Random Thoughts – Volume XIV – March 3, 2019

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … Washington won the Pac-12 title in football, and has captured the regular season championship in men’s basketball. When was the last time a Pac-12 team won titles in both sports in the same season?

Where will the Buffs finish in the Pac-12 race?

With one weekend to go in the regular season, the Pac-12 race is muddled. When the conference teams convene in Las Vegas in ten days, the teams will know their seeds and their opponents.

Right now?

Not so much.

All we know for certain right now is that Washington will be the No. 1 seed, Washington State will be No. 11, and Cal will be No. 12.

After that? Who knows?

The current standings:

  • 1. Washington … 13-2 … Sunday: at Stanford … next weekend: host Oregon schools
  • 2. Arizona State … 10-6 … Sunday: at Oregon State … next weekend: at Arizona
  • 3. Oregon State … 9-6 … Sunday v. Arizona State … next weekend: at Washington schools
  • 4t. UCLA … 9-7 … next weekend: at mountain schools
  • 4t. Utah … 9-7 … next weekend: host L.A. schools
  • 6t. Colorado … 8-8 … next weekend: host L.A. schools
  • 6t. Stanford … 8-8 … Sunday, v. Washington … next weekend: hosting Cal
  • 6t. USC … 8-8 … next weekend: at mountain schools
  • 6t. Oregon … 8-8 … next weekend: at Washington schools
  • 10. Arizona … 8-9 … next weekend: hosts Arizona State
  • 11. Washington State … 4-12 … next weekend: host Oregon schools
  • 12. California … 2-15 … next weekend: at Stanford

The Buffs, with their 71-63 win over Utah, put themselves back into the mix of teams vying for a top four finish, and a bye in next week’s Pac-12 tournament.

“These next games are really important,” said Tad Boyle. “If you lose this game (against Utah), you go to 7-9 and drop yourself out of the muck. At least we’re back in the muck now. The muck is pretty big and the only way to get out of it is to continue to win games.”

Are there ways for the Buffs to get to a No. 4 finish? Yes, but it will take some dominoes falling in the right order. The best bets involve Arizona State beating Oregon State Sunday, with Oregon State getting at least a split in their games against the Washington schools next weekend. This would get both of those teams to 11 conference wins, and the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds.

The Buffs can take the tie-breaker advantage over both USC and UCLA by beating both teams next week. This will move the Buffs to a 10-8 conference record, with UCLA finishing no better than 10-8 (with a win over Utah), and USC finishing better than 9-9 (with a win over Utah).

Colorado fans will need to cheer hard for Washington to beat Stanford (8-8) Sunday. The Cardinal only have two games remaining, including a home finale against Cal next weekend. If Stanford finishes in a tie with Colorado, and both have 10-8 records, Stanford receives the higher seed due to the Cardinal’s victory over Colorado in their only meeting this season.

The opposite holds true for CU v. Oregon in the standings, as the Buffs, by virtue of their win over the Ducks in their only game this season, would win a tie-breaker between those two teams.

Now … to complicate matters further, the above only contemplates CU finishing in a tie with one other team at 10-8. If three or more teams finish with 10-8 records, then other tie-breakers come into play. Suffice it to say that CU fares better in multiple tie-breakers against USC, UCLA, and Oregon, and not as well in tie-breakers with Stanford and Utah.

The shorthand version … Colorado, of course, needs to sweep their final two games, against UCLA next Thursday and against USC next Saturday. The Buffs also need Utah to lose at least one of their games, preferably beating USC and losing to UCLA. Oregon also needs to lose at least one of their games in their Washington road trip … and it wouldn’t hurt if Stanford lost to Washington as well.

All we know for certain right now … if the Buffs don’t win their next two games, they will be playing in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. There are no scenarios under which a 9-9 CU team earns a first round bye.

Book Report … 

Gross understatement: Mel Tucker’s strategies are vital to CU’s success on the field.

But when you are talking about the long term, sustained success of the football program, the folks in the suits have almost as much say as do the guys with the whistles.

Most Buff fans would agree that CU has the right man in place in athletic director Rick George.

President George Benson has been fairly consistent in supporting the athletic department, but Benson is retiring in June. The search committee has narrowed the list of candidates to ten, with hopes of having a new President hired by mid-spring.

And there there are the Board of Regents.

A few weeks ago, the contracts for Tucker’s assistant coaches were up for a vote by the Board of Regents. The contracts were approved, but only by a vote of 6-3. Regents Jack Kroll, Linda Shoemaker and Lesley Smith all voted against the contracts.

Shoemaker has voted against football contracts each of the last three times they have come before the board. She voted against the assistant contracts in February 2018 and against Tucker’s contract in December. Shoemaker also abstained from voting on MacIntyre’s extension in June 2017. Prior to the vote, she got up from the table to get a drink of water and was counted as “absent,” despite standing just a few feet from the table.

“I was thirsty. No further comment,” she said when asked by a Daily Camera reporter about why she got up from the table.

Kroll also voted against Tucker’s contract. Smith was elected to the board in November and this was her first vote on football contracts.

