You Can’t Spell Cursed without CU

Karl Dorrell can’t buy a break.

Dorrell, hired in February, started behind the curve and has yet to have the chance to even attempt to catch up. Every time it appears that the Buffs are about to be able to take to the practice field and – you know – actually start wearing pads, running plays, and learning new systems, the world conspires against them.

February 23rd … Dorrell Named Head Coach 

Late February is not the time for teams to be naming their new head coach. Most often, it is done by early December, in time to allow the new coach – and his new coaching staff – to make a stab at landing its first Recruiting Class.

Instead, Colorado was blindsided by Mel Tucker, who ditched the Buffs and the Buff Nation for Michigan State. Scrambling to try and find a new head coach in the most inopportune of times, CU athletic director Rick George discovered/found/settled for Karl Dorrell. The hire was met by the rest of the college football world with a shrug of indifference. Every – and I mean every – ranking of the new 25 head coaches for the 2020 season listed Karl Dorrell near the bottom.

No matter, Buff fans said. We have our new coach, and he will shock the naysayers.

“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously.  Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships.  He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”

Who cares if Dorrell was hard-pressed to fill out his assistant coaching staff, at a time when virtually every other staff in the country had been filled? Who cares if CU’s new offensive line coach spent the last two years coaching … at Spanish Fort high school in Alabama?

We believed.

At least Dorrell was able to complete his staff in time to conduct spring practices. After all, with the Buffs needing to find a new starting quarterback from among candidates with little or no starting experience, spring ball would be vital.

Until …

March 12th … Spring Practices canceled 

On Thursday, March 12th, the NCAA, Pac-12 and the University of Colorado shut down athletics. Not only was March Madness canceled, but all other spring sports.

In the Pac-12, nine of the teams had begun spring ball, with up to half of spring practices having been completed.

CU was set to open spring practices on Monday, March 16th … four days later.

So, Karl Dorrell and his staff were not able to take to the practice fields with their team after all. No chance to evaluate talent. No chance to run plays. No chance to put players on film for coaches and players to review over the summer.

No mention, from the Pac-12 or the NCAA, as to when, or even if, the teams which did not have an equal amount of time on the practice fields would be allowed to make up those days, with the novel idea of putting every team across the country on an equal footing.

As spring became summer, any discussion of conducting spring practices were dropped.

Tough break, Buffs.

CU and its new head coach were just unlucky. It was just a twist of fate that the Buffs were not allowed to have any practices with their new coaching staff.

Still, we believed.

Fall Camp would give Colorado and its team the chance to practice and prepare for the season on something at least resembling an equal footing.

Until …

August 11th … Fall season postponed 

Less than a week before Karl Dorrell and his staff would be allowed to finally – finally! – see their team on the practice field, the Pac-12 pulled the plug on the season.

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.  “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

While a disappointment to the Buff players and fans, at least the conference was on the same playing field – or, more precisely, not on the same playing field.

The Buffs weren’t practicing, but then again, neither were the other 11 teams in the conference. There was 12 hours of “practice” allowed, but no contact drills, no running of plays … nothing which would be mistaken for an actual football practice.

Then, with three of the five Power Five conferences deciding to play in the fall, pressure rose on the holdouts, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, to get back on the field. New testing procedures were put into place. New plans were devised to allow teams to practice and play.

The Pac-12 actually was ahead of the Big Ten on getting testing and guidelines in place, and, if it had wanted to, could have been ahead of the curve in allowing teams to begin practicing. But local health regulations in California and Oregon were not allowing for practices, so the Pac-12 sat on its hands.

In Boulder, CU was doing everything it needed to in order to be ready to begin practices, but Karl Dorrell, his staff, and his team had to wait.

Then, after the Big Ten forced the Pac-12’s hand, and all but mandated that the Pac-12 figure out a fall schedule, the conference hemmed and hawed. It appeared that the conference would not have a full schedule, but at least would be able to field teams. Governors in California and Oregon weighed in, and schools in those states made arrangements to allow their teams to play.

All was well. It looked like the Buffs would finally – finally! – be able to take the field with their new coaching staff.

