buffs have a chance to take a 21-0 lead early, when again a turnover inside the opposition ten yard line fails to result in a touchdown. Buffs fall to 5-4 after a 5-0 start.

The Arizona game, for those Buff fans willing to stay up late on a Friday night (8:45 p.m., MT, kickoff) was just the most recent in a string of frustrating games.

The game started off as well as any CU fan could have hoped. A three-and-out forced by the Buff defense, followed by a 59-yard punt return by Ronnie Blackmon. Set up at the Arizona 14-yard line just 63 seconds into the game, the Buff offense had a chance to make an early statement. Instead, the Buffs turn the ball over on a failed attempt on fourth-and-two at the Arizona eight yard line.

Undeterred, the Buff defense forced another three-and-out, with the offense then putting together in impressive 11-play, 66-yard drive, capped by an eight-yard K.D. Nixon touchdown run.

Arizona then messed up its kickoff return, opening the ensuing drive at its seven yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Rick Gamboa forced a fumble, recovered by Nate Landman at the Arizona seven yard line.

Did the Buffs punch it in, taking a 14-0 lead?

Nope. Three plays netted zero yards, resulting in a 25-yard field goal by CU’s fourth-string kicker (yes, fourth-string) Tyler Francis.

The first quarter scoreboard read Colorado 10, Arizona 0 … but it already felt like the Buffs had squandered their best chance at winning the game.

“It’s not a question of effort or of guys going hard, it’s just what’s killing us, dragging us down, is when those opportunities to make plays present themselves, we have to take advantage,” Buff quarterback Steven Montez said. “There was a fade at the very beginning of the game (to Kabion Ento, on third-and-goal on CU’s third possession) that I missed wide. That’s on me. I just missed a throw. It was there, the fade was there, the opportunity was there to score a touchdown. We just didn’t execute. We’ve got to start executing if we want to have a chance to win these close games.”

The Buff defense made Kahlil Tate a household name in 2017, allowing Tate to run for an FBS-record (for quarterbacks) 327 yards. In Tucson, Tate was held to 15 yards rushing … but posted 350 yards passing with five touchdown passes instead.

To be fair, the CU secondary is a patchwork of players, many of whom weren’t even supposed to be seeing extended playing time this fall. Against Colorado State in the opener, the Buff secondary was as follows: cornerbacks Delrick Abrams and Dante Wigley; senior safeties Nick Fisher and Evan Worthington; and Buff backer Jacob Callier, with presumed star-in-waiting Chris Miller getting healthy.

Jacob Callier and Chris Miller have been lost for the season with injuries. Evan Worthington sat out the Arizona game with a concussion. Against Arizona, the Buffs started sophomore Derrion Rakestraw at safety … who had been on the field for all of 19 plays this season before Worthington went out in the second half of the Oregon State game. Another player receiving his first start was sophomore cornerback Mehki Blackmon, who had 46 plays of experience against Pac-12 competition.

No excuses, but, if you are looking for a reason why Colorado made Kahlil Tate look like Peyton Manning … look no further than the participation chart from the CU secondary.

And now Washington State’s Gardner Minshew and Utah’s Tyler Huntley coming to Boulder … any reason to expect anything different from these Buffs?

Any reason not to expect the Buffs to play well … for awhile … but fail to take advantage of opportunities on offense?

Any reason not to expect the Buff defense to eventually wear down … with the Buffs failing – again – to pick up win No. 6?

The Buffs will spend the next two weeks saying the right things. Promises will be made to shore up the leaky secondary. Promises will be made about opening up the offense and taking more chances downfield. Statements will be made that the Buffs haven’t given up on the season, and still have much to play for.

The thing is … There is still much to play for.

On paper, the Buffs can still finish 8-4, and go to a good bowl game. If there is anything predictable about the Pac-12 South division in 2018, is that it is unpredictable. Anyone can beat anyone in the Pac-12 this season.

That being said: Does anyone still believe that an 8-4 record for Colorado a possibility?

Does anyone believe that, having failed in their past seven attempts to pick up win No. 6, that the Buffs will find a way to pick up a win over the next three games?

