Random Thoughts – Vol. I – Non-conference scheduling/Attendance issues

Pac-12 non-conference scheduling

The Jon Wilner humorous tweet about the retention of Clay Helton by USC athletic director Mike Bohn: “USC’s schedule in 2020: Sept. 5: Alabama Sept. 6: Helton Watch begins” got me to thinking:

-We know Colorado has a number of Power-Five non-conference opponents coming up in the 2020’s, but how about the rest of the Pac-12?

According to FBSchedules.com

  • Colorado (18) … Texas A&M (’20 & ’21); Minnesota (’21 & ’22); TCU (’22 & ’23); Nebraska (’23 & ’24); Georgia Tech (’25 & ’26); Missouri (’25 & ’30); Northwestern (’26 & ’27); Kansas State (’27 & ’28); Florida (’28 & ’29);
  • Stanford (12) … Notre Dame (’20; ’21; ’22; ’23 & ’24); Kansas State (’21); Vanderbilt (’21 & ’27); TCU (’24 & ’27); Boston College (’28 & ’29);
  • Oregon (11) … Ohio State (’20 & ’21); Georgia (’22); Texas Tech (’22 & ’23); Oklahoma State (’25 & ’26); Baylor (’27 & ’28); Michigan State (’29 & ’30);
  • Arizona State (10) … Oklahoma State (’22 & ’23); Mississippi State (’24 & ’25); Texas A&M (’26 & ’27); Florida (’28 & ’31); LSU (’29 & ’30);
  • USC (10) … Alabama (’20); Notre Dame (’20; ’21; ’22: ’23; ’24; ’25; & ’26); Ole Miss (’25 & ’26)
  • California (9) … TCU (’20 & ’21); Notre Dame (’22); Auburn (’23 & ’24); Florida (’26 & ’27); Minnesota (’28 & ’29)
  • Arizona (9) … Texas Tech (’20); Mississippi State (’22 & ’23); Kansas State (’24 & ’25); Nebraska (’28 & ’31); Virginia Tech (’29 & ’30);
  • UCLA (8) … LSU (’21 & ’24); Georgia (’25 & ’26); Auburn (’27 & ’28); Wisconsin (’29 & ’30);
  • Oregon State (7) … Oklahoma State (’20); Purdue (’21 & ’24); Texas Tech (’25 & ’26); Ole Miss (’27 & ’30)
  • Utah (6) … Florida (’22 & ’23); Baylor (’23 & ’24); Arkansas (’26 & ’28);
  • Washington (6) … Michigan (’20 & ’21); Ohio State (’24 & ’25); Michigan State (’28 & ’31);
  • Washington State (6) …. Wisconsin (’22 & ’23); Kansas State (’26 & ’29); Kansas (’27 & ’28);

While not all of the non-conference calendars have been completed, the discrepancy between the CU schedule, and the schedules of many of the other Pac-12 teams, is significant.

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal was asked after the Pac-12 title game whether it was a mistake for the Ducks to schedule a game against Auburn to open the season. “They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way we’re going to go away from that mentality to try to schedule down to appease — whatever, I guess I should stop there before I get in trouble, right?” Cristobal said.

And Oregon’s upcoming non-conference schedule has nothing on CU’s.

If Mel Tucker can bring about the renaissance of CU football that many of us expect, The Rise will be accomplished by playing one of the toughest – if not the toughest – schedule in the Pac-12 conference.

As Bill McCartney said, “In order to be the best, you have to play the best”.

Suffice it to say, CU is positioned to be the best.

Taking Attendance – Part One

In six home games this fall, CU attracted 297,435 fans, with a high of 52,829 for the Nebraska game. That works out to an average of 49,572 per game, just shy of averaging a sellout (50,183) in Mel Tucker’s first season at Colorado.

In a season where empty seats were a story throughout the Pac-12 and the nation (see: “Decline in Pac-12 attendance outpaces the drops in other Power Five conferences” from Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News, and “College football’s troubles will be punctuated with more empty seats in Pac-12 title game” from John Canzano of the Oregonian), CU bucked the trend.

