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Random Thoughts – Volume XIX – April 7, 2019

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … Does CU have a winning record or a losing record all-time against this year’s Final Four participants (Auburn, Virginia, Michigan State and Texas Tech)?

CU’s NIT run a Springboard to the 2019-2020 season? … 

My first reaction to Colorado making a run to the semi-finals of the Pac-12 tournament, and into the third round of the NIT Tournament was that the success at the end of the 2018-19 season would be a great springboard towards success in 2019-2020.

After all, the 2010-11 Buffs translated a run to the NIT semi-finals into a second-round NCAA appearance in 2011-12, CU’s first appearance in the Big Dance in nine years.

So, it came as a surprise to me when Ron Ward, a regular poster on BuffStampede and BuffNation, posted the following as to what happened to the NIT champion the following season:

The past 10 not counting Texas this year

2019 – Texas – ?????
2018 – Penn State – No Post Season
2017 – TCU – Lost in 1st round of NCAA
2016 – George Washington – Lost in 2nd Round of the CBI
2015 – Stanford – No Post season
2014 – Minnesota – No Post Season
2013 – Baylor – Lost in the sweet 16 in the NCAA
2012 – Stanford – Lost in 2nd round of the NIT
2011 – Wichita State – Lost in 1st round of NCAA
2010 – Dayton – Lost in 1st round of the NIT
2009 – Penn State – No Post Season

4 – no post season
3 – NCAA
2 – NIT
1 – CBI

When expanded out to include all of the teams who made it to New York (including CU in 2011), Ron found the following:

Of the 40 that made it to NYC:

NCAA – 16
NIT – 7
CBI – 3
Vegas 16 – 1
No post season 13

So … only just over half of the teams in the past ten years which made it to New York for the NIT semi-finals made it to the NCAA or NIT the following year, with almost a third of the teams not making the post-season at all.

Not the numbers I expected.

While those numbers are less than encouraging, you still have to like CU’s chances next spring. Assuming that everyone comes back (Tyler Bey could test the NBA waters, but it sounds as if the signs are his returning next season) and stays healthy (McKinley Wright and Dallas Walton come back 100% … and no one else gets hurt), this team has the talent to get to the Tournament.

Reading the Tea Leaves at Running Back …

I haven’t taken any courses in Tasseography, which is the fancy term for reading tea leaves.

I consider myself more of a reading-between-the-lines kind of guy.

Whatever the way you look at the announcement of Beau Bisharat moving from running back to tight end, you have to see it as a positive … for both position groups.

Bisharat entered the spring as one of six scholarship running backs on the roster, and the only upperclassman. Bisharat was the only returning back with any carries of note on his resume, with 21 carries for 143 yards in 2018 (Alex Fontenot had 11 carries for 43 yards last year – none in Pac-12 play).

Both head coach Mel Tucker and offensive coordinator Jay Johnson have talked about having a balanced offense, which, of course, requires a strong rushing attack.

Both head coach Mel Tucker and offensive coordinator Jay Johnson have talked about using multiple backs, rather than relying upon one back to be the bell cow for the CU offense.

This being the case, it would stand to reason that the CU coaching staff would want to have as many running backs available as possible, especially the one – the only one – with playing experience.

Unless … the underclassmen are doing well enough so as to make Beau Bisharat expendable.

It’s also encouraging for the tight end position for Beau Bisharat to join its ranks.

First, because it demonstrates the determination of the new coaching staff to include the tight ends in the offense.

“We’re just seeing who can help us at the position,” Tucker said. “We’re going to use a tight end in our offense. We’d like to use a couple of them in a game at one time if we can. The more the merrier.”

Second, because the move can help get Bisharat on to the field of play. While the senior hasn’t had many opportunities (playing behind Phillip Lindsay and Travon McMillian the past few seasons), Bisharat has been a demon on special teams.

Bisharat led the team in special team points last season (points given for categories like tackles, knockdown blocks, and forced fair catches). Bisharat also led the team in special team points in 2017 (and was seventh on the team as a freshman in 2016).

It’s clear that Bisharat is a team player, sacrificing his body on a weekly basis on special teams.

It’s time to get his 6’2″, 225-pound frame onto the field with the offense.

