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Top 40 of the Past 40 – No. 28

Previously posted:

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions as we count down my favorite 40 games and favorite 40 players of my 40 years as a Buff …

Top 40 Favorite Games … No. 28

December 29, 2004 – Colorado 33, UTEP 28 – Going back to Houston … CU’s last (most recent) bowl victory

From the Game Story in the CU at the Game Archives …

Bowling For Dollars

The Buffs reward for winning the Big 12 North in 2004 was a trip to Kansas City to face No. 2 Oklahoma, one of the most dominant teams in the country.

The result? A 42-3 debacle.

Still, Colorado was still 7-5 on the season, and was still the Big 12 North champions. The winning season merited an invitation to play in the EV1.Net Houston Bowl against the University of Texas, El-Paso (UTEP).

It had appeared that Colorado was going to be heading for the Champs Sports Bowl (formerly the Tangerine Bowl) in Orlando, Florida.  When the BCS final numbers were announced, though, Texas surpassed California in the calculations, sending the Longhorns to the Rose Bowl instead of the Golden Bears.  With Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 earning both earning BCS bids (Oklahoma was slated for the Orange Bowl to play USC), every other Big 12 bowl team moved up a notch, putting the Buffs in Houston.

UTEP was 8-3 under first year head coach Mike Price.  The Miners had won all of six games in the previous three years combined, so the infusion of a new coach had made a great difference.  Price, who had taken Washington State to the Rose Bowl, lost an opportunity to coach at Alabama with a scandal of his own.  After taking a year off from coaching, Price returned to college football to lead UTEP to a seven game improvement over 2003 (2-11 to 8-3).

The Miners not only had a better record than did the Buffs, they made the short trip to Houston with a decent resume.

Losses to bowl bound Arizona State and Boise State were offset by wins over bowl participants Fresno State and Hawaii.  UTEP had run off seven straight wins after starting the season 1-2.  The Miners had a 2,000-yard passer (Jordan Palmer, brother of Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer), and a 1,000-yard rusher in Howard Jackson.

Still, the Houston Bowl was a second-tier bowl.  With little else eye-catching to write about, the national media dubbed the 2004 Houston Bowl “The Redemption Bowl”.  Gary Barnett and Mike Price had both endured scandal, only to emerge with winning teams.

The Houston Bowl was also a trap game for the Buffs.  UTEP had everything to play for – the Miners’ first win over a Big 12 member since 1957 (11 games), the first bowl victory since 1967, and only the third nine-win season in school history.

The Buffs had no such lofty ambitions in mind.  A win would help erase the embarrassment of the Oklahoma game.  It would also serve, as some players were calling it, the first win of the 2005 season.

December 29th – Houston Bowl        Colorado 33, Texas El-Paso 28

Joel Klatt bounced back from a career-worst performance against Oklahoma to throw for 333 yards, leading Colorado to a 33-28 win over Texas El-Paso in the 2004 EV1.Net Houston Bowl.  Mason Crosby contributed four field goals as the Buff held off the Miners late for Colorado’s first bowl win in five years.

Continue reading story here

From the Essay for the game … Goin’ Back to Houston

Growing up in Bozeman, Montana, in the 1970’s, there were only two radio stations.  There was KBMN, which none of us listened to because it was mostly news and old music (and I mean old, as in ‘30’s and 40’s stuff).  That left KXXL, which was a country station.  (We didn’t even get an FM station until I was in high school.)  I didn’t grow up with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  I grew up with John Denver and Linda Ronstadt.

Why mention this?  When it was announced that Colorado would be traveling to Houston for the EV1.Net Houston Bowl to play Texas El-Paso, a song kept playing in the back of my head.  It was an old Dean Martin tune (how’s about that for old?) about Houston.  As best I can remember, the chorus went something like this:

Oh, it’s lonesome in this old town

Everybody puts me down

Nobody calls me friend

It’s sad, the shape I’m in …

Goin’ back to Houston … Houston … Houston…

Continue reading story here

Here is the YouTube video of the game …

Top 40 Favorite Players … No. 28

Linebacker Chad Brown (1989-92)

From his CUBuffs.com bio …. A second-team All-American as a senior in 1992 (NEA; honorable mention by UPI), he overcame three separate injuries that season to finish the year as a unanimous All-Big Eight selection … He rebounded from a broken hand, back spasms and a separated shoulder to post 88 tackles, with 15 for losses …

Also All-Big Eight as a junior when he racked up 125 tackles for second on the team … He ended his career as CU’s fourth all-time  leading tackler (369), was third all-time in solo stops (242) and fourth in tackles for loss (38) … Played inside linebacker as a freshman and sophomore before switching to the outside, where he would record 14 quarterback sacks over the next two seasons…

Brown also made a name for himself as he had one of the more interesting hobbies in CU football history: he bred snakes and lizards, once even traveling to Costa Rica to hunt the reptiles at night …

A second round pick by Pittsburgh in the 1993 NFL Draft (44th overall), he played four seasons with the Steelers (1993-96) before moving on to Seattle and then the New England Patriots, with a return to Pittsburgh in-between the latter in a 15-year NFL career … He had over 1,000 tackles and 79 sacks in 188 games in the NFL …

Now a local sports media personality, in 2012, he became CU’s sideline reporter on KOA broadcasts for the better portions of the next five seasons and is now working with the Pac-12 Network … He was inducted into CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in its 2017 class.

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