Pac-12 attendance, by percentage of stadium capacity:

  • 1. Utah, 101%
  • 2. Colorado, 99%
  • Oregon, 99%
  • 4. Washington, 97%
  • 5. Washington State, 87%
  • Arizona State, 87%
  • 7. USC, 77%
  • 8. Oregon State, 75%
  • 9. Stanford, 73%
  • 10. Arizona, 71%
  • 11. California, 68%
  • 12. UCLA, 54%

Considering that the two teams sandwiched between the Buffs are the two teams which won their respective divisions this fall (those two “rabid” fan bases, though, only brought 38,679 to the Pac-12 title game in Santa Clara), CU’s attendance numbers are impressive.

One cautionary note, however. The 2019 home schedule not only included a sea of red for the Nebraska game, there were fan-enticing games against Air Force, USC, and Washington. In 2020, however, the home slate is not as exciting. The only non-conference home game is against Fresno State, with home Pac-12 games against Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon, Utah, and Washington State.

If CU can average close to 50,000 per home game in 2020, it will be due to the Buffs posting some “W’s” in the standings.

All in favor?

Taking Attendance – Part Two

Events Center attendance averages in the Tad Boyle era:

  • 2010-11 – Record: 24-14 – Home attendance average: 7,014
  • 2011-12 – Record: 24-12 – Home attendance average: 7,804
  • 2012-13 – Record: 21-12 – Home attendance average: 10,392
  • 2013-14 – Record: 23-12 – Home attendance average: 9,635
  • 2014-15 – Record: 16-18 – Home attendance average: 9,135
  • 2015-16 – Record: 22-12 – Home attendance average: 8,540
  • 2016-17 – Record: 19-15 – Home attendance average: 7,772
  • 2017-18 – Record: 17-15 – Home attendance average: 7,449
  • 2018-19 – Record: 23-13 – Home attendance average: 6,868

In four home games this season, the Colorado men’s basketball team has averaged 6,489 in attendance. Granted, the home slate so far has not been a huge draw, and attendance will increase when Pac-12 conference play begins … but, c’mon, people, get to the games!

Some fans might not understand it (see below), but we are right smack-dab in the middle of the “Golden Era” of CU men’s basketball, with a roster that may be one of the best Tad Boyle has put on the court … and the Events Center is only a little over half full?


Speaking of the Golden Era … 

— Another underwhelming team and year which means miss the NCAA and go to the NIT with these players! My guess we maybe get to .500 in league. We are soft, unfocused and not very good.

— I agree and have been ready for a new basketball coach for a few years. I am so tired of Boyle’s teams’ poor play on the road.

— Obviously he doesn’t know how to coach offense….we have had no offense for 10 years, unless it is in transition.

— This is big boy basketball and Colorado is no where close with talent or coaching.

Comments from a Nebraska message board, after the Cornhuskers fell behind 40-11 to Creighton – Creighton! – on their way to a 95-76 loss?


These, of course, are the Buff faithful venting after CU lost to No. 2 Kansas on the road, 72-58.

Was it an impressive performance by the Buffs? Not even close. CU shot 30% from the field, and, for the third straight game, committed 17 turnovers. That many turnovers might not get you beat against the likes of Loyola-Marymount, but it’s suicide on the road against the nation’s No. 2 team.

That being said, CU was rated by the KenPom as the No. 33 team in the nation. After the loss to No. 2 Kansas on the road … CU was rated by KenPom as the No. 33 team in the nation.

To those who are tired of a coach who:

  • has posted six of of the ten 20-win seasons in school history;
  • the only coach to lead CU to seven consecutive post-season appearances;
  • has taken the Buffs to the NCAA tournament four times, after the Buffs had been to the tournament twice … in 40 years;
  • has 17 wins over ranked teams, representing 28% of the 61 total wins CU has over ranked teams in school history;
  • is 9-0 in the first round of conference tournaments;
  • has a 22-16 post-season record (.579) – both the most wins and best winning percentage in school history;
  • has put six Buffs into the NBA; and
  • has graduated every single one of the 30 Buffs who have stayed with the program to their senior season

I say …

Who the hell do you think CU is going to find that is going to do a better job at the University of Colorado than has Tad Boyle?