Two home games against ranked teams – Washington State and Utah – will likely leave the Buffs, once 5-0, with a 5-6 record.

As was the case in 2017, the Buffs will then take to the road for the regular season finale with a chance, against Cal, to salvage the season with a win and bowl eligibility.

Same song, different verse.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Will the Buffs break their pattern? Or will the seven-game losing streak with five wins on the board become a ten game losing streak by season’s end?

Will that, in turn, lead to a change in the CU coaching staff?

Would the expectation of anything different be … insane?

Now, just to leave you with a little levity, I give you a GEICO ad, the “When you are in a horror movie, you make bad decisions. That’s what you do” version. Not entirely applicable to CU’s plight, but, then again …

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18 Replies to “The Definition of Insanity …”

  1. No one is talking about the elephant in the room. How many more wins would we have with a qb that actually reads defenses beyond the first read, doesn’t give up on plays, and sees the field. While he has all the physical skills, it takes more to win critical downs. Apparently none of the qbs have those skills either .
    Just watch the Washington state qb and wonder what could be.

  2. Also I know practically an impossible sell in Colorado…but VJ is obviously a bright guy to have made it as HC in the NFL in the first place. No doubt he is overmatched….he should have had a stop as HC in college, preferably CU. So we can still do this…just in the wrong order. I would take VJ over MAC for the Buffs any day of the week.

  3. Not sure how I feel, but I have to imagine Eric B. is back on the radar after what he is going w/Reid in KC. I have no idea about him….but if he’s smart and learned from Andy than I may be wiling to give him a chance (even after the Embree debacle….similar situation, hopefully different people).

  4. Rick George Strategic plan.
    Strategic intent 1
    Focal point 1.1.1 Win at least 1 pac 12 championship in football between 2017 and 2019

    Clearly a tough goal. But it is the first focal point of the first of the three strategic intents.
    Clearly 6 years as COO of the lead division of a company is enough time to turn it around especially when give new facilities, open check book on staff, increased support in all areas even if it can be viewed as “starting from a dumpster fire.

    5 years of losing money. 1 year of profit.

    Not even an acceptable turnaround actually.

    In the 6 year operation of this division the COO clearly blamed others (the employees) for the failures which in the 9 critical critical moments each year which so far have resulted in 37 failures and 14 successes. With 8 of those success coming in a single year. 5 out of 6 years this division has finished at the bottom of the group of competitors it is most closely associated with. This would not be tolerated in a business anywhere or anytime.

    The main stakeholder was fooled into believing that the leader of this division was real after 2016. A large mistake was made with an extension. Since then the truth has been visible to all.
    Some refuse to see it. The main stakeholder sees it.

    Be patient. Only 4 more weeks. Merry Christmas.

    Buffs….Get the sixth. please please please me, oh ya
    Note: Recall when Mac 2 was hired, there was this deek (earache0) who continually harangued the Buff fans about this hire and how brady hoke was going to last longer than Mac. I nicked him hoke-a-joke etc etc. Tremendous word battles. I was right Mac outlasted hoke. But unfortunately I was wrong about Mac 2 because he really is Mac 1/2

    Some say I don’t like Mac. Well I don’t.

    God fearing, family man, loyal blah blah. He is past his prime. Peter is in his office. There is a certain phony air about him. Seen em before. Fired em.

    Note 2: 2016 was a year he could have won. But his “I am coach of the year and you are not” and the tumpkin deal (which he screwed up badly) and the shellacking in the bowl game, and then 2017…the year of the pout…….. He lost. I wish him well. Just be somewhere else.

    Note 3: A flimflam man then a “not ready to be a head coach man” and then flimflam man #2. Mein Gott………………………

  5. Even if we got that mythical 21-0 lead, does anyone believe we still would not have lost that game to Uof A? The coaching would have gone into a shell a little sooner and Tate would have started firing darts and prayers a little sooner and the result would have been the same. I don’t care if the Bufs have a miraculous turn around and win the last 3, the OSU loss sealed Mickey Mac’s fate in my mind. He’s the 10 or 11th best coach in the PAC 12 and that won’t change.

