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New Year’s Resolutions – 2020

Happy New Year!

Even better … Happy New Decade!!

As any Buff football fan will tell you, it’s nice to not only be able to turn the calendar over from 2019 to 2020, but also turn the calendar from the 2010’s to the 2020’s.

The 2010’s represent the worst decade in CU football history, and by a wide margin. The Buffs went 44-80 this past decade (.355), well short of the second-worst decade, the 1980’s, in which the Buffs posted a record of 53-63-1 (.457).

But enough about the recent past … let’s look to the near future.

I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the name of being optimistic about CU athletics going forward, I’ll give it a try …

I resolve to not let January 2nd define my year

The second day of the year could be a big one for the University of Colorado, with two televised events – both on ESPN2 – helping to set the tone for the rest of the year.

First, at around 5:00 p.m., MT, four-star defensive end prospect Jason Harris will announce his commitment. Harris, from Gilbert, Arizona, is set to let the world know his intentions during the second quarter of Under Armour All-America Game (coverage starts at 4:00 p.m., MT, so his five minutes of fame should come around 5:00 p.m., MT).

Harris has over two-dozen Power Five Conference offers, including offers from two-thirds of the Pac-12, along with schools like Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, and Auburn. Pundits have CU as the pick, with Indiana and Arizona seen as the top competition. Harris took official visits to Arizona (June 21st), Colorado (November 9th, for the Stanford game), Indiana (December 6th), and UCLA (December 13th).

It would be very disappointing if Harris did not put on a CU hat on national television on Thursday (word is that he has already signed his Letter of Intent, but has an understanding with Mel Tucker that he would wait until the Under Armour game to make his announcement). It’s not like the Buffs can’t use another quality defensive lineman, a unit which has suffered in recent years from a dearth of quality depth.

Thing is … the Buffs are already stocking up on quality defensive linemen. All three starters from this past season – Mustafa Johnson (unless he makes a surprise announcement to the contrary), Terrance Lang, and Jalen Sami – return. Other young players who logged minutes this fall – Nai’m Rodman, Jeremiah Doss and Janaz Jordan – also return.

And that’s before we count the five – five – defensive linemen signed already as part of the Recruiting Class of 2020.

And that’s before we count the five-star addition to the roster, Antonio Alfano.

Will it be a tough pill to swallow if Harris doesn’t pick Colorado? Yes … but it’s not a poison pill.

Then, about two hours after Harris makes his ESPN2 debut, the network will again focus on the University of Colorado. Only this time, the coverage will be from Boulder, with No. 4 Oregon paying a visit to the CU Events Center to take on the 26th-ranked Buffs.

“It’s a must-win for us — we have to protect our home court”, said McKinley Wright. “They’re going to come in with a sense of urgency and try to punch us in the mouth. So we have to be ready to stand our ground and respond.”

Of course, it is a big game, and the Buffs will need to play at their best to have a shot at the Ducks.

But it’s not the defining moment of the season … that will come in March in the Pac-12 tournament, and, hopefully, the NCAA tournament.

For his part, Tad Boyle has been stressing to his players that the Sunday afternoon matchup against Oregon State is, ultimately, just as important to the Buffs’ long term plans.

“What I want our players to understand is that every game in league play is important,” Boyle said. “If we win this one, if we’re lucky enough, you don’t get extra credit.”

A win will help solidify the Buffs as a tournament contender, and give notice to the remainder of the Pac-12 that CU will be a factor in determining the league championship.

But a loss would not be fatal, either to the Buffs’ Pac-12 or NCAA tournament aspirations.

I’m resolved to try and keep Thursday, January 2nd, in perspective.

I resolve to not let recruiting rankings bother me

Okay, I’ll be upfront about this one … I doubt this is a New Year’s Resolution I’ll be able to keep.

A few weeks ago, I devoted an entire essay to my qualms/frustrations about the recruiting ranking systems, “Recruiting Rankings Rant“. So for me to go cold turkey and not complain about the way Rivals and 247 Sports treat certain prospects is, well, not going to happen.

But I am going to try.

I am going to try and remain focused on the offer sheets and official visits a player takes as a better indication of how schools are evaluating talent, and not be overly concerned about star ratings.

I will try and not allow my blood pressure to go up when Rivals rates running back Jayle Stacks, the 5A Colorado Player-of-the-Year, a player who had 1,155 yards rushing (at a 9.4 yards/carry clip) in leading Cherry Creek to the state championship … as a two-star prospect.

I will try and overlook the fact that Rivals had running back Ashaad Clayton as a top 50 national prospect this past summer, but, after Clayton committed to Colorado in November, dropped him out of the Top 250, and gave Clayton only two stars (he has since returned to four-star status, with LSU and Florida now recruiting Clayton).

Okay, I said I will try and overlook these inherent biases.

