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Random Thoughts –  Busy Week of News Edition – Volume XXVIII

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … Colorado has agreed to play Colorado State in Ft. Collins in 2020, 2024, 2030, and 2034. How far back do you have to go in the series to find the last four games the Buffs have played in Ft. Collins?

Big Week for Boyle’s Boys … 

The first week of June is not usually an important time for collegiate basketball, but the first week of June, 2019, has been a significant one for the University of Colorado:

— First, it was announced this week that Colorado and Kansas had agreed to renew their rivalry, with the Buffs traveling to Lawrence this December, and the Jayhawks returning the favor next winter.

— Then, the NCAA announced that the three-point line would be moving back to 22-feet, the international distance;

— And, finally, the CU men’s 2019-2020 basketball team got some love from the prognosticators, with Jon Wilner naming the Buffs the top team in the Pac-12, and ESPN putting the Buffs into its preseason Top 25.

The significance to the CU program of these developments cannot be understated. If you are a regular CU at the Game poll-watcher, you know that I put in a little basketball trivia into one of the polls this week, which bears repeating here:

— The last time the University of Colorado was in the preseason Top 25 in men’s basketball – make that the only time CU has been in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 – came back in 1969, a full 50 years ago. Or, to put it another way, the last time the Buff basketball program was this highly regarded before the season opener, the Amazing Mets were celebrating a World Series title, the Kansas City Chiefs were on their way to their second Super Bowl appearance in four years, and Neil Armstrong was still plucking ticker tape confetti out of his buzz-cut hair.

If the Buffs are going to make good on these high rankings, and make it to the NCAA tournament, they will need to do more than just repeat their 10-8 Pac-12 regular season performance from a year ago. They will also have to make a splash in non-conference play. The Kansas game on the road, plus a Thanksgiving tournament in Las Vegas and other higher profile games in December, will give the Buffs the RPI ratings strong enough to merit consideration for March Madness.

Which brings us to the other announcement. Playing in the NIT this spring, the Buffs played with the 22-foot international three-point line. CU head coach Tad Boyle was already on record as a proponent:

“The thought is by extending the line, you bring offensive players a little further way from the basket,” said Boyle, “which brings defensive players further away from the basket and allow more freedom of movement and driving opportunities and it will open the game up more.”

Now the rest of the NCAA will be playing the game the Buffs were playing last March. The extension of the three-point line will aide the way Tad Boyle’s teams like to play, perhaps giving CU that last little edge to push the Buffs back into the national spotlight.

A couple more trips to Ft. Collins … 

This week, CU announced that it had agreed to extend the Rocky Mountain Showdown series with four additional games.

The last game to be played in Denver (likely ever) will be this August. The final game of a ten-year contract signed in August, 2009, will be played in Ft. Collins next September. (In case you are wondering, the first game of the contract, played in 2009, was in Boulder, with the eight games in between played in Denver. CU also received other concessions from CSU in the contract, both in terms of being the designated home team in six of the ten games – which has television contract implications – as well as a greater ticket allotment).

The two teams had previously agreed (in a contract signed last year) to play in 2023 (in Boulder) and in Ft. Collins (in 2024). The next four meetings will have the teams meet in Boulder in 2029 and 2033 and in Ft. Collins in 2030 and 2034.

There are those in the Buff Nation who are opposed to playing the Rams ever again, not wanting to give the Lambs any indication that they are on a level playing field with Colorado.

There are others who are okay with playing the Rams, as long as the games are on campus sites, and not in Denver (there was another contingent who were only okay with playing the Rams … if it is a 2-for-1 deal, with two games played in Boulder for every game played in Ft. Collins. But that ain’t happening).

Thoughts?

I have never had a problem with playing CSU, provided: 1) that the games not be in Denver (check); 2) that we don’t play the Rams every year, making the matchups more of an event (check); and 3) that we don’t play CSU the first game of the season (TBD).

It’s already set that the CU/CSU games will be played the first game of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but the Buffs won’t face the Rams until the third game of the 2023 and 2024 seasons (albeit after games against Nebraska).

My argument?

When we play the Rams at any time other than the first game of the season (like the last two years, when CSU played “Week Zero” games), the Buffs are nearly unbeatable, with only one loss to the Rams in such games since the series was renewed in 1983.

Why give the CSU coaching staff the entire month of August to prepare for their Super Bowl? (Which will be the case both in 2019 and 2020).