Until …

September 24th … Pac-12 allows for practices, just as Boulder County shuts down CU

The timing would be funny, were it not so tragic.

Just as the Pac-12 was gearing up to announce its six-game, conference-only schedule, with a seventh game to be played the weekend of the Pac-12 title game, the Boulder County Public Health issued an order halting all gatherings for 18-to-22-year-old Boulder residents until at least Oct. 8th.

Hours before Karl Dorrell and his staff would finally – finally! – be able to take the field with their new team, they were again shut down.

If Karl Dorrell and his team didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Now … today … there are 65 teams in the five Power Five conferences, and 64 of them are either practicing or have been cleared to begin practices.

CU – and only CU – is currently left out. The Buffs can’t even do team conditioning, or the 12 hours of practice which were previously acceptable.

For a team with a new head coach, and without a returning starter at quarterback, the spring and fall practices were vital if the Buffs were going to have any chance of competing in the Pac-12.

And now … the Buffs are waiting – again – with no end in sight.

Theoretically, the Buffs could be on the practice field in two weeks, with four weeks to prepare for their first game instead of six, but even that plan, as unfair as it is, is not guaranteed.

From the Daily Camera

One of the main reasons for the Pac-12 announcement to return to play was the securing of a deal early this month with Quidel Corporation to provide daily, rapid-results COVID-19 tests to Pac-12 schools. That development was viewed as a game-changer for the conference, but Buffzone asked BCPH executive director Jeff Zayach if those tests could allow CU student-athletes to be exempt from the county order.

“No,” Zayach succinctly said in an email.

… Zayach said he’s not sure at this time if it will be possible for CU to play football this fall.

Thank you, Boulder, for your understanding.

Oregon governor Kate Brown said this past summer, when it appeared that Oregon might be the problem for the conference getting back on the playing field, that she would “make sure (the Ducks and Beavers) are not at any competitive disadvantage as NCAA lifts moratorium for voluntary on-campus workouts”.

Any politicians standing up in the state of Colorado for the CU football program?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

And if you don’t think having a full “Fall Camp” doesn’t really matter … I refer you to Navy, which decided not to have full practices before their first game against BYU. The result? The Midshipmen, who went 11-2 last season, were beaten by the Cougars (7-6 in 2019) by the score of 55-3.

Anyone excited to see the Buffs get torched this November and December?

Colorado will open its season the weekend of November 7th (opponent and site to be announced). Until or unless the CU administration can find a work around to get the Buffs on the practice fields, Karl Dorrell’s team, already at a distinct disadvantage in terms of preparation, are – daily – falling further and further behind their future conference opponents.

Karl Dorrell can’t seem to buy a break.

And neither can the Buff Nation.

It appears clear to me that, at least for 2020 (and perhaps years to come, as the fallout from this fall’s failures haunt future recruiting) …

You can’t spell cursed without CU.



21 Replies to “You Can’t Spell Cursed without CU”

  1. Welcome to Covid at the Game. But, in Stu’s defense, politics and football have been intertwined for decades. Possibly since the beginning. I have read about a certain CU vs. AFA game that had some political connotations.

    I’ve seen the disparity in the ethnic backgrounds of players, and particularly quarterbacks and coaches, and GMs and ADs over the years.

    I’ve watched people take a knee to make a point about something they believe deserves to be a topic of discussion.

    Politics and football, much like a lot in life, go hand in hand.

    Now, what I prefer not to see are those conversations quickly deteriorate into name calling. We see it here too. Just because we may have differing opinions, doesn’t mean any of us are bad people. Dumb, etc. Look no further than the late Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bater Ginsberg as to how you can conduct yourselves around “heated” topics. Ronny and Tip were another good example. Newt and Bill. There are countless others.

    Somewhere along the line, we seem to have lost the civil, in civil discourse, and it’s sad.

    Now, to our friendly virus. We’re all living – and always will live – in a big experiment of sorts. Sure. It’s a flu. Nobody can deny that. It is a flu. Molecularly. It just appears to be unlike any flu we’ve seen in maybe 100yrs. Seasonality? Not so much. Perhaps a bit more virulent and deadly? Probably.