It will also be my goal, when looking at CU’s future Recruiting Classes, to try and compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges.

For instance, the CU Recruiting Class of 2020 is currently sitting at No. 33 at Rivals; No. 35 at 247 Sports. Buff fans can certainly quibble over those rankings, but what we should focus on is how these biased rankings compare year-over-year.

For example, CU’s Class at 247 Sports was ranked 44th last year; 53rd in 2018; 35th in 2017 (after the 10-4 campaign in 2016); 69th in both 2016 and 2015; and 74th in 2015.

The point being here that CU’s 2020 Class under Mel Tucker is as good as anything Mike MacIntyre could produce … even when MacIntyre was recruiting off of a ten-win season.

That’s cause for celebration … not hand-wringing.

I resolve to make two new additions to the website

Since you have made it this far in this posting, you deserve a bonus … I have some news.

There will be two additions to the CU at the Game website this spring.

With the completion of the 2019 season, I have now been a Buff fan for 40 years. If you think that makes me sound old, it’s actually worse than you are imagining. I didn’t become a CU fan until I hit the Boulder campus for my freshman year in 1980, so I don’t get to count any “my dad took me to my first CU game when I was three” years in my 40-year stretch with the black-and-gold).

The first year was rough, a 1-10 campaign – CU’s first ten-loss season in history. My first-ever home game was a 49-7 loss to Indiana (coached by Lee Corso, no less), followed by home losses to Oklahoma (82-42 … 63 records set!), to Drake (yes, Drake … and for the second season in a row), and to Nebraska (45-7).

Those were the days!

Over the past four decades, there have been many highs and many lows, with many memories to share.

And so this Spring, I am going to take a look back at the past forty years, with a “Top 40 of the Past 40” series, with a list of not only my Top 40 games of the past four decades, but also a separate list of my Top 40 players. It should be fun!

In addition, this spring will also see the debut of a “CU at the Game Podcast“. The format is still under construction, but there will definitely be a mailbag and other audience participation aspects to the podcast, as I very much want you to be an active partner in this endeavor.

For me, the daunting part is not talking about CU football (that part comes easily – just ask my wife!), but I am concerned about the mechanics behind producing a quality product. If I can iron out the technology issues, the CU at the Game podcast should make its debut in time for spring practices.

There is plenty of reason for optimism about CU athletics, both on and off the field. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Happy New Year!

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11 Replies to “New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. 2020 is the year my wife and I are bringing the next great buffs fan into the world. Already have cu baby clothes lined up and baby will be here in June. Go buffs.

    1. Congratulations to you and your wife! I will be expecting that he (or she) will be signing their letter of intent in 18 years and that they will be QB’ing the Buffs to another National Championship 👍

  2. It has been a long, painful decade. For Stu it has been 40 years, but for me it’s been 60. Lots of ups and downs, but the pain of listening to a California broadcaster suggesting that CU should join the WAC was awful. We were close this year, and I think the future is brighter. I’m just not sure how much longer I can wait.

  3. No worries about “coming along for the ride.” This the premier Buff site by the premier Buff fan.
    As for new year resolutions, mine are about the same as they have been for the last decade or so. New year day is kind of a ground hog day too: Eat less, exercise more, drink less, fly first class and continue the struggle to make 10 percent of a lower end FBS head coach salary. Maybe one of these years I will actually see one through.
    I dont have to make a resolution to continue my few good habits like logging in here on a daily basis, supporting all the Buff players (with a little additional bias for the home grown)…and coaches…until, of course, one becomes a hopeless situation.
    A resolution I should make but wont? Cutting a little slack for the korn, USC and Jon Wilner, almost the entire SEC conference and the last 2 head coaches.
    As far as the scouting services go they have an impossible job to complete, are probably as corrupt as most businesses when it comes to their biggest clients but they do provide a few nuggets worth reading on the Buffs now and then.

  4. Happy New Year Stu.

    Nice write up.

    I’m gonna jump around here a bit cause I am in to randomness.
    Remember when you first started this operation? At least trying to get to a higher level? You were all over the Buffzone. Doing free lance advertising. I was all over you, pointing out all the trackers your IT boy put on your site. You were the KGB. We exchanged some comments. I started reading your stuff, liked it and started plugging it. I got a CU at the Game hat. Nice. Ain’t history nice.

    Rivals is crappola. 247 ain’t far behind. I agree about the offer sheet. You need to get set up with that gentleman on AllBuffs. He is really good. Anyway I am with you on this but I ain’t cause even though their rankings are as political as all get out, they do provide good data. At least 247 does. I barely look at rivals. The HCMT is gonna change a lot of this and he ain’t gonna be playing squat tag in the asparagus patch.

    Harris is a lock

    Good luck on your new stuff

    SKO BUFFS
    2010’s decade?

    NEVER HEARD OF IT

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