A win-win for both the running backs and the tight ends …

Archive Games of the Week … 

To help you get through the off-season, I thought I would bring back some memories. Over the next few months, we’ll look back over the 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004 seasons … 30, 25, 20 and 15 years ago. This week: Game Three from each of those seasons.

Seems like only yesterday …

— 1989 – Game Three … No. 8 Colorado 38, No. 10 Illinois 7 … The Illini had a heralded quarterback in Jeff George, but the Buffs had two quarterbacks. One was Darian Hagan, who led the Buffs to a dominating victory on the field. The second was Sal Aunese, who watched his final game from the press box. Aunese died the following week, sending the Buffs on a quest to get to the Orange Bowl …

(I inadvertently skipped Game Two of the 1989 season last week) … No. 9 Colorado 45, Colorado State 20 … Colorado State, under new head coach Earle Bruce, raced out to a 14-7 first quarter lead against the heavily-favored Buffs. It would take an offensive explosion on the part of the Buffs in the second and third quarters to finally pull away from the Rams, winning 45-20.

— 1994 – Game Three … No. 7 Colorado 27, No. 4 Michigan 26 … “The Miracle at Michigan” … While there is much to be said about the final six seconds of the 1994 Colorado/Michigan game, the set-up is equally important. Both teams had the opportunity to dominate the game, but both fell short. (Story includes, of course, the highlights from Keith Jackson’s immortal call: “Caught! Touchdown!! Caught by Westbrook for a touchdown!! Incredible!!!”).

In case you don’t want to have to click on the above link to get your Stewart-to-Westbrook fix, here it is:

— 1999 – Game Three … Colorado 51, Kansas 17 … Colorado continued to distance itself from the opening game debacle against Colorado State, raising its record to 2-1 (1-0 in Big 12 play) by dismantling Kansas, 51-17. Scoring over 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1923, the Buffs scored on their opening drive and never looked back.

— 2004 – Game Three … Colorado 52, North Texas 21 … After going almost two complete games without an offensive touchdown, Colorado put up 586 yards in total offense in putting away North Texas, 52-21. In posting a 3-0 record for the first time since 1998, the Buffs’ offense finally clicked.  After spotting North Texas early 7-0 and 14-7 leads, the Buffs dominated.

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … Does CU have a winning record or a losing record all-time against this year’s Final Four participants (Auburn, Virginia, Michigan State and Texas Tech)?

Answer … Colorado has never played Virginia, has a 3-0 record all-time against Auburn (including back-to-back wins under Tad Boyle in 2014-15), and a 1-3 record against Michigan State (including a 79-64 loss in the 2003 NCAA tournament).

Texas Tech, of course, was a Big 12 rival, and the Buffs and Red Raiders have played 31 times, with CU holding an 18-13 advantage, the last being a 71-68 win in Tad Boyle’s first season at Colorado.

So, Colorado is 22-16 all-time against teams which made it to this year’s Final Four … including a 3-0 record under Tad Boyle.

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4 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Vol. XIX”

  1. The NIT analysis may be flawed. !st have to look at how many of the NIT teams were senior loaded, so they were weak next year vs. undergrads who were excited to play better the next year.

  2. As Mel’s reign moves on the tasseography tells me his proclamation of “all jobs are open” is bonafide. I would have thought Bisharat’s prowess at blocking on special teams would have translated to pass protection that might have saved him to his favorite position. Without him, maybe employing the 2 back set might help in that regard.
    I dont expect any wholesale changes in the starting positions but it appears there may be a few surprises. I have seen too many coaches trying to catch up that were running scared and afraid to make any changes. I dont see Mel as one of them. My optimism for this fall is rising.

    1. Randomness it’s a blast.

      Changes? Upgrades? Hope so.

      Peruse the depth chart for the Cal Game.

      https://static.cubuffs.com/custompages/football/2018/depth_chart.pdf

      What do you think? Mickey and the seniors are gone. Some pretty good and experience coming back. And some new big guys coming in. And overall new talent coming in. Especially the coaching staff. It will be very interesting to see how the Oline and the Dline depth charts end up.

      21 weeks…………………..Buffalo up..

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