While there has always been an undercurrent at the University, as well as in the city of Boulder, which doesn’t get/doesn’t understand/hates CU athletics, but if the anti-sports factions take over the Board of Regents and/or the President’s office, it will place a huge obstacle in front of Rick George, Mel Tucker, and Tad Boyle.

So … if you know of a Regent on the CU Presidential Search committee, consider sending them this book: “Saturday Millionaires: How Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges“, by Kristi Dosh. 

This is an excellent book, which goes into great detail, not only as to how college football pays for itself (and the other non-revenue sports), but how much college athletics adds to the bottom line of the university.

Ski team’s quest for national title No. 21

Three months ago, the CU women’s cross-country team captured the national championship.

The win represented the third national title for the women’s cross-country team, to go with five from the men.

Overall, Colorado has 29 national championships. To go with the eight national championships won by the CU cross-country teams, there is the national championship in football … and the 20 national titles won by the CU ski team.

Next weekend, in Stowe, Vermont, coach Richard Rokos and the CU ski team will again be one of the favorites at the NCAA national championships.

The event bounces back-and-forth between the east and the west, with eastern schools hosting the NCAA’s in odd-numbered years. This is not necessarily a bad thing for CU, as the Buffs have won three of the last four NCAA titles contested back east (in Stowe in 2011; in Middlebury, Vermont in 2013; and at Lake Placid, New York, in 2015).

The Buffs are one of only a handful of schools to qualify the maximum number of participants (12), which is an advantage when the title is based upon cumulative points, and you don’t know when one of your alpine skiers might miss a gate or catch an edge and not finish a race.

The Buffs contingent includes six skiers who have skied at the NCAA Championships previously and six who are making their first appearance.  The six skiers who have skied previously have combined for 11 appearances at NCAAs and all six have earned at least one All-America honor in each of those 11 appearances.  Of the six making their first appearance, four of those six won at least one race this season.  The 12 skiers have combined for 73 top 10 and 34 top five finishes this season including 22 podium appearances and seven race victories.

While the Pac-12 Networks, home to the “Conference of Champions”, will have little coverage of the event, you can watch the championships, which begin Wednesday, March 6th, at the NCAA.com website.

Here’s hoping that the CU ski team will bring home to Boulder the second national championship of the 2018-19 school year, and the 30th overall national title in school history.

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … Washington won the Pac-12 title in football, and has captured the regular season championship in men’s basketball. When was the last time a Pac-12 team won titles in both sports in the same season?

Answer: In 2001, Oregon claimed the Pac-10 title in football (going on to take out CU in the Fiesta Bowl), and also made a run to the Elite Eight as the Pac-10 champs in basketball.

Side trivia on Washington’s great year: When was the last time the Huskies played in the Rose Bowl, and also had an NCAA participant in men’s basketball? Answer: It’s never happened before.


5 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Volume XIV”

  1. Far TOOOOO… left leaning for me. Get rid of her ASAP. Pay the U of San Francisco to kidnap her and hide her somewhere around Haight-Ashbury amongst the piles of weed and the culture she apparently aspires to be with.

    This gal has NO understanding of how a great university funds itself, or how athletics helps create an image that scholarly students enjoy attending and gravitate to. She may be just pissed because no one picked her to play ‘Red Rover’ or other team games when she was a wee bit of a girl.

    Considering the quotes Stu has gleaned, relieve her of the burden and moral dilemma she must be in. IF IT WERE KNOWN how badly she doesn’t like to watch football or how much she feels that it has no place in the academic enterprise BEFORE she was installed in her present position, the university could have looked more seriously at other candidates. SHAME !!!

    OR…..is this what they wanted in the first place ?


  2. I don’t know anything about Linda Shoemaker, and the other two Regents that seem to side with her on votes regarding the CU Athl. Dept. CU is a state university with a history longer then Linda and the others have been alive. There are literally thousands of alumni that have passed through the Univ. past and still present. She needs to realize that the University is much larger than she is, and that she was not elected to transform something that is as historical as what occurs in a University Athl. Dept. as part of the whole mission of that institution.

    She is just passing through as are all of the Regents past, present, and in the future, and none of them should let their narrow ideological philosophy change something that is part of the history and future of a great State University.

    Hopefully when her term concludes there should be opponents challenging her narrow, self-serving thoughts of what a total University represents to a state such as Colorado.

  3. Stu
    Have any of these reduced dimensional regents voiced their long term visions for athletics? Do they want to get rid of revenue sports entirely? Attending sporting contests not only were experiences for developing camaraderie with other students but created a greater sense of school pride which helped me with my motivation to study….and I needed as much motivation as I could get.

    1. Linda Shoemaker has been very outspoken in her opposition to the football team, couching it in the guise of concern over the health of the players, and the liability to the university:
      “It is very much a moral dilemma for me now,” Shoemaker said. “I don’t want to watch it. I don’t want to participate in it. I don’t believe that it has a good place in the academic enterprise, which is the University of Colorado.”

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