Hopefully, the Buffs will take care of business against the Rams the next two seasons, finish the “Rocky Mountain Showdown” contract with a six-game winning streak over the Lambs, and shut up the obnoxious fan base from up the road for the next few years.

Rich get Richer …

It was a good week for USC football, as three players with star potential decided to return to/stay with the Trojans.

Mega recruits Bru McCoy (USC-to-Texas-to-USC) and Chris Steele (USC-to-Florida-to-Oregon-to-USC) are back in the fold, while quarterback Matt Fink, who had entered the Transfer Portal, and appeared heading to Illinois, doubled back, deciding to stay with the Trojans.

The faith shown by the 5-star prospects injects credibility that should resonate across Southern California during the 2019-20 recruiting cycle — and particularly, one would think, within the Mater Dei (McCoy) and St. John’s Bosco (Steele) pipelines.

Good news for USC; bad news for the rest of the Pac-12.

And it’s not as if the Trojans needed any extra help.

Or, as Jon Wilner pointed out in: “USC football: Recruiting advantages like no other program, anywhere“: 

Building and maintaining a top-10 program is incredibly difficult. So much has to break right; so many must function as one.

But it’s less difficult at USC — or should be less difficult — than just about anywhere.

The blue bloods located in comparably rich recruiting pools have far greater competition for players.

The blue bloods with comparably less competition for players have small recruiting pools.

The Trojans have seven national titles and seven Heisman Trophy winners and an unlimited supply of local talent … and no other blue bloods within 2,000 miles.

Or however far it is from Mater Dei’s campus to Norman, Ok … 

Clay Helton may not survive the 2019 campaign, but it won’t be for lack of talent on the roster …

Meanwhile, in Lincoln … 

Scott Frost said when he was hired that he would be looking for first class citizens to wear Nebraska uniforms. “Aside from GPA, when we’re recruiting kids, the next thing we’re going to look at is what kind of kid the person is,” Frost said last June.

High standards … unless, of course, the player in question is slated to be a starter.

From KOLN.comHusker running back Maurice Washington was cited by University of Nebraska police on Tuesday morning for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Washington,19, was cited with possession or use of drug paraphernalia after an officer found a pipe with marijuana residue, but no marijuana was found, police said.

The University of Nebraska Athletic Department released the following statement:

“We are aware of the situation and are addressing it.”

Washington is also currently facing charges out of California under the state’s revenge porn law, as well as possession of child pornography.

Washington is slated to be back in court in California on June 12. 

Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska’s 1,000-yard rusher from last season, is gone. If Washington can’t find his way into the locker room this fall, the next running back on the returning roster is Wyatt Mazour, who had 76 yards rushing last season. If Mazour isn’t the answer, junior college transfer Dedrick Mills or true freshman Rahmir Johnson will be called upon to handle the rushing attack.

We’ll see what Scott Frost will do after Washington makes his June court appearance in California.

My bet? Nebraska will continue to “monitor the situation” until say, next January.

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … Colorado has agreed to play Colorado State in Ft. Collins in 2020, 2024, 2030, and 2034. How far back do you have to go in the series to find the last four games the Buffs have played in Ft. Collins?

Answer … You have to go back to 1957 to find the last four games Colorado played in Ft. Collins. The most recent game was in 1996, when No. 5 Colorado took out the defending WAC champs, 48-34. Before that, you have to go back to 1987 (a 29-16 CU win) and 1988 (a 27-23 Buff victory).  Going backwards to find a fourth game in Ft. Collins, you travel back to 1957 (a 20-0 Colorado win – sorry, I don’t have a game story for you on that one!).

The last time Colorado State defeated Colorado in a game played in Ft. Collins? 1955, when the Rams won 10-0. Overall, CU is 23-7-1 all-time v. CSU in games played in Ft. Collins …

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One Reply to “Random Thoughts – Busy Week of News Edition”

  1. Why do I get the feeling football in Nebraska is one big part desperation? Anyone else see their, somewhat honest for a change, TV commercial where they quote…”Its not for everyone”? (snicker)They should follow that up with…”but if you are a highly rated football player who cant keep his hands clean its certainly for you”
    And USC getting a second chance at 3 five star players? Wow. The old adage that USC stands for the university of spoiled children also includes the football players. I was hoping that Ronnie Blackmon might take notice and return to the Buffs but it looks like spoiling someone is the last thing Mel is going to do.

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