    You want to quibble with counts? Ok. Sure. Particularly given how terrible our testing has been, and probably still is. They’re overcounting. You know Pneumonia isn’t a disease, but symptom, right? I’m no MD, but it’s when your lungs fill with fluid. So, when people die of Pneumonia, they are dying from something that caused their lungs to fill with fluid. Could be a number of things. But they still put COD Pneumonia very often.

    Back to counting. You would have to suspend disbelief to say the #s of Covid deaths are not miscounted. But, by definition, that means some overcounting, and some undercounting. Probably comes out in the wash. You cannot have one without the other. It’s statistics.

    Back to football. Every college campus has been a hotbed aka petri dish for this virus. Duh. 18-22 yr olds thinking they’re invincible, getting together and doing what kids do? Duh. At what risk to the kids and those around them? We’re still learning that. At what risk to any “at risk” groups? More than normal.

    But what I find interesting is that Notre Dame is one example of ongoing cases among it’s football players. So, are they unique? Probably not. There are many others.

    The SECSPN teams – in their ever-lovin’ wisdom – decided that since it appears there is an immune reaction once you do contract covid, that they will not retest players who’ve already tested positive for 90 days. Seems convenient, to me. And, SECSPN commentators were hailing Sankey for his handling of it. Again, we’ll know more as time passes.

    I have no qualms w/ the Pac 12’s erring to the side of caution. I do wonder why after the antigen deal was announced, they didn’t move with more conviction to at least set the table for the option of resuming play sooner, rather than later. Nevertheless, football is football, and lives are lives.

    We’ll all know a lot more about this little bug as we roll through this fall and into the next year, and even the next decade.

    Until then, stay safe. Be civil. And cheer for our Buffs. And for some chaos in what has to already be the most chaotic college football season in history. There’s an ancient Chinese proverb, some say a curse, that says “may you live in interesting times.”

    We do. And always will.

    Go Buffs

    1. Oh. As to the Boulder ordinance? Well, that just seems like normal times in Boulder. I am surprised as to how Rick is handling it, or at least publicly handling it. Particularly since it likely and allegedly surprised nobody. At least it’s only cutting into strength and conditioning time, so far. Well, the kids can do what they did all summer, run, lift etc. on their own, and I’m sure they are. Two or three may even be able to run drills vs. air – at least the offensive guys.

      Hopefully it won’t get extended beyond 10/8 when camp is supposed to “officially” start anyway.

      And, I’m also curious what the landscape will look like in another month. It’s possible the Pac 12 season never starts. We’ll all know more as we continue learning more.

      Go Buffs.

  2. Its outta control now Stu
    This is my last post until we get out of the political blame game in here. The country turning on itself has now infected this forum. I worry more about that than the pandemic.
    For a little dark comic relief I recommend finding a copy of “The Second Civil War” Starring Beau Bridges as the Governor of Idaho. Its pretty old and I think it was a made for TV movie.

    1. Sorry, ep, but the posters didn’t make this political, the Boulder County Health Department did.
      If the California schools can have politicians intervene and make practices and games happen where the schools and cities were previously shut down, it’s political.
      If Boulder is the only city out of 65 in the Power Five conferences which won’t allow their home team to practice … it’s political.

  3. You can thank the liberal politicians of the Republic of Boulder for the downward spiral of CU athletics over the last 30 years. This is an example of big government acting like they know best, and making mandates for political power. Boulder made the bed, now we have to sleep in it. Remember this on future elections and vote smaller government, return to teaching correct principles and let us govern ourselves.

    1. thank the liberal politicians for the CU’s downward athletic spiral? hmmm ……you must be talking about football only. You sure it isn’t a succession of crappy coaches?
      “making mandates for political power? ” The voters gave them that mandate. It is a liberal town, Govt is serving their constituency’s wishes. You are right though, you have to sleep in it.
      I would like to hear more about what you consider “correct principles.”
      And when you say “govern ourselves” do mean anarchy?
      or some kind of govt where the minority instead of the majority rules?