7 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Vol. I”

  1. Yes Tad is the best coach CU has ever had
    Yes no one else is going to come to CU that’s better without channeling Red Auerbach.
    Yes its nice to have a 20 win season occasionally and make the dance even though its a first game exit.
    Its still frustrating to be running in place year after year and never see the next level, especially when it doesnt seem that hard to attain if Tad’s teams would ever adopt a modicum of ball security, execution on offense and a decent consistent shooting percentage.
    Just making the sweet 16 once would be very sweet and it doesnt seem that far away with what Tad has already brought.
    Ever since he let Ski Booker hog the ball even when he was doing more 3 for 17s than getting in the zone I have bemoaned the Buff O. Since then their have been some great individual talents who have carried their load of scoring but its time to increase the developement of the team game on O.

  2. Ya the kornholers helped the attendance. And boomed the Boulder economy. And they lost. How sweet it is.

    A C+ from CBS stating that with a 5th year qb and Viska he should have done better. Sheesh. Viska was hurt and missed games. The the 5th year qb had the tendencies of a freshman qb. The DB contingent was mostly inexperienced. The Dline was a work in progress and they improved as did the Oline Lack of knowledge by those goofs.

    Now the schedule next year? Think it looks pretty good…………at home…………And as a whole it is formidable.
    At CSU
    At A&M
    At Arizona
    At Stanford
    At USC
    At Washington


    That home looks pretty good
    Both division winners

    But hey can the Mighty Buffs get 4 wins at home? Plus at CSU. And find another one?

    I think they can.

    HCMT played a lot of young guys this year. Experience counts. Don’t forget the RSF. There are some good ones.

    This recruiting class will have a lot of them on the two deep. Cause they are talented.

    After 3 years of a 5 and 7 quarterback the only place to go is up. That frosh qb enrolling in January has my hopes high that things have changed. Nothing at all against Montez. He did the best he could with the oline, the qb coaches and the OC’s he had.

    Mighty Buffs

    Note: Wonder who the last 5 recruits are gonna be? What positions? 10 days.

    1. You know what’s funny about the c+ he got? These are probably the same people that predicted we would go 3-9. Then turn around and say we should have done better. Now should we have done better? Yes, the 3 home losses are all very regrettable. But it’s still the best start to a new coaching tenure at CU in the last 20 years so whatever.

  3. I wish Tad would turn the offensive over to an assn’t coach, and let the mdesign the plays and sets. We have not had a half court offense in years, and they still havn’;t learned how to feed the pick and roll after all these years. Doing it a few times when we could do it 20 times per game is a shame. Who would ever stop Evan or Dallas on a good PnR?

  4. To a large extent, Boyle has become a victim of his own success. I’ve paid attention to Buff basketball on and off since the 80s and excluding a bright spot here or there (Chanucy), Boyle has brought Men’s basketball out of the stone ages. Now having said that, Boyle is far from being without flaws. There is a lot of sloppy offense (guys jacking up 3s who have no business shooting 3s, repeated bad passes that result in turnovers) that would get guys pulled if they made comparably bad plays on defense. But compared to what was going on before, Boyle can have a lifetime contract as far as I’m concerned.

    As far as attendance goes, our family had a couple of season basketball tickets that we let go this year. The main problem is that there are more and more later starts, particularly in the middle of the week. I’m (sort of) willing to overlook this type of scheduling in football because there are fewer games, but I’m not happy about that either. What’s optimal for TV is not optimal for people going to the games in person.

    As far as competing with Kansas goes, anybody watching the game had to notice the discrepancy between our big guys and theirs. It would take a lot of money to recruit guys like that into CU. For me personally, I think it would be a mistake for the Buffs to commit to all that is necessary (both clean and dirty) to gain equal footing with Kansas or Arizona or other elite basketball programs. In my opinion, it’s just too big of an investment and there are other priorities.

  5. Question: “Who the hell do you think CU is going to find that is going to do better at the University of Colorado?”

    Answer: *Rick Pitino.

    Caveat: If by doing better you mean wins/losses only. The dude is a phenomenal coach. However, you would have to accept the public relations bludgeoning that bringing him back from international exile would entail. He would probably accept the CU salary for the chance to repair his image–then bolt after the wins and said repair happens. Sports fans are fickle (if you win).
    Because of all the above, I (and Rick George, his bosses and probably half of the sane fan base) should, and of course will, pass.

    Appreciate Tad and get your fanny to the games.

    * of course I am being facetious.

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