  6. Keeping with the insanity thread, isn’t constantly hiring the wrong guy also doing the same thing and expecting different results? We know the history: Rick did well with McCartney’s players. He recruited well, but… couldn’t sustain success, and bailed. Gary was a great guy, good coach (albeit a .500 coach) but put his foot too firmly in his mouth, among other alleged improprieties. Enter Hawkins, Embree and now MacIntyre.

    As people around here beat the Fire MacIntyre drum, I’m glad that a cooler head prevails as AD at CU.

    No doubt, Rick George is evaluating his options, evaluating the paths he can take, driven by how the rest of this football season plays out.

    From a big-picture standpoint, he’s no doubt asking himself, has our football program achieved our goals of competing for divisional, conference, and national championships? Have they developed a roster capable of competing in the Pac 12? Have they gotten the program to a sustained level of bowl appearances/winning records? Have the student athletes performed off the field as expected, as well as on the field? Are the staff and the program doing their part in promoting the university’s goals and ideals? Is the program positioned for future success? And, although improved, is Mac the guy to take the program to the next level? If he’s not, who is, and can we afford them?

    Some of that is pretty objective, ie: yes, they’ve competed for divisional and conference championships. Yes, the roster is deeper with Pac 12 caliber talent, and gaining experience. Yes, the recruiting has been trending up, and they’ve been competitive in most, if not every Pac 12 game for the last two or three years (except the conference championship). Yes, by and large, the players and coaches represent themselves and the university well, both on and off the field.

    However, they have not gotten to a sustained level of bowl appearances/winning records. Nor, have they won “the big games”. So, why is that? Players? Coaching? Both?

    Was 2016 entirely the Leavitt Factor, or that that defense had 6 players go into the NFL, along w/ a Sr. QB and other key players who made plays when they needed to, to win close games?

    I’m sure Rick will have his opinions. I certainly have mine. Admittedly, his are much more informed than mine. Maybe even more informed than VK’s, but…

    He’ll then need to consider the landscape. In 2012, CU had a head coaching job nobody wanted. The perception was the administration didn’t support the program, and the roster was one of the worst in D1 football, based on their statistics at that time. That’s where you went to kill your career, or at least risk killing your career.

    In 2018? That’s certainly an improved part of the ledger. Nevertheless, who are the potential coaching targets that would want to come to CU? Who would be a fit? How much would they cost to get here, and, can we afford them (along w/ the buyout of Mac)?

    After the 2012 season, there were over 30 new D1 football coaches hired. Of those, roughly 1/3 have posted winning records at their next stops. Gus Malzahn at Auburn has by far the most successful win/loss record. But, I think it’s safe to say two things about Gus 1) no way he’d have ever come to CU then, and 2) he’s likely benefitted greatly from the roster he inherited. He’s trended down since starting, and were his buyout not so massively skewed in his favor, he may be gone after this year.

    Beyond that, the next most successful win/loss record was from Rod Carey, at Northern Illinois. Some might argue that achieving success at a mid-major school is not the same as at a P5 school.

    Still others, despite having an overall winning record at their next stop, most notably Mark Helfrich, and Gary Andersen, subsequently flamed out. Dave Doeren is one example of a guy who seems to have sustained a reasonable level of success. PJ Fleck, a hot up and comer then, did well at Western Michigan, but is finding P5 coaching at MN a tougher row to hoe.

    Others among that group with winning records barely exceeded .500. And, all told, by and large, “most” of those hires could be considered failures, particularly relative to what MacIntyre has done within the context of the level of the rebuilding job that CU faced, and the strides they’ve made since.

    Now, does that mean we have to be satisfied with mediocrity? Absolutely not. And, I don’t think anyone is.

    But, it does warrant a good, strong, objective look at the landscape inside of CU as well as outside, and weigh all the factors. Granted, it’s ok to fire someone just because you don’t like them. VK would clearly fire Mac for that reason, alone. But, that’s not always good business.