      1. You gonna sleep there? Rent a house/condo/room? Bring your ira. The liberal/socialist voters/politicians have instituted a lot of new polices for your benefit.

        Cash no checks

          1. I was trying to count the number of republicans on the county board and the city council.

            Stopped at ZERO

      1. Republican Leadership at it’s finest is currently on display right now in the US, wait he wanted the cities/states/counties to fight it out on their own….talk about making your bed.

        1. No
          The state government and the local governments are required to fight it out themselves with support from “him”

          Democrats in most of those positions were in capable of doing the job.

          Note: Stu if you don’t post this you must delete the one above

          fair is fair

  4. My second comment-may be better than the first. Rick George & Karl Dorrell should call on the Director of the County Health Dept. and say this. Our FB & BB players have been avoiding social gatherings, wearing masks and are tested daily. I.E., doing exactly as good citizens are to do in this pandemic. They are setting a great example for the students and the community. And what is your response to their sterling conduct? Punitive. You’re going to require them to do what the other 18-22 year olds, some of who are not using the medical people’s requirements, are to do, shelter in place. Have you never learned that positive rewards work much better than negative punishments in motivating others to do things. This unfair requirement thus puts our Buffs at a competitive disadvantage with their fellow Pac 12 teams. We respectfully request that you rethink your actions and give our Buff athletes an exemption from this shelter in place requirement. Thank you for your consideration. Jim S, Greeley

  5. The restrictions applied to the students are just a political power display by Boulder’s liberal politicians. Follow the science and the findings of the CDC. Students are at minimal risk of serious symptoms. The elderly are who need be protected.
    CU football has been suffering at the hands of the liberal politicians for decades, and they now have it to the point where football is barely relevant. CU’s national recognition as a university is directly tied to their prominence on the football field. If you don’t believe me, bring up CU at the dinner table or in a bar in the eastern half of the country.

    1. There were 1300 positive cases last week in the the student population. The entire State of Colorado usually has only 200 plus new ones a day. It is a highly contagious disease… case you werent aware of the definition of that word it means young people can carry it and spread it without exhibiting symptoms. If all these students were living in a bubble you might have a point BTW from where I sit conservative politicians dont seem to care who dies. From the president on down they never talk about 200,000 deaths and continue to downplay f not outright ignore guidelines that help prevent the spread.
      BTW again. I’m not real young and I would like to live several more years so I can do things like watch football.

      1. I agree with Mr. Schisler about exempting the athletes from the lockdown. This first year under Dorrell portends to be brutal, and the kids could easily be separated from the general student population.
        While I’m passionate about the political management of the pandemic, I’ll shut up about it on this thread.
        BTW I enjoy your posts and insights and hope we both have enough years in us (suspect I’m older than you-BS ’70) to see CU return to relevance at the national level.

        1. I also agree with Mr.Schisler about exempting the athletes from the lock down if they follow the right protocols. I’m sure the Boulder health dept. folks have noticed the troubles other places have had with their teams and the virus in areas where protocols were a lot more lax. I will agree they are overreaching somewhat but at least its on the side of saving lives.

    2. Some people on here like to avoid the fact that the CDC announced of the 200,000 deaths that the actual number who died BECAUSE of of covid 19 is closer to 6% of that number..and without a doubt, anyone with any common sense at all knows its lower than 6%. From the ex-vp on down, they destroy everything they touch including our beloved college football. (2 weeks to flatten the curve, 4 weeks of wearing a mask and we will all be saved)

  6. Buff fans with any influence please contact Rick George & President Kennedy and demand/urge/beg them to contact Larry Scott of Pac 12 and all Presidents of Pac 12 schools and request all other Pac 12 teams to suspend practices & games until CU can once again practice- as a great and magnanimous display of conference unity and competitive fairness and good sportsmanship. If this unfair situation had happened to their school, would they not appreciate the other conference schools to do this? Claro! All for one and one for all!! Yes! Show some greatness of character people!! Jim Schisler, Greeley BA 64

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