    Hiring and firing are the two of the most important decisions any manager ever makes. In College Football, heck, even in the NFL, it’s way more common to see the wrong guy get hired, than the right one. There are myriad reasons for that. And, I’m confident that Rick George is keeping a level head, looking at the entire picture, and will make a decision that he thinks will serve the football program and the school best, both in the near and long-term.

    If it’s my decision? Mac gets another year, even at 5-7 (unless it’s clear the team quits the last three games, which I don’t see happening). I also don’t see 5-7 happening. I think they’ll get at least one more win. Possibly two or three. And, if it’s 8-4? It might be time to talk extension.

    But, without the OSU debacle, 2018 is looking about as it “should” have. Sitting at 6-3, bowl eligible, and still looking at a good shot at winning the south again. As Gary Barnett (another .500 coach) said, ”if you’ve not had a loss like that, you’ve not been coaching long enough” They happen.

    Meanwhile, the roster is loaded with talent, most of whom are juniors and sophomores. If indications are right, the redshirting class is another good one, as is the new 2019 group.
    They’ll have a Sr. QB, and potential Heisman caliber WR, and “hopefully” a much improved O-line; granted, we’ve been hoping for stud O-linemen for a while, but… we may actually have some now; they’re just all freshmen and sophomores.

    So? That’s the world as I see it, were I sitting in Rick George’s office, when I wasn’t spending my time trying to raise money… which is about 80% of his job.

    As always, it’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I’m pulling for Mac and Co, to win out.

    Go Buffs.

    1. Extension? That word should never be associated with Little Mac! Talk about insanity! Even if they run the table. He just got an extension. In my mind running the table to 8-4 would be earning your current paycheck! Extension my a$$!

  7. Does anyone with ties to the program have any insight to whether or not we will make a coaching move? People keep bringing up replacements and I agree he needs to go but I’ll believe it when I see it and we have never been a program that acts on stuff like this when we need to b/c of $$$. I would love for RG to make a statement that mediocrity will not be tolerated by firing Mac2 but does he have admin support to do it?

    1. Early signing period, extra urgency. What will CU admin do? Wait around, let the program wallow in the muck, lose recruits, then eventually make a non-chalant decision on what to do going forward. At least we have several months of speculating on new coaches to look forward to.

  8. Keeping Mac would be insanity.
    Huge coaching red flag….Mac teams never seem to get better through the season, had we played OSU or Arizona in the first 3 weeks we would have won easily.

  9. “Set up at the Arizona 14-yard line just 63 seconds into the game, the Buff offense had a chance to make an early statement. Instead, the Buffs turn the ball over on a failed attempt on fourth-and-two at the Arizona eight yard line.”

    By not getting ANY points, they made a statement alright!

    It’s funny because we used to complain about QB Liufau (due to his paper-thin O-line protection) and Lindgren’s head-scratching play calls. Now it seems we have the identical situation with Montez/weak O-line and head-scratching play calls by Chiverini. The only remaining constant is our Head Coach. Bill McCartney had several bad years, followed by steady improvement and then great footing as a yearly contender. We are seeing no such improvement under MacIntyre, unfortunately. Frustrating.

  10. I will choose to go with the transitive property on this one: if A is greater than B and B is greater than C, then A must be greater than C. A being CU, B as ASU and C is UT. So, there is at least one more win. It is a lock. Math says so.

    Go Buffs

    1. Spock, is that you?

      The news on Huntley (never want to see anyone hurt though) may alter things a bit. With Huntley out and perhaps Laviska in my then, there may be a slight tilting toward Buffs.

  11. Yo Stuart,
    I don’t know if MM has lost the faith of his players yet. But after spending 7 hours on campus and on the hill and downtown yesterday, the was a remarkable lack of CU football gear to be seen. Unlike any other game day this year. It doesn’t look like they care anymore.

    I don’t know if any even bothered to watch the game after last week’s meltdown.

    Another lost season.

    Mark

  12. I have always been a fan of Mac. Even during the rough start but I am officially done. I would like to officially begin the search for a new Coach and I wonder if Jim Leavitt would be interested